Making Valentine's Dinner Reservations? A Few Iowa City Suggestions

Last year I went to social media to see what everyone listed as their favorite Valentine's Day dinner destinations in Iowa City. Here's the list again, let's see if we can add some more.


Iowa City, of course, has a lot of great restaurants. But what are some good places to take your better half?

Last year, I asked Iowa City Patch's followers on Twitter and Facebook this question and here are some suggestions that I got. I am putting up the list again to gather even more.

Don't see your favorite Iowa City spot? Tell me in comments or get in touch via the above social media, and I will add it to the list. The more the merrier, I say.

To restauranteurs, I will also be putting up a story where you can post your Valentine's Day specials in PDF or JPG form.

The Motley Cow

From our directory:

The Motley Cow Cafe prides itself on using locally grown produce and farm-raised beef and poultry. The menu changes often based on what's available and includes Kale Salad, Hummus and Ciabatta, White Bean and Bacon Soup and local beef, pork and lamb dishes. Reservations are recommended for dinner.  

Social media comment:

Kay Kimble (from Facebook): The Motley Cow Cafe always has a very special Valentine's Day dinner - tasty & intimate!


From our directory:

Devotay, located on Linn Street, was voted best restaurant overall by readers of the Iowa City Press-Citizen from 2005 to 2008.  Devotay offers a menu featuring paella, tapas, sandwiches, smoked wild salmon roll and more. Devotay offers a full wine menu, as well as catering services.

Social media comment:

Julie Van Dyke (from Facebook): Devotay is a more than worthwhile splurge for Valentine's. At my last "single" Valentine's day dinner, the nice lady gave us a wonderful bottle of wine to celebrate our impending marriedness


From our directory:

El Banditos, located on Market Street, is one of Iowa City's newest Mexican restaurants. All food is handmade, including the hand-rolled tacos, fresh guacamole, burritos and enchiladas. El Banditos strives to use local ingredients when possible. El Banditos is open for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. 

Social media comment:

Liz Ford (from Facebook): El Banditos. Yum.


From our directory:

Graze Restaurant, located on College Street, offers lunch and dinner in a upscale setting right on the pedestrian walkway. The menu features items like chicken tortilla soup, dim sum green beans, chicken lettuce wraps, shrimp on a stick, and more. The food is served buffet-style with options of Grazing 101 and Advance Grazing, based on the number of choices. The patio area is great for enjoying the warm weather and people-watching. 

Social media comment:

@Hawkeyeberg: Graze Graze Graze. Best restaurant in Iowa City hands down.


From the Basta website:

Basta is a fun, energetic Italian dining experience in Downtown Iowa City. Our menu features handmade pasta, Napoli style pizza and Italian wines, all served in a relaxed environment.

Social media comment:

@HawkeyeBerg: I also love Basta. 

Blackstone Restaurant and Bar

From our directory:

Westbury Drive, is a locally owned bar and restaurant. The menu features Iowa pork chops, Flynn's baked pasta, steak burritos, seared sea bass and more. The bar offers a martini and wine menu.

The Second Round of Suggestions

Orchard Green

From our directory:

The Orchard Green Restaurant and Lounge offers gourmet food and American-Mediterranean cuisine. The menu includes focaccia and hummus, Mediterranean cheese steak, vegetable frito misto, roasted corn and sweet potato soup, and orange, beet and radish salad.

The Linn Street Cafe

From our directory:

Linn Street Cafe serves a gourmet menu that changes with the seasons. Guests can pair meals with selections from the extensive wine list. The menu has included Duck Three Ways, Spring Risotto, Iowa Beef Tenderloin, Walnut Crusted Baked Brie, Strawberry Salad and more. Reservations are recommended for dinner.

Baroncini Ristorante

From our directory:

Chef Baroncini’s philosophy of using fresh, seasonal, and local ingredients is represented in his contemporary Italian cuisine.

Gianluca Baroncini graduated from the Italian national culinary institute in Verona, Italy, in 1991. He is the former Executive Chef of Terrazza Di Giulietta in Verona, Italy, executive chef of the Mauro’s catering. He worked as Assistant chef at the Ristorante Il Desco, which received a two star Michelin guide prestigious award in Verona, Italy.

Gianluca worked at the Tiberio‘s, Il Giardino, and as assistant chef du rang at the prestigious Galileo, fine dining Italian restaurant in Washington D.C..


Description from our directory:

Givanni's, located on College Street facing the pedestrian walkway, offers a variety of fresh foods. The menu includes such favorites as Bruschetta, Pasta La Jolla, Steak Deburgo and more. The restaurant also has an extensive wine list

Joseph's Steakhouse

Description from our directory:

Joseph's Steakhouse offers a full-service, fine-dining experience.  The menu features steaks, chops, chicken and fish. The wine list is extensive. Be sure to check out happy hour, which runs from 5pm to 6:30pm and offers half-price appetizers and martinis.  

Reds Alehouse (North Liberty)

From the Reds website (linked above):

We are sold out of the 12 course menu but still have plenty of spots left for regular reservations.  We are serving the regular menu along with a selection of a la carte options.

They include the following,

Lobster Bisque Roasted Beet & Frisée Salad, Blood Orange Vinaigrette Striped Sea Bass, Mushroom Ragout, Purple Kale, Lobster Sauce Roasted Beef Tenderloin, Potatoes Au Gratin, Veal Demi Glace, Bleu Cheese Butte Please call us at 319-626-2100 to book your spot.


James Surratt February 01, 2013 at 10:29 PM
Practically every restaurant gets used by couples, even fast food places for those who can't afford the better ones. So there's something for everyone. My wife and I tend to favor the chains, namely Village Inn, as their menu has choices that she prefers due to her strict diet. But once in a while we'll splurge on a different choice such as Bennigan's or Texas Roadhouse.


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