The Top 10 Local Restaurants In Cedar Falls, Iowa

Marcelina Morfin

Home of the University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls is a charming small city with many fun activities and tasty eats. From Italian to Thai to home-style cuisine, the dining scene is varied with something for everyone. We’ve put together a list of the top 10 delicious food haunts found in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

Cedar Falls, IA

1. The Brown Bottle

Restaurant, Italian, Cocktails, Beer, Wine

A Cedar Falls’ staple, The Brown Bottle attracts diners again and again with its classic and creative Italian cuisine. A family-owned and operated, this restaurant features a warm, inviting ambiance with both indoor and outdoor seating, making it a wonderful spot to enjoy a night out with family and friends. The menu will satisfy many tastes, with highlights being the chili pepper penne, which is a combination of sautéed chicken and a creamy white sauce tossed with chili pepper penne pasta, and the spaghetti with herbed butter sauce. An impressive list of beverages; martinis, specialty cocktails, beer, wine, and non-alcoholic selections are available as well.

2. Cafe Dué

Restaurant, American

Cafe Dué is a stylish venue serving a variety of eats imbued with international flavors. The interior space features two sides: a lovely dining space, complete with rich woods, and a café side, which exudes comfort and warmth with leather couches and colorful accents. As for delicious edibles, the menu offers everything from a build-your-own omelet for breakfast to an 8 ounce Kobe beef burger with a choice of cheese and other toppings to the veggie pizza topped with fresh vegetables, mozzarella, and balsamic glaze, to mussels in a sauce of white wine, garlic, and butter. The drink menu is equally diverse with espresso drinks, cocktails, martinis, and wine. Cafe Dué is open daily.

3. J's Homestyle Cooking

Diner, Restaurant, American

Those diners who crave comfort food should head to J’s Homestyle Cooking. Whether visiting for breakfast or otherwise, which is served all day, lunch, or dinner, everyone who steps foot into this cozy, welcoming establishment will feel right at home. For the truly ravenous diner, the panther-fried omelet, which is a four-egg omelet stuffed with three cheeses, chicken fried steak, and hash browns all smothered with sausage gravy, is one breakfast option; while the lunch crowd may enjoy creating a burger of their own. As for dinner, the hot meat loaf with a choice of bread and topped with mashed potatoes and gravy is one highlight. An array of baked treats is also offered each day.

4. La Calle

Bistro, Restaurant, American

Cotton Theatre in Cedar Falls
© Rifeldeas/WikiCommons
Open for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday, La Calle is a Latin American bistro serving hamburgers and hot dogs with a Latin flair, plus other tasty delights. Located on College Hill, this cozy bistro offers guests a friendly environment in which to sample dishes packed with bold flavors. One notable highlight is the chancho burger, which features a 1/3 lb. pork burger topped with crispy bacon squares, Monterrey jack cheese, lettuce, tomato, cabbage, house-made garlic mayo, and shoestring potatoes all on ciabatta bread and served with sweet potato fries and vinaigrette coleslaw. The menu also offers sandwiches and more traditional fare, such as arepas, along with various beverages.

5. Montage

Diner, Restaurant, Asian, Cocktails, Wine, Beer

Piñon crusted grouper with chipotle sauce and roasted vegetables
Courtesy of Montage
Montage offers guests traditional Iowa fare along with some contemporary favorites all within a casual yet sophisticated space. A beautiful interior, complete with exposed brick walls, rich woods, and brushed steel doors, greets guests looking for a great night on the town. The menu is diverse and has something for everyone, making it a restaurant the entire family will enjoy. The pork loin topped with blackberry sauce and served on lemon couscous and fresh spinach and the vegetable kabobs with mushrooms, peppers, red onions, and tomatoes over brown rice with Asian marinade are just two of the unique offerings. To complement the meal, wine, beer, plus classic and specialty cocktails are available.

6. Pablo's Mexican Grill

Bar, Restaurant, Mexican, Snacks

Pablo’s Mexican Grill is a locally owned and operated joint featuring zesty Mexican cuisine that is sure to make customers happy. Procuring the freshest ingredients available, including those from local sources, the kitchen team creates flavorful burritos, tacos, salads, and quesadillas. Guests can fill their choice of burrito, taco, or salad with chicken marinated in adobo and grilled, grilled steak, pork marinated in rosemary adobo then grilled, grilled veggies, or cilantro-lime rice with black or pinto beans. Open every day, the restaurant also offers side dishes, such as chips, plus a salsa bar with eight salsas of varying degrees of spiciness.

7. Sakura Japanese Steak House & Sushi Bar

Bar, Restaurant, Japanese, Steakhouse, Vegetarian, Seafood

Assorted cupcakes from Scratch Cupcakery
Courtesy of Scratch Cupcakery
Sakura is a steakhouse and sushi bar serving a host of Japanese delicacies. Serving its mouthwatering meals seven days a week, the restaurant not only features a sushi bar, but also hibachi grills where chefs entertain while preparing customers’ dishes. Teppanyaki dinners include chicken, filet mignon, calamari steak, mahi mahi, and scallops to name but a few. The sushi menu is impressive with numerous options such as the panther roll with tuna, kani, and cream cheese, the dancing eel, which is a cali roll with eel and eel sauce, and the lobster crunchy roll with lobster tempura, kani, avocado with eel, and hot sauce. While heavily geared toward meat and seafood lovers, vegetarians have several tasty options as well.

8. Scratch Cupcakery

Bakery, Pastry Shop, American

Anyone with a sweet tooth must visit Scratch Cupcakery in Cedar Falls. Established in 2010, this locally-owned bakery is so popular that it has opened an additional three branches in the surrounding area, plus a mobile bakery that travels around the state. Specializing in cupcakes, the bakery has over 125 different flavors with approximately 25 varieties each day. With so many scrumptious cupcakes, including lemon love, peanut butter cup, caramel apple, cherry cheesecake, molten caramel, and French toast, it is impossible to only visit once. Scratch Cupcakery also features monthly specials with highlights being blueberry coffee cake, chocolate-covered waffle, and piña colada. To try these and more, visit Monday through Saturday.

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