Barista’s Brew / Craft Coffee House

Kick off your culinary tour of Council Bluffs by fueling up at this funky craft coffee stop. Barista’s Brew is more than just a spot to grab a cup of joe. It’s a place where the owners’ passion for the perfect roast is on full display. These bean connoisseurs hand-select every small-batch roast and oversee meticulous brewing to bring out nuanced flavor notes in each steaming mug. Go for a classic drip coffee or spring for a seasonal house special like a lavender-honey latte. Accompany your cuppa with a house-made pastry like the decadent rosemary-chocolate chip scone. Just be sure to snag a couple of scratch-made waffles for the road—these crispy, fluffy Belgian beauties are what Barista’s is famous for!

Address: 136 W Broadway, Council Bluffs, IA 51503

Phone: (712) 256-4976

Dixie Quicks

You know those amazing “hole-in-the-wall” joints your buddy raves about where the food is so incredible you look past the shabby decor? Well, Dixie Quicks is that place in Council Bluffs. Housed in a nondescript building just off Kanesville Boulevard, you’d never know this unassuming outpost churns out some of Iowa’s best Cajun and Creole fare. From the raved-about overstuffed po’ boys to the signature gumbo packed with chicken, sausage, and a kitchen-sink’s worth of veggies, every bite at Dixie Quicks delivers big Easy flavors. Be forewarned, Midwestern restraint goes out the window as soon as you lay eyes on the portions. Come hungry, loosen that belt, and prepare for a meal so tasty you won’t mind burning off the calories doing the “Cajun Two-Step” once you’re done.

Address: 1810 Hawkeye Ave, Council Bluffs, IA 51503

Phone: (712) 256-3668

El Palomo Mexican Restaurant

Who doesn’t love a local Mexican joint where the owners treat you like family? At the vibrant El Palomo, the Arteaga clan brings the spirit of Mexican hospitality to delicious life. Regulars flock here for the undisputed highlights — the soulful stews, oh-so-tender braised meats, and pillowy fresh tortillas. But let’s be real, you’re here for the tacos. Order up a sampler platter piled high with a kaleidoscope of offerings from tender carnitas to crispy tinga chicken to fall-apart beef barbacoa. Then get creative at the salsa bar and build your own perfect handheld Nirvana with fresh cilantro, fiery habaneros, cooling crema, and more. Wash it all down with a frosty Mexican beer or slushy margarita, and get ready to become a regular yourself as the Arteagas treat you like one of their own.

Address: 2416 9th Ave, Council Bluffs, IA 51501

Phone: (712) 388-9270

Quez-Mex Grill

This funky, brightly decorated downtown cantina keeps things lively with its delicious takes on Mexican staples and stellar margarita list. Start off with a round of loaded ‘ritas and shareable starters like the queso blanco with fresh-made tortilla chips or elote-style Mexican street corn loaded with crema and cotija. When the mains come around, Quez-Mex aims to impress. Sure, you can stick with taco truck classics like the tender carnitas or lengua (beef tongue) tacos. But the real draw is the inventive specials that riff on beloved dishes with a twist. A quesadilla oozing with earthy huitlacoche (a.k.a. Mexican truffle)? Sign us up! Smoky ancho short rib enchiladas with a drizzle of crema? Don’t mind if we do! Wrap it all up with a churro-doughnut hybrid and you’re in for one memorable south-of-the-border fiesta.

Address: 601 W Broadway, Council Bluffs, IA 51503

Phone: (712) 256-3346

LIT Taco

A taco joint meets craft cocktail lounge in this chic downtown hotspot. Don’t let LIT Taco’s trendy, upbeat vibe and masterfully mixed drinks fool you — this isn’t your run-of-the-mill taqueria experience. Talented chefs are putting out meticulously prepared small bites and tacos that pay homage to authentic Mexican flavors while pushing the culinary envelope. Mole verde and gochujang enliven food truck staples like street corn and carnitas, while specialties like grilled octopus tostadas or yellowfin tuna crudos demonstrate the kitchen’s elevated creativity. Make a meal by mixing and matching a few taco varieties (the Oaxacan chicken, beer-battered avocado, and chorizo fundido are local faves) or order up some sharable plates like the tostones verde and duck taquitos for the table. However you choose to experience LIT, just be sure to save room for a flight of scratch-made churros for dessert!

Address: 100 W Broadway, Council Bluffs, IA 51503

Phone: (712) 318-2640

Thunderkis Social House

Classic Midwest meets contemporary cool at Council Bluffs’ go-to gastropub. At Thunderkis Social House, familiar American comfort staples like burgers and wings are elevated to new, crave-worthy heights. Prime example: The Thunderkis Smash Burger stacked with caramelized onions, secret Thunderkis sauce, and gooey American cheese that’ll trigger instant nostalgic tingles. Another must-try is the signature crispy wings, tossed in a choice of drool-worthy sauces like Thai chili lime or bourbon bacon. Beyond the hearty handheld fare, Thunderkis does “shareable” like nobody’s business. Sample platters like the ever-changing artisanal cheese board or warm tortilla chips with housemade guacamole and salsa are the perfect accompaniment to craft cocktails and shots (I’m looking at you, pickle brine Jell-O!). It’s casual, it’s cool, it’s pure Iowa indulgence at its finest.

Address: 285 W Broadway, Council Bluffs, IA 51503

Phone: (712) 709-0901

Barchen Brewery

This small-batch craft brewery and gastropub in Council Bluffs’ bustling West End is brewing up something special. From the second you step inside, you’ll feel the convivial energy of a true neighborhood gathering place. The passion project of a pair of partners with ties to the area, Barchen isn’t just providing top-notch beer from its seven-barrel system. The kitchen is slinging out elevated, beer-inspired pub grub that gives new meaning to the term “brewchew.” Spend an evening with friends sampling your way through the tap list that features everything from crisp pilsners to seasonal fruit ales. While you’re at it, dive into some of the inspired foodie fare like Scotch egg sliders, “bratchos” loaded with chorizo and sriracha crema, and the house signature pretzel crusted chicken tenders. Barchen brilliantly highlights the burgeoning craft scene in this small but mighty Midwest town.

Address: 111 W Graham Ave, Council Bluffs, IA 51503

Phone: (712) 592-2305

Reserve Your Private Shuttle to Council Bluffs’s Best Eateries

After reading this mouthwatering foodie guide to Council Bluffs, you’re probably already planning your next culinary escape to this hidden Midwestern gem. But dining out in a group can be a hassle, especially when navigating an unfamiliar city. Coordinating rides, dealing with parking woes, lingering stops — soon that fun foodie tour turns into a major headache! Keep your group’s food-coma bliss going smoothly with a private charter bus from Party Bus Council Bluffs. We’ll line up a luxe ride with WiFi, entertainment systems, and room to nap that’ll shuttle your crew around town seamlessly. Whether you need a compact minibus for your family reunion or a larger coach for your company party, we’ve got vehicles fully stocked with cushy amenities to transport everyone comfortably. (Just maybe skip the bean taquitos, because no one wants to add “charter bus disaster” to their Yelp review!) Let the expert team at Party Bus Council Bluffs handle all the boring logistics while you and your buddies sit back, unbutton those top buttons, and plan the next stop on your delicious Council Bluffs adventure. One bite at a time! Call 712-318-5524 to book your grub-mobile today.