20 Best Restaurants in Council Bluffs, IA

This article was written by local contributor Gregory Barnes & edited by the Travel Lens team.

Best Restaurants in Council Bluffs, IA

Welcome to Council Bluffs, Iowa!

I'm so glad you decided to visit my lovely hometown, and I can't wait to share with you some of the best dining experiences this charming city has to offer.

I've lived here all my life, and I've had the pleasure of enjoying the diverse and delicious culinary scene that's grown and evolved over the years.

From mouthwatering BBQ joints to cozy cafes and everything in between, here are the best restaurant in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

So, come along with me as we explore the taste of this wonderful city together.

Mercy Thai Restaurant

I was absolutely thrilled when I discovered that a Thai restaurant had opened up in Council Bluffs.

My first visit to Mercy Thai Restaurant exceeded my expectations, and I knew I had found a new favorite spot in town.

The restaurant was spotless, the service was top-notch, and the food was simply divine.

For appetizers, I enjoyed the Fresh Spring Rolls and regular egg rolls.

The spring rolls were packed with fresh veggies and a few shrimp, while the egg rolls were crispy and delicious.

I ordered Red Curry and Drunken Fried Rice for my main dishes.

The Drunken Fried Rice was hearty, with a great mix of vegetables and protein.

I also appreciated that their unsweetened iced tea was a Thai iced tea, which was a nice change from the usual fare.

Mercy Thai Restaurant · 4104 Rivers Edge Pkwy Suite 109, Council Bluffs, IA 51501, United States
★★★★★ · Thai restaurant

Christy Creme

I absolutely love stopping by Christy Creme whenever I'm craving a simple yet satisfying meal.

Their bacon cheeseburger is one of my favorites, and I can't resist their special ice cream flavors.

Although I'm not usually a fan of soft serve, theirs never disappoints.

Christy Creme has been a staple in Council Bluffs since 1954, and it's easy to see why it's still so popular.

The atmosphere at Christy Creme is very nostalgic, and it feels like stepping back in time.

I appreciate the clean environment and the friendly service, which is always quick.

The prices are also really affordable, making it a great spot for families or just a quick bite on the go.

In addition to their tasty burgers and ice cream, they also have a great selection of flavors of the day and prepackaged items to choose from.

Plus, their outdoor walk-up window is super convenient for ordering.

Christy Creme · 2853 N Broadway, Council Bluffs, IA 51503, United States
★★★★★ · Hamburger restaurant

Pizza Counter

One of my favorite places to grab a bite is the Pizza Counter.

From the moment I walk in, I'm always greeted with big smiles and great hospitality.

The food is consistently delicious, fresh, and hot, making it the perfect spot for lunch, dinner, or even just a snack.

The cold drinks and impeccable service are just the icing on the cake.

The wait for your food at Pizza Counter is never long.

Their pizza is always fantastic, and their prices are quite reasonable.

A fun addition they should consider is offering small bags of Doritos to add to their taco pizza orders - I think that would be a hit!

I'm not the only one who loves this place; even my out-of-state friends order from Pizza Counter when they visit.

It's just amazing how fresh and hot their food is and how quickly they deliver compared to other well-known franchises.

It's no wonder I keep coming back to this gem of a pizzeria.

Pizza Counter · 610 Veterans Memorial Hwy Ste B, Council Bluffs, IA 51501, United States
★★★★★ · Restaurant

La Carreta Rosa

I can't believe it took me this long to stumble upon La Carreta Rosa.

Despite its small, unassuming appearance, this down-to-earth restaurant offers some of the most authentic and delicious Mexican food I've ever tasted.

Their tacos, burritos, and other familiar Mexican plates always hit the spot and leave me feeling completely satisfied.

On my first visit, my partner and I were immediately impressed by the warm, cozy atmosphere and the fantastic food.

We ordered the carnitas and a beef dish with Chili Verdi sauce - and let me tell you, they were to die for!

The restaurant's interior transports you straight to Tijuana, and the food tastes like it was lovingly prepared in someone's home.

We've been hooked ever since.

Recently, my partner tried the chimichanga, and it was massive!

I still can't remember the name of the dish I had that day, but it was beyond wonderful.

Their complimentary chips and salsa are unique and flavorful and unlike any other salsa, I've ever tasted.

La Carreta Rosa · 622 S Main St, Council Bluffs, IA 51503, United States
★★★★★ · Mexican restaurant

Mo Fish Cafe

Just the other day, I decided to grab a bite at Mo Fish, a family-run restaurant in our neighborhood.

As usual, the place wasn't too crowded, which is something I appreciate.

I was feeling a bit adventurous and opted to try their carp dish, which turned out to be a pleasant surprise.

The carp was well-prepared, and those French fries were simply amazing!

Their fried pickles and French fries are highly recommended, and the portion sizes are generous.

The food is consistently tasty, and the quick service is a plus.

I particularly enjoyed their fish tacos, corn fritters, and catfish dinner with baked beans and coleslaw during my previous visits.

The catfish has a little kick to it but isn't overly spicy.

Mo Fish · 2403 Nash Blvd #1, Council Bluffs, IA 51501, United States
★★★★★ · Seafood restaurant


I've made a few trips to Doozies.

I've tried their burgers, fries, and onion rings, and I have to say, they can be quite greasy.

If you're not a fan of oily food, this might not be the best place for you.

However, their ice cream is definitely a saving grace.

With a variety of flavors and a rich taste, I highly recommend stopping by for a scoop or two.

One aspect of Doozies that I find rather inconvenient is the lack of combo meals.

Everything is priced a la carte, which can make the cost add up quickly.

On top of that, I find it a bit strange that they don't offer mayonnaise for their burgers.

Just a personal preference, but it's something I've noticed.

The menu does seem to have a good number of options, so I'm looking forward to trying more dishes in the future.

Just a heads-up, if you're planning to visit during the evening, the place closes at 9 pm on Saturdays, and it can get quite chilly inside, so make sure to bring a sweater if you're someone who gets cold easily.

Doozies · 4105 S 11th St, Council Bluffs, IA 51501, United States
★★★★★ · Restaurant

Boxer Barbeque

I have been a frequent visitor to Boxer Barbeque for over a year now, and I must say that it has never disappointed me.

The meats are smoked on-site, which gives them an irresistible flavor and aroma.

The dining area is spacious and has a low-key vibe, which makes it an ideal spot for a relaxed meal with family or friends.

The old-school brick interior and the huge log wood table in the center make for a cozy atmosphere.

What's more, everything is always spotlessly clean.

When it comes to the food, I usually go for the chicken, but I have tried their ribs too, and they are absolutely amazing.

The sides are all so delicious - my favorites being the beans, mac and cheese, and potato salad.

I always make sure to get the cornbread as an extra because it's so good that it could easily pass as a dessert.

The bread pudding is also a must-try!

Boxer Barbeque · 513 S Main St, Council Bluffs, IA 51503, United States
★★★★★ · Barbecue restaurant

LPL's Restaurant & Pub

One of my favorite spots to unwind and enjoy a delicious meal is LPL's Restaurant & Pub.

It's a no-frills neighborhood joint that offers the perfect laid-back atmosphere, ideal for catching up with friends or for a casual date night.

The menu features a range of mouthwatering options, including juicy burgers, meat dishes, and an incredible Iowa pork tenderloin sandwich that I've been craving ever since I moved here.

What truly makes LPL's stand out is the friendly service.

The prices are also quite reasonable, which makes it a go-to spot for locals like myself.

One of my favorite dishes to order is the grilled chicken salad – it's simply wonderful!

I've also tried their prime rib on a Friday night, and it was fantastic.

Every time I visit LPL's, I leave satisfied and eager to return for my next meal.

LPL’s Restaurant & Pub · 1707 Harry Langdon Blvd, Council Bluffs, IA 51503, United States
★★★★★ · Bar & grill

Buck Snort

Whenever I'm craving some delicious pub grub, I head over to Buck Snort, a laid-back sports bar and eatery in my town.

Their menu offers classic favorites like burgers and pizza, as well as a great selection of beers on tap.

I recently celebrated my daughter's birthday there, and they went above and beyond to accommodate our party

One of my favorite dishes at Buck Snort is the breaded pork tenderloin special, served with mashed potatoes, gravy, and a dinner salad.

The food is always delicious, and the portions are generous.

My friends rave about their burgers, which are massive.

If you're a fan of sweet potato fries, you're in for a treat; they're some of the best I've ever had, and the fried mushrooms are also a crowd-pleaser.

Buck Snort · 25 Scott St, Council Bluffs, IA 51503, Verenigde Staten
★★★★★ · Amerikaans restaurant

The Porch

One of my favorite hangout spots in town is The Porch.

I've been there multiple times, and I have never been disappointed with the food or the service.

I remember trying their hot roast beef sandwich, and it was absolutely delicious.

My partner ordered the mac and cheese pizza once and couldn't stop raving about it.

Their hamburgers are also a must-try, as they are both good in size and taste.

When my family and I visited The Porch for a casual dinner on a Saturday evening, we were impressed by the generous portions and scrumptious burgers.

The waffle fries were a hit, and although we enjoyed the pickle fries, our batch was a bit overdone and salty.

The environment at The Porch is also worth mentioning.

With numerous screens playing various programs and a jukebox, there's always something to keep you entertained.

The outdoor area offers fun activities like volleyball and cornhole, which is perfect for spending time with friends or family.

The clean bathrooms are a bonus.

The Porch · 2327 S 24th St, Council Bluffs, IA 51501, United States
★★★★★ · Bar & grill

Pizza King

I recently had the chance to visit Pizza King, a modest, family-run restaurant that has been a staple in our community for more than 50 years.

The menu offers a wide variety of Italian and American dishes, including pizza, pasta, steaks, and seafood.

I decided to try their prime rib, which turned out to be a perfect choice - it was cooked to perfection and reasonably priced.

The spaghetti and meatballs were also a hit, with a slightly sweet marinara sauce that I usually don't prefer but actually enjoyed this time.

The meatballs were cooked just right, and I would definitely order this dish again.

The ravioli appetizer we ordered was served hot and fresh, which was a plus.

One of the best things about Pizza King is its ample parking, so you don't have to worry about finding a spot.

The restaurant is also quite large, so even if there's a wait, it shouldn't be too long.

In addition to their pasta dishes, Pizza King also offers crisp lavish-style pizzas and fantastic fried chicken, making it the best pizza place in the metro area.

I've also heard rave reviews about their prime rib, which I can't wait to try next time.

Pizza King · 1101 N Broadway, Council Bluffs, IA 51503, United States
★★★★★ · Pizza restaurant

Barley's Bar & Grill

One of my favorite go-to spots for a night out with friends is Barley's Bar & Grill.

The first thing that catches your attention when you walk in is the striking architecture and vintage vibe with brick-lined walls.

They have a fantastic selection of beers on tap, and their cocktails are quite strong but delicious.

My personal favorite appetizer to start with is their steak bites, which are tasty.

When it comes to the main course, I usually order the Barley Burger.

The red onion marmalade complements the burger perfectly, and the crinkle-cut fries are always a hit.

Although some of their food, like chicken nachos and chicken fried steak, might seem pre-made, the overall dining experience is still enjoyable.

The best part about Barley's, in my opinion, is their Happy Hour on Thursdays, where they offer $1 matches for certain drinks and shots.

Plus, the option to pay online through an app makes it super convenient when it's time to leave.

Barley’s · 114 W Broadway, Council Bluffs, IA 51503, United States
★★★★★ · Bar & grill

3rd Base Bar and Grill

I recently attended a comedy night at 3rd Base Bar and Grill, and I must say it was an incredible experience.

The broasted chicken I had for dinner was fantastic, and the bartenders were fast and friendly.

It was a pleasure to find such a welcoming spot in my neighborhood.

I also discovered that they serve breakfast, which I'm looking forward to trying soon.

The food, cheap drinks, and friendly atmosphere make this place a go-to spot for locals like me, especially when out on a bike ride and looking for a place to stop and eat.

It's easily accessible from trails or Ave G, making it a convenient stop.

3rd Base Bar and Grill · 800 N 8th St, Council Bluffs, IA 51503, United States
★★★★★ · Sports bar

Main Street Cafe

One of my favorite spots to grab breakfast in town is the Main Street Cafe.

The atmosphere in this cafe is so warm and welcoming, it feels like stepping into my grandma's house, with old photos and charming knick-knacks on the shelves.

Whenever I'm in the mood for breakfast at any time of the day, this is the place I head to.

The food served at Main Street Cafe is not only delicious but also reasonably priced.

My go-to order is a biscuit with sausage gravy and a side of eggs, and they never skimp on the portions.

I truly appreciate the small-town, homey feel of this cafe, and I make it a point to support this local business whenever I can.

One of the unique aspects of Main Street Cafe is the festive decorations they put up during holidays like Halloween.

It's a whimsical touch that I always look forward to, adding to the overall charm of the cafe.

I'm so glad to have this little gem in our community!

Main Street Cafe · 102 S Main St, Council Bluffs, IA 51503, United States
★★★★★ · American restaurant

Railway Bar & Grill

I must say, I've been a regular at Railway Bar & Grill for quite some time now, and I can't resist the charm of its location in an old train station.

The seasonal volleyball courts are always a hit, and they offer a laid-back American bar-and-grill vibe that's hard to resist.

I had a BLT there recently, and it was pretty good!

It's a popular spot for locals, especially during off-peak hours when it's not too crowded.

One of the highlights for me is their real mashed potatoes - a nice touch.

The menu options might not be the healthiest, but they sure do taste good.

Railway · 115 S 12th St, Council Bluffs, IA 51501, United States
★★★★★ · Bar & grill

Bertha's Bar & Grill

One of my favorite spots to hang out with friends and family is Bertha's Bar & Grill.

The food and atmosphere always make for a great night out.

Their website has all the information you need, but let me share my personal experiences with you.

When I want a delicious meal, I go for Bertha's Signature House pizza.

It never disappoints!

One of my friends swears by the Enchilada Supreme pizza, and my partner can't get enough of their traditional buffalo sauce on their wings.

Personally, I love their dry rub wings in either Southwest Ranch or Chipotle BBQ flavor.

Not only is the food consistently amazing, but the drinks are top-notch too.

Their mixed drinks are always made just right, and the bottled beer is always ice-cold.

One thing that always stands out to me is their impeccable breaded pork tenderloin sandwich.

The bun is perfect, the breading is just the right amount, and the meat is delicious without any gristle.

Their fries could use a little more cooking time, but they're still tasty and not too soggy.

So if you find yourself looking for a great local bar and grill with fantastic food and drinks, give Bertha's a try.

You won't be disappointed!

Bertha’s Bar & Grill · 1322 N 16th St, Council Bluffs, IA 51501, United States
★★★★★ · Bar & grill

The Salty Dog Bar & Grill

One of my favorite places to unwind after a long week is The Salty Dog Bar & Grill.

Their website doesn't do justice to the amazing atmosphere and food this place offers.

I've been a regular here for quite some time now, and it never disappoints.

The elevated pub grub is always hot, fresh, and delicious, and their drink selection is excellent too.

As a sports enthusiast, I particularly enjoy the many TVs they have playing various games and events.

It's the perfect spot to catch up on my favorite teams while enjoying a cold beer.

Their chicken Philly is one of my go-to menu items, but I also love their tater tots, which are crispy and well-seasoned.

They're always friendly, attentive, and quick to serve, making sure the experience is enjoyable from start to finish.

I'm happy to spread the word about this neighborhood gem and encourage others to give it a try.

With its late hours and great atmosphere, you won't be disappointed.

The Salty Dog Bar & Grill · 2411 S 24th St, Council Bluffs, IA 51501, United States
★★★★★ · Bar & grill

Tish's Restaurant

I had been meaning to try out Tish's Restaurant for some time.

I finally decided to give it a go, and I have to say, it was a fantastic experience!

The atmosphere was casual and family-friendly, perfect for a night out with loved ones or friends.

The menu had a great selection of American classics, and they even had wine and cocktails available.

When we arrived, the restaurant was quite busy, but we were seated quickly, and our waitress was incredibly attentive despite the full house.

The interior had a sports bar/diner vibe, with a party room and patio seating which would be great for warm days.

It had a cozy yet open feeling, making it a welcoming and relaxing environment.

We started off with the spinach artichoke dip, and it was phenomenal!

I've had this appetizer at other places, but Tish's version was exceptional.

For our main courses, I went with a steak sandwich and a side salad, while my partner had the KC BBQ burger and onion rings.

Both dishes were delicious and left us satisfied.

Tish’s Restaurant · 1207 S 35th St, Council Bluffs, IA 51501, United States
★★★★☆ · American restaurant

Sakura Sushi & Hibachi

I've been to Sakura Sushi & Hibachi a couple of times now, and I must say, it's a pretty great spot in Council Bluffs.

I'm not a big sushi fan, but I tried some, and it was alright.

The second time I went, I got the spicy shrimp roll, and it was amazing.

Their filet mignon and shrimp hibachi are delicious too.

Just recently, I visited again for Mother's Day and was pleasantly surprised by the nice little dining area and separate hibachi area.

The food was great, as usual, and the portions were large.

We enjoyed scallops, shrimp, steak, and chicken - all very tasty.

Sakura Sushi & Hibachi · 3502 Metro Dr, Council Bluffs, IA 51501, United States
★★★★☆ · Sushi restaurant


I can attest that Juventino's Authentic Mexican Food has quickly become one of my favorite go-to spots for a quick and delicious meal.

Their location in Council Bluffs is super convenient, especially with their drive-thru option, making it a perfect choice for grabbing a bite on the go.

One of the things I love about Juventino's is that everything is cooked to order and hot off the grill.

Their breakfast burrito is packed to the rim with flavor, and the breakfast omelet is so generous in size that it can easily be two meals in one.

I also can't get enough of their guacamole – it's one of the best I've ever tasted!

Aside from the amazing food, the people at Juventino's are always friendly, making each visit a pleasant experience.

The prices are very reasonable, and the amount of food you get is more than worth the cost.

Juventino’s Authentic Mexican Food · 2722 W Broadway, Council Bluffs, IA 51501, United States
★★★★☆ · Mexican restaurant

Final Thoughts

Council Bluffs has an impressive variety of restaurants that cater to different tastes and preferences.

From delicious Thai at Mercy Thai Restaurant to mouthwatering barbeque at Boxer Barbeque, you'll never run out of options to satisfy your cravings.

So, whether you're a fellow resident or just passing through, do yourself a favor and explore the culinary delights that Council Bluffs has to offer.

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