J Benjamins has always been a favorite of mine and has some of the best food in Des Moines. The atmosphere makes a great date spot and Simon is always making you feel at home. Simon, the new owner, will usually greet you at the door and seat you. He also brings you wine and dessert after you are finished. Every time we have gone, he has walked us back out to our car. The service at J Benjamins is superior to that of the 801 Steak and Chop house. If you need a good place for a quiet dinner, go to J Bens.
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Like several other "classic" restaurants in Des Moines, La Pizza Hoouse looks like it needs a good decorator who was born after 1960. However, once you get past that, the food makes up for the lack of pizazz. Wonderful, wonderful pizza and great raviolli. Good sandwiches and salads, too. This is one of those places that I hope is still around in another 50 years.
Chinese ribs appetizer: damn good. Meatza pizza: loaded with proteins and pretty darn good. A 10" is plenty for one guy's appetite. Tiki Drinks time (Zombie & Pineapple Express): very tasty and very strong beverages. Don't DRIVE afterwards LOL Staff are friendly and attentive: decor is funky and fun. Get here early or late, and yes, do buy the t-shirt as a souvenir :)