Thanks to having to remove my Green Card conditions, I had a last minute 3hr trip to Des Moines. I used it as the perfect excuse to visit some of the British places to eat in Ames and Des Moines to get a little bit of England in Iowa! Ames and Des Moines are approximately 35 minutes (30 miles) apart.
British Restaurants In Iowa
Mucky Duck Ames
If you’re looking for unique Ames restaurants, The Mucky Duck Pub should be on your radar! I looked at the food menu online in advance and I struggled to choose something…so I ended up just ordering it all…whoops!
The restaurant is decked out in British photos and memorabilia, I particularly liked the London Underground table! There’s even a Doctor Who Tardis on the door (which has now gone *sniff*). The Mucky Duck name is a play on the names of traditional British pubs. Some of the most popular British pub names are: The Swan, The White Horse, The Red Lion.
Scones at the Mucky Duck
They offer some typical British dishes, such as: fish and chips, pasties and shepherd’s pie. I had: a battered sausage (like a corn dog but minus the stick and deep fried in ‘fish’ batter rather than the more pancake style batter), 4 sausage rolls (that I took with me as I’m weird and like them cold…however they were served with mustard and chutney which I left behind, I’ve never ‘dipped’ a sausage roll and I don’t plan on doing it now), a scone with strawberry jam and cream and lastly a scotch egg (a whole hard boiled egg, wrapped in sausage meat, rolled in bread crumbs and fried) which I also took away with me!
For those that don’t want to sample some crazy British food, there are the usual American staples…burgers, cheese curds (cheese that squeaks is just not natural!!!), tenderloin sandwiches etc.
On Saturday mornings, The Mucky Duck Pub also serves breakfast, including the traditional ‘Full English Breakfast’!
Being a ‘pub’ there is of course beer! The beer menu is HUGE, from local craft beers to British and European favourites. Some of the beers that are popular back home are: Guinness, London Pride, Stella (European), Heineken (European), Hobgoblin, Boddingtons and Magners (cider). The Mucky Duck have a ‘Mug Club’, similar to Jubeck New World Brewing in Dubuque, you’ll see all the personalised beer mugs hanging up above the bar!
The British are known for being tea drinkers and there’s a large tea menu too! The teas are also available to buy as well, which leads me onto a special part of this Ames restaurant…it stocks British groceries too, YAY! I bought a can of Lilt (which I drunk with my food), a tin of custard and some British sweets, which they could add straight onto my food bill.
In true British fashion, the prices listed on the FOOD menu INCLUDE the sales tax! It’s always something that still throws me, that prices displayed in shops aren’t the final price that you end up paying!
Mucky Duck Ames has an outside patio during the summer, which is dog friendly and it has a castle playground for children! Every Monday night is quiz night and there are various other events throughout the year, such as themed nights for celebrations (St Patrick’s Day, Burns Night), live music and more!
Location: 3100 S Duff Ave, Ames, IA 50010
Opening Hours: Sun – Fri: 11am until 11pm/Midnight, Sat: 8am until Midnight
Related Reading: Seeing The CYtes! Things To Do In Ames Iowa
Des Moines Restaurants
Royal Mile Des Moines
Where the Mucky Duck in Ames is a little more ‘fun’ (shall we say?), the Royal Mile Des Moines is what I’d consider a fancy British pub.
The Royal Mile, one of the downtown Des Moines restaurants, shares its name with ‘The Royal Mile‘ in Edinburgh, Scotland. The mile long street runs between Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse, which is the Queen’s official residency in Scotland.
Having this Scotland connection, The Royal Mile’s Scotch list literally goes on for a mile, so if you’re a whisky drinker, you’ll be in your element! I would say that The Royal Mile also had more choice of British craft beers on offer too.
I was happy that they had Carlsberg on tap…yes, it’s Danish, not British, but it’s one I’d happily drink at home and is one I haven’t seen much of since living in the US. They also didn’t look at me like I was a freak when I asked for it as a shandy (half a glass of Sprite), win!
Fish and Chips at the Royal Mile Des Moines
The menu at The Royal Mile felt more American with some British options compared to the Mucky Duck’s which seemed more British with American choices. I had the fish and chips, but other British dishes include: bangers (sausages) and mash, chicken pie and Cornish pasties. The Royal Mile have a breakfast menu on both Saturdays and Sundays.
I really liked the outside patio at the Royal Mile Des Moines. Well in the winter it was empty, but in the summer they have tables and chairs. There are a couple of British themed murals and even an old fashioned red telephone box in the corner!
The bar has TVs showing football (real football…soccer for the American readers!), Rugby (American Football minus all the padding and helmets) and Cricket. They even have a beer promo on one of the beers during English Premiership football matches.
The Red Monk bar above The Royal Mile specialises in Belgian style beer!
The Downtown Des Moines restaurants mainly have metered on-street parking. The metres by The Royal Mile are $1.25 per hour and accept both coins and card payments. The lunchtime service was quite busy during my visit but we were in and out within an hour. There are parking garages nearby if you are planning on staying in the area for longer.
Location: 210 SW 4th St, Des Moines, IA 50309
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday 11am until 2am, Saturday – Sunday 8am until 2am
*Bonus* British Groceries in Des Moines
Cost Plus World Market
For me living in East Iowa, Cost Plus World Market was a novelty! My only option for ‘British food’ in Dubuque is what I can find in Walmart or at a local (expensive) Irish shop. From the front, World Market looks more like a furniture or a gift shop, but right at the back is a world food section and things aren’t badly priced!
(Custard, Flake, Malteasers & Refreshers from Mucky Duck Ames)
They have things like: Marmite, British chocolate and biscuits, shortbread, tea and scone mix. On top of that there’s other European products, Japanese products and more! I really liked the way that had individual items for sale as well, so rather than having to buy a whole big packet of an item, you could get just an individual wrapped one instead. For example, rather than buying 80 tea bags, I bought a mini box of 10 for $0.99!
Location: 4100 University Avenue Suite 210 West, Des Moines, IA 50266
Opening Hours: 10am – 9pm (7pm on Sundays)
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