In the heart of Iowa, meat and potatoes reign supreme, so Hickory Park is the favorite among students. But those who prefer other flavors will have no problems finding food they enjoy. Carlos O'Kelly's has great Mexican food at reasonable prices. If you want to really impress a date, take them to Aunt Maude's, which is more upscale and classy—just be sure you make reservations.
The city council allows each individual restaurant to decide whether or not they will allow smoking in their restaurants. Many restaurants decided to stick with the ban, so if you smoke and you want to eat in Ames before 8 p.m., you may have to hold off on your cigarettes, smoke outside, or eat in a place where smoking is allowed. Other than that, off-campus dining is great, and Ames has a lot to offer. Make sure to visit the gyro stand, Hickory Park, Great Plains Sauce & Dough Co., and La Fuente. If you're still left unsatisfied, Des Moines is only a few miles down the road and has some really great restaurants of its own.