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Bar Nico, Des Moines, IA

Bar Nico

4.7
4.7
49 Reviews
$30 and under
Mexican
Our restaurant's mantra is "Sin Maiz, No Hay Pais" meaning "without corn there is no country" as such, our tortillas are hand ground in house from heirloom organic Mexican corn varietals - made daily & cooked to order. As a result of our corn obsession, we have no flour in house & are a completely gluten-free kitchen.

Make a reservation

2 people

7:00 PM


Booked 22 times today

Additional information

  • Dining style
    Casual Dining
  • Price
    $30 and under
  • Cuisines
    Mexican, Contemporary Mexican
  • Hours of operation
    Brunch Fri–Sun 9:00 am–3:00 pm Dinner Tue–Thu 3:00 pm–10:00 pm Fri, Sat 3:00 pm–11:00 pm Sun 3:00 pm–9:00 pm
  • Phone number
    (515) 243-0611
  • Payment options
    AMEX, Discover, Mastercard, Visa
  • Dress code
    Casual Dress
  • Executive chef
    Matt Small
  • Neighborhood
    Des Moines
  • Cross street
    East Locust St. & East 5th St.
  • Parking details
    Street Parking
  • Additional
    Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cocktails, Full Bar, Gluten-free Options, Happy Hour, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Wheelchair Access, Wine

What 49 people are saying

Overall ratings and reviews

Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant

4.7
4.7 based on recent ratings
  • 4.7Food
  • 4.7Service
  • 4.7Ambience
  • 4.5Value

NoiseModerate

Loved For

  • Iowa

    Innovative

  • Iowa

    Healthy

  • Iowa

    Hot spot

  • Des Moines

    Best Food

  • Des Moines

    Best Ambiance

  • Des Moines

    Best Value

  • Des Moines

    Innovative

  • Des Moines

    Healthy

  • Des Moines

    Hot spot

  • Des Moines

    Neighborhood gem

49 Reviews
  1. JustinB

    Des Moines

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on February 18, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Great brunch. Will definitely go back again soon..

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  2. Frances

    San Francisco

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on February 17, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    We were in town visiting our son in college and he recommended this. It’s a gem. Really great ambiance, unique space (long and narrow, seating on one side only), great service and amazing food. We all ordered something different so we could sample many items- everything was excellent. However, the duck mole tortillas took the trophy.

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  3. LTDD

    Des Moines

    3 reviews

    5.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on February 17, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 4
    4. Ambience 4
    Great vibe, flavors, and pricing. Felt like they are still working a few minor bugs out - but nothing to complain about.

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  4. OpenTable Diner

    Atlanta Metro

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on February 15, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Having dined regularly and most of Des Moines better offerings and with extensive high end dining experience at home and abroad, Bar Nico was dynamic surprise of flavor, service and quality. We haven’t checked every box on the modern restaurant scene in and around Des Moines, 80% would be an honest estimate of the ground covered and Bar Nico owns, by far, the most complex flavor profiles and quality matched ingredients. The service team is a glued unit, a rarity these days, and beyond approachable and attentive. Will be back soon and often.

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  5. JoshuaM

    Des Moines

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on February 10, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Great GF options, small portions, excellent and tasty dishes.

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  6. Heather

    Denver

    6 reviews

    5.0

    6 reviews

    Dined on February 7, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Great food and service! We had been for restaurant week so it was fun to come back!

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  7. AmandaD

    Des Moines

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on February 3, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Outstanding service knowledgeable staff and beautiful ambience

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  8. DavidB

    Des Moines

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on January 27, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Wonderful menu for gluten free Amazing drinks Great service very knowledgeable

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  9. AnnB

    Detroit

    5 reviews

    4.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on January 27, 2024

    1. Overall 4
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 4
    4. Ambience 4
    Food was upscale and true to menu description and server explanation. Our table was right next to a speaker and it was louder than I would have liked. Server was really good at first but hard to find after our main entree was delivered.

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  10. Chase

    Des Moines

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on January 25, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    The staff was welcoming and hospitable. The drinks were well made and really celebrated tequila and mezcal. The good was amazing and flavorful. I will be coming back!

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  11. OpenTable Diner

    Des Moines

    1 review

    vip
    4.0

    1 review

    Dined on January 5, 2024

    1. Overall 4
    2. Food 4
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Great food, have the churros! The service was really good. Enjoy the sharable plates, and had a bit of everything. Will be back!

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  12. OpenTable Diner

    Des Moines

    2 reviews

    3.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on December 31, 2023

    1. Overall 3
    2. Food 1
    3. Service 4
    4. Ambience 5
    Awesome ambiance but the food wasn’t our vibe. Great service, cool concept, but we left hungry.

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  13. AleseB

    Minneapolis

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on December 17, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Didn’t even know this gem existed before last night. Staff was extremely friendly & attentive. Food was absolutely delicious with great portions and lots of flavor. Well worth the money & I will definitely be back.

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  14. ClarkS

    Chicago

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on December 16, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Wonderful service, atmosphere, and food. Fun place to enjoy an evening.

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  15. JerryG

    Des Moines

    1 review

    4.0

    1 review

    Dined on December 14, 2023

    1. Overall 4
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 4
    First time visit. Great food and service! We'll be back again soon!

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  16. OpenTable Diner

    Des Moines

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on December 10, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 4
    Great food, nice place, a little loud but part of the experience. Service was very good

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  17. MichelleC

    St. Louis

    7 reviews

    5.0

    7 reviews

    Dined on December 9, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 4
    Lovely experience, food and service was fantastic and it was so nice to not have to worry about gluten. Only downside was that music was pretty loud so it was harder to have a conversation. I realize I’m probably getting old but having the music down a notch or two would be nice.

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  18. KathyW

    Atlanta Metro

    2 reviews

    2.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on December 9, 2023

    1. Overall 2
    2. Food 4
    3. Service 1
    4. Ambience 4
    The drinks are excellent, the food is good. The service is a mess. We were seated for our 7 pm reservation a little late (10 min) but that wasn’t a big deal. It was a busy Friday. The host and manager apologized, which wasn’t necessary, but I now realize they probably were doing a lot of that if our dinner experience was typical. We waited another 10 minutes before our waitress came to the table. Ordered chips and salsa. Delicious, would recommend, although there aren’t enough chips in the box, and if you order more, it’s another $3. Another 10 minutes go by and the waitress comes back for the dinner order. We wait quite awhile for for shrimp tacos and chicken enchiladas. Worse we are seated next to kitchen and can see our order sit for pickup, while the waitress is awol. We finally get beef tacos, send them back. 10 minutes later, the enchiladas which weren’t super hot to begin with are stone cold and we watch our waitress chat with other tables while our tacos aren’t served. They finally come, and food is eaten. Would have been tasty if they had been hot. The manager drops by, asks how things are and we tell the truth. We are offered free drinks, which I refuse (we are getting ready to leave) then dessert which we accept. Get churros… not the best, but the did come hot! Get the bill, and they make a big deal about giving us the churros and the first round of drinks free… although I suspect they just could figure out how to transfer the from the bar and didn’t want to ask us 3rd time what we drank. We left after spending over 2 hours there. Probably not coming back.

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  19. Sushifan82

    Des Moines

    3 reviews

    5.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on December 7, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    The food was an amazing fusion of Mexican food. The fact that it’s celiac safe makes me want to keep coming back. The food and wait staff made the entire night spectacular!

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  20. JeffK

    Des Moines

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on December 4, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    This was our first time going there, the service was great and the food was excellent. I highly recommend you to check it out.

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  21. SamioAgrippa

    Des Moines

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on November 19, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Entirely gluten-free kitchen for all my Celiac and gluten sensitive brothers and sisters out there. Very kind and thoughtful staff. Delicious food. Fun atmosphere.

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  22. OpenTable Diner

    Omaha

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on November 18, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Wonderful service, the food is so fresh & exploding with flavor. I didn’t even know this gem of a place existed! Definitely a must!

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  23. Kevin

    Des Moines

    28 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    28 reviews

    Dined on November 10, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Excellent!!! Everything was delicious and the service was terrific!!

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  24. JP50310

    Des Moines

    2 reviews

    4.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on November 10, 2023

    1. Overall 4
    2. Food 4
    3. Service 4
    4. Ambience 5
    We enjoyed our first visit to Bar Nico. Friendly and knowledgeable staff, good cocktail program, and well-prepared food. We look forward to returning.

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  25. marty

    Des Moines

    4 reviews

    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on November 6, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    As always, everything was great. I had the chicken dish(can’t remember the name) and one of my kids had the pork belly tacos, my wife had wings, and the other daughter had salmon… - all were happy. The whole place is Glutien free(except for the beer I had) which makes it a favored option in the east village for our family. Anyway, love this place.

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  26. kimgrn2006

    Des Moines

    4 reviews

    4.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on November 2, 2023

    1. Overall 4
    2. Food 4
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 4
    It was good to try all the options. The guacamole was a small portion for the money. The chip basket was extra, which the waitress encouraged us to order. The guacamole comes with enough chips to cover the portion. The chips were very good.

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  27. KevinR

    Des Moines

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on October 28, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Great food and good margaritas. Tortillas made with heirloom Mexican corn.

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  28. JillM

    Phoenix

    3 reviews

    5.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on October 21, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Everything was fabulous, will return again. Food,,service, wine,,recommendations . Perfect for a celiac!

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  29. StephanieR

    Exclusive

    2 reviews

    4.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on October 20, 2023

    1. Overall 4
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 4
    Food was amazing, service good, great value for what you get. Very creative menu. It was a little loud in there making conversation difficult, but that was the only flaw.

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  30. Neboe

    Des Moines

    4 reviews

    4.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on October 14, 2023

    1. Overall 4
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 4
    4. Ambience 4
    Highly recommended! This is what Des Moines has needed for a long time: Mexican that is fresh, sophisticated and beautifully designed.

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  31. Frank

    San Diego

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on October 14, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 4
    This place is fantastic. The food is the stand-out. Everything was so fresh and delicious. It was one of the best meals I’ve ever had in Des Moines.

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  32. ConcertGoer

    Minneapolis

    1 review

    4.0

    1 review

    Dined on October 11, 2023

    1. Overall 4
    2. Food 4
    3. Service 4
    4. Ambience 4
    We had a reservation for dinner on a weeknight, and made note to the hostess when we arrived that we had tickets for a show nearby in an hour. We were seated right away and our waitress went over the menu briefly, but then left and didn't return after a considerable amount of time. We did end up getting a new waitress, Dion, which turned things around. She was wonderful! She quickly got our drink and meal orders in after apologizing for the staff issue, and she was very attentive the rest of our visit. The food was very good although we didn't have much time to savor it. The carne asada, shrimp tacos, and pork belly tacos were delish!

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  33. bretm

    Chicago

    3 reviews

    4.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on October 7, 2023

    1. Overall 4
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 3
    4. Ambience 5
    Delicious, carefully prepared and presented nuevo take on Mexican food and drink in bright modern space. Staff was thin and a bit slow to tend to us although place wasn’t super busy. Hostess didn’t seem trained to focus on tables, only greeted and escorted guests to tables. Once wait help arrived, food and drink came promptly. This only damps my recommendation, will not hinder revisiting.

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  34. VictoriaC

    Des Moines

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on October 7, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Great place with amazing food! We celebrated our anniversary here last night and were pleasantly surprised by the food, the service and overall experience. Definitely worth going! They care about what they create here!

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  35. DaleS

    New York City

    4 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on September 21, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Very friendly service, great food, and solid cocktails. We had one night in Des Moines and I'm glad we chose Bar Nico as our dinner option.

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  36. JoshD

    Chicago

    9 reviews

    5.0

    9 reviews

    Dined on September 8, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Fantastic! Service is the main highlight here. Food is great, but the service is outstanding. Thank you!

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  37. TannerH

    Minneapolis

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on September 2, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Food was good, and celiac safe. I loved it. I plan on returning as much as possible.

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  38. OpenTable Diner

    Des Moines

    8 reviews

    vip
    2.0

    8 reviews

    Dined on September 2, 2023

    1. Overall 2
    2. Food 2
    3. Service 2
    4. Ambience 2
    The rice pudding was amazing! And the queso….otherwise we were not impressed. I would go back for dessert and drinks.

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  39. Jonathan

    Chicago

    5 reviews

    5.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on August 30, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    We love this place, really a hidden gem... such inventive and delicious food, and gluten friendly to boot!

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  40. OpenTable Diner

    New York City

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on August 26, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    This is easily one of the absolute best restaurants in Des Moines. I took my daughter here last night, and was blown away by the quality of the food, the presentation, the service, everything. Our waitress was fantastic, everything was simply superb. Will definitely return. 

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FAQs

Bar Nico is rated 4.7 stars by 49 OpenTable diners.

Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable.

Make a reservation

2 people

7:00 PM


Booked 22 times today
Google Map for Bar Nico

428 E Locust St, Des Moines, IA 50309-1910

Additional information

  • Cross street
    East Locust St. & East 5th St.
  • Neighborhood
    Des Moines
  • Hours of operation
    Brunch Fri–Sun 9:00 am–3:00 pm Dinner Tue–Thu 3:00 pm–10:00 pm Fri, Sat 3:00 pm–11:00 pm Sun 3:00 pm–9:00 pm
  • Price
    $30 and under
  • Cuisines
    Mexican, Contemporary Mexican
  • Dining style
    Casual Dining
  • Dress code
    Casual Dress
  • Parking details
    Street Parking
  • Payment options
    AMEX, Discover, Mastercard, Visa
  • Executive chef
    Matt Small
  • Additional
    Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cocktails, Full Bar, Gluten-free Options, Happy Hour, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Wheelchair Access, Wine
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