For some reason they call this place a buffet, even though it's a dingy bar that pretty much only serves hamburgers (and damn fine ones at that). They're small, greasy and come wrapped in wax paper. They'll usually have a local beer on tap, too. The place can seem a little intimidating at first, but after a couple pints you'll be chumming it up with the regulars.
The have champagne on tap. And they serve peanuts in dog food bowls. That just about says it all. This place has been around for about half a century and it's walls are adorned with newspaper clippings that date back even farther than that. Make sure you get there early, though. The tiny place can get packed quickly.
Despite the fact it's thousands of miles form any coast, this place has the best clam chowder I've ever eaten. And I've eaten a lot of clam chowder, from both coasts. It's not a shabby bar, either. It has a tendency to get packed on the weekends, but compared to the obnoxiousness of other downtown Iowa City bars, it's fairly tame.
This joint serves up some of the best traditional style Italian food one can find in town. The homemade cheese sticks, lasagna, pasta, and ravioli are out-of-this-world, and the portions are extremely generous. The prices are low and you will never spend more than $15 for a meal. Even though you’ll be too stuffed for desert, you must order the tiramisu, which is also handmade. The staff is friendly and the environment is so comfortable you will feel like you’re a part of the Italian mafia.
Sit in this quaint bistro in the Old Market long enough, and you'll completely forget you're in Nebraska. Everything about the place reeks of France: the timeless decor, the rudeness of the staff and the haphazard cooking methods (almost everything's made in pans over Bunsen burners; not sure that's up to code). But this is the most charming cafe in all of Omaha, and perhaps the Midwest. The food isn't pricey and the vast wine collection can be as affordable or as expensive as you want it to be.