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“bluff lake-very good, after you find it” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Bluff Lake

Bluff Lake
One mile outside Maquoketa Caves State Park, Maquoketa, IA
319.652.3272
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Ranked #2 of 23 Restaurants in Maquoketa
Restaurant details
East Moline, Illinois
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“bluff lake-very good, after you find it”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 24, 2012

Recently went to Bluff Lake Restaurant Maqoketa, Iowa for all you can eat catfish. Great, great, great, after you find the restaurant. Way, way, way off the beaten path. After leaving the main highway, drove on a 2 way highway, then turned to a gravel/dirt road. Thought we were on the wrong road, ran into two park ranger, sure enough, on the right road? Went further, seemed like we drove through 2 family driveways, and right there, the restaurant. All you can eat, filet or whole catfish with potatoes of your choice and salad. The place was full and we waited, but not long. The service was great as well as the food. Very reasonably priced. A place to take children as the restaurant is surrounded by the pond with ducks and a senic part of the country. Fish jumping out of the lake. Will go again.

  • Visited September 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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29 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    11
    12
    3
    0
    3
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Fulton
Top Contributor
56 reviews 56 reviews
20 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“Awesome seafood and prime rib.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 21, 2012

Not many people outside the area have heard of this restaurant, but I highly recommend it. Decor is very plain, but the food is so good you will probably have to wait for a table. Off the beaten path, you turn west off Hwy 61 just north of Maquoketa, IA. Follow the signs to Maquoketa Caves State Park, drive through the park and continue on the gravel road until you see a sign for Bluff Lake. Turn left and follow to the end of that road. You will not be sorry. Not open every day. Friday, Saturday and Sunday only.

Visited July 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Top Contributor
60 reviews 60 reviews
44 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“Yummy!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 19, 2012 via mobile

We make the hour drive to this hidden gem about 3 Saturday's during the summer. Best fried fish, amazing potato wedges, awesome tarter sauce and delicious coleslaw, and best of all...as much as you can eat. It is so good, it's hard to stop eating. Be prepared to wait, the place is busy! They have a nice bar and plenty of outdoor seats used as the waiting area. I know that Friday night is catfish night and Saturday nIght Is haddock.

    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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Panora, Iowa
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Overrated”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed June 11, 2012

It appears that the reason people go to this unique place is the "all you can eat". We never did get to see a menu and the waitress never came back after delivering our food. Catfish was small and tasteless. Very disappointed.

  • Visited June 2012
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Food
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Center Point, IA.
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Sunday Special down the hill at Bluff Lake eatery”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 27, 2012

Sunday we went to Bluff Lake, more fish camp than restaurant. Sunday's special is all you can eat shrimp and chicken, the friendly waitress, in a Bluff-logo-tee, asked us if we wanted the special. Yep, no menus needed and none appeared, however if you want to know the choices you can ask for a menu, or check their online menu for information. We arrived between rushes, but as we finished our meal the 99-seat eatery was wait list only. The place is Very relaxed, tee shirts, flip flops, folks from the camp ground, fishermen with bait rubbed into their shorts all fit into to the relaxed "feel" of the fish camp.

The food is served family style, on clean plain table tops, in paper lined red plastic baskets, melemine plates, plastic glasses, sticky squirty- ketchup containers. Food was fast to arrive, deep-fried, hot, but in my opinion, just okay, except for the coleslaw. The shrimp was nicely battered and good, but more important to me, indeed, all you can eat. The slaw is sweet, I don't think the base recipe is salad dressing because it doesn't taste creamy, but somewhere in there sugar is added to create a unique flavor. The beverages are mostly in a the can, but the ice tea is "homemaid" and carried from the refrigerator in gallon glass (pickle?) jars to be poured.

PLEASE NOTE: If you go down the 98th Street, a Grade B road, that states "enter at your own risk," they are absolutely NOT kidding. This road is only suitable for a tough rough trucks . Go around. I don't care what the GPS says, you'll bottom out, there are better smoother roads to the mysterious, but findable Bluff Lake eatery. Before or after your meal make a visit to the caves, the guides are excellent, and the attraction is incredible.

A plus of the property is schools of fish to watch/feed, and the ducks who swim/waddle around free-style. The parking lot is lighted well, the flowers and landscaping a strong accent and addition to the business.

  • Visited May 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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