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“Great Little Gem in a Small Town” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Rabab's Neighborhood Bistro

Rabab's Neighborhood Bistro
1621 Hill Avenue, Spirit Lake, IA 51360
712 336 3400
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Ranked #1 of 22 Restaurants in Spirit Lake
Cuisines: Italian
Dining options: Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Sioux Falls, Sd
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Great Little Gem in a Small Town”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 26, 2013

This is a small place, that is a little expensive for the area, but the food was very good. I was impressed by their risotto (you can't just get that anywhere in rural Iowa!), and the ambience was nice. We went there for an anniversary dinner, and we will go back there again. Great service and top notch food.

  • Visited July 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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44 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    35
    5
    4
    0
    0
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Spirit Lake, Iowa
1 review
“Highest Quality Dining in Town!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 19, 2013

This little bistro in Spirit Lake has the most unique cuisine and best service. I would recommend everyone to go and try anything from the menu. It is truly a great restaurant!

  • Visited December 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Arnolds Park, Iowa
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
28 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
“A High Quality Gem”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 14, 2013

Tucked away on a main street in the largest town in this resort area, Rabab's Nieghborhood Bistro has been overlooked by me for a few years . . . but no more.

We stopped by for lunch and immediately fell in love with the atmosphere: walls are painted in warm, soothing tones to (I think) represent spices like cinnamon or curry. Interesting chandeliers contrast with recessed lighting that is diffused and warmed by translucent textiles suspended beneath. No, didn't expect this. They also have a six-stool (more or less, I wasn't counting) bar that looks like a pleasant way to have a salad and glass of wine.

But on to the important part, the food and the service. Lunch was fast, appropriately sized, and delicious. Service was quick and unobtrusive.

But dinner was stupendous. The beet-and-arugula appetizer suggested by the hostess was fantastic. I had the lamb chops with quinoa and my wife had the featured special, a crab/lobster stuffed 12-oz steak. As the kids write: O. M. G. you have to taste that one!

The lamb was cooked perfectly with a vibrantly-spiced sear on the outside, and it paired perfectly with the somewhat nutty quinoa.

My wife's steak was one of those literally-melt-in-your-mouth experiences, and the "stuffing" presented an interesting buffer in between meaty bites.

The wine list is limited but high quality. And -- surprise, surprise! -- they don't mark up the upper level wines much at all. So a wine that RETAILS for $36, is still under $50 here. Thank you, Rabab!

I saw one other server in addition to ours on this quiet evening. Kim, very nice and 100% on top of her game, as was Jeremy, who is an acquaintance). Either one will not let you down.

They have three or four low low tables near the glass-faced "dancing flames" fireplace, that we found perfect for after-dinner drinks and dessert. The chairs were so comfy, I even contemplated either a second dessert) on top of some very nice (but not the best I've ever had) baklava. But maybe next time.

I note as I write this that another diner asked for bread. We did not see any on other tables, did not ask for it, and, frankly, did not miss it. If I get a meal with a rich sauce, then I might. So if you are a lover of bread, that may be a shortcoming. But we never even thought about it.

Check the website or call for open times off the high season -- this is a resort area and few locals could probably afford to dine here regularly, although they should!

  • Visited October 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Des Moines
Top Contributor
93 reviews 93 reviews
65 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
94 helpful votes 94 helpful votes
“Prices were too high so we left”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 5, 2013

We looked in their menu and saw their high prices and left. It's Spirit Lake not New York City. No wonder you have an empty place.

Visited August 2013
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Excelsior, Minnesota, United States
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Scallops were Amazing”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 30, 2013

What a delightful Birthday Dinner. Wonderful atmosphere. The entire staff (Kim was our server) was very professional in appearance and service. The food was wonderful. The only negative was that we had to ask for bread - which was promptly served and was delicious. Kim was very gracious to take a photo of us. Be sure to spend time in the interesting neighborhood of the Old Town.

Visited August 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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