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Sat, 3/6
8:00 PM
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Travelers' Choice


$10 - $25
Mexican, Latin, Spanish, Central American, Southwestern
Special Diets
Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options
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Reviews (226)
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All reviews brunch carnitas chips and salsa taco al pastor mahi mahi salad crispy onions seafood pineapple filet bread downtown des moines all you can eat tex mex saturday night margaritas
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Reviewed September 27, 2020 via mobile

Had a very good experience. Quite a few GF options. Three or four different taco choices and also had several entree choices as well. Highly recommend the tamales and the Mexican spiced fruit cup as a side. If they had GF chips - cross contaminated...when they make them - and horchata as a drink choice, probably could get me to five stars :). Will definitely visit here again in the future.More

Date of visit: September 2020
Reviewed August 1, 2020 via mobile

Stopped in on a Saturday afternoon for a light snack. Right in the middle of downtown Des Moines Iowa. I had shrimp ceviche and Iowa charred corn. The shrimp were sliced down the middle and plentiful. The corn was like “seasoned street corn on the...cob” without the cob (and mess). Complementary chips and salsa were delicious too. Indoor and outdoor seating. On street parking. Highly recommend visiting.More

Date of visit: August 2020
Reviewed February 25, 2020

This place is really unique and very relaxing. The food is good and the service ok. Enjoy Friday,s happy hour.

Date of visit: July 2019
Reviewed February 19, 2020

This downtown location has excellent tacos and sides. The drinks were delicious and different. Right near the sculpture park, the glass front provides a nice contrast to the industrial look inside.

Date of visit: February 2020
Reviewed February 10, 2020

Had a nice time on Friday night. Interesting menu (and would still like to see more) for vegetarians. We had the Vegan Burrito which was huge with a delicious poblano sauce; also some tacos. The guacamole is just ok as are the chips. I would...order more unusual next time. The waitress was OK. The Deborah, Iowa, beers were almost identical though two different types. The corn dish recommended by the waitress was inedible, an odd combo of sweet and corn. In photos i had seen corn on the cob, this was more like a corn stuffing and I didn't finish it. The asparagus looked lovely though. I really enjoyed our visit--though there are some small things to shoot for perfection. I would visit again!More

Date of visit: February 2020
Reviewed January 31, 2020

Olivia, our waitress, was so nice and personable. The food was very good. The pupusa's were a little dry, but everything else was fantastic. I enjoyed all of the salsa/dip options as well. Margaritas are also good here (Margaritas are half-off on Wednesdays)!

Date of visit: January 2020
Reviewed December 13, 2019 via mobile

We visited just an hour before closing on a Thursday night. The staff was still happy to serve us and the food was excellent. The filet tacos had an amazing flavor and the steak melted in your mouth! Will definitely make a return visit the...next time I’m in town.More

Date of visit: December 2019
Reviewed November 29, 2019

Went here for a group dinner. Service and food were good. Had a nice atmosphere. Would recommend Malo for a good meal.

Date of visit: September 2019
Reviewed November 28, 2019

This used to be a favorite place, but we've recently pulled it from the rotation as the menu has undergone a most disappointing transformation. First of all, adding capers to rice does not improve it. Whatever cooking method was used on the rice previously was...incredible, making it a true feature of the meal. Also, getting rid of the drink shakers was a bad idea. Yes, they still give you the same amount but pour it all into a tall glass where it waters down and kills the taste. Finally, I'm not even sure they're still using a real filet mignon for the filet fajita, as the meat atop no longer resembles a filet. I gotta say, if it ain't broke, don't fix it--and it wasn't broke--BEFORE. Now, unfortunately, it is.More

Date of visit: May 2019
Reviewed November 24, 2019

Malo located at 900 Mulberry in Des Moines, is yet another restaurant owned by George Formaro, owner of Django, Centro, Zombie Burger, Bubba, Gateway Market and South Union Bread Café. I am told he named the restaurant Malo (Spanish for bad) not because it is,...rather in the hip sense (like the Michael Jackson song). Actually, “Malo” no es malo, es muy bien. The décor is hip and modern with a long bar, high top tables and booths. The cuisine is Mexican but not your typical tacos and enchiladas. Yes, those dishes are on the menu but there is also so much more. Salsa and chips are complimentary but you also can order a variety of salsas ala carte or select a trio for $5.99. We started with the Queso, melted white queso with manchego, very tasty as was the guacamole. Be sure to try the El Rey Margarita with Patron silver tequila and Grand Marnier, $12 but worth every centavo. Malo has an extensive full bar and good selection of Mexican beer. Three in our party ordered the burritos. The shrimp burrito contained crispy tots, lettuce, chipotle crema, pico de gallo and guacamole wrapped in a flour tortilla and was the size of a football. Another ordered the Vegan Chorizo burrito while the third had the Vegan burrito without the Vegan chorizo. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the burritos, the shrimp was perfectly done and not overcooked as sometimes is the case. As for the size of the burritos, most wound up taking half home. My wife opted for three mix & match tacos that were served on homemade corn tortillas, an Al Pastor filling of chile marinated pork and pineapple, a wood-grilled skirt steak and a chipotle rubbed beef tenderloin with Iowa corn salsa, crispy onions and lime aioli. My wife loved her tacos and commented on how good the corn tortillas were as well as enjoying the Al Pastor, skirt steak and filet. Other taco choices include crispy onions avocado, chicken tinga, fried cod, ground beef, mahi mahi, pork belly, shrimp, and chicken breast with bacon and cheese. My choice was from the Classics part of the menu, #17, consisting of 2 grilled skirt steak tacos, 2 chicken enchiladas with red sauce and a tamales de carnitas with blistered shishito peppers and romana salad. #17 is a monster, so much so that I asked for a doggie bag. The skirt steak was served on a flour tortilla with lime on the side, the house salsa as well as the bottled Lola’s sauce on the table enhanced the tacos. The chicken enchiladas with salsa rojo were very tasty as was the carnitas tamale. I also enjoyed the accompanying salad that had radishes and jicama along with the lettuce. You can select one side with each entree and our party choose the Charred Iowa corn off the cob, Malo fries with roasted jalapeno aioli, onions and cilantro and rice Veracruz, a Mexican style rice with green olives, capers and charred tomato. All of the sides were very tasty. It was very comforting to see the owner, George Formaro, working the line as the expediter to make sure each order was correct. Owner involvement at this level clearly shows a person who loves his restaurant and wants his customers to also love it and experience a great meal. The quality of the food at Malo is no different from the great food and service at George’s other fine dining establishments, Django and Centro. We will definitely be back.More

Date of visit: November 2019
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