About Malo

MALO is Des Moines’ destination for Latin cuisine. From classic Havana cocktails to inventive Mexican dishes, MALO celebrates all the flavors of Latin America.

900 Mulberry St.
Des Moines, IA 50309
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Dining Style:
Casual Dining

Cuisines:
Latin American, Mexican / Southwestern

Hours of Operation:
Sunday: 10am - 9pm
Monday - Thursday: 11am - 11pm
Friday & Saturday: 11am - Midnight

Cross Street:
9th St.

Dress Code:
Business Casual

Price Range:
$30 and under

Payment Options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Phone Number:
(515) 244-5000

Website:
http://www.malodesmoines.com/

Parking Details:
There is ample street parking near our restaurant.

Executive Chef:
Matt Howard

Additional:
Bar/Lounge, Beer, Counter Seating, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu

Malo Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.5

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.5

service

4.6

ambience

4.4

value

4.1

noise

Moderate

92% would recommend it to a friend

Good for a Date (37)
Casual (34)
Fun (31)
See All
Modern Decor (31)
Creative Cuisine (30)
Special Occasion (27)
Good for Groups (26)
Happy Hour (25)
Pre/post Theatre (21)
Fit for Foodies (21)
Neighborhood Gem (20)
Good for Birthdays (20)
Spicy (19)
Hot Spot (19)
Worth the Drive (17)
Great for Outdoor Dining (17)
Great for Lunch (16)
Good for Anniversaries (14)
Great for Brunch (13)
Authentic (12)
Bar Seating (12)
Business Meals (11)
Cozy (11)
Handcrafted Cocktails (10)
Vibrant Bar Scene (10)
Kid-friendly (10)
Good Vegetarian Options (10)
Sunday Lunch (9)
Comfort Food (8)
Historic (8)
People Watching (8)
Late-night Find (8)
Family Style (8)
Healthy (8)
Romantic (7)
Tapas (7)
Great Beer (7)
Outstanding Value (6)
Quick Bite (6)
Tasting Menu (6)
Local Ingredients (5)
Open Kitchen (5)
Vegan (4)
Paleo Friendly (4)
Seasonal (4)
Quiet Conversation (3)
Disabled Access (3)
Scenic View (3)
Gluten Free Options (2)
Organic (2)
Notable Wine List (2)
Molecular Gastronomy (1)
Live Sports (1)
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534 reviews
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Food, service, and our drinks were over- ...

 
 (Des Moines)·Dined 5 days ago

Food, service, and our drinks were over-the-top amazing. Thank you!

Tags: Handcrafted Cocktails, Pre/post Theatre, Late-night Find, Good for a Date, Romantic, Great for Outdoor Dining, Fun, Neighborhood Gem, Happy Hour, Live Sports, Hot Spot, Great Beer, Bar Seating, Good for Anniversaries, Sunday Lunch, Special Occasion, Casual, Notable Wine List, Good for Groups, Local Ingredients, Worth the Drive
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Awesome service, good food. The salsa wa ...

 
 (Des Moines)·Dined 5 days ago

Awesome service, good food. The salsa was one of the best I've had. Definitely will return, especially for the bar.

Tags: Special Occasion, Great Beer, Vibrant Bar Scene, Fun, Handcrafted Cocktails
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food4
ambience4
service4
value3

Our dinner was really just okay. The ser ...

 
 (Washington DC)·Dined 5 days ago

Our dinner was really just okay. The service was outstanding and that is important to note. The food was really mediocre and really overpriced. I had chicken and it appeared to be some sort of boneless dark cut of meat; kind of bizarre. It wasn't the type of quality we were expecting.

Tags: Special Occasion
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food3
ambience4
service5
value2

Loved the food, cocktails, and ambiance! ...

 
 (Des Moines)·Dined 5 days ago

Loved the food, cocktails, and ambiance!! It was the perfect date night.

Tags: Tasting Menu, Fun, Special Occasion, Fit for Foodies
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

Went there for Valentines Day. Not a lot ...

 
 (Des Moines)·Dined 5 days ago

Went there for Valentines Day. Not a lot of choices. Is this a Mexican place? It seems confused. Chips/salsa great. Wine superb. Seafood enchiladas advertised as crab, shrimp, lobster - when I cut one open it was only shrimp. I don't like paying $25.00 for tiny baby shrimp!

Tags: Great Beer, Great for Outdoor Dining, Modern Decor
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food3
ambience5
service5
value2

Malo is my favorite restaurant in Des Mo ...

 
 (Des Moines)·Dined 5 days ago

Malo is my favorite restaurant in Des Moines and would recommend it to anyone.

Tags: Tapas, Business Meals, Good for Anniversaries, Good for a Date, Casual, Late-night Find, Special Occasion, Neighborhood Gem, Fun
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Brunch us outstanding, be prepared for ...

 
 (Des Moines)·Dined on February 12, 2017

Brunch us outstanding, be prepared for a great experience. Be aware that children under 12 eat free so there were lots rug rats all about.

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food5
ambience4
service5
value5

We totally enjoyed our dining experienc ...

 
 (Des Moines)·Dined on February 10, 2017

We totally enjoyed our dining experience at Malo. Staff was very friendly and efficient. Food was exceptional and we will need to return to try more dishes. Quite loud, but tolerable. Will recommend it to friends and will be back!

Tags: Vibrant Bar Scene, Late-night Find, Good for Groups
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

Great food and excellent service

 
 (Tampa)·Dined on February 10, 2017

Great food and excellent service

Tags: Fun
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Even though this restaurant is great for ...

 
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on February 9, 2017

Even though this restaurant is great for adults out for an adult evening, it is literally my 5 year old daughter's favorite restaurant in Des Moines. We attended for her 5th birthday. She thinks they have the most fun kids menu to play with and she loves that it is an old fire house. Add that with delicious fries to accompany her cheese quesadilla and she is sold.

Tags: Kid-friendly, Comfort Food, Hot Spot, Open Kitchen, Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Happy Hour
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Very comfy setting, great staff. Very ha ...

 
 (Pittsburgh)·Dined on February 5, 2017

Very comfy setting, great staff. Very happy with choosing Malo for brunch.

Tags: Cozy, Creative Cuisine, Sunday Lunch, Good for Birthdays, Comfort Food
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

I have been to Malo many times. The only ...

 
 (Des Moines)·Dined on February 5, 2017

I have been to Malo many times. The only downside to my experience tonight was that they put us in the back corner near the kitchen door and the cocktails were far from expertly crafted. Other than that, the food is great and the ambience exciting. I recommend eating there in the warmer months when you can sit on their patio - it's the best overall experience.

Tags: Fun
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food5
ambience2
service4
value3

Fun place. Fun food. Perfect for a vibra ...

 
 (Kansas City)·Dined on February 5, 2017

Fun place. Fun food. Perfect for a vibrant Saturday night.

Tags: Pre/post Theatre, Worth the Drive, Happy Hour, Modern Decor, Local Ingredients, Casual, Great for Brunch, Creative Cuisine, Tapas, Great for Outdoor Dining
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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

Shrimp tacos were great. Salsa and chips ...

 
 (Des Moines)·Dined on February 4, 2017

Shrimp tacos were great. Salsa and chips were exceptioallgood. Loved that chips were warm. Guac could be more adventuresome Add tomatoes, onion, garluc.

Tags: Good for Birthdays, Great for Lunch, Healthy, Creative Cuisine
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food4
ambience5
service5
value5

Food was excellent and the service super ...

 
 (Des Moines)·Dined on February 4, 2017

Food was excellent and the service superb. Beautiful and bright interior. High class all the way. A great place for dinner following a show at The Basement or other downtown venues.

Tags: Pre/post Theatre,
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

We were seated in the bar area. The food ...

 
 (Des Moines)·Dined on February 3, 2017

We were seated in the bar area. The food was exceptional and the place has a very appealing ambiance. The noise was overwhelming and made table conversation impossible.

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Casual, Pre/post Theatre
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food5
ambience3
service4
value3

Food was fair but the spices and portion ...

 
 (Tulsa)·Dined on January 29, 2017

Food was fair but the spices and portions were out of balance with expectations. The enchilada meal was layered with cheese that appeared to be separating on the plate. They were decent but they were extremely heavy.

The blackened shrimp were difficult to eat due to the excessive pepper and salt. The steak fajitas were very good and cooked nicely. The side dishes were nothing memorable but they were pretty good.

One of our dinner guests ordered some kind of entree that came out in a lasagna dish and was extremely large. In fact, the waitress identified that she had never seen someone eat the entire dish.

My Wife and I don't plan on going back. It wasn't horrible, just not up to our expectations. I will keep my contemporary Mexican food business with Rosa Mexicano when I make it out to the East coast.

Tags: Bar Seating
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food2
ambience5
service4
value3

My fiance and I had a great experience a ...

 
 (Des Moines)·Dined on January 28, 2017

My fiance and I had a great experience at Malo we were seated right away, our server I can't remember his name but he was awesome made sure we had our chips and our drinks and the food when it was brought out was absolutely great I definitely would recommend this restaurant

Tags: Good for Birthdays, Comfort Food, Romantic, Tapas
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food5
ambience5
service5
value3

A bit noisy but our waiter was superb. G ...

 
 (Des Moines)·Dined on January 28, 2017

A bit noisy but our waiter was superb. Great, unique items for vegetarians.

Tags: Worth the Drive, Great for Lunch, Good for a Date, Vegan, Good Vegetarian Options, Creative Cuisine, Fit for Foodies
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

Good food at a fun and lively spot. Frie ...

 
 (Des Moines)·Dined on January 21, 2017

Good food at a fun and lively spot. Friendly and knowledgeable service. Cocktails were great. Eclectic and unique menu items from standard Mexican fare to fusion. Recommended!

Tags: Good for a Date, Modern Decor, Creative Cuisine, Fun, Spicy
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food5
ambience4
service5
value3

nice atmosphere but honestly expected be ...

 
 (Des Moines)·Dined on January 21, 2017

nice atmosphere but honestly expected better on the food side. only 1 of the 4 dishes was really enjoyed. would come back again to give it another try.

Tags: Pre/post Theatre, Business Meals
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food2
ambience4
service4
value2

LOVE tacos and El Santo !!!! I love the ...

 
 (Des Moines)·Dined on January 20, 2017

LOVE tacos and El Santo !!!! I love the setting and it was amazing food overall and love the drinks

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Fun, Happy Hour
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

My friend and I were there to grab a qui ...

 
 (Des Moines)·Dined on January 20, 2017

My friend and I were there to grab a quick bite before a comedy show next door at the Des Moines Social Club and it was very good. We both had tacos, which were delicious - especially the housemade corn tortillas, yum! The waiter did a great job of getting us in and out quickly. I would definitely recommend this restaurant.

Tags: Handcrafted Cocktails, Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Family Style, Creative Cuisine, Hot Spot, Spicy, Casual, Vibrant Bar Scene
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food4
ambience4
service5
value4

Great for a date! The queso with chorizo ...

 
 (Dallas)·Dined on January 14, 2017

Great for a date! The queso with chorizo is delicious! The ambiance is great!

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Bar Seating, Vibrant Bar Scene, Good for Groups
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

The seafood nachos were amazing!! Actual ...

 
 (Des Moines)·Dined on January 7, 2017

The seafood nachos were amazing!! Actually, the whole evening was amazing.

Tags: Comfort Food, Disabled Access, Bar Seating, Historic, Special Occasion, Fit for Foodies, Sunday Lunch, Tapas, Great for Brunch, Romantic, Business Meals, People Watching, Fun, Neighborhood Gem, Good Vegetarian Options, Great for Lunch, Happy Hour, Good for Birthdays, Handcrafted Cocktails, Good for a Date, Worth the Drive, Creative Cuisine, Casual, Modern Decor, Good for Anniversaries, Good for Groups
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

It was so cold in the restaurant.

 
 (Des Moines)·Dined on January 7, 2017

It was so cold in the restaurant.

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food4
ambience2
service5
value5

The food was very good and cooked perfec ...

 
 (Des Moines)·Dined on January 1, 2017

The food was very good and cooked perfectly! We went there on New Years Eve expecting it to be very busy but we got seated right away . I didn't know the difference before I went between Mexican and Latin food... but know I do. The sesoning was very good and not over-powering. I would deffinatly recommend this restaurant!

Tags: Special Occasion, Casual, Fun, Authentic, Neighborhood Gem, Worth the Drive
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

Malo proved to be a great place to go fo ...

 
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on January 1, 2017

Malo proved to be a great place to go for NYE dinner. We tried the cheese dip appetizer and the carne asada. Both were flavorful and bold. Our server was attentive and friendly. Definitely coming back.

Tags: Fun, Modern Decor, Hot Spot, Worth the Drive, Great for Outdoor Dining, Good for Birthdays, Creative Cuisine
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food4
ambience4
service5
value4

Malo was not a favorite and will not get ...

 
 (Dallas)·Dined on December 31, 2016

Malo was not a favorite and will not get a return visit, unfortunately. Water glass was dirty, food was over cooked and a bug crawled out of my salad. The server was polite without sincerity. The hostess was cordially and we were seated promptly, but I won't be going back. Too bad since I'd heard good things.

1 person found this review helpful.
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food3
ambience2
service2
value1

Prompt service - great food, grilled bru ...

 
 (Des Moines)·Dined on December 31, 2016

Prompt service - great food, grilled brussel sprouts were super

Noise level less than usual but at 5 pm was not filled up yet

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food5
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Overall, good experience. The wait staff ...

 
 (Kansas City)·Dined on December 29, 2016

Overall, good experience. The wait staff could have been more attentive. Great menu!

Tags: Comfort Food
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food5
ambience4
service3
value4

I love the Malo Salad with a shrimp add- ...

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 22, 2016

I love the Malo Salad with a shrimp add-in. Creature of habit!

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food5
ambience5
service5

Every time I have eaten at Malo, it has ...

 
 (Des Moines)·Dined on December 22, 2016

Every time I have eaten at Malo, it has been a great experience. The food is terrific, the ambience is wonderful and the staff does a great job. It's a nice little gem on the southwest side of downtown!! :) I made the mistake of brining my 12 year old to Malo once, and now it's THE PLACE she wants to go whenever we're in the city looking for a restaurant. :)

Tags: Good for Groups, Quick Bite, Kid-friendly, Casual, Business Meals, Good for Birthdays
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Great place to eat....however, it's a l ...

 
 (Orlando)·Dined on December 22, 2016

Great place to eat....however, it's a little loud!

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

First-class downtown neighborhood eatery ...

vip
 (Des Moines)·Dined on December 21, 2016

First-class downtown neighborhood eatery; excellent cuisine, service and attention to detail. One of my favorites, indeed.

Tags: Cozy, Healthy, Happy Hour, Great for Brunch, , Worth the Drive, Good for Birthdays, Open Kitchen, Spicy, Great for Lunch
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Not so good. Little things like our can ...

 
 (Des Moines)·Dined on December 18, 2016

Not so good. Little things like our candle not lit on table, no ice in water, chips and salsa not served til asked to cold food and slow service. Our wine glass was dirty. Wasn't busy at all but had made reservation only to be sat at one of the worst tables in the whole place, by the kitchen. Very vegetarian unfriendly. Overall poor experience.

Tags: Great for Outdoor Dining
1 person found this review helpful.
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food2
ambience1
service2
value1

I chose MALO for a birthday dinner with ...

 
 (Des Moines)·Dined on December 10, 2016

I chose MALO for a birthday dinner with my family. Everyone loved the food, even my 8 year old niece! The portion sizes were reflective of the price, and even gave us leftovers! I would recommend MALO to any of my friends or family and I will be back myself!

Tags: Special Occasion, Good for a Date
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

We were seated immediately, waiter was v ...

 
 (Des Moines)·Dined on December 10, 2016

We were seated immediately, waiter was very polite and offered great suggestions upon request. Food was delicious and a lot of it!

Tags: Special Occasion, Good for Anniversaries, Creative Cuisine
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

Our server was very polite and the food ...

 
 (Des Moines)·Dined on December 8, 2016

Our server was very polite and the food was freshly prepared.

The main issue I saw was that while my fajitas were well seasoned and I appreciated what looked to be house made tortillas, my shrimp was overcooked a bit and the steak strips, while medium rare, we're dry as if they hadn't been rested before cutting. In addition, I felt the portion sizes on the $26 fajitas left something to be desired. However, maybe I've been spoiled by local Mexican restaurants being able to provide twice as much meat for literally half the price.

An odd side note: the salt shaker at our table was not working (upon further inspection, the holes were clogged) and the server seemed unsurprised and happily provide a different salt shaker. But that one was clogged too... Maybe they should buy some different shakers or clean them more often? Idk..

It's unlikely we'll be going back for a main course. Probably just appetizers.. The chips and guacamole were good and the salsa is odd, but endearing.

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food3
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service5

It was our first trip to Malo and we wil ...

 
 (Des Moines)·Dined on December 4, 2016

It was our first trip to Malo and we will definitely go back. Our server was wonderful - it was just super busy and it took a while to order, making things a bit stressful to get to the concert that evening.

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food5
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service4

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