Motley Cow Cafe

no score

Awaiting More Ratings

Type: Bar, Eatery

160 N Linn St
Iowa City, Iowa, 52245-2140
United States

(319) 688-9177 | map

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Added by Tballz420

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Ratings: 3 |  Reviews: 3
Reviews by Erdinger2003:
Photo of Erdinger2003
4.65/5  rDev +8.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 5

I can't believe this little place that shares a bathroom with the business next door is so close to John's grocery.

This little cafe is cozy and very personal and has a great window that looks on the street.

The service was the best service that I have had in a restaurant in a very long time I was very impressed.

The selection is good, not outstanding, but very very nice for this quaint little restaurant. I got a Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout that was very nice, I have not had a Samuel Smith's that wasn't skunked in a very very long time so I took a chance and they came through very nicely for me.

The food was out of this world, this food was 5 star without a doubt the best meal I have had in a resaurant for about 6 years when I was in Virginia visiting. The Flank with bleu cheese and pesto and vegetables was the best thing I've ever had in my life! It was so good.

I was so happy with this restaurant and I hope you will find this little cafe and how much of a personal experience you can have with this beautiful cafe.

 1,049 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of mynie
3.85/5  rDev -10%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 5

(They have a website now:

Motley Cow used to be right next to John's, and although you think that'd make it a prime spot for hungry beer travelers to stop for a meal, its ridiculously small size kinda prevented that from happening. The dining area held two tables. That was it. I had stopped by thrice in the past three years or so, and each time the hostess told me I had to have a reservation. I'd smack my head and go "oh yeah I should have remembered that," and then I'd forget to make the reservation next year.

This year, yesterday, I didn't forget. But I also didn't think to bother and ask whether or not the place had moved, which it had, a few blocks down the street. The new place is much bigger, relatively, but still not very big when compared to most other fine dining joints. The decor was self-conscious and nicely stylish but still had that feel of a place that's going to look out of date in 4 or five years--it was, in other words, a notch or two above Pier One. The Friday night crowd consisted upper-middle class professionals between the ages of 35 and 75. Most of them seemed to be from the university.

The waiter was a little snooty in manner, but not in action. Maybe it was the fact that my manner strongly projects poverty, maybe it's just the way that rich people like be treated by the help. I don't know. It was mildly disconcerting, but not strongly enough to really affect our dining experience.

Beer selection is great, but not that wide. Few dozen bottles (most of which are egregiously priced) along with four very good taps that were only slightly overly priced. I had a couple of Rogue Nut Browns with my hearty beef meal, and brother the two went together just perfectly.

This brings us to the food, which is goddamn amazing. I don't go to but three or four "fancypants" restaurants every year, and 75% of the time I walk away disappointed--maybe the meal was good but it wasn't worth what I paid, or maybe the meal just plain wasn't very good at all, I could have gotten a better-prepared version of the same meal at a less pretentious place for half the price. Here, the food's worthy every last cent you pay. The best part is, you really don't pay *that* much. My ladyfriend and I both had full meals with and appetizer and two drinks apiece and the bill was 55 bucks.

Probably the nicest upscale restaurant I've been to in the state of Iowa. Take that for what you will.

If you're looking for a great beer experience in Iowa City, you're probably still better off hitting up the Old Capital-Sanctuary tandem. If you're looking for excellent upscale dining that also happens to be complemented by a small but high-quality beer selection, then the Motley Cow is the place for you.

 2,758 characters

Photo of neonbrown82
4.33/5  rDev +1.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3 | food: 5

This is a very nice little restaurant cafe. The dining room is no bigger than my kitchen (though that is a subjective measure, you can only guess how small it is). Even though it only has about a dozen tables, chances are that you will not need to make reservations. The whole place is dimly lit, and each table is further illuminated with a candle. Would make for a great little place to go on a date.

The place uses only local and organic ingredients in its dishes, and even supports the local brewers, since two of the three tap selections were from Millstream in Amana. The beer list is fairly small (3 taps and roughly 20 bottled selections), but they have only quality products available (no BMC). Furthermore, since the menu changes from day to day, the beverage selection will change to follow suit. The wine list is very top notch as well -- I had the best Syrah I've ever tasted here. And the food is just out of this world. Far and away the best NY Strip steak I've ever had.

The service is very good. Since it is such a small place, and since it is kind of an upscale (yet still very quaint) establishment, the server will have time to spend being more personable with each table.

It can be fairly pricey though. It is totally worth it, however. Not exactly a destination for somebody who is just looking to grab a few interesting beers with their meal (you can't beat Sanctuary for that), but it is definitely beerfly worthy -- and if it wasn't for its beerfly listing, I probably would have never known about this place even though I work right across the street at John's.

 1,597 characters

Motley Cow Cafe in Iowa City, IA
4.28 out of 5 based on 3 ratings.
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