Midwest Traveler
head Home head Features head Departments head Web Bonus head Media Info head Reader Resources head Archives head AAA.com space

Cashew Chicken

Cashew Chicken

Hard to pronounce, easy to savor, this dish tops
the list at a noteworthy Iowa restaurant.

It's no stretch to say the small town of Decorah in northeast Iowa is not on many traveler's lips as a food destination. Yet, visitors to Decorah (population 8,000) often remark about the number of good restaurants in town. Charlene Selbee, executive director of the Winneshiek County Convention & Visitors Bureau, noted that Decorah is gaining attention as a getaway for foodies. One of the restaurants that consistently receives good reviews is Rubaiyat in downtown Decorah.


Andy and Kim Bonnet at their restaurant, Rubaiyat. Winneshiek County CVB

Sitting at a table in the noted restaurant, Rubaiyat, it becomes clear that while there is a variety of tempting entrées on the menu, only one carries the restaurant's namesake – Pasta Rubaiyat.

The restaurant name (pronounced ROO bee yaht) and pasta are quite a mouthful. The Rubáiyát is the name of a poetry collection written more than 1,000 years ago by Omar Khayyám, a Persian mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher. The collection reflects upon a life lived to its fullest, with the help of good food and great wine.

Restaurant owners Andy and Kim Bonnet look forward to opportunities to share their love of food and wine with guests. The restaurant's signature dish, Pasta Rubaiyat, is filled with shrimp, scallops, and snow crabs, and enrobed in the house Alfredo sauce. Topped with freshly cut basil, the pasta dish is rich and creamy enough to satisfy even the toughest critic.

The Bonnets describe their seasonal American menu as straight-forward, approachable cuisine that both looks and tastes clean and composed. This means simply but skillfully prepared, ingredient-driven dishes.

Along with the historical name of the restaurant, the restaurant is inside a building that's also steeped in history. Built in the early 1890s, the building was refurbished for the restaurant. The original tin ceiling, as well as the brick walls, was exposed. The front doors are original to the building.

Next year marks the 10th anniversary of Rubaiyat, an impressive feat for any restaurant industry. By offering classic, diverse and distinctly contemporary dishes, one gets the idea Rubaiyat will be part of Decorah for many more years.

Debra Pamplin is a contributor from Kingsland, Ga.

May/June 2016 Issue


117 W. Water St.
Decorah, Iowa 52101
(563) 382-9463

Dinner served daily at 5 p.m. (closing time subject to business)
Sunday brunch from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.


Food and Wine Weekend

The next Iowa Wine Trail event will be April 23 and 24. Eleven wineries – including Winneshiek Wildberry in Decorah – will be participating. Locally made wine will be paired with food. A commemorative wine glass is included with ticket purchase. For more information, visit www.iowawinetrail.com.

^ to top | previous page