Dining with Kids in Des Moines: Mi Patria
Have you ever driven by a restaurant and wanted to go in, but just not sure of how it would go over?
Even despite hearing great reviews, that’s what happened with me and Mi Patria.
I have driven by this restaurant for years, always curious about the food they served inside, but never being quite ready to step inside.
Until last week, when I called a friend out of the blue for lunch. Because going out for lunch with 7 children when its past nap time and they are starving is always a great idea. When you are testing the limits, you might as well push them as much as you can, right?
- Restaurant Name: Mi Patria
- Cuisine Type: Latin American, specializing in Ecuadorian
- Neighborhood: 1410 22nd St. West Des Moines, over by Michael’s Crafts
- Hours: 11:00 am – 9:00 pm Monday – Saturday (they are closed Sunday)
- Price: Mid Range $$ – Appetizers are about $10, Sandwiches about $10, Entrees $11-$17 and Kids Meals are $6
The atmosphere of Mi Patria is great for families and friends to get together. There are quiet music and conversations, but it is neither too quiet or too loud – so you don’t need to worry about how loud you are being. The restaurant was clean, well lit, and nicely decorated. There are several posters on the wall that show that Guy Fieri visited Mi Patria with Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. It will be fun to find and watch that episode with the kids before or after eating there!
The wait staff was great. They were knowledgeable about the menu and offered great suggestions, as well as asked clarification questions on what we ordered. They were also really nice when my daughter accidentally stuck her finger through her styrofoam cup and bathed the table in ice cold water. They were also sweet and completely understanding of the fact that my 18 months old decided today was a great day to learn to use a spoon with her arroz con pollo (hint: when eating out with children, always, always expect to tip way beyond 20%. The wait staff deserves it!).
The high chair we were given was working properly and was clean (which is almost impossible to find in a restaurant that has been open more than 4 days). I also eyed the stack of them on the way to the bathroom, and they all looked pleasantly clean as well.
Speaking of the bathrooms, they were nice and clean! There is only one room for the women’s and one for the men’s, but it was clean and bright and had a nice changing table in the area as well.
We ended up spending 2 hours at Mi Patria. And considering the fact that I was there eating with an infant, a toddler, a preschooler, and 3 elementary aged children – 2 hours might seem like a scarily long time to be at a restaurant. Our service wasn’t particularly fast (we did have a bit of wait for food), but we never felt like our kids were being too loud, too silly, or too messy. Even when the gaggle of girls was spoon feeding the toddler Arroz con Leche and laughing like mad.
Please note that there are no coloring/activity sheet or things for kids to do while waiting for food. If your kids need something to do, make sure you bring a notebook or something to entertain them.
The menu is a perfect size – plenty of choices, but not so many that you feel overwhelmed. There was also a good selection of well known Latin American dishes like Carne Asada, but also plenty of unique dishes that are new and different. I tried the Fritada con Mote and was really pleased. The pork tips were flavorful and tender, and I loved the beans, plantains, and Ensalada that came with it. Great distinct flavors and textures that perfectly combine to one delicious meal. My friend tried the Guatita (which is beef tripe!). We were excited to see something on the menu labeled “for the adventurous eater” so of course, we have to try it! The tripe was perfectly cooked – tender and flavorful and really good. Both meals were of generous portions and we couldn’t finish either.
I was pleased with the kid’s menu offerings – there is a variety of authentic dishes and also cheeseburgers and chicken strips if you need those. Between our children, we tried the Arroz con Pollo, the Hornando with rice and beans, and one kiddo tried the cheeseburgers. All were well received! If you are feeding an older baby or younger toddler, you can also order plain white rice, avocados, fried plantains, and a side of beans. Mi Patria offers great choices for eaters of all ages!
We also tried the flan and the Arroz con Leche for dessert. I wish I could give a more thorough report on them, but both were instantly swarmed upon by children, spoons flying like they hadn’t just finished giant meal minutes prior. I will take the empty plates of signs that they passed inspection.
Mi Patria offers flavorful, colorful and delicious meals the entire family can enjoy! This hidden gem is a “must try”!
Menu: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (Excellent)
Service: ⭐⭐ ⭐(Good)
Parental Stress: ⭐⭐⭐ (Good)
Overall: ⭐⭐⭐ ½ (Great – a good meal, good service, and a wonderful trip)
About the Author
Jenni Ward is a mom of three and owner of The Gingered Whisk. The Gingered Whisk is a recipe site designed to make the most out of your weeknight dinners. She creates quick meals that are infused with global flavor to help break you out of that boring chicken nugget rut.
She loves to help families create weeknight meals they love so they can spend less time focusing on how much food kids aren’t eating and more time connecting at the dinner table. She is all about fun adventurous ways to get kids interested in food, and firmly believe that kids can learn to love bold flavors, new ingredients, and trying new things! More than just fun and delicious recipes, she offers tons of tips, tricks, and support to help you every step of the journey.
Learn more about Jenni Ward on the Des Moines Parent Spotlight.