Restaurants in Madison, WI

May 6th, 2010, 10:41 AM
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Restaurants in Madison, WI

Hubby and I taking our daughter for the first time (!) to [email protected] We're from Brooklyn, NYC, and don't know the city, area well at all. We're staying at the Concourse. We arrive Wed., Aug 25 and stay thru Friday, Aug. 27. We'd like to have some restaurant recommendations in hand -- some for spontaneous, budget-friendly eats, some for good breakfast/lunch ideas, and some for one special splurge. I did some searching, but no one has posted on this in years, so I thought it worthwhile to get some fresh perspectives. BTW--last year for our school tour, Fodorites were very helpful!
kflodin is offline  
May 6th, 2010, 10:48 AM
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BTW--we're foodies and like all kinds of food.
kflodin is offline  
May 6th, 2010, 11:01 AM
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Here's a start:

L'Etoile for your splurge -- This gem is right on the Capitol Square, a few steps from the Concourse.

Good casual food -- Great Dane Pub. It's been a few years, but I think it's very close to the Square, too. Dotty Dumplings Dowry for burgers.

Good luck and enjoy Madison!
bk123 is offline  
May 6th, 2010, 12:00 PM
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The Marigold has a great breakfast or lunch
I recommend The Old Fashioned (right on the square) for lunch or dinner
You're going to love Madison!
sunny71 is offline  
May 6th, 2010, 12:03 PM
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Another good spot, German- Essen Haus.
HappyTrvlr is online now  
May 6th, 2010, 12:24 PM
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I am providing partial information and hope a local will pick up the gap. I was a guest in Madison and my host took us to a sea food restaurant on a lake outside of town near a marina. The restaurant has a lodge atmosphere the food was service was very good. Definitely local fare apart from Manhattan.
stumpworks73 is offline  
May 6th, 2010, 01:29 PM
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I think stumpwork is speaking of The Nau-ti-gal or Christy's Landing
These both are good choices but you'll have to drive from campus a bit.
sunny71 is offline  
May 6th, 2010, 03:57 PM
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On State St, which stretches from the Capitol to UW, there are lots of restaurants of many ethnicities. We like Kabul, Casa de Lara--and an Indian place whose name I can't remember. Have an ice cream at the Memorial Union on Langdon.
abram is offline  
May 7th, 2010, 06:35 AM
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I'd second L'Etoile for your splurge. Other possibilities would be Harvest, Magnus or Tornado Room.

Marigold is great for breakfast and lunch. Eat there early on your trip as you may decide to return. I'd go with the Old Fashioned for lunch. Great Dane, I would put in the Good but not great category.

Fresco, on the roof of the Overture Center on State would be a good spot for dinner (or late night).

Plan to watch a sunset from the Memorial Union Terrace with your beverage of choice.

ChiDad is offline  
May 7th, 2010, 07:46 AM
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We discovered a great little Italian restaurant a few visits ago:

Osteria Papavera, 128 E. Wilson Street

My DS loves Mickey's Dairy Bar for breakfast, we take him every time we're there. Warning: it's usually full with lines out the door.

He also loves Ian's Pizza on State Street.

I'm a former NYer myself and have trouble with things like macaroni & Cheese on a pizza, but DS and all his friends love it.

I 2nd getting ice cream at the Union, those WI dairy cows produce great ice cream

Next time, try doing Priceline for Madison, we've gotten the Concourse for $50/night, although I think that would be harder to do for move-in week.
Liz5959 is online now  
May 10th, 2010, 11:11 AM
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great recommendations, everyone! I'll poke around at the menus soon and make some decisions. Thanks so much! I'll report back.k
kflodin is offline  
Jul 14th, 2010, 12:03 PM
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Hi kflodin,
My daughter is a UW Madison student and because of that I am very familiar with the downtown Madison/campus area. I have spent many weekends in Madison, and the Concourse is a great hotel. Its location is a long walk from campus, but being from New York I'm sure your used to walking.
If you want to see a sunset go have dinner or an evening cocktail at the edgewater hotel. They have an outdoor restaurant and bar that is right on the lake.
Many students (including my daughter) love Ian's Pizza. I tried it once and was not impressed; it is no better than your average frozen pizza with the exception that you could get it with mack N cheese on it (Yuck). Fopr a good pizza in Madison go to Gino's. It is located on State St and their pizza and other food is great. For hamburgers go to 5 Guys, it is a national chain but has good burgers. On state Street you will also find Buffalo Wild Wings, Chipolte, and Potbelly which are all also national chains.
Kathy_Mike is offline  
Jul 26th, 2010, 12:15 PM
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I don't know if you'll check this before you leave for Madison.....but I also like Sardine......a French bar/bistro on Lake Monona near Willy Street.

I liked the bar as well as the little tables near the French door/windows that open out onto the lake. I stayed at the Concourse once and took their shuttle to and from Sardine. (trip took about 5 minutes, could walk, but if time is a factor the shuttle is very convenient!) The food, bread (yum) etc. was all good.....but I especially liked my
WARM (!!!) limoncello and cream after-dinner drink. Mmmmmm (This was the end of October so the warm drink was appealing here in WI.....then again, I'm a year-round hot chocolate person, so you'll have to decide for yourself.

One more thing: Michelangelo's is a cool State Street coffee shop right around the corner from the Concourse.....just ask the concierge and they'll direct you. Have fun in Madtown!
Colette is offline  
Aug 14th, 2010, 05:54 AM
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Thanks to all above for the recommendations. We're heading to Madison tomorrow for a campus tour. I'm sure we won't leave hungry!
ms_go is online now  
Aug 14th, 2010, 08:59 PM
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My in-laws like to go to the Nitty Gritty for burgers. It's been around forever.
itsv is offline  
Aug 14th, 2010, 10:25 PM
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No, you won't, ms_go! Our DS is getting ready to start his fourth and last year at UW-Madison. We love visiting him there. Both because we love him and because of all the great restaurants there!

In fact, I'm having a hard time deciding which one to choose for lunch when I take him up next week to start moving stuff into his apartment!
CAPH52 is offline  
Aug 18th, 2010, 10:55 AM
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There is a great bar restaurant on University Ave called Wando's. They have excellent burgers of many different varieties.
Kathy_Mike is offline  
Aug 19th, 2010, 04:38 PM
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PLEASE, don't go to a chain restaurant when you're in Madison! We have so many good local and privately owned restaurants, why go to something you can find in thousands of other towns throughout the U.S.

Madison takes pride in cooking with natural, local foods. Do try to enjoy them. Someone mentioned the Old Fashioned (on the Capitol Square) - very good. Also, any of the coffee shops on State Street (not Starbucks!) are good. Any of the ethnic restaurants on State Street - I just ate at the Mediterranean Restaurant today and my Spinach Pie was to die for! Also the Orpheum, on State Street is good, with old-fashioned theater atmosphere.

And finally, if you're here on the weekend, you simply MUST do the Dane Co. Farmer's Market on the Capitol Square.

Wisconsin is unique. Relish it. Live it. That's why you came, right?
glndi is offline  
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