Baltimore 'hound visiting Madison
- crowsonguy Sep 22, 2007 01:00 PM
I will be visiting Madison in October for a convention at the Monona Terrace Convention Center: any informal places with tasty food near there? Doesn't have to be cheap; local specialties or ethnic is a plus. (tried to do a search, but only the Great Dane appeared.) And is the great farmers market still surrounding the Capitol on Saturdays?
For local specialties, a bratwurst is a must if you are a meat-eater. I would recommend State Street Brats. State Street itself (within walking distance of the Convention Center) has lots of little ethnic restaurants--Kabul is one which is particularly good. You might also enjoy The Old-Fashioned, a restaurant on the Square, which is not far from the Convention Center.
I second the suggestion of the Old Fashion, which serves excellent versions of traditional Wisconsin supper club food. Next door to the Old Fashion are L'Etoile and Harvest, both of which specialize in cooking with local ingredients; L'Etoile has been ranked in the top 50 restaurants in the U.S. The area around the square abounds with other great restaurants: Muramoto is excellent Japanese fusion (not a sushi restaurant) on King St.; Cocoliquot specializes in French small plates down the street from Muramoto; Osteria Pappavero does Italian small plates while sharing a kitchen with Cocoliquot; Restaurant Magnus, next door to Pappavero on Wilson St. has a superb, Latin-inspired menu; while you are walking down State St., consider Le Chardonnay for Moule Frites if it is Tuesday, or Nadia's for Mediterranean French. This is just a partial list of places within walking distance based on my own preferences. You should have no trouble eatting well.
Here's link to a thread earlier in the year.
We were just at the Marigold Kitchen and Ian's Pizza (on State just a block from the square) on our last trip about a month ago. Both were excellent as usual. We hoped to have a report on a couple others on this thread but the trip got cut short.
Thank you all for these great posts! I think I'll be able to squeeze in an early dinner (at one of the fancier places: which will be more different for an easterner?) and a lunch, probably of brats, after collecting market goodies for the Sunday trip home! If I find anything unusual, i'll be sure to post.
Nearly everything in Madison can be informal--there are only about 4 places you shouldn't show up in jeans. And if you do (like L'Etoile or Harvest), they probably won't care. Its a college town.
Magnus is a great restaurant just half a block away from the Monona Terrace on Wilson: fantastic south american, including tapas which can be enjoyed in the bar or in the main restaurant. Just around the corner and up the street, on King, is Murimoto, Japanese fusion, which has been one of my favorites--though my last experience a few weeks ago made me worry. I'm hoping it was just a bad night with too many new staff all at once. Try the fried tofu--really--amazing. I also agree about the Old Fashioned. Try the roast beef sandwich, or get the burger with the raw egg on it for a true Wisconsin meal. Marigold is also great--only lunch and breakfast. Especially great for pastries at breakfast, giving worthy competition to the first floor casual version of L'Etoile on the square, where the croissants and other pastries are out of this world.