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Mar 25, 2009 08:15 AM

Cheap eats / banh mi in Madison?

My wife and I will be in Madison next weekend, staying in a hotel near the Capitol. We're on a budget and may not always have much time, so we're looking for inexpensive, fast, but good places to eat in the downtown or campus area. Pretty much any type of cuisine, though my wife is a vegetarian so burgers, brats, and the like are probably out.

Secondarily, we're really craving Banh Mi, but can't seem to find a place that serves them in Madison. Anybody know of Banh Mi in Madison?

Thanks everyone in advance.

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  1. Near the Capitol, and with "fast", "cheap", and "veggie-friendly" in mind, I would recommend: Gotham Bagels for great NY-style bagels, sandwiches, and soups; Cafe Soleil for local sandwiches, soups, and baked goods; the Marigold Kitchen for delicious breakfasts and lunches; Natt Spil for inventive bar food; and Kushi Bar Muramoto for late-night Japanese snacks.

    A little further away, on the State Street corridor that leads from the Capitol to the University's Union, I would recommend Himal Chuli, Nepalese comfort food; Sunroom Cafe, long-running cafe with great veggie options; the Cabana Room, Brazilian sandwiches and soups; and Mediterranean Cafe, the best bargain in Madison.

    As to Bahn Mi, the only place I know of it in Madison is at Asian Midway Foods, a small Asian supermarket that sells pre-wrapped versions that come from Milwaukee a few times a week. They only sell the traditional (pork, pate) version, as far as I know.

    Enjoy your visit.

    Cabana Room
    240 W Gilman St, Madison, WI 53703

    Gotham Bagels
    112 E Mifflin St, Madison, WI

    Marigold Kitchen
    118 S Pinckney St, Madison, WI 53703

    Kushi Bar Muramoto
    106 King St, Madison, WI 53703

    Cafe Soleil
    25 N Pinckney St, Madison, WI 53703

    Natt Spil
    211 King Street, Madison, WI

    Himal Chuli
    318 State St, Madison, WI 53703

    Sunroom Cafe
    638 State St, Madison, WI 53703

    Mediterranean Cafe
    625 State St, Madison, WI 53703

    Asian Midway Foods
    301 S Park St, Madison, WI

    1. If you're near the capitol building you'll be within walking distance to 2 of my favorite places!!
      Try Brocach's... It is a bar but has amazing Irish (not typical.. very flavorful!) food.
      Also for Mexican, Freda's is just down State Street a bit! Great soups and fun atmosphere (based on the artist)
      Also, for more "bar food" check out the Nitty Gritty and make sure you get Gritty sauce with whatever you order (not healthful at all, but delicious!)
      And there is always Ian's Pizza for macaroni and cheese pizza!

      1. Thanks a lot for the suggestions. We will definitely check out several of these.

        1. Have to mention Myles Teddywegger's Cornish pasty shop at the end of State across for the Capitol. They have veggie pies as well, I believe.... A half a pie goes a long way...

          1. Sorry we missed you-- The Mermaid Cafe serves both a meat and vegetarian version of the Banh Mi. We have lots of folks that come in just for these sandwiches. See our website: for more information.
            I just posted a blog (on the website) about the banh mi chay because we will be demonstrating how you can make this sandwich at Isthmus' Green Day this Saturday at Monona Terrace at 4 PM. The wonderful thing about Madison is with the Dane Co. Farmer's Market so close we have endless locally grown variations at our fingertips!