La Crosse recommendations sought
I searched the board for La Crosse, which brings up posts with just "La" and with "Crosse," "cross," "crossed," and "crossing." So sorry if this is an asked and answered question...
I'll be in La Crosse for three nights this month with my wife and high school age daughter. For one night, we'd like to take our daughter out to a good Italian restaurant. Prefer no chains. Prefer it has pasta for her, but that the menu has more options than just pasta items.
Finally, I know that Wisconsin restaurants are not all smoke-free yet statewide. I don't know if counties or cities have their own ordinances. The place we go would have to be 100% smoke-free.
After the fact...
Thank you for these replies. The rental we had included a fully-equipped kitchen. So I went to City Co-op and got good things to cook. Also had dinner at my stepsister's one night.
I do have to recommend Pearl Ice Cream Parlor. HUGE single scoops for only $1.80. I opted for black licorice, which I enjoyed immensely while my wife made a face.
Also went on the Pearl Street Brewery tour, and enjoyed the on-premises tasting room where pints were only $2.50.
I haven't been to an Italian restaurant in La Crosse, but I had a fabulous dinner at The Waterfront a few weeks ago. I ordered Pecan-Crusted Tilapia and my husband had Sesame Ahi Tuna. Both were good. I think there may have been a pasta dish on the menu. Their desserts were delicious. And the service was superb.
We went to Fayze's for dinner one night as well. I thought it was just okay. But their muffins are very tasty. Breakfast is very crowded.
I love La Crosse! I used to live there for many years and I second the recommendation for breakfast/lunch at Fayze's. I served there during college and can account that it is scratch cooking and it is unbelievable. You can't go wrong with any of their egg breakfasts and amazing hashbrowns. For lunch, you have to try the quesadillas and the Monterey Chicken Sandwich. As for dinner, I agree that Kate's on State is good food if you want a cozy and quaint atmosphere. If you'd like more of a special occasion dinner, the place to go is Piggy's. Wine, steaks, barbecue, seafood, delicious.
Unfortunately, not all restaurants are smoke-free. People can smoke in the bar at Edwardo's. And I am not a big fan of their food.
Kate's on State is the place to go for Italian. Other good food down by the river--Piggy's (blues lounge/bbq-ish food on the main level, a bit more upscale upstairs), Waterfront (upscale for La Crosse--menu changes, etc.), and Freighthouse (steaks and seafood). (Freighthouse might allow smoking at the bar.) Nell's City Grille has opened in the former City Brewery Bier Stube, and the food is delicious. Only open certain nights--Thursday thru Sunday, I believe.
Tradition's in Onalaska is probably the most upscale dining in La Crosse. The food is delicious. The portions are relatively small and expensive, but it's all done very well. Neat atmosphere, great food, great service.
All other restaurants that I mentioned are smoke-free unless otherwise noted.
I was trolling for La Crosse suggestiions this weekend, too. Went to Edwardo's last night. Great service, cheery atmosphere. The food? Did I mention the cheery atmosphere? Two-for-one drinks from 4-6 p.m. The dough just isn't what should be used for wood-fired ovens, but I guess some concessions have to be made. Found some serviceable Laotian/Hmong food at Hmong Golden Egg Roll, on State Street. Great broth and dumplings. Should have tried the whole fried trout.
I'd recommend Kate's on State, 1810 State Street across from the UW La Cross. They have pasta dishes and it is primarily Italian in menu.
Also, Edwardo's Pizza Wagon at 1930 Rose St. offers some pretty good wood-fired pizzas. Despite the sound of the name it is a sit down restaurant with a full menu.
For breakfast, Fayze's is my favorite downtown on 4th St. Full menu for lunch and dinner also at value pricing.