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Oct 19, 2009 07:51 AM

Lake Geneva, WI restaurants??

I need some first hand knowledge on some of the restaurants in the Lake Geneva, WI area. We will be driving from Minneapolis to meet some Chicago friends and staying at the Grand Geneva resort next weekend. We're looking for a couple of good restaurants for Friday and Saturday evening. They've been there before and been to Gilbert's a couple times with one fantastic meal and one below average email. We could do the Geneva Chophouse at the hotel but I've always thought the Chophouse chain was good but very overpriced (I've been to the Milwaukee Chophouse and the Bloomington Chophouse). A new place that we haven't seen anything on is the Sopra Bistro. The menu looks good and they have a great craft beer list which is a big plus. Has anybody tried BJ Wentker's in Burlington?


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  1. SWMSPfoodie, I've lived in this area almost my entire life and my DH and I enjoy eating out so I'm about as first-hand as you can find :-). In general, we do not go to the restaurants at the various resorts. Not a slam against the chefs there, most of whom have extensive professional training; it's just we feel there are better dining experiences and atmospheres to be found away from the tourist magnets.

    I'm assuming you are looking for fine dining since you mentioned Gilbert's?

    Sopra Bistro is pretty new and hasn't developed any significant local buzz yet.

    BJ Wentker's is excellent. We've eaten there a few times. Fine dining in a very historical setting (old triangle tavern building with its big wooden bar, which sometimes can mean a crowded dining room). Howevever, many roads to Burlington are still under construction and you should check at the hotel to confirm the best available route.

    Kirsch's at the French Country Inn is another good one for fine dining in a charming setting. We haven't eaten there since the chef changed (nothing personal, just haven't gotten around to it yet), but I still hear good things.

    I have never had a bad meal at Gilbert's. It is divine, and everyone should experience it at least once. Also, the setting is beautiful - the old mansion on the lakefront has retained many of the ornate features, including the original fireplaces. See if they will let you tour the upstairs, too.

    In Williams Bay, Cafe Calarami for Italian and a nice experience.

    Back in Lake Geneva, Tempura House is a block north of Main Street. My DH likes it for sushi.

    For breakfast, take a drive over to County O in Delavan and go to Millie's.

    For something to take home with you, go to the Lake Geneva Pie Company. They have won blue ribbons in the National Pie Championships the last two years. The natural apple (no sugar added) is outstanding.

    6 Replies
    1. re: shaja

      Updating to say that there is a story in the local paper tonight re Gilbert's. It seems that the restaurant is going to be sold in a sheriff's auction. A shame.

      1. re: shaja

        We drove by Gilbert's last weekend and it was dark so we assumed they must be closed or closing. We ended up eating dinner at Sopra Bistro on Saturday night and it was OK. The food itself was good but seemed to be lacking flavor and the right seasoning. The service was very underwhelming (very slow on bring out drinks, never refilling water glasses, forgetting to bring out dessert menus until we asked). For some reason we also ate at Popeyes for lunch one day and I must say it was not very good. The meats were overly wet nor did they seem to be done to the right temperature. Anyways, the Lake Geneva area is gorgeous and the Grand Geneva resort is a wonderful place to stay.

        724 W Main St, Lake Geneva, WI 53147

        Grand Geneva Resort
        PO Box 130, Lake Geneva, WI 53147

        1. re: SWMSPfoodie

          Glad to hear you had a nice visit. The fall is a beautiful time here. Popeyes can be hit or miss; I was there last week for lunch and my BBQ pulled pork sandwich was perfect, but the ice tea tasted like instant.

          If you ever come back to the Lake Geneva area, go around the lake to Fontana and have lunch at Gordy's. Fontana is the "quiet" side of the lake, mostly residential and summer homes. Gordy's is literally steps from the water's edge so you'll get that gorgeous view. You'll also get some excellent sandwiches, salads and wraps in a more subdued nautical setting than Popeye's decor, including hardwood floors. They are especially known for their creamy chicken tortilla soup with just the right amount of spice (I'm not a big spicy foods fan, so I just get a cup but that's just right.) My DH likes their calamari.

          Okay, here is a locals' secret. Best place for a sandwich in Lake Geneva is not in a charming old mansion, not gourmet, not for food snobs, not on the lakefront, and has a rather functional view of the Piggly Wiggly parking lot. But, if you want tasty and good, go to Claw's.

      2. re: shaja

        My elderly mom wants to go to the Strawberry Restaurant in Lake Geneva. I googled it but didn't come up w/ anything. Do you know of a restaurant that she might be thinking of?

        1. re: cricket1001

          There's a place called Strawberry Fields, but it's not a restaurant. The LG Pie Company has a strawberry pie. Outside of LG, there's an orchard in Elkhorn where you can pick your own strawberries. Other than that, I'm drawing a blank, sorry.


          1. re: shaja

            cricket1001, we think we have it figured out. It may be she is thinking of the Red Geranium restaurant. Its logo kind of looks like upside-down strawberries. I've eaten there a few times, and it's very good. Often overlooked between the touristy stuff downtown and the finer dining places at the resorts.