Wisconsin Culinary-Cheese Plate
© The Coopers Tavern


With a wealth of restaurant options and the recent ranking as a Foodie Paradise, there is no shortage of culinary experiences to discover when you visit Madison, Wisconsin.

Wisconsin is known for its farm-to-table philosophy, and many restaurants focus on maximizing relationships with local growers to ensure fresh, seasonal items on their menus. Graze is home to local, seasonal and organic ingredients raised by the region's farmers, right in the heart of downtown Madison. Heritage Tavern blends Wisconsin's finest ingredients with global inspiration, culinary excellence, and expertly-crafted cocktails and Merchant is a casual, farm-to-table restaurant and craft cocktail bar.

Of course, you can always create your own locally grown meals by visiting vendors at the Dane County Farmers' Market, best known for its Saturday-morning appearance on the Capitol Square through November. Or sample as many menus as you can in one day when you try Madison Food Explorers or Madison Eats neighborhood food tours.

For local favorites, try Dotty Dumpling's Dowry, established in 1969 and voted "best hamburger" in Madison for more than 30 years. Italian food lovers should visit Lombardino's, a Madison tradition since 1954, and rated as one of the best Italian restaurants in the state. The Club Tavern opened its doors in the 1880s and is one of the oldest taverns in Wisconsin. And Delaney's Charcoal Steaks is a classic steak house serving award-winning food since 1973.

You'll soon learn that Madison's flair for locally inspired fare goes beyond to breweries, wineries and spirits as well. This is part of Wisconsin's heritage, and you'll find award-winning options in all directions. New Glarus Brewing Company is one of the area's favorite microbreweries and the Wisconsin Brewing Company in Verona hosts free tours. If wine is on your mind, visit Fisher King Winery in nearby Mount Horeb. The winery offers tours and tastings of their sweet whites and dry reds.