Sandwiches with a side of 90s nostalgia. Chicken and donuts in a former auto shop. A young Fred Durst. Gluten free pastries. 

Madison’s freshman class of restaurants brings fresh flavor inspiration from across the world, while also tugging on our Midwest heart strings. Rarely does a set of restaurants appeal to ~literally~ everyone, but we think these newcomers offer a little but of everything from A(mara) to Z(ippy Lube). These seven spots are sure to make many people’s lists of best places to eat in Madison, WI.



From the owners of Downtown favorite Lucille, Amara has brought contemporary coastal Italian cuisine to Hilldale. With a bar that dazzles and a sleek seating aesthetic, Amara is a great spot to treat yourself.Pro tip: Check out the Apertivo Happy Hour daily from 2 to 6 p.m. for great small bites and drinks at excellent prices

What we’re excited to try:

Fried Baby Mozzarella + Lemon Mint No-jito

Explore the menu here.

@destinationmadison Coastal Italian food 🤝 Madison, Wisconsin 🥰🍹🍋🥖 #madisonwi #madison #italianfood #wisconsin #madisonwisconsin #travel #food #foodie #foodtok #newrestaurant ♬ Life - Ben Lam

Hot Lunch

How does eating a sandwich while watching the Goofy Movie sound? How about house-made grape and orange sodas? Hot Lunch serves hand-crafted sandwiches with a heaping side of 90s nostalgia.

The 90s theme is front and center from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle arcade game to the complimentary side of fruit snacks served with every meal.  Pro tip: The chocolate chip cookie is out of this world. 

What we’re excited to try:

Meatball Sandwich + House-Made Orange Soda

Find specials and more here.

@destinationmadison Skateboards. Orange soda. Fruit snacks. Hot Lunch is like stepping into a delicious time machine. 😎🍪🛼🎳 #madisonwi #wisconsin #madison #travel #food #foodie #foodtok #90sthrowback #90skids ♬ Throw-Back - 90s Electronic Dance Pop - Sarah_Reynolds_Music


Turn Key Madison

Turn Key is where elevated Wisconsin classics meet the only deck shuffleboard court in Madison. Located along the innovative East Washington Avenue corridor, Turn Key serves dinner and Sunday brunch in an historic building dating back to 1885. The building was first home to Fuller & Johnson Manufacturing Co. and later housed Fyfe's Corner Bistro, then Pasqual's Cantina. 

You won't want to deprive yourself of something fun to drink while here. The cocktails are thoughtfully crafted and matched with an equally incredible NA mocktail menu.

Pro tip: Head over to Turn Key after 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays for steak sandwiches AND a 10% discount for those who work in the service industry. 

What we’re excited to try:

Friday-Only Fish Fry + Godzilla vs. Grasshopper

Discover your favorite menu items here.


Zippy Lube Coffee and Donuts

When you hear dynamic duo, things like PB&J, Sonny and Cher, and pork chops and applesauce come to mind. Zippy Lube is here to show you why fried chicken and donuts belong among the ranks of such icons. 

Zippy Lube brings together local favorites like the coffee you can find at Lazy Jane's on Willy Street and friend donuts formerly found at the Dane County Farmers' Market in an 80s-inspired interior on Madison's blooming north side. 

What we are excited to try:

Veggie Sausage Breakfast Sandwich (served on a hot donut, of course)

Make your brunch plans here.


Northstreet Restaurant Collective

Northstreet Collective combines three things Madison does better than most: Coffee, baked goods and beer. It's accomplished through a collaboration of three Madison icons: Bloom Bake Shop, Cafe Domestique and Young Blood Beer Co

The collective is wrapped in a beautiful mid-century modern aesthetic and features a bold new mural from local artist Henrique Nardi (@tipocracia) that warmly welcomes you to the space.

What we’re excited to try:

Bloom's Morning Bun + Cafe Domestique's rotating specialty latte + Young Blood's 'A Young Friend Durst' 

Scout out your next remote workspace spot here.

@destinationmadison Baked goods and brews, all in one mid-century modern space. #northstreet #bakery #coffeeshop #madisonwisconsin #food #wisconsin #travel ♬ original sound - yelenabelovasnewvest🍉🍒🥝


La Pollera Colombiana

All the flavors of traditional Colombian cuisine are available right on Madison's east side (and served with a tiny Colombian flag on top). You can experience authentic Colombian culture on nights when La Pollera brings in live Colombian music and other entertainment.

Pro tip: Make sure to get a picture in front of the neon pink "Que Chimba Parce!" sign, meaning "what cool friends." 

What we’re excited to try:

Picada Colombiana + Micheleda

Make your next date night plans here.


Good Co. Pioneer Pointe

What do a golf simulator, gold course, and a restaurant have in common? Whatever your answer, Good Co. flips it upside down. Good Co. describes itself as a "unique contemporary golf experience," which comes through in its food and drink offerings.

The menu offers a range of elevated classics but stands out in its fun plays on pop culture. Good Co.'s calzone lunch special menu offers up a nod to everyone's favorite "Parks and Recreation" Ice Clown with "The Wyatt" calzone. On the drink menu, Good Co. shows it's in its Swiftie era with drinks like "Anti-Hero" and "Karma."

What we’re excited to try:

Put it on the Underhills sandwich + Toffee Pudding

Get all the menu inspiration here.


*COMING SOON* Draper Brothers Chophouse

A new fine dining experience is coming to Capitol Square in Spring 2023. Draper Brothers promises an upscale Italian steakhouse experience in the former House of Wisconsin Cheese and Blue Marlin building on Hamilton Street. 

What we’re excited to try:

Menu TBA. 😎

Treat yourself here.