Brunch, lunch or dinner. Madison's waterfront spots let you dine with a view. So whether you'd prefer to pull up to a pier. Or reserve a romantic dinner for two. Or just enjoy your bites with a water-born breeze. These lakeside favorites add a punch of "WOW!" to each meal.

The Boathouse at The Edgewater: Waterfront Dining
© SV Heart Photography

© SV Heart Photography



Pier Side Service: Tie up at one of The Edgewater Hotel's 40 slips and enjoy a variety of eateries. Stay lake level for Madison comforts like fish fry, burgers, brats and a selection of craft brews at The Boathouse. Or grab a slice and snacks on the go at The Icehouse.

Meanwhile, on Lake Monona: Paisan’s Restaurant has been a favorite for Italian since the ‘50s. Classic, red-and-white-checked cloths cover the tables dotting the patio, and set the scene for a refreshing Porta Salad, authentic pizzas and pasta dishes. It's a family-friendly favorite of local and visitors alike.

Seafood by the Lakeshore: It’s no secret that Sardine is known for its oyster happy hour, which takes place every day from 4-6 p.m. But its bistro-style dining also features French and American fare for dinner—and brunch on both Saturday and Sunday. All with a stunning view.

Mariner's Inn: Waterfront Dining
© Mariner's Inn

© Mariner's Inn



On the Marina: The Mariner’s Inn is almost as famous for its steaks and seafood as it is for its peaceful place in the marina on the north end of Lake Mendota. You won’t want to miss the sunset view from the patio—or the authentic antiques inside that create this restaurant’s renowned ambiance.

Mom-Approved: Most people have probably perched on the porch at the Nau-ti-Gal, nestled along the Yahara River at the north end of Lake Mendota. This casual dining spot serves lunch, dinner and snacks, but may be most famous for its Mother’s Day brunch and bottomless mimosas.

Aye, Aye: Captain Bill’s, located on Lake Mendota, gets two nods from those in-the-know: this place does both seafood and setting well. Appetizer and entrée menus feature everything from crab cakes to lobster. And on chilly nights? A giant round fireplace awaits for you and your friends.

All Aboard: From April through October you can dine aboard the Betty Lou. The chartered cruise around Lake Mendota or Monona comes complete with a captain, bar and buffet service. All you have to do is enjoy.

Monona Terrace Garden: Waterfront Dining
© Monona Terrace

© Monona Terrace



Top of the Terrace: Are you a Frank Lloyd Wright fan? Then you’ll love the Lake Vista Café at the Monona Terrace. Some say it’s a hidden gem, but being located atop an architectural masterpiece makes it one of Madison’s most visible—and visited—dining destinations.

Comforts of Home: Want even more of the Wright stuff? Head to Spring Green. Wright's famous Taliesin residence, studio, theater and farm is just 20 miles away. Check out the Riverview Spring Green Restaurant at the Frank Lloyd Wright Visitor Center. This inviting restaurant features windows that span the entire length of the building, giving guests an unforgettable view overlooking the scenic Wisconsin River.