Madison: Best Meals of 2016

Is there a better way to round up the first month of the New Year than with a little reminiscing over dishes Madison's full time foodies can't stop thinking about? We don't think so! We reached out to local foodies and eaters and got their favorite meals from local restaurants in 2016. Let the drooling begin!


Karissa B and Laura are just as passionate about Madison's local food scene as we are, so having their top picks features was a must. Check out where these two like to wine and dine!


Talk about one of our favorite brunches! Their “Boozy Brunch” is one to add to your weekend rotation. It feels upscale and classy, yet it's only $25 for two breakfast cocktails, a fresh pastry, entree of choice and bottomless coffee and tea. We recommend the breakfast pizza, you won't want to share. And if you’re like us, you find room to still order dessert!

Date Night at Lucille

We love a good pizza! And choosing between the wood fired and steel pan is tough every time. It has been a favorite spot of ours to dine with visitors and offers a great date night deal on Wednesday (salad, wood fire pizza, pizza cookie and a bottle of sparkling wine for $40)!

Happy Hour at DLUX

A perfect post work, Happy Hour spot. Enjoy their delicious kegged cocktails (our favorite is the margarita) with better than traditional bar food appetizers. The trendy and laid back atmosphere makes even a Monday fun.

New to Madison - Everly

A new must try! We love the welcoming environment in this cute little Monroe street restaurant, and the menu steals the show! The food is fresh, delicious and healthy. Never have vegetables tasted so good.

Follower Favorite - Sujeo

Sujeo offers a creative menu meant for sharing, but so tasty you’ll want it all for yourself. One of our favorite options is the Bibimbap! Served in a stone bowl with your choice of meat (we recommend the pork), you let it cook to your liking. And it makes for a beautiful photo!

Sujhey Beisser, or Five Senses Palate, is a self-described passionate home cook, so we were curious to see which dishes stood out amongst her outstanding (and photogenic) home cooked meals. 

You go to Sal's to eat one of the best pizzas in town, but you should not forgo the starters, they are nothing but spectacular.  I love their creamy fresh burrata cheese served with seasonal vegetables or greens and crunchy crostini. My favorite time a year is the summer when they serve it with fresh berries and greens. The freshness and seasonality of this dish screams summer in every bite. In the winter they serve it with beets a garlic confit and it's equally delicious.

Judy, Judy, Judy Sandwich at Stalzy's Deli

This sandwich combines my three favorite cheeses: gouda, muenster, and cheddar, which makes it already a winner on my list. The house slaw is creamy, so perfect, so messy, and oh so delicious! I love to add a meat, pastrami or corned beef are my two favorites on this sandwich. The fresh bread is the star, you can hear that crunch on your first bite and you know you are in for a real

Cali Salmon at Miko Poke

I had never tried Poke before, then I became addicted to this heavenly bowl of fresh salmon over rice, topped with fresh crunchy vegetables and super flavorful sauces. It is like sushi in a bowl but better! I have been tempted to try the other house favorites or build my own, but I can't talk myself out of ordering the Cali Salmon every time I visit Miko Poke.

Otehlia Cassidy, owner of Madison Eats Food Tours, navigates the city's restaurant scene like a pro. If you're looking to experience Madison one local bite at time, look no further.

"Selecting just a few favorite Madison dishes is like choosing a favorite child. It’s an impossible task. Though their redeeming qualities may differ greatly you love them all the same. My top dishes are the ones that withstand the test of time, leaving me dreaming of them late at night, early in the morning, after a few drinks, or after a few months. They highlight the diversity of great food offerings, local sourced ingredients and talented chefs we have here in Madison." - Otehlia

Roasted Beet Salad at Heritage Tavern

Maybe it’s the creamy macadamia nut butter that gently sweeps across the plate, or the tart pickled pears that flirt with the sweet figs. Regardless, the impeccable mix of those flavors with the roasted beets, greens, goat cheese and a hint of dark chocolate is sheer perfection.

Sweet Potato Fries at Alchemy Cafe

 Sweet Potato Fries, house sliced and twice fried sweet potatoes with tarragon mayo and local jalapeno/blackberry jam.

Sweet Potato Fries, house sliced and twice fried sweet potatoes with tarragon mayo and local jalapeno/blackberry jam.

Imagine this: Two thick pieces of Madison Sourdough bread, smeared with a cilantro pesto sauce, heaped with roasted carrots, tomato and broccoli, red onion and Wisco cheddar, grilled until golden and melty. Yep, I just described a grown-up grilled cheese that perfectly compliments one of Alchemy’s superb adult beverages or tap beers. The sweet potato fries are the best in the city, hand cut , twice cooked, and served with a jalapeno blackberry jam and a housemade aioli.

Monsoon Siam Andaman Noodles

Seafood lovers, this is your dish. Mussels, hearty scallops, large shrimp and squid are quickly pan fried with crunchy red bell pepper and onion, a secret savory sauce, a hint of curry and heat and wide rice noodles, topped with fresh crab.  It’s like comfort food on steroids.

Shoutout to all of our favorite Madison foodies for participating and continually inspiring us to explore Madison's local restaurant scene! Now comes the fun part - eating your way through the list! Happy hankring!

Hungry for more?

Here are a few other popular stories about great food...check them out!

If you work for, run or own a restaurant and want to see your food alongside the above, let us know and we can come by and share a demo of hankr (we have released a bunch of new features over the last couple months...with more to come).

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