What are the best restaurants in Madison?

If you want to find the best restaurants in Madison, follow the best chef. Tory Miller won the James Beard Foundation’s prestigious “Best Chef: Midwest” award in 2012 and now owns four restaurants in Madison, each focused on locally sourced cuisine.

L'Etoile. A staple for upscale dining since 1976, L’Etoile continues to feature the best farm-fresh ingredients and creative dishes since chef Miller took the helm in 2005. Try the seven-course chef’s tasting menu if you’re hungry and adventurous.

Graze. Miller partnered with Dianne Christensen for this gastropub that sources most of its ingredients from small farms in Wisconsin and showcases these fresh flavors on a diverse menu of classic dishes that have been amped up (see: burger on an English muffin). The weekend brunch is a standout at this casual spot.

Estrellón. Spanish-influenced small plates and rich mahogany woodwork promote a cozy, shared dining experience at this downtown restaurant. This is Miller’s newest venture.

Tornado Steak House. A classic, upscale steak house that feels more like a relaxed supper club. This spot caters to carnivores of all types. Tornado also offers a late-night menu every night from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. in its bar/lounge.

  • On February 20
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What is the best way to see Madison in one day?

    Madison is an extremely bike-friendly place, so it’s encouraged to explore the city on two wheels. Rent a B-Cycle (only $6 for a day pass) and you can cover some serious ground. Download the app to find the 40 drop-off/pick-up locations around town.

    If you're staying downtown, start at the capitol building and check out the impressive Overture Center for the Arts, cruise down State Street and end up at Memorial Union Terrace to relax and gaze at beautiful Lake Mendota.

    Or, if you are a nature lover, take your bike up to these spots on the northeast end of Lake Monona — Aldo Leopold Nature Center, Olbrich Botanical Gardens or Tenney Park — to see the city in all its natural splendor.
  • On February 20
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What is the best way to see Madison in one day?

    Madison is an extremely bike-friendly place, so it’s encouraged to explore the city on two wheels. Rent a B-Cycle (only $6 for a day pass) and you can cover some serious ground. Download the app to find the 40 drop-off/pick-up locations around town.

    If you're staying downtown, start at the capitol building and check out the impressive Overture Center for the Arts, cruise down State Street and end up at Memorial Union Terrace to relax and gaze at beautiful Lake Mendota.

    Or, if you are a nature lover, take your bike up to these spots on the northeast end of Lake Monona — Aldo Leopold Nature Center, Olbrich Botanical Gardens or Tenney Park — to see the city in all its natural splendor.
  • On February 20
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What is the best way to see Madison in one day?

    Madison is an extremely bike-friendly place, so it’s encouraged to explore the city on two wheels. Rent a B-Cycle (only $6 for a day pass) and you can cover some serious ground. Download the app to find the 40 drop-off/pick-up locations around town.

    If you're staying downtown, start at the capitol building and check out the impressive Overture Center for the Arts, cruise down State Street and end up at Memorial Union Terrace to relax and gaze at beautiful Lake Mendota.

    Or, if you are a nature lover, take your bike up to these spots on the northeast end of Lake Monona — Aldo Leopold Nature Center, Olbrich Botanical Gardens or Tenney Park — to see the city in all its natural splendor.
  • On February 20
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What is the best way to see Madison in one day?

    Madison is an extremely bike-friendly place, so it’s encouraged to explore the city on two wheels. Rent a B-Cycle (only $6 for a day pass) and you can cover some serious ground. Download the app to find the 40 drop-off/pick-up locations around town.

    If you're staying downtown, start at the capitol building and check out the impressive Overture Center for the Arts, cruise down State Street and end up at Memorial Union Terrace to relax and gaze at beautiful Lake Mendota.

    Or, if you are a nature lover, take your bike up to these spots on the northeast end of Lake Monona — Aldo Leopold Nature Center, Olbrich Botanical Gardens or Tenney Park — to see the city in all its natural splendor.
  • On February 20
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    When is the best time to visit Madison?

    September is always the best time to visit Madison. The weather is consistently mild, with temperatures ranging from 65 to 78 degrees. School is back in session, so the streets are abuzz with rowdy coeds — the decibels go up even more if the Badgers have a home football game slated during your stay. And if you’re really lucky, you might just catch a few leaves changing colors, too.

    Some may be hesitant to travel to the city during the harsh winter, but Madison proves to be a good cold-weather escape, too. Come during the winter to partake in ice fishing, ice skating, skiing and snowshoeing by candlelight.
  • On February 20
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    When is the best time to visit Madison?

    September is always the best time to visit Madison. The weather is consistently mild, with temperatures ranging from 65 to 78 degrees. School is back in session, so the streets are abuzz with rowdy coeds — the decibels go up even more if the Badgers have a home football game slated during your stay. And if you’re really lucky, you might just catch a few leaves changing colors, too.

    Some may be hesitant to travel to the city during the harsh winter, but Madison proves to be a good cold-weather escape, too. Come during the winter to partake in ice fishing, ice skating, skiing and snowshoeing by candlelight.
  • On February 20
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    When is the best time to visit Madison?

    September is always the best time to visit Madison. The weather is consistently mild, with temperatures ranging from 65 to 78 degrees. School is back in session, so the streets are abuzz with rowdy coeds — the decibels go up even more if the Badgers have a home football game slated during your stay. And if you’re really lucky, you might just catch a few leaves changing colors, too.

    Some may be hesitant to travel to the city during the harsh winter, but Madison proves to be a good cold-weather escape, too. Come during the winter to partake in ice fishing, ice skating, skiing and snowshoeing by candlelight.
  • On February 20
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    Where are the best places to stay in Madison?

    If you’re in need of a hotel in Madison, check into one of these places:

    The Edgewater. This local treasure opened in 1948 but unveiled a more modern look in 2014 that now flaunts amenities like a spa, fine-dining options and even a plaza that converts to an  ice rink open to the community in the winter. It occupies a scenic spot along Lake Mendota, which means you get beautiful views.

    Graduate Madison. If you’re feeling nostalgic for your college days, check out this fun spot sitting a block from the University of Wisconsin campus. While the helpful staff ensures that you make the most of your stay in Madtown, the property’s funky décor takes you back to sophomore year in school — but with added comforts, of course.

    HotelRed. If you’re in town for a Badgers football game, this hotel at Monroe and Regent streets puts you just a short walk from famed Camp Randall Stadium. The hip boutique hotel that’s in the heart of it all has a sleek, modern vibe.
  • On February 20
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    Where are the best places to stay in Madison?

    If you’re in need of a hotel in Madison, check into one of these places:

    The Edgewater. This local treasure opened in 1948 but unveiled a more modern look in 2014 that now flaunts amenities like a spa, fine-dining options and even a plaza that converts to an  ice rink open to the community in the winter. It occupies a scenic spot along Lake Mendota, which means you get beautiful views.

    Graduate Madison. If you’re feeling nostalgic for your college days, check out this fun spot sitting a block from the University of Wisconsin campus. While the helpful staff ensures that you make the most of your stay in Madtown, the property’s funky décor takes you back to sophomore year in school — but with added comforts, of course.

    HotelRed. If you’re in town for a Badgers football game, this hotel at Monroe and Regent streets puts you just a short walk from famed Camp Randall Stadium. The hip boutique hotel that’s in the heart of it all has a sleek, modern vibe.
  • On February 20
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    Where are the best places to stay in Madison?

    If you’re in need of a hotel in Madison, check into one of these places:

    The Edgewater. This local treasure opened in 1948 but unveiled a more modern look in 2014 that now flaunts amenities like a spa, fine-dining options and even a plaza that converts to an  ice rink open to the community in the winter. It occupies a scenic spot along Lake Mendota, which means you get beautiful views.

    Graduate Madison. If you’re feeling nostalgic for your college days, check out this fun spot sitting a block from the University of Wisconsin campus. While the helpful staff ensures that you make the most of your stay in Madtown, the property’s funky décor takes you back to sophomore year in school — but with added comforts, of course.

    HotelRed. If you’re in town for a Badgers football game, this hotel at Monroe and Regent streets puts you just a short walk from famed Camp Randall Stadium. The hip boutique hotel that’s in the heart of it all has a sleek, modern vibe.
  • On February 20
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    Where are the best places to stay in Madison?

    If you’re in need of a hotel in Madison, check into one of these places:

    The Edgewater. This local treasure opened in 1948 but unveiled a more modern look in 2014 that now flaunts amenities like a spa, fine-dining options and even a plaza that converts to an  ice rink open to the community in the winter. It occupies a scenic spot along Lake Mendota, which means you get beautiful views.

    Graduate Madison. If you’re feeling nostalgic for your college days, check out this fun spot sitting a block from the University of Wisconsin campus. While the helpful staff ensures that you make the most of your stay in Madtown, the property’s funky décor takes you back to sophomore year in school — but with added comforts, of course.

    HotelRed. If you’re in town for a Badgers football game, this hotel at Monroe and Regent streets puts you just a short walk from famed Camp Randall Stadium. The hip boutique hotel that’s in the heart of it all has a sleek, modern vibe.
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