Red Circle Inn & Bistro

Red Circle Inn & Bistro

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://redcircleinn.com/
  • Phone: (262) 367-4883
  • Hours of Operation:
    Dinner: Tuesday - Friday: 4:30pm - 9:00pm, Saturday: 5:00pm - 9:30pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Steak, Contemporary American
  • Executive Chef: Jim Brown
  • Dress Code: Business Casual
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Entertainment, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking Area, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Private Room, Wheelchair Access, Wine, Wine Bar
  • Private Party Facilities: Large receptions and banquets for 240 seated guests or 350 for culinary station events. Various private dining rooms available as follows: Garden Room w/bar up to 240 guests w/dance floor 175. Patio Room w/bar and grand fireplace up to 120 guests w/dance floor 100. Green Room up to 28 guests Red Circle Inn Room up to 14 guests
  • Private Party Contact: Norm Eckstaedt 2623674883
  • Entertainment: Tuesday evening Jazz Duo in the bar/lounge area as well as a lounge singer on Wednesday evenings. Contact us for other performers featured during the week.

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Watertown Plank Road
  • Parking: Private Lot
  • Parking Details: Generous private parking lots adjacent to the building as well as immediately across the street. Additional on street parking in-front of restaurant.
A word from Red Circle Inn & Bistro
Nestled in the heart of "Lake Country" just 30 minutes west of downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin's Oldest Restaurant continues its 163 year storied tradition of fine cuisine and hospitality. Be it a fresh fillet of fish or seafood, an in-house center-cut butchered steak, prime veal or creative Bistro "Small Plates" at our bar, your table and our fine cuisine is waiting. Spirits, assorted brews, wine by the bottle and over 25 by the glass from sparklers to big reds with insured freshness due to our special wine system, await your selection. Be it an intimate table of two, a private dinner for 10 or a grand event for 250, please join us at our critically acclaimed Inn.
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerSpecial Occasion
  • Diners' Choice WinnerContemporary American
Red Circle Inn & Bistro reviews from OpenTable diners
23 reviews since July 27, 2014
Overall Rating4.7
  • Food4.5
    Service4.6
  • Ambiance4.5
    Noise LevelModerate
100% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
special occasion (18)fit for foodies (13)romantic (10)neighborhood gem (10)notable wine list (8)good for groups (5)vibrant bar scene (2)kid-friendly (1)hot spot (1)Show More
  • Never disappointed!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 11/1/2014
    I have experience Red Circle Inn on several occasions and am ALWAYS pleased with everything! We celebrated a dear friends birthday and we had a wonderful time! Started at the bar with a great cocktail that was accompanied by cheese and crackers (complimentary). My friend had the veal porterhouse and I had the lamb, both were cooked to perfection. We also both had the Grand Marnier Souffle which was melt in your mouth spectacular!! The atmosphere was quiet and though the restaurant was full and a wedding was going on upstairs, my friend and I were able to truly enjoy hours of talking and you wouldn't know all that was going on! This place is a gem!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Absolutely perfect!!
    jewelz
    Dined on 11/1/2014
    This is my husband and my favorite restaurant and each time we go, I don't know how they do it - but it just gets better! Everything was absolutely perfect!!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • For the love of lamb
    Duke19371VIP
    Dined on 10/24/2014
    This is my second time at Red Circle and I was hosting a birthday supper. From beginning to end outstanding drinks, food, service were the norm. The rack of lamb, not seen on too many menus lately, was the best I have ever had bar none. My drive was thirty miles to this country inn, but I would not hesitate to drive twice the distance for a special occasion.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Wonderful surprise
    LB1234
    Dined on 10/11/2014
    We kind of stumbled across this place while on a fall color tour. Apparently this is the oldest restaurant in Wisconsin. Anyway, To start--warm rolls--always a good sign! Fab wine selection. My prime rib was honestly the best I had ever had. We ordered our souffle as our entree was served, so that they were ready when we were ready. A perfect, light way ti end the meal! Service was attentive without being intrusive. Highly recommended.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Drowned in sauce
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 10/10/2014
    I ordered walleye with a lemon/caper sauce. The sauce was a very off-putting brown/green color. I scraped it off to find my whole platter drowning in butter. Good fish from a good restaurant should not need to be hid in what must have been at least a 1/3 cup of melted butter. When I commented on this fact, our server replied that I should have ordered the sauce on the side and walked away. The fish was so greasy from all the butter that it was inedible. My husband would not even eat it. However, he did enjoy his Beef Wellington. We also elected to have the french onion soup and not the "soup de jour" which came with the meal. We were charged the full price of the soup, not the price difference between the two. We will not be back
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • spring2
    Dined on 9/23/2014
    Enjoyed the evening once our waiter realized we were there.
    Special Features:
    notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • saturday aug 14
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 8/16/2014
    I had the halibut, my wife had the rack of lamb. The halibut was tasty but the sauce was bland the lamb was burned black on the outside, the meat was medium overall, it was uninspiring for a top restaurant. The lamb should not have been brought to the table.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Georgie
    Dined on 8/12/2014
    Consistently a great dining experience; excellent food, atmosphere, and service; highly recommended.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great dining in Oconomowoc area
    Johnny3VIP
    Dined on 7/28/2014
    Had a small group in from out of town on Monday night and had a wonderful meal. The Osso Bucco special was outstanding as was the walleye and soufflé for dessert. Notable wine list too. The service was attentive and very friendly. Highly recommended!
    Special Features:
    notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 14 ratings-only reviews submitted since July 27, 2014
    • Overall Rating4.8
    • Food4.6
    • Ambiance4.5
    • Service4.7
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 146 reviews are from the Red Circle Inn & Bistro reviews archive.
  • Fine dinner!
    historydoc
    Dined on 7/26/2014
    My wife and I had dinner at the Circle on 26 July 2014. We made our reservation on OpenTable. All was in order as we arrived. The waiter and wait staff was very attentive. My fish (walleye) and my wife's scallops were excellent. Dessert was one of the Circle's famous souffles. Two people, two glasses of wine, two of the evening's specials, one dessert (which we split) and tip, and our bill was about $110. Top notch! The one drawback is that all of the two-person tables are in a row, placed very closely together. A private conversation is difficult to have. My family has been going to the Circle since the 1940s. Owners have changed over the years, but the quality remains! I highly recommend!
    Special Features:
    special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Love the experience
    foodjunkie74
    Dined on 7/19/2014
    The restaurant is a great place to unwind and enjoy incredible food. The staff is excellent. The dinners were fantastic! Only reason the food did not get 5 stars was one of the desserts was not prepared properly. But they took it off the bill with no hesitation. Will be back for sure.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Five Stars Aren't Enough!
    Laura
    Dined on 7/12/2014
    I can't say enough about this place. Everything was perfect from the moment we walked in the door until we ate our last bite of dessert. The food was just awesome, and the service was impeccable. Every employee we encountered was polite, friendly, kind and just plain nice. My husband and I dine out quiet often and have exposure to many restaurants in the metro Milwaukee area. This is hands down my favorite place to go!
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Nice
    Grandmaster
    Dined on 6/26/2014
    Historic but nicely appointed. Primarily American faire with a pseudo French influence, such as salad d'maision, soufflé, pate, etc., resulting in excelling in neither. However, was passable. Staff was friendly, perky, and attentive.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Wonderful dining experience
    diner8761
    Dined on 6/14/2014
    The Red Circle Inn is a treasure with outstanding food and a unique, historic atmosphere. I would highly recommend this restaurant to anyone. On a scale of 1 to 10, my husband said he would give it an 11. We loved learning about the history of this restaurant as the oldest restaurant in Wisconsin. Our meals were great. We'll definitely be back!
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Oldest Restaurant in Wisconsin
    Jewels
    Dined on 5/30/2014
    It may be the oldest restaurant in Wisconsin but it has been updated and is lovely. Our bartender prepared a terrific brandy old-fashioned sweet and our party of six was seated promptly when the rest of group arrived. Our waitress was attentive and patient. Good selection of fish, including a number of specials. A lovely evening with family.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Mother's Day Treat
    go2munch
    Dined on 5/11/2014
    Only open at night except for special occasion sit-down and order brunch with choice of 6 to 8 items in each of 3 courses. Food was excellent, but my 1st choice of medium-rare prime rib came out medium-well. In all fairness, our reservation was the latest time available, 1 PM. I had asked if they still had medium-rare, and was told yes, but perhaps by the time we'd had our wine and first course, it was no longer true. They readily replaced it with my second choice, grilled salmon, which was wonderful. We were seated close to the kitchen door, which interfered with the ambience. Lovely restored building, remodeled while preserving many of the original features and feel. Oldest continuously operating restaurant in Wisconsin.
    Special Features:
    special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • CONTINUES TO BE A GREAT PLACE
    beensolong
    Dined on 5/9/2014
    It has been over 2 years since my wife passed away. I went there with a friend and she was very impressed, as was I after all of this time. Hope to be there more frequently.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Couldn't Get Enough
    Meller
    Dined on 5/3/2014
    My husband and I had a night out away from the kids. We had been to the Red Circle Inn about 2 months before for a wedding. We had loved the food at the dinner that we would come back. The food and the service was exceptional if not more then our first visit. We enjoyed the flavor of the maple in the Old Fashions as we had mouth watering scallops. My husband had a filet while I had St. Peter fish. We ate everything including the sides that are usually left behind! We left with full stomachs and smiles on our faces. We'll be back!
    Special Features:
    Fit For Foodies, special occasion, Late-Night Find, Neighborhood Gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • LOVE the Red Circle
    annto
    Dined on 5/3/2014
    Tried and true but with wonderful updates in recent years. The veal here is the best!
    Special Features:
    Fit For Foodies, special occasion, Neighborhood Gem, Vibrant Bar Scene, Notable Wine List
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Exceptional Dinner!!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 4/26/2014
    All 4 of us ordered different dinner entrees and we all raved on the quality, presentation and the entire dining experience. We were not rushed, enjoyed the evening, including the wine/cocktails available as well. Highly Recommend!
    Special Features:
    special occasion, Late-Night Find, Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Local dinner
    Julata
    Dined on 4/25/2014
    Truly enjoyed our excellent food and dinner company. My husband was still talking about his excellent fish dish the following day. Service was very good. Very good wine selection. Updated interior very comfortable yet modern. Highly recommend making it my regular local place or a destination night out restaurant.
    Special Features:
    Great for Brunch, Fit For Foodies, Great for Outdoor Dining, Romantic, Neighborhood Gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • One of the finest in SE Wisconsin
    notnagging
    Dined on 4/25/2014
    We are long time fans of the Red Circle. Norm and his staff provide an outstanding dining experience. The renovated bar area is warm and friendly, small plate menu adds many options for those who do not wish to have a large meal...they serve a great drink and are always friendly and attentive. It remains our number One favorite restaurant for a casual meal or special occasion. If you have not been there recently , do yourself a favor and stop by.....
    Special Features:
    Fit For Foodies, Romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great Place
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 4/18/2014
    I have eaten here several times and have never been disappointed.
    Special Features:
    Fit For Foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Absolutely wonderful
    jlpdpt12
    Dined on 4/5/2014
    Ambience, service, friendlessness and food were all top notch. This restaurant will definetly remain on our favorite list
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, notable wine list, romantic, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Memorable Dining Experience
    HappyDiner
    Dined on 3/15/2014
    This was our first visit to the Red Circle Inn, and we would go back in a heartbeat. The wine they were featuring that evening was from a winery that my husband and I had visited in Sonoma. It brought back wonderful memories of a previous trip. Our food was delicious! Everything from the soup to the soufflé was expertly prepared. My only complaint would be the seating. We did feel very close to our fellow diners, and the people next to us had to move their table so that I could get out to use the restroom.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Wisconsin & Lake Country Treasure
    OpenTable Diner Since 2005VIP
    Dined on 3/12/2014
    Owners Martha & Norm treat every customer like family. Chef Jim is a fantastic talent. The food is always perfectly prepared and well presented, We come here often. The bar is fun and the bar food receives the same attention as the dining room.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, vibrant bar scene, great for brunch, notable wine list, romantic, neighborhood gem, hot spot, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Very special
    Frank
    Dined on 3/3/2014
    The Red Circle Inn gets better every time we go. The menu is interesting and is always changing. Service is wonderful and the food is fantastic. We save the dinning room for special occasiond but really like the Bistro for the mid-week pick me up.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, notable wine list, romantic, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Always great!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 2/27/2014
    As always the food was great and the service was exceptional.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Always wonderful
    lsouthwe
    Dined on 2/22/2014
    We've never been disappointed. The specials are fabulous but the main menu is reliable excellent! Great place for a date or a big group. Fancy ambiance with a casual feel.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, romantic, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • We dined with six, very pleasant
    z524
    Dined on 2/22/2014
    We dined with six, very pleasant able to talk over a wonderful dinner. Only disappointment was four of us ordered the rack of lamb and they only had three left. It was excellent.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great experience all around.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 2/15/2014
    Great experience all around. The gift of a split of Champagne for Valantines was a very nice touch. It was a very busy night but everything was handled great expertise.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Anniversary Dinner on Sat. 2/15
    AnnvD8
    Dined on 2/15/2014
    Went back to the Red Circle for an anniversary dinner. Were married there in 1992. The restaurant is a iconic place to visit as it is the oldest restaurant in Wisconsin. The food and service was stellar as usual. The Bar was a good time for after dinner. The dinning room must of just been remodeled recently. Were there in 2013, and it still had quaint tables for a nice dinning experience. We were sat in like a booth setting, and had another 2 couples sat on each side of us. Not really a good intimate setting. We did strike up a conversation with one of the couples, and they were very friendly. We both were looking for more of a quite setting to reminisce.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Nice
    sadie
    Dined on 2/14/2014
    This was our first visit. We enjoyed ourselves but didn't care for the seating, small tables close together in a row up to a bench seat. This was not what we had in mind for a valentine's day dinner. The food was good but my husband was luke warm about his steak. I enjoyed my filet. The service was outstanding! We will definitely try again but maybe not on a holiday.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • How could it be better?
    Tgrmoth
    Dined on 2/5/2014
    Having been to the Red Circle more than a few times, it never ceases to impress me that each time is better than the previous. The welcome by Norm is warm and genuine which sets the mood for the pleasure of dining. This time we were there for our youngster's 12th birthday. She was treated like a Princess. Our server was attentive and yet unobtrusive while we were in conversation. Among us we enjoyed a creamy Lobster Bisque, Crab Cakes done very nicely without filler and with a nice dipping sauce, and a Cajun Grouper that was cooked just right. The birthday girl was treated to a complimentary Chocolate Souffle. Wednesday night singer, Dan, engaged us with his talents and song after our perfect meal. We'll be back. What a pure delight.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list, kid-friendly, romantic, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Outstanding Meal
    Veronique
    Dined on 2/4/2014
    Red Circle Inn provided an outstanding meal for myself, boyfriend and friends. The lobster dinner was a huge hit. Thank you for a special evening...
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, vibrant bar scene, romantic, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • There wasn't even one vegetarian
    lp12
    Dined on 2/1/2014
    There wasn't even one vegetarian option and the chef was unwilling to make one with vegetables available.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Ok, but not great
    phfoodie
    Dined on 1/31/2014
    Plan to spend some money here! My husband ordered steak and it was very rare and tough. I ordered chicken and it was ok, but nothing to write home about. I have heard such good things about this restaurant, but I'm not sure I'm convinced enough to go back.
    Special Features:
    notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Always delightful
    LakeCounryDiner
    Dined on 1/18/2014
    We love the Red Circle when we want something special or anytime we want the luxury of an easy, yummy dining experience.The food is delicious, the staff friendly and attentive and the atmosphere is cozy and classy. Going out to eat can be a roll of the dice, but never at the Red Circle. It isn't an accident that it is Wisconsin's oldest restaurant - they just keep surpassing expectations!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Wonderful
    Rick
    Dined on 1/13/2014
    Our Anniversary dinner was absolutely fantastic. Cozy, romantic and unbelievable entrees. The scallops and veal were amazing with great presentation. Definitely will return for a "date night".
    Special Features:
    romantic, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Very charming with solid food Moder
    NytomkeVIP
    Dined on 12/31/2013
    Very charming with solid food Modern interior with a rustic exterior Generally an older clientele Will go back to try the bistro menu
    Special Features:
    notable wine list, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.