Captain Bill's - Middleton

3.6
949 reviews
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$30 and under
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American
Captain Bill's waterfront restaurant features award winning seafood in a rustic, casual and fun waterfront atmosphere. Recently voted “Best Seafood Restaurant” in the Best of Madison poll, Captain Bill's diners rave about the clam chowder, crab cakes and coconut shrimp. Escape to our waterfront deck, enjoy an ice cold beverage, a mound of shrimp and oysters, crab, lobster or our Friday night fish fry. Happy hour in the bar, Monday thru Friday from 4:30pm - 6:00pm (Thursday all night long).
What 949 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
3.6based on recent ratings
3.8
food
3.5
service
3.6
ambience
3.5
value
Noise · Moderate
67% of people would recommend it to a friend
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K
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 2food 2service 1ambience 2

Disappointing meal. Food was ok but service was terrible: slow, inconsistent and no follow up. I’ve enjoyed meals here in other years so brought an international guest for a bit of local ambience. Was embarrassing to say the least.

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OT
1 review
Dined on July 13, 2019
Overall 2food 4service 2ambience 2

Had reservations, and wasn’t ready. Was told we could be fit in when they had a chance. Very short staffed, waited over 25 minutes at the front waiting area before someone even came to talk to us. Almost left. Been here before and it wasn’t this bad. First tome taking the wife and I feel like the whole occasion was big let down. Won’t be going back again.

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OT
Milwaukee
1 review
Dined on July 11, 2019
Overall 2food 5service 1ambience 4

We made a reservation for my bday but staff never mentioned anything when we arrived about the occasion,no bar menu available at the moment,when we done with our drinks waitress never offered another one,we have to be calling her to had refills,she was nice but very distracted anyways I love the place and the food ,my house is around the corner and definitely we going back but I think these details can improve the service.Thanks!

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DM
Milwaukee
11 reviews
Dined on July 11, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 1ambience 2

I made a reservation for the patio for dinner for 3 people, but when we arrived we were told by the hostess that there would be a substantial wait for a table outside. We were then seated inside near the window where we saw many empty tables outside. Then our waitress seemed confused about the beer menu, and we waited until after our meals arrived to receive our simple drink order. The food was mediocre, but high priced. She never asked us if we wanted anything else, for example dessert. All in all, a disappointment.

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DG
1 review
Dined on July 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great place. We we definitely be back. The food and service were perfect, We sat out on the patio.

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N
Milwaukee
6 reviews
Dined on July 10, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

Disappointing is the best word. This place has definitely gone down hill over the years. Staff didn't seem to know what they were doing. Server was very inexperienced and out food was barely warm. The guest we took there said he would not return. Sad because the location is wonderful.

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GL
1 review
Dined on July 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

The food was very good, although a little pricey. They seemed to be having some issues in both the bar and the kitchen. Drinks and food took a quite awhile. We will be back. Love dining out on the deck.

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J
Milwaukee
1 review
Dined on July 9, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 1ambience 2

We had slow indifferent service. We had to get menus for ourselves. The outdoor patio was noisy and the food was nothing special. We are unlikely to return.

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OT
1 review
Dined on July 7, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 5

However, the crab cakes need work. I have had them at many restaurants and all the others were better.

the potatoes were not hot

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G
Chicago
12 reviews
Dined on July 4, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 2

Food great! Service extremely slow!

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JH
1 review
Dined on June 29, 2019
Overall 3food 1service 4ambience 2

Our server was about all that went right. He was great..

We went because of the great recommendations of their coconut shrimp and boy were those recommendations wrong. We spent almost $15 on our coconut shrimp appetizer that included 4 oversized and tough to chew pieces of shrimp. The steak and fish tacos we had for entrees were ok, but not close to the value for what we paid.

We were sat next to a grocery store style sliding door that kept opening and closing throughout our entire meal and could barely hear each other speak over the mixture of music playing indoors annalisa band outdoors.

We had high expectations for this place and feel very disappointed.

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AR
Kansas City
1 review
Dined on June 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

quaint. great service. good food...brought our young grandkids, very nice. loved the view.

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JC
1 review
Dined on June 21, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Must have clam chowder soup every time I go to Captain Bill's! Service and food always fantastic!

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OT
Milwaukee
1 review
Dined on June 15, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 1

We made a reservation on Open Table for 9:30pm, we drove from the opposite side of town, showed up at 9:30pm and the doors were locked and they were closed. The hours stated they closed at 10pm. We called, no answer -We will not go back.

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y
Chicago
11 reviews
Dined on June 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great neighborhood choice. A real value and the view of Lake Mendoza from the porch is a treat on a summer evening. Always good comfort food and the clam chowder is fantastic.

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k
Milwaukee
1 review
Dined on June 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

We love eating outside this time of year, and it was a delightful night.
Coconut Shrimp are wonderful, the lighter fare is enough. Scallops and clam chowder also good!

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JB
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on June 8, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 1

Waited 15 minutes ... never got seated.

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GS
Minneapolis
3 reviews
Dined on June 8, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 5ambience 3

The service levels have dropped over the last 2 years. But on our last visit, the staffing was way down. Our waiter did an amazing job considering, as the waiter explained, the staff was short due to a funeral. Sorry, did not buy that. There was nobody at the host station greeting people. Being a family owned business, I expect on a Saturday night to be greeted by family or a manager. Again, hats off to the waiter who worked very hard to take care of us.

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OT
1 review
Dined on June 7, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 1

We made reservations on Thursday for Friday evening through OpenTable, which were confirmed. When we arrived we were told they were not honoring reservations. Why bother to even make a reservation? We left and went elsewhere.

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GT
Chicago
1 review
Dined on June 7, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

Good restaurant that is severely understaffed. Upon arrival, the host stated that they do not accept reservations as there are not have enough waiters / waitresses to serve all of the available tables. Other people were sent to the bar until there was a waiter available to serve them. Since I had an Open Table reservation, the host took me to a table and explained that we would be served as waiters could get to us. The host then waited on us, and we noticed that in addition to being the host, he was waiting on multiple tables, busing tables, and serving at the bar. There were more empty tables than tables that had people seated, the bar was very crowded with people waiting for a table. The host deserves special mention for all that he was doing, but it is obvious that the restaurant is severely understaffed.
I would never recommend this restaurant until the staffing issue is addressed.

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j
Milwaukee
5 reviews
Dined on May 31, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 1ambience 4

Very short staffed. Hoping they rally

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ME
Milwaukee
30 reviews
Dined on May 24, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 3

Our server was very attentive. The drinks were good. My dinner salad was tiny, way too many croutons. My husband's broiled haddock was ok but the portion size was also tiny. The three, 3-inch pieces of haddock on the plate were lost among the ginormous amount of fries. The clam chowder was excellent.

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SK
1 review
Dined on May 22, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 1

The first thing I noticed was it smelled musty. Then then carpet was filthy and the entire place needs to updated. Our server was new, because but was trying. He needed to be trained.

The cheese curds were fair at best. The clam chowder was very good. My husband had the coconut shrimp and really enjoyed it. My crab cakes were horrible and were sent back. The manager reaction was, they were made yesterday they should be find. But he did take them off the bill, brought me a shrimp cocktail, but charged me.

We will not be going back.

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v
Milwaukee
1 review
Dined on May 17, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Considering they were low on servers the service and food were excellent.

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FF
Milwaukee
3 reviews
Dined on May 17, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

The fish fry was delicious. The service was top notch. The ambiance (lake view) was unique. The only complaint was that our table was next to a large group and the noise level was not condusive to basic table conversation.

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X
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 2

Experience was pretty terrible & we won't be back. Their computer was down so they didn't have our reservation. Once we were seated, we waited 10+ minutes to get water and another 5 for a server. They were out of a number of foods (including the crab legs that we went for), my daughter's order was wrong and the food was all overly seasoned (too much lemon on tilapia & too much salt on everything). When we were ready to leave after being there too long...we couldn't even get our server's attention to even get our check. They were even out of larger to-go boxes, so we had a few tiny ones.

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K
Milwaukee
1 review
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

The view of Lake Mendota draws us in. The charm of the bar and fireplace keep us coming back. The staff are warm and friendly.

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A
1 review
Dined on May 10, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 3ambience 3

Our meal was good. There was a computer error that caused the reservations made on Open Table to not be seen by the restaurant. This resulted in a wait of over an hour passed our reservation time with 3 senior citizens. We will likely not return.

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B
1 review
Dined on May 10, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 3ambience 3

First time here! The view of the lake and decor was pleasantly done. The service was slow and the food was good but not great. Clam chowder was too creamy in my opinion. Would go back for a drink on the patio but not for food.

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OT
Milwaukee
1 review
Dined on May 4, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

Went there for my wife's graduation from Upper Iowa University. Decent old fashion and the meal was great. Service was great as well.

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OT
Milwaukee
2 reviews
Dined on April 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food and great service! This was our first time at Captain Bills and we will be back for more! Thanks again

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GP
1 review
Dined on April 18, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 4

We mostly enjoyed the food and certainly enjoyed good service. We noticed the "award winning" clam chowder is not as good as we have tasted on previous visits to Captain Bills. That was disappointing, but the rest of the food was very good.

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P
Milwaukee
4 reviews
Dined on April 13, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Excellent service and view. We were immediately seated and the server was very nice, gracious and polite. Had a great time.

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CF
Milwaukee
1 review
Dined on April 12, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 1

We had a reservation for 6:00 pm for 6 people to celebrate a birthday. We left at 7:10 pm after not receiving a menu or having our order taken. All we got was a glass of water.

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JS
Milwaukee
4 reviews
Dined on April 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Outstanding food (lobeter tail) and service. AAA+++ dinner with great company.

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TG
Milwaukee
12 reviews
Dined on April 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My wife and I enjoyed our dinner. Both the Walleye and crab cakes were delicious

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P
1 review
Dined on March 29, 2019
Overall 4food 2service 4ambience 2

Ambience so so. Food so so. Waiter so so. Cost not commensurate with quality.

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RS
1 review
Dined on March 29, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 3ambience 4

I think the prices have increased since last summer. Way too much money for the quality of food.

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OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined on March 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fun night, good service, food and view.

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TL
1 review
Dined on March 22, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 4

Our waitress Sophia was excellent we also really like the atmosphere and the views.

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