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Diners' Choice: Innovative restaurants in Madison

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OpenTable
Updated July 05, 2024

Looking for the best restaurants that are fit for foodies in Madison? You’re in the right place. Each month, OpenTable analyzes nearly 2 million global diner reviews from the past four months. We sort the results by location and category to help you discover new favorite restaurants. It's a great partnership: you reserve, eat, and review. We listen...and deliver the results for all to benefit. Enjoy!


A photo of Buck & Honey's - Monona restaurant
4.7
4.7 (1391)
$30 and under
Contemporary American
Madison
About the restaurant
At Buck & Honey’s, we've taken great care to ensure your first visit makes you feel like you're stopping by an old friend's. We're locally owned and offer a wide variety of traditional fare made from scratch with only the freshest available ingredients.… Great pastas, tender steaks, fresh entree salads, unique specialty sandwiches, critically acclaimed Friday fish fry and our deliciously crispy thin crust pizzas round out our offerings. Check out the extensive wine list, craft cocktails and beer selections. Join us for live entertainment and special events. Located on the Yahara River in Monona, featuring 23 boat slips for boat parking and dock side carry out.

Summer months include patio seating, that is first come first serve, and non-reservable.

Top review
DavidLvip
Dined 2 days ago
My wife, daughters, and I had a fun and delicious meal and B&H. The location and decor are excellent - the perfect spot for a summer dinner in Monona.
A photo of D’Vino restaurant
4.7
4.7 (595)
$31 to $50
Contemporary Italian
Madison
About the restaurant
Wine/Cicchetti (pronounced: che-kett-ee) Bar
Fine Italian Dining
Irresistible little snacks of every imaginable configuration from the varied regions of Italy. Eat them at the bar with an ombra (shadow) of wine with an aperitif. Fine Dining Menu Also available Wed-Sat-Classic Italian favorites and daily chefs specials including Chicken Parmigiano, Sicilian Steak and Shrimp Scampi. Sunday Supper 5-8PM

Top review
KimK
Dined 5 days ago
The servers and chef were very accommodating! Loved our meal especially the steak!!
A photo of Buck & Honey - Mount Horeb restaurant
4.7
4.7 (62)
$31 to $50
Contemporary American
Mount Horeb
About the restaurant
At Buck & Honey’s, we've taken great care to ensure your first visit makes you feel like you're stopping by an old friend's house. We are privately owned and offer a wide variety of traditional fare with only the freshest available ingredients, curated by our Executive Chef, Sammy Millan. We are new to the Mount Horeb community and couldn't be more excited! Great pastas, tender steaks, seafood, fresh entree salads, unique specialty sandwiches, critically acclaimed Friday fish fry and our deliciously crispy thin crust pizzas round out our offerings. Check out our extensive wine list too. We offer a cozy environment with amazing staff. Join us for live entertainment and special events. Also We serve brunch from 11am-3pm on Saturday and Sunday. We also have an amazing event venue on the second level. We are here to show what Wisconsin hospitality is all about!
Top review
BandPOregon
Dined 4 days ago
Food was very good, and portions were very generous. Service was great. Our only issue was the noise level. The place was fairly busy but not packed, but the noise level was too much in our opinion for a comfortable conversation. I blame it on the hard architectural surfaces that reflect so much of the noise. We'll be back but at a slower time.
A photo of Bonfyre American Grille restaurant
4.6
4.6 (2324)
$30 and under
Contemporary American
Madison
About the restaurant
Bonfyre features Contemporary American Cuisine in an upscale-casual environment. In addition to our hand-cut, wood-fired steaks, guests can enjoy fresh seafood, rotisserie chicken, pastas, signature salads and so much more from our seasonally changing menu.

To complement the cuisine, Bonfyre’s bar features classic cocktails with a modern twist, creative new libations, domestic craft beer selections and a wine list consisting of 60 labels from both North and South America.

Top review
MikeR
Dined on Jul 16, 2024
We haven't been tho Bonfire in quite awhile and were pleased that really nothing has changed. There were good options for a variety of food on the menu. Our drinks were delicious and our food came well prepared, pleasantly presented and neither too soon or having to wait too long. We never felt rushed and our server was attentive without being obtrusive. All in all a fine meal at a reasonable price.
A photo of Eno Vino Downtown restaurant
4.6
4.6 (2107)
$31 to $50
Bistro
Madison
About the restaurant
Eno Vino Wine Bar & Bistro Voted "Madison's Best Wine Bar" By Madison Magazine Readers, consistently over the years. Eno Vino offers 200+ wines by the bottle & another 45 by the glass. From the beginning, Eno Vino was established as a place to share great wine, sensational, hand-crafted cocktails and fresh, inviting food. Whether you would like to entertain friends, enjoy an evening out with a loved one or unwind during happy hour ~ we invite you to enjoy an evening at Eno Vino.

**Please note**
For outdoor terrace reservations- Please call the restaurant at 608-455-0663.
Eno Vino does not accept Discover card or Apple pay.
All guests must be 21 years of age to drink alcohol, regardless of parental accompaniment.

Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined 3 days ago
Our server was awesome and the food and drinks were amazing!
A photo of Merchant restaurant
4.5
4.5 (1519)
$31 to $50
Contemporary American
Madison
About the restaurant
Merchant is a neighborhood-driven restaurant and craft cocktail bar named to honor the local farmers and purveyors who use age-old methods and produce and sell top ingredients with pride. Merchant seeks to honor the American Craft Movement by exploring our deep local culinary and bartending traditions; sourcing ingredients locally from local purveyors, and creating innovative and inspired dishes and cocktails. Now, after we've reopened our doors in 2020, our mission at Merchant is now broader with a renewed consciousness to treat each other and ourselves well, and position our business not only around the craft of cooking and bartending, but employing Merchant as a driver of social change through civic, cultural, and artistic activism and expression. This next decade will be devoted to furthering our values by focusing on safety, health and wellbeing, equity, love, inclusivity, and community for each other and our guests.
Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined 2 days ago
Very good service and delicious food. So fresh and healthy options.
A photo of Amara restaurant
4.5
4.5 (569)
$31 to $50
Italian
Madison
About the restaurant
A heartfelt farewell from Amara...

To our loyal supporters, and this Madison community we love so much - it is with a heavy heart that we must announce the closure of Amara. Following restaurant week, our last day in operation will be dinner service on July 27th.

Thank you for your interest in coming out to Amara for a farewell visit. We highly recommend making a reservation, to ensure we can accommodate your party at your preferred time. Reservations are available at our high tops and in the dining room, but are filling up quickly. 

We will be offering dinner service only, and significant discounts. Starting Monday 7/15, we will be offering 50% off all bottles of wine in addition to 25% off all cocktails from the Amara Bar Menu (while supplies last). We are so grateful to our staff, guests, and everyone who has supported us along this journey. It’s one we will miss.

Thank you,
The Amara Team

Top review
WiscTraveler
Dined 4 days ago
Love the atmosphere & food at Amara! It’s been a great place for special occasions. We’ll miss it! 😢
A photo of Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant -  Middleton restaurant
4.4
4.4 (355)
$30 and under
American
Middleton
About the restaurant
Experience the perfect fusion of award-winning wines, Napa-style tasting rooms, and modern casual dining at Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurants. Enjoy contemporary American cuisine influenced by international flavors from our scratch kitchen. Each dish is expertly paired with our selection of wines for the best food and wine match. Whether you explore the tasting room for a pre- or post-dinner adventure or join the world's largest wine club, we believe in the power of food and wine to create lasting connections. Dining reservations are highly recommended, but walk-in guests are always welcome on a first-come, first-serve basis. Gluten-free and vegetarian dishes are available.
Top review
Prgirl10vip
Dined 2 days ago
Always a wonderful time. Cannot wait until our next reservation!
A photo of Palette Bar and Grill restaurant
4.3
4.3 (483)
$30 and under
American
Madison
About the restaurant
Palette provides a colorful dining experience with an American inspired menu featuring in-house cut steaks and 21-day aged 100% black Angus beef.

As we inherited a space as historical as the former Mautz Paint Company warehouse, we had to do it justice. We kept our building’s architectural features intact while updating the space with contemporary design elements and nostalgic touches. We wanted to keep the space faithful to its roots; filled with hues of colors and textures reminiscing of times when the East Washington corridor was a booming industrial area in the city.

Our menu features steak cuts made in-house, chef’s masterpieces, artisan salads and soups, along with a unique beer and hand-crafted cocktail selection.

Top review
Shereey
Dined 5 days ago
Overall a great experience. Friendly staff members, tasty drinks, and delicious food. The setting was trendy, warm, and welcoming. We had a wonderful time. Enjoyed the Color Water drink. The potato soup was one of the best I have even had. The main courses were good, but not great. I had the chicken parmesan. I would like order something different in the future.
A photo of Draper Brother's Chophouse restaurant
4.0
4 (134)
$50 and over
Steakhouse
Madison
About the restaurant
Step back in time to 1867 when the Draper Brothers founded their renowned meat house in the heart of Madison. Their passion for quality and taste quickly made them the region's go-to destination for the finest cuts of meat.

Nestled within the walls of the iconic building that was once home to the renowned House of Wisconsin Cheese and Blue Marlin, our stunning interior design celebrates the building's rich history while introducing a new level of elegance and sophistication to Madison's culinary scene.

Sink into our plush, comfortable seating, bask in the warm glow of soft lighting, and enjoy impeccable service that attends to your every need. If you're looking for an intimate evening for two, a celebratory night out with friends, or a sophisticated venue for a special occasion, our restaurant provides the perfect ambiance to create unforgettable memories.

Top review
LindaK
Dined 2 days ago
Our waitress was great, food was excellent. Everything was excellent until they threw away the leftovers we were taking home. Not a small amount. At least 1/2 our dinners. They did give us a full dinner as compensation but the most expensive dinner bone in filet was trashed & not replaced.
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