14 Ridiculously Yummy Foods You Must Eat In Madison, Wisconsin
1. Sweet Potato Oatmeal Pancakes at Short Stack Eatery
Short Stack is open around the clock, from Thursday to Sunday. The Sweet Potato Oatmeal Pancakes are divine, but so is everything else on the menu. Want a surprise? You can order the blind special — well, blindly — and pay half price. If you ask nicely, the staff might tell you if it’s savory or sweet.
2. Hot & Spicy Cheese Bread from Stella’s Bakery
The Dane County Farmer’s Market wraps all the way around Madison’s picturesque State Capitol building every Saturday morning. But isn’t this Hot and Spicy Cheese Bread as pleasing to the eyes (and stomach) as any old building? It’s probably the most popular item at the market, and it’s served warm.
3. Old Fashioned Donut at Greenbush Bakery
These little unassuming donuts are absolutely exquisite. That’s all you need to know. Just kidding. You also need to know that their apple fritter is equally as exquisite. They put their fresh donuts out around 5 p.m., so that’s usually the best time to stop by.
4. Mac and Cheese Pizza at Ian’s Pizza
Imagine that you put noodles on bread, and then covered it in cheese. And then go get yourself a piece of Mac and Cheese Pizza from Ian’s, and your fantasy will come true! It might sound a bit overwhelming, but it’s one of the most satisfying slices of pizza out there. Ian’s also features a ton of other wacky combos, but each one is better than the last.
5. The F-Bomb Platter at Banzo
The F-Bomb might be the best plate of food in Madison. It features falafel, a meat of your choice (chicken or kebabs), rice, hummus, pita, and veggies. You can purchase this beauty at their carts in Library Mall during the week, or at their stand-alone store on Sherman Avenue.
6. The Graze Burger at Graze
Not only is this one of the best burgers in Madison, but it is also one of the most original. The patty is ground short ribs, sirloin, and bacon. They top it with caramelized onions and fancy butter and stick it on a brioche bun. It’s best enjoyed shared, because it’s both expensive and massive. (Also recommended: the cheese curds or the Bibimbap.)
7. The Tomato Pie at Salvatore’s Tomato Pies
I ain’t sorry that there are two pizza places on this list. Salvatore’s makes the best classic cheese pizza in Madison. They also have a wide range of specialty pizzas that are all excellent. But really, if a pizza joint can’t make a fantastic classic cheese pizza, is it even a real pizza joint?
8. The Works at Paul’s Pel’mini
Pel’mini are Russian Dumplings. Paul’s has mastered them. The Works lets you choose if you want potato, local grassfed beef, or (gasp!) both, and then they top these little nuggets of pure gold with yellow curry, sweet chili sauce and sour cream. It’s a little hard to find and service can be slow, but once you eat these beauties, all your worries will be washed away in a wave of curry and sour cream.
9. Baguette at Batch Bakehouse
Locals joke that there must be something in the water on Willy Street, because there are two really excellent bread shops, Batch Bakehouse being one of them. Their baguette makes that delicious creaky crackle sound when you tear it open.
10. Steak Sandwich at The Tornado Steakhouse
After 10 p.m., the Tornado Steakhouse turns into a go-to spot for late night grub. The highlight? A steak sandwich with horse radish and au jus fashioned out of leftover steak. Their steak fries are also really darn good.
11. Spotted Cow Beer at Memorial Union Terrace
Sip a glass of Wisconsin’s very own Spotted Cow Beer. You can only buy it in Wisconsin. And while you can drink it at almost every bar and restaurant in Madison, there is no better place to indulge than the Memorial Union Terrace overlooking Lake Mendota.
12. The Cheese Curds at The Old Fashioned
The “Best Cheese Curds In Madison” is a hotly contested prize, but people generally agree that the Old Fashioned has the best curds around. Cheese curds are so uniquely Midwestern that most people outside of Wisconsin couldn’t tell a cheese curd from a mozzarella stick. Revel in their greasiness, because they’re a rare endemic species.
14. And Babcock Ice Cream at the Daily Scoop
Babcock Dairy Store makes fresh ice cream right on campus and then sells it at the Memorial Union and Union South. It’s fresh and it’s fabulous. Let the first time you try Babcock Ice Cream go down in history as the day it ruined the rest of your ice cream-eating existence.