Some Restaurant Suggestions


There are a number of very good restaurants within a ten-minute walk from the Monona Terrace Convention Center.    The more expensive ones will require a reservation so please call ahead.   Most are situated either around the Capitol Square, or on streets that lead into the square.    A number of the restaurants are on State Street, which connects the Capitol to the University.   State Street also has many bars and is the main student hangout.

Much of this material was “lifted” from Bart Miller’s web page (

If you are calling on your cell phone, our area code is 608.

Coffee and Beer

If you need a caffeine fix, there are several very good coffee shops on State Street.   If you only do Starbucks, you can find one on the Capitol Square at 1 E. Main St. The other Starbucks is in the very last block on the left side of State Street (661 State).    You should also try Espresso Royale which has two locations on State Street (208 and 650) and one at 21 N Butler     The closest coffee to the Convention Center is Ancora’s at 112 King St.    From the Convention Center walk two blocks to the Square. Turn right.  Go one block. Take the diagonal street on your right, which should be King Street.   If you decide you really want a beer instead, keep walking down King until you hit Doty (one block).    If you look ahead and slightly to the right you will see a place called The Great Dane.   A great brew pub with homemade beer and sandwiches.

Probably the most famous spot to have beer while enjoying Lake Mendota is the Wisconsin Union Terrace on Langdon St.  I do not believe there is a more beautiful setting for a university Union in the country.  It was also the very first student union to serve beer (right after WWII). To get there walk to the end of the State Street (away from the Capitol Square) and turn right and walk until you run into Lake Mendota. Once you hit the lake, turn left and in about 1/2 a block you will see the Union Terrace. You can buy beer inside but you must show your conference registration badge and a photo ID. Do NOT forget your badge.  They will not serve you beer without a badge (or a University of Wisconsin ID).



Where: 25 N. Pinckney, on the Capitol square, second floor (hard to find the front door, but worth it!). 251-0500.

Entrees ~$25.   $50-60/person

Often considered the best food in Madison but Opera House and Harvest are just as good and less expensive.


Opera House***

Where: 117 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, off the Capitol square near the Monona Terrace Convention Center. 284-8466.

Trendy food and upscale.  $30-$50/person.


Where: 21 N. Pinckney, on the Capitol square. 255-6075.

Excellent food.   Less variability in quality than L’Etoile. $30-$50/person.


Where: 508 State St., closer to the University end of State St.  Look for the red awning that extends over  the side walk (up stairs). 257-1740.

Traditional French bistro cuisine.  Abdul Bensaid  (owner and chef) is Moroccan and trained in France.    $30-$50/person.

Blue Marlin**

Where: 101 N. Hamilton, north-east corner of the Capitol square. 255-2255.

Fresh fish and seafood. Plan on $30-$50/person.   Noisy.

Restaurant Magnus**

Two blocks east of the Convention Center at 120 Wilson St.  (go out the front door and turn right) 258-8787

Another one of Madison’s trendy restaurants.   South American food.  Has a cigar bar and can be noisy.  $25-$35person.

Cafe Continental**

Distance from department: ~1.0 miles. Distance from Capitol: 0 blocks

Where: 108 King Street. 608-251-4880.

Continental dishes, pasta, and thin-crust pizza. Entrees and pizzas do not include salad. $20-25/person.

Tutto Pasta*

Two locations: 305 State St,  294-1000, and 107 King St., 255-6981

Inexpensive, but good, Italian food.  $15-20/person.

Himal Chuli**

Where: 318 State St.,   4 blocks off the Capitol Square.   251-9225.

Excellent Nepalese food.   Lots of vegetarian and non-vegetarian alternatives.   $15-$20/person.


Where: 334 State St.   4 blocks off the Capitol Square. A few doors down from their sister restaurant, Himal Chuli. 251-3626

Excellent Himalayan Food $15-$20/person.. Lots of vegetarian and non-vegetarian choices


Where: 547 State St.   On the left side in the last block on State Street before you run into the University.  

Turkish, and some Italian. $15-$20/person.    Some vegetarian, but mostly meat dishes.

Madison Marsala*

Where: 115 State Street, 1 block from the Capitol. 287-1599

OK Indian food according to the Indian graduate students.   $15-$20/person.

Horn of Africa*

Where: 117 E. Mifflin, 1st block off the Capitol square. 255-2077

North African Food.   African food. $15-$20/person.

Great Dane Brewing Company**

Where: 123 East Doty. 2 blocks from the Convention center   284-0000.

Brew Pub-like food. Sandwiches, salads, assortment of hot entrees.   $10-$15/person.   Beer made on premises is very good. Usually a choice of six beers. Outdoor dining available on the back terrace in the warmer weather.

Luigi’s Diner

Where:  102 King St,  257-0790

Inexpensive Italian food.  $15-20/person.



Where: Next to the last block of State Street on the right.    $8/person.

Good, cheap lunch spot if you like fast Tex-Mex.   Naughton and DeWitt frequent this one.


Where: 449 State St. and Gillman, top of corner building. 255-5020.    $15-$20/person.

OK Japanese food.