Madison Shines For Foodies on a Budget
Restaurants might not necessarily be your primary reason for visiting a city, but they are most certainly an important part of planning any trip. If you want to indulge in the best a city has to offer, it’s important to make sure that you don’t spend all of your money on food.
Madison offers a number of breath-taking sights that any first-time traveler should visit such as the State Capitol Building, Olbrich Botanical Gardens, and Henry Vilas Zoo. But just as important are those amazing food experiences that will capture the heart
s of any foodie.
We’ll start with the mother of all donut shops, Greenbush Bakery. Tucked away in an industrial neighborhood starting to emerge as a trendy area, this 21-year-old kosher bakery draws crowds of donut aficionados. Although the sour cream old-fashioned donut is their best seller, and certainly quite delicious, I suggest a raised, glazed ring with sprinkles. There’s a rumor that the glaze has some magical addictive ingredient, making each bite rich enough to savor, but light enough for you to eat a box of 6 on your own (not speaking from experience… ok maybe… yes, I definitely did)! Grab a dozen of these bits of heaven; you’ll only be set back $11 and have plenty to snack on later.
While you’re here, you might as well go all out Wisconsin and hit The Old Fashioned for lunch. The menu screams all things pickled, cheese and meat. And any meal here can be best punctuated with a classic brandy old fashioned. On warmer days, sit on the patio to people watch and enjoy the beautiful view of the Capitol building. You’ll enjoy your lunch even more knowing that an order of cheese curds, Miesfeld Market bratwurst sandwich and cocktail is under $20!
Don’t leave Madison without stopping into James Beard nominated Chef Francesco Mangano’s, Osteria Papavero. Just off the Capitol Square, this hidden gem thrives off word of mouth. First come, first serve rules apply here; on Friday and Saturday nights, it’s best to come early. The menu is small but you can close your eyes to pick and not be disappointed with what you get. You can keep it easy like I do and just ask your server for the Pasta of the Day. Follow that up with the best butterscotch budino your taste buds have ever had, and you’ll be ready for a quick walk around the square before winding down for the night. Dinner as described with a glass of Italian wine costs less than $50.
Restaurants in Madison aren’t the main reason to visit, but don’t underestimate their ability to elevate your trip to a new level at very little cost!