Madison is made for love year-round with charming neighborhood restaurants illuminating snowy streets in the winter and charming cafés boasting a bustling sidewalk trade in the summer. From fine dining restaurants with white-table clothed settings and impeccable world-class service to casual, relaxed, less formal cafés, eateries, and bars that dot the city. Head chefs prepare seasonal menus of handcrafted fare with locally sourced ingredients that promise to delight and fine wines from around the world add a touch of class. Here are some of the most romantic restaurants in Madison to celebrate your love.
1.A Pig in a Fur Coat
© A Pig in a Fur Coat
A Pig in a Fur Coat's is a hip, cozy bistro that serves a seasonal menu of Mediterranean comfort food with influences from Italy, France, and Spain. Boasting a friendly, welcoming ambiance with butcher-block tables, the eatery serves small and large Mediterranean plates of classic dishes with an innovative twist such as brown-butter ravioli, duck-fat fries, foie gras mousse, lamb carpaccio, and Wagyu ribeye with bone marrow. The award-winning cuisine is created by James Beard Award-winning Chef Daniel Bonanno and is accompanied by a hand-curated selection of globally-inspired wines, craft beers, and signature cocktails. A Pig in a Fur Coat is open for dinner only, Monday through Saturday night
940 Williamson St, Madison, WI 53703, Phone: 608-316-3300
© Cento Ristorante
Cento Ristorante is a farm-to-fork Italian restaurant in downtown Madison that combines Old World Italian traditions with modern culinary techniques to create a menu of traditional and New-Age Italian fare. An open-plan kitchen showcases the chefs at work preparing a variety of sumptuous dishes with fresh, locally sourced ingredients, including wood-fired pizzas, housemade pasta, slow-roasted meats, and ocean-fresh seafood. An Italian-focused wine list offers an excellent range of wines to pair with every dish which can be enjoyed by the bottle or the glass, and a special five-course kitchen table menu is ideal for friends wanting to experience a typical Mediterranean meal of sharing and laughter. Cento Ristorante is open for weekend brunch, dinner, or cocktails, seven nights a week.
122 W Mifflin St, Madison, WI 53703, Phone: 608-284-9378
3.Delaney's Steaks and Seafood
© Delaney's Steaks and Seafood
Delaney's Steaks and Seafood is a long-running, award-winning white-tablecloth steakhouse that has been serving traditional steakhouse fare in a refined atmosphere for almost 45 years. The second-generation, family-owned restaurant exudes the charm and grace of a bygone era and is the perfect spot for a romantic dinner for two. Sip cocktails or a glass of bubbly in the elegant lounge before dinner, which features a menu of highly acclaimed steaks, prime rib and chops, organic chicken, and fresh seafood. Professional sommeliers provide expert advice on wines to pair with every dish and desserts promise to end every meal on a high note. Delaney's Steaks and Seafood is open for dinner only, Monday through Sunday.
449 Grand Canyon Dr, Madison, WI 53719, Phone: 608-833-7337
4.Eno Vino Wine Bar & Bistro
© Eno Vino Wine Bar & Bistro
Eno Vino Wine Bar & Bistro is an upmarket bistro that serves small and sharing plates of tapas and other traditional Spanish fare along with over 150 wines by the bottle and 40 by the glass. The eatery has a cozy setting with dark wood accents, comfortable décor, and a vibrant, relaxed ambiance. Diners tuck into sharing plates of sea scallops, octopus or squid, truffled fries, heirloom tomatoes, tempura shrimp, meatballs, flatiron steak and more, along with specialty martinis, global wines, craft beers, and signature cocktails. Eno Vino Wine Bar & Bistro is open for dinner only, along with late night and happy hour specials, seven nights a week.
601 Junction Rd, Madison, WI 53717, Phone: 608-664-9565
Helmed by award-winning L’Etoile chef Tory Miller, Estrellón brings a unique and unforgettable taste of Spain to Madison with an impressive menu of Spanish-inspired tapas and other Mediterranean fare. The spacious tapas eatery-bar exudes an elegant, laid-back ambiance and is always packed with diners who want a sun-kissed taste of Spain. The extensive tapas menu features everything from the fresh octopus and handmade sausage to golden croquettes and fresh asparagus, while entrées range from traditional Paella Valenciana to grilled octopus with potatoes. Desserts include a mouthwatering Basque cake and Crème Catalana, which are not to be missed. Estrellón is open for dinner only, seven nights a week.
313 W Johnson St, Madison, WI 53703, Phone: 608-251-2111
Forequarter is a rustic East Johnson eatery that serves daily seasonal menus of locally sourced cuisine and handcrafted cocktails. Run by Madison’s Underground Food Collective, the tavern-style restaurant features an intimate dining space that is perfect for romantic dinners and quiet moments, and the menu boasts signature dishes like maple-lacquered quail with quinoa and cauliflower, and the Underground Butcher charcuterie board packed with prime meats, Wisconsin cheeses, olives, pickles, and freshly baked bread. The bar serves a range of global wines, craft beers, and signature cocktails made with imported spirits. Forequarter is open for dinner only, seven nights a week.
708 1/4 E Johnson St, Madison, WI 53703, Phone: 608-609-4717
7.Fresco Rooftop Restaurant & Lounge
© Fresco Rooftop Restaurant & Lounge
Enjoy breathtaking panoramic views over cocktails and contemporary cuisine at Fresco Rooftop Restaurant & Lounge. Located on the rooftop of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Fresco is a stylish and sophisticated eatery with chic décor and a creative menu of small plates, appetizers, European-style entrées, and decadent desserts. Artfully prepared and beautifully presented, the cuisine is accompanied by an alluring list of local and international wines and champagne, signature cocktails, and bottled beer. Fresco Rooftop Restaurant & Lounge is open for dinner and libations Tuesday through Sunday evenings.
227 State St Madison, WI 53703, Phone: 608-663-7374
Set on North Carroll Street, Graft is a bistro-style restaurant helmed by Texan-born chef Phillip Rodriguez that serves a seasonal menu of Midwest-inspired cuisine and top wines from some of the world’s best wine-producing regions. The menu features delicious dishes like rillettes of diced smoked trout with crème Fraiche, harissa-rubbed chicken with Israeli couscous and celery root purée, flank steak with coffee butter, and creamy fried chèvre with a sticky black pepper gastrique and Indian-spiced pumpkin seed praline. Decadent desserts like an almond brown butter financier with fresh strawberries and the lemon pot de crème put a sweet end to the meal. The cuisine is accompanied by an extensive list of globally-inspired wines, craft beers, and signature cocktails. Graft is open for dinner only, Tuesday through Saturday.
18 N Carroll St, Madison, WI 53703, Phone: 608-229-8800
Boasting beautiful views over Capitol Square, Harvest is an upscale fine-dining spot that offers a farm-to-table menu of locally sourced French and American cuisine prepared with regional ingredients and produce. The restaurant is decorated in rustic, earthy tones and features white linen-draped tables, and a full-service bar is home to dozens of neatly arranged bottles of wine tucked into wooden cubbies. The seasonal farm-to-table menu features Mediterranean fare prepared with locally sourced ingredients and regional produce from collaborative farms. The wine list features a variety of fine wines from around the world, handcrafted cocktails and local beers, and the restaurant is open for dinner only, Tuesday through Sunday.
21 N Pinckney St, Madison, WI 53703, Phone: 608-255-6075
© Heritage Tavern
Set one block away from Madison’s Capitol Square, Heritage Tavern is an upscale fine-dining restaurant that serves dinner every night and relaxed weekend brunch in a classy setting with an Old-World ambiance. Drawing inspiration from global culinary trends and modern techniques, owner and executive Chef Daniel Fox and his team presents a menu of innovative creations ranging from gourmet pub-style sandwiches to broken-down whole rabbit and lobster served on a rustic wooden board. Brunch is served on the weekends until 2:00 pm, dinner is served every night Monday through Saturday, and late-night dining is offered Tuesday through Saturday. Happy Hour can be enjoyed Monday through Friday.
131 E Mifflin St, Madison, WI 53703, Phone: 608-283-9500
© La Kitchenette
La Kitchenette is a tiny, quaint bistro-style eatery on Williamson Street owned by Virginie Ok. Previously known as Chez Nanou, La Kitchenette serves homestyle French cuisine and a selection of hand-curated wines in a cozy space. Boasting eclectic décor and a chalkboard wall showcasing the specials of the day, the warm, welcoming restaurant presents a menu of classic dishes like savory buckwheat crepes with various fillings like béchamel sauce, brie and prosciutto and smoked salmon (Norvegienne). There are also sweet versions filled with lemon curd, Nutella or chocolate sauce and other breakfast or brunch delights include brioche French toast, eggs and omelets. Other French dishes include French onion soup, croque-monsieur with ham, mustard, béchamel sauce, and Swiss cheese, Chicken Doria, served in an au gratin dish. Don’t miss the famous Nanou’s lavender crème brulée with a steaming cup of housemade hot chocolate. La Kitchenette is open for lunch and dinner, Tuesday through Friday and dinner only on Saturdays and Sundays.
805 Williamson St, Madison, WI 53703, Phone: 608-283-4266
© L'Etoile Restaurant
Boasting sweeping views of the Capitol, L’Etoile is arguably one of Madison’s most upmarket fine-dining restaurants and the perfect place for a romantic dinner for two. The elegant, white-linen table-clothed restaurant serves locally-focused French cuisine, presented by attentive, professional staff with passion and flair. Expert sommeliers pair wine with every stage of the meal and innovative desserts are presented by award-winning pastry chefs, all of whom are under the watchful eye of James Beard Award winner Tory Miller. The refined farm-to-table experience offers diners an unforgettable experience with an á la carte menu and a unique Chef’s tasting menu or private dining experience for special celebrations and occasions. L’Etoile is open for dinner only, Tuesday through Saturday.
1 South Pinckney Street, Suite 107, Madison, WI 53703, Phone: 608-251-0500
© Lombardino's Restaurant
Lombardino's is a friendly neighborhood restaurant that exudes the charm and romance of Old Italy. Established in 1954 and managed by attentive and welcoming staff, the eatery boasts tables for two beneath small balconies, Roman columns, and dark green bubbled-glass lanterns that give off soft light to create a romantic ambiance. Diners can enjoy a culinary journey to Italy with a seasonal menu of classic dishes like fried calamari with a marinara sauce, local pork loin chops, and wood-grilled whole branzino. An exclusive wine list features wines from Italy, along with craft beers, and signature cocktails. Lombardino's is open for dinner only, seven nights a week.
2500 University Ave, Madison, WI 53705, Phone: 608-238-1922
Merchant is a casual farm-to-table restaurant, downtown warehouse-style hangout, craft cocktail bar, and liquor store. The industrial-style restaurant features soaring ceilings, dark wood accents, and black vintage-style scrollwork on the walls, creating a warm and welcoming ambiance. Inspired by the American Craft Movement, the all-American, farm-to-table gastropub serves a seasonal menu of small plates, sharing platters, charcuterie and cheese boards, and hearty entrées. Tuesday nights present a ‘Cheap Date Night’ where specials are offered for two entrées, a bottle of wine and dessert. The restaurant-cum-store sells a variety of craft products, ranging from wines by the bottle, craft beers and one of the largest selections of spirits in town. Merchant is open for dinner, seven nights a week.
121 S Pinckney St, Madison, WI 53703, Phone: 608-259-9799
© Naples 15
Naples 15 is a historic, family-owned and operated restaurant that serves traditional Italian cuisine in a warm and welcoming atmosphere. The friendly trattoria features charming murals, floor tiles painted with dancing Neopolitan peasants, and an open kitchen with a wood-fired brick oven where hand-tossed pizzas with various toppings are cooked to perfection. The menu also presents housemade pasta and classic Italian mains such as octopus spaghetti, gnocchi with San Marzano tomato sauce, veal Amalfi, and chicken Salvatore with white beans, prosciutto, and thick cream sauce. Naples 15 is open for dinner only, Monday through Saturday.
15 N Butler St, Madison, WI 53703, Phone: 608-250-6330
16.OLIVA Italian & Mediterranean Cuisine
© OLIVA Italian & Mediterranean Cuisine
OLIVA Italian & Mediterranean Cuisine is a family-owned and operated restaurant and bar on Madison’s West side that has been providing the community casually elegant dining destination since 1987. The sleek restaurant specializes in serving fresh, creative Mediterranean-inspired cuisine in a warm Midwestern atmosphere along with a range of casual wines, craft beers, and colorful cocktails. Dishes are prepared with locally sourced ingredients and regional produce, such as prime meats and ocean-fresh seafood, as well as homemade Turkish bread, which is baked on site. OLIVA Italian & Mediterranean Cuisine is open for lunch and dinner, Tuesday through Friday and dinner only on the weekends.
751 N High Point Rd, Madison, WI 53717, Phone: 608-831-7776
© Osteria Papavero
Softly lit by the lamplight from the street, Osteria Papavero is a charming, cozy, and relaxed Italian restaurant that promises an unforgettable dining experience. Owned and managed by Bologna-born Chef Francesco Mangano, one of three brothers managing Italian restaurants in Madison, Osteria Papavero offers a quiet spot for lunch or dinner in the commuter-heavy stretch of East Wilson. Seasonal menus present traditional and rustic Italian fare that seamlessly blends aromatic, saucy, and savory flavors. Meats are cured in-house, the giardiniera is homemade, and the selection of wines from Italy are a perfect match for any of the dishes. The desserts are to die for – don’t miss the famous budino di caramello butterscotch pudding with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder. Osteria Papavero is open for lunch, Monday through Friday and dinner only Saturdays.
128 E Wilson St, Madison, WI 53703, Phone: 608-255-8376
18.Otto's Restaurant & Bar
© Otto's Restaurant & Bar
Based in a quaint 1870s farmhouse, Otto's Restaurant & Bar is a locally-owned and loved a restaurant that has garnered awards for its outstanding food and wine and warm and welcoming hospitality. Located on Madison’s West side, the restaurant serves a menu of classic Mediterranean fare ranging from fresh seafood and catch-of-the-day to prime steaks and other meats, handmade pasta and Italian specials, and decadent desserts. The cuisine is accompanied by an extensive menu of libations from the bar, including global wines, craft beers, and signature cocktails prepared with imported spirits. Otto's bar is open Tuesday through Saturday and serves half-price appetizers until early evening, while the restaurant is open for dinner only, Mondays through Saturdays.
6405 Mineral Point Rd, Madison, WI 53705, Phone: 608-274-4044
19.Paisan's Italian Restaurant
© Paisan's Italian Restaurant
Paisan's Italian Restaurant is a long-standing eatery that serves traditional Italian cuisine in a casual, relaxed setting with Lake Monona views. Established in 1950, the restaurant is located on West Wilson Street near Capitol Square and has been a popular destination for special celebrations and romantic dinners. The cozy dining space has wood-paneled walls, high-backed booths, stained-glass windows and soft light from large chandeliers and diners can enjoy a menu of classic dishes such as wood-fired pizzas, handmade pasta, fresh seafood, and Garibaldi sandwiches. A hand-curated a selection of global and Italian wines, craft beers, and signature cocktails. Paisan's Italian Restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week.
131 W Wilson St, Madison, WI 53703, Phone: 608-257-3832
RED is a sleek eatery that specializes in fresh sushi and Japanese cuisine in a stylish, modern environment. Located just a few blocks from the Capitol, RED features bold, sculpted interiors with modern décor, and offers a menu of appetizers, salads, and some fusion entrées, along with inventive, non-sushi dishes with new American, French and Japanese influences. Knowledgeable staff presents the menu with flair, and diners can relax in the lounge before dinner or savor an exclusive dinner at the chef’s table. RED is open for lunch and dinner Monday through Friday, and dinner only on Saturdays and Sundays.
316 W Washington Ave #100, Madison, WI 53703, Phone: 608-294-1234
21.Samba Brazilian Grill
© Samba Brazilian Grill
Samba Brazilian Grill is a traditional Brazilian restaurant inspired by the Gauchos that roam the prairies of Brazil. The restaurant specializes in churrascaria which features all-you-can-eat meats which are cut and served tableside along with fresh salads from an extensive salad bar. A two-course dinner featuring unlimited artisan appetizers and salads, followed by a rodizio service of freshly grilled meats carved tableside. Sip on freshly made Caipirinhas or Mojitos while enjoying artisan cheeses, olives, bread to start before tucking into a variety of grilled meats. Samba Brazilian Grill is open for dinner, seven nights a week and Sunday brunch.
240 W Gilman St, Madison, WI 53703, Phone: 608-257-1111
Sardine is a hip bistro set in a former warehouse with spectacular views of Lake Monona. Owned by chefs John Gadau and Phillip Hurley, the lakeside eatery serves creative locavore French fare in a casual, yet elegant setting. Open for dinner and Sunday brunch, the restaurant serves French-inspired appetizers, entrées, and desserts, along with hearty brunch plates and Mimosas. Signature dishes include pan-roasted skate wing with anchovy butter, duck confit with kumquat chutney, seared salmon with braised French lentils, and steak au poivre with peppercorn veal reduction. Sardine is open for dinner seven nights a week and brunch on the weekends.
617 Williamson St, Madison, WI 53703, Phone: 608-441-1600
23.Tempest Oyster Bar
© Tempest Oyster Bar
Tempest Oyster Bar is a stylish restaurant on Wilson Street that serves classic America cuisine with friendly Midwest service. Tempest specializes in fresh seafood, shellfish, and catch-of-the-day fish, ranging from freshly shucked oysters and crab and lobster dishes to a variety of grilled fish and grilled or fried calamari. Other items on the menu include succulent steaks, roasted lamb and duck dishes, fresh vegetables, and a selection of sweet desserts and the full-service bar offers a wide range of casual wines by the bottle and the glass, craft beers, signature cocktails, and other soft drinks. Tempest Oyster Bar serves dinner daily and offers happy hour specials on Friday and Saturday nights.
120 E Wilson St, Madison, WI 53703, Phone: 608-258-1443
© The Statehouse
Based in the Edgewater Hotel, the Statehouse restaurant is a fine dining establishment that serves seasonal American cuisine and drinks against a backdrop of spectacular lake views. Located at the corner of Langdon and Wisconsin the Statehouse is ideal for special celebrations and romantic dinners and offers a menu of locally sourced and regional cuisine prepared with organic ingredients. Open for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner; guests can relax over cocktails at the bar, savor award-winning cuisine in the elegant dining room, and sip classic cocktails, fine wines, and top Wisconsin craft beers at Augie's Tavern.
1001 Wisconsin Place, Madison, WI 53703, Phone: 608-535-8230
25.Umami Ramen & Dumpling Bar
© Umami Ramen & Dumpling Bar
Umami Ramen & Dumpling Bar is a trendy café that serves traditional Asian cuisine, including Japanese ramen soups, Chinese dumplings, and a variety of cocktails. Based in a beautifully renovated historic house that dates back to the 1880s, the restaurant has modern décor and an inviting atmosphere and serves a menu of mouth-watering cuisine, ranging from signature tonkotsu ramen in four varieties, including miso chicken, shoyu chicken, vegan and vegetarian to four varieties of dumplings. Other dishes include vegetable summer rolls, tuna poke, steamed gwa pao buns, and several dipping sauces. Umami Ramen & Dumpling Bar is open for dinner, Tuesday through Sunday, and brunch on Saturdays and Sundays.
923 Williamson St, Madison, WI 53703, Phone: 608-819-6319
25 Best Romantic Restaurants in Madison, WI
- A Pig in a Fur Coat, Photo: A Pig in a Fur Coat
- Cento Ristorante, Photo: Cento Ristorante
- Delaney's Steaks and Seafood, Photo: Delaney's Steaks and Seafood
- Eno Vino Wine Bar & Bistro, Photo: Eno Vino Wine Bar & Bistro
- Estrellon, Photo: Estrellón
- Forequarter, Photo: Forequarter
- Fresco Rooftop Restaurant & Lounge, Photo: Fresco Rooftop Restaurant & Lounge
- Graft, Photo: Graft
- Harvest, Photo: Harvest
- Heritage Tavern, Photo: Heritage Tavern
- La Kitchenette, Photo: La Kitchenette
- L'Etoile Restaurant, Photo: L'Etoile Restaurant
- Lombardino's Restaurant, Photo: Lombardino's Restaurant
- Merchant, Photo: Merchant
- Naples 15, Photo: Naples 15
- OLIVA Italian & Mediterranean Cuisine, Photo: OLIVA Italian & Mediterranean Cuisine
- Osteria Papavero, Photo: Osteria Papavero
- Otto's Restaurant & Bar, Photo: Otto's Restaurant & Bar
- Paisan's Italian Restaurant, Photo: Paisan's Italian Restaurant
- RED, Photo: RED
- Samba Brazilian Grill, Photo: Samba Brazilian Grill
- Sardine, Photo: Sardine
- Tempest Oyster Bar, Photo: Tempest Oyster Bar
- The Statehouse, Photo: The Statehouse
- Umami Ramen & Dumpling Bar, Photo: Umami Ramen & Dumpling Bar
- Cover Photo: dimaris/stock.adobe.com