Best New Restaurants

Get a taste of Madison's newest eateries

Bonfyre American Grille

Bonfyre American Grille

“New Restaurant” is definitely one of the most exciting categories. It might also be one of the few you don’t have any experience in—like your favorite dry cleaner or shoe store—because, well, you haven’t been there yet. Luckily these new hotspots are built to last.

The Coopers Tavern is exactly what you’d expect a restaurant to be in the heart of downtown on the Square: sleek and bustling, but of course it’s got that Sconnie touch—comfort food rules the menu. Try the beer cheese pretzels, sinful pork belly mac (and cheese), cottage pie and one of 28 tap or 100 bottled beers (many local).

Daisy Café & Cupcakery Mom always said eat your meal before your dessert. But with a name like this, you can’t help the wanton ’cake craving even before you step foot in the place. Quickly becoming an east side fave, the airy, colorful café (featuring work by local artists) serves tasty breakfast, lunch and dinner, including something Mom was always good at: meatloaf.

Brickhouse BBQ It’s like taking a bit of the South and giving it a city-chic makeover. Ribs, catfish, roasted chicken, pork chops and more meet an elegant, subdued atmosphere (wood floors, open concept)—replete with an amazing rooftop terrace with city views.

Opa Café & Lounge Yes, you can get a fantastic gyro here, but even better are the upscale entrées ranging from lamb shank to Greek fisherman’s shrimp. The menu changes monthly and is all prepared with fresh, local ingredients. Foodie tip: try the watermelon with feta cheese—a wonderful conclusion to a very tasty meal.

Bonfyre American Grille serves sumptuous apps (truffle fries, Maytag blue potato chips) and is heavy on the meat entrees—baby-back ribs, steaks, rotisserie chicken and the like—all served in an urbane yet inviting atmosphere.

Shayna Miller is associate and style editor of Madison Magazine.

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