Jose's Authentic Mexican Restaurant is a dream come true for the owner, Jose Luis Parra Vera, who wanted to put to use his own recipes for Mexican cuisine. The gregarious wait staff presents the dishes with appropriate panache, daubing celebrants' noses with whipped cream from birthday desserts and carrying five plates at a time. Bright-colored walls frame murals depicting beach scenes with brilliant-blue water and green palm trees bowing over multicolored hammocks recalling the beaches of Mexico. Beneath the paintings, corn or flour tortillas enfold morsels carnitas, a dish of shredded-pork tips traditionally slow cooked with green chilies and cumin. The chatter of silverware fills the outdoor patio when the weather is warm, and there aren’t carolers singing about the dangers of holiday lights outside.
Slide Food Cart parks in front of the University Bookstore Monday–Friday from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. to prepare gourmet sliders using ingredients from local spots like Weber's Bakery. Patrons can choose fillings such as mozzarella-stuffed meatballs with housemade marinara, buffalo chicken with blue cheese crumbles and carrot-celery tapenade, or slow-cooked beets with creamy dressing, and can pair meals with sides such as housemade potato chips with dip.
Since 1960, the crew at Buck’s Pizza has been slathering homemade dough with their own house tomato sauce and a smattering of custom toppings. At two locations, crewmembers assemble thin-crust combinations behind a glass case before crisping them in the oven or wrapping them up for at-home baking. For loyal customers, Buck’s Pizza also has a rewards system; for every ten receipts saved, a customer earns a free pizza and the pizza’s autograph.
Located on the second floor of the former Woman’s Club of Madison building, Samba Brazilian Grill bursts at the seams with history and a generous salad-bar buffet and rodizio-style meats, carved tableside. The meat selection changes regularly but often features a beef such as tenderloin with sake-soy marinade, porkables including the intricately flavored spicy linguiça pork sausage, delicious chicken snacks, and the baharat leg of lamb. A waiter brings the protein-heavy entrees to the table intact before slicing away right before your eyes, expertly dropping steaming pieces onto plates and tucking napkins into shirts. The salad bar stocks its surfaces with multiple salads, fresh vegetables, cheeses, olives, pickled savories, and plenty of mashed- and bean-centric sides. The eatery possesses a darkly lit interior with rich, dark woods throughout.
Situated on the banks of the Yahara River, Bourbon Street Grille brings traditional American flavors to Wisconsin in the form of po boys, jambalaya, and etouffee. The aromas of meat and seafood platters infused with seasonings roll off the outdoor deck and rooftop patio, where diners revel in Louisiana flavors as they watch boats drift past. Inside the dining room, 14 TVs broadcast sports, and pool tables and arcade games mill about waiting to host a friendly competition. River wayfarers can tie their dinghies up in the marina and slip inside for a meal thanks to the restaurant's 13 boat slips and security team comprised of mythical Sirens.
Shuffleboard, craft beers, trivia, and pool. The Brass Ring has got all bases covered, whether visitors are looking to let loose or grab a hearty meal. Hand built from exotic woods and located only seven blocks from the capital, The Brass Ring features a spacious, two-story dining room and an outdoor patio that accommodates groups of all sizes. A rotating list of beers circulates through the bar’s ten taps, while martinis and cocktails are shaken and stirred by resident bartenders instead of industrial paint-shakers.