Award-Winning Steak House | Classic Surf 'n' Turf | Live Entertainment | Californian Wines | Supper-Club Decor
When to Go: Try to plan your dinner for a Friday night around 8 p.m. That’s when musicians hit the adjoining Alley Cat Lounge stage, playing everything from oldies and jazz to modern rock and R&B.
Inside Tip: Show up hungry. All meals come with a salad, relish tray, and sourdough bread with butter and honey. A side of butter-sauteéd mushrooms also accompanies every steak.
Media Mentions: Over the years, 5 O’Clock has drawn national attention. The Travel Channel featured it on the program Steak Paradise, Saveur magazine named it one of the best steak houses in the country, and Travel + Leisure said it has a "Mad Men vibe."
Behind the Name: According to the restaurant's lore, the steak house got its name from an alarm clock that would ring every day at 5 p.m., alerting customers that it was time for a free drink.
While You’re in the Neighborhood
Before: Tour the Tripoli Shrine Center (3000 W. Wisconsin Avenue), a replica of the Taj Mahal and a member of the National Register of Historic Places.
After: If the entertainment at the Alley Cat Lounge isn't to your taste, head over to The Coffee House (631 N. 19th Street), which offers acoustic music and poetry performances.
One of the best BLTs in Madison doesn't have bacon on it. Dubbed the TLT, owner Jennie Capellaro's meat-free version swaps out the pork for strips of tempeh, a type of cultured soy. The sandwich's smoky flavor won over the critics of 77 Square, claiming Best BLT honors in 2010. PETA named it one of the country's best vegan BLTs in 2012. Every year since 2012, it has been named "Favorite Vegetarian-Friendly Restaurant" by The Daily Page, and it has been featured on The Restaurant Show in both August and September of 2014.
Jennie and her team at The Green Owl Cafe strive to similarly surprise their diners by coaxing out unexpected flavors from their vegetarian and vegan dishes. Championing freshness, they prefer to work with local suppliers, such as Blue Skies Berry Farm and Voss Organics. One of the only vegan brunch places in Madison, guests can substitute tofu for the organic range-free eggs in many dishes, and enjoy bloody marys with house-infused black pepper vodka. They also periodically throw their popular Raw Nights, treating guests to prix fixe dinners comprised of all raw courses. Jennie matches her menu's celebration of nature with a rustic, wood-paneled interior and an outdoor patio where diners can catch the free vitamin-D capsules regularly tossed down by the sun.
The pizza makers at Palio's Cafe crown regular, whole-wheat, and gluten-free crusts with fresh vegetables, preservative-free sauce, and roasted chicken. Chefs take the burden of putting together the best toppings with 17 specialty pizzas that pair gourmet ingredients such as artichoke hearts, roasted chicken, and fresh basil pesto. Ovens create bubbling pies, stuffed calzones, baked ziti, and italian sub sandwiches that servers carry through both chic, cozy locations. Leather-lined booths and flat-screen televisions keep diners comfortable and entertained while they enjoy Palio's BYOB policy and sip wine or Capri Sun pouches brought from home.
Ben & Jerry’s has double-handedly transformed ice cream from a dreary and dreaded after-dinner chore into a dazzling treat that can be easily stored in pants pockets. The shops offer a variety of frozen confections, from milkshakes to large ice-cream cups and cones, hot-fudge sundaes, and signature pints. Spoon the cuddly depths of Ben & Jerry’s famous original flavors, such as Cherry Garcia, Imagine Whirled Peace, Triple Caramel Chunk, Peanut Brittle, Chunky Monkey, Half Baked, Coffee Coffee BuzzBuzzBuzz, New York Super Fudge Chunk, and more.
Under the direction of chef Eddie Castillo, The Pink Magnolia serves an eclectic menu that's equal parts comfort food and upscale cuisine, with an emphasis on non-farm-raised fish, organic ingredients, and hormone-free meat. By placing escargots alongside mac 'n' cheese and by whipping up lobster-stuffed burgers and salmon BLTs, the cooks combine upscale motifs with straightforward American fun, like a man wearing a tuxedo and stilts. At the eatery's full-service bar, bartenders complement meals with domestic and imported beers as well as signature cocktails blended with fresh juices and herbs.