This fun, family-friendly dining room brings a slice of Mexican culture and cuisine to Sturgeon Bay. Here you’ll find all your favorites on the menu, from tacos and tamales to quesadillas and enchiladas, bulging with piquant salsas and tasty refried beans and rice. The decor is typically Mexican — think bright Saltillo tablecloths and wall hangings — and the attentive staff are happy to provide kids’ portions and takeaways for anyone on the move.
Hot Tamales, 26 E Oak St, Sturgeon Bay, WI, USA, +1 920 746 0600
This rustic, family-run trattoria takes inspiration from the hearty bistro fodder of Northern Italy to form its sublime menu from which you can pair traditional home-cooked dishes with great regional wines. Enjoy the conviviality of sharing generous portions of antipasti — there is yellow-fin tuna carpaccio, fresh spaghetti with rich Alfredo sauce, and shrimp spiedini cooked in basil pesto — before moving onto mains of fettuccine pasta to creamy chicken parmesan.
Reserve early if you want to bag a table at Donny’s — a top-notch restaurant that’s in demand any day of the week. Boasting a delicious menu inspired by Midwestern cuisine, the restaurant’s pièce de résistance is its location right on the seafront, so diners can tuck into the daily specials such as tasty rack of lamb or baked whitefish while looking out of the floor-to-ceiling windows for views of Lake Michigan lapping at the sandy shore. It’s a spellbinding accompaniment to any meal.
After a day of touring Door Country, big appetites can be satiated at Sonny’s Pizza — a waterfront spot where you can unwind while tucking into some great Italian-themed fare. Choose from the assortment of regional craft beers before heading out into the garden that overlooks the water where a makeshift stage often hosts live music acts during the warmer months. Inside, on chillier nights beside the fire, there are plenty of winter warmers to keep tummies full and spirits up; try the Chicago-style pizzas or the stuffed-to-bursting pumpkin ravioli.
Sonny’s Pizzeria, 129 N. Madison Ave, Sturgeon Bay, WI, USA, +1 920 743 2300
Shed-off your weekday blues at laid-back Bluefront Café, where it’s easy to settle into the comfy seating and cozy ambiance. The place boasts a varied menu of tasty soups, salads, sandwiches as well as other more filling lunch and dinner dishes. Kids’ meals are available for family sittings, while the drinks menu features a selection of craft beers and good wines for those just wanting to come for a casual aperitif.
Bluefront Café, 86 W Maple St, Sturgeon Bay, WI, USA, +1 920 743 9218
For a truly unique eating experience, seek out Door Country’s only food truck, Nistebox, tucked away on a discreet alley that only those in the know will find. The search is worth the effort — you’ll find the passionate owners of the retro-style van whipping up irresistible street food treats that are fun, fresh and inventive. The theme here is ‘North by North Mex,’ and the breakfast burrito is hard to beat. A seating area provides a pleasant space to eat, enjoy a pick-me-up coffee or relax with a refreshing craft beer.
Nistebox, 24 North 3rd Avenue, Sturgeon Bay, WI, USA, +1 920 495 0081
This old-school supper club, bar and steakhouse serves hearty fare in a traditionally decorated dining space, where local food lovers can rely on a menu packed with perennial favorites. Start with an old fashioned and an appetizer before tucking into succulent barbecue ribs, cold water lobster tails or the chef’s favorite rib-eye steak. Visit on Friday night for the popular fish fry evening, which usually includes perch, walleye and white fish.
Set in a characterful 19th-century stone building, this country-style bed and breakfast also boasts a great dining establishment, open to non-residents too. The low ceiling, red-brick walls and wooden furnishings give the place an old-fashioned allure, in which seated beside a crackling fireplace you can tuck into specialty lunches, enticing evening dinners or homemade afternoon pastries. Located just a few minutes’ walk from Third Avenue Playhouse, the inn is a good choice for a pre- or post-theater dinner.
Inn at Cedar Crossing, 336 Louisiana St, Sturgeon Bay, WI, USA, +1 920 743 4200
Enjoying a singular location within the Door Peninsula Winery on the outskirts of Sturgeon Bay, this classy dining room known as Bistro 42 brings together complex flavors sourced from the surrounding Door County to create its à la carte menu. Well-presented dishes are matched with tasty tipples too — choose from award-winning wines to Door Country distillery spirits and handcrafted beers. Many like to organize a tasting at the winery before soaking up the alcohol with a leisurely bistro lunch.
Bistro 42, 5806 State Highway 42, Sturgeon Bay, WI, USA, +1 920 743 9463
Somewhere between a bar and eatery, Nautical Inn is a friendly little tavern that was once popular with sailors and shipbuilders in Sturgeon Bay’s maritime heyday. Visit today and you’ll find it decked out in nautical décor and serving excellent seafood and other light bites in a reliably lively atmosphere.
Nautical Inn 234 Kentucky St, Sturgeon Bay, WI, USA, +1 920 746 6706