Though award-winning dairy products have earned Wisconsin fame, its abundant farmers markets, industrious cranberry bogs, prized cherry trees, Friday night fish fries, homey supper clubs, inventive microbreweries and time-honored recipes for brats, cream puffs and Kringles are what make Wisconsin’s dining scene so inimitable. Explore the best of what the Dairy State has to offer with our guide to its top ten restaurants.
Crazy Water has a New American-European fusion menu which capitalizes on local, seasonal and organic ingredients whenever possible. It offers dishes like five spice Hudson Valley duck breast with house-made butternut squash tortellini, sage brown butter, a pomegranate demi-glace and sautéed spinach; jasmine tea-glazed wild salmon with Hoisin-braised bacon, herbed basmati rice and orange cashew salad; and grilled sirloin with potato rosti, Swiss chard, mushroom-cambozola-pickled red onion compote and a Cabernet syrup. Make reservations to ensure you have a table at this intimate spot, especially if you’d like to sit on the lush, green patio when the weather is pleasant.
Crazy Water, 839 South 2nd Street, Milwaukee, WI, USA, +1 414 645 2606
When you go to Trattoria Stefano in Sheboygan for Italian food, you can be sure you’re getting the best of the best; owner and operator Stefano Vigletti sponsors trips for his staff to go to Italy regularly to develop their personal cooking techniques and appreciation for the region’s cuisine. Natural, local ingredients enhance the 21-year-old trattoria’s authentic dishes, including its bread and desserts, which are baked in-house daily. Try the ossobuco alla Millanese, or braised veal shanks served with saffron risotto, roasted beets and fresh, sautéed spinach; or the inventive ravioli alla Lombardia, or six-meat ravioli with amaretti cookie, golden raisins and Parmesan served in a brown butter and sage sauce and topped with candied almonds.
Trattoria Stefano, 522 South 8th Street, Sheboygan, WI, USA, +1 920 452 8455
A Victorian property less than a mile away from two state parks on the Door County Peninsula is home to the White Gull Inn, a bed and breakfast known for its seasonal outdoor fish boil. The distinctly Door County tradition involves boiling chunks of fresh fish and red potatoes (with just a pinch of salt) outside in a large pot over an open flame. You won’t find the practice anywhere else in the state, much less the county, but one bite of the tender fish—and the accompanying Door County cherry pie—will leave you enamored with Door County cuisine.
White Gull Inn, 4225 Main Street, Fish Creek, WI, USA, +1 888 364 9542