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When it comes to steak, there are many factors that go into deciding on the best place. For example, what do you look for in a steak? What kind of meat is your preference? Is price an issue or not? All these questions and more will be answered in this blog post. Read on to find out where to find the best steak in Madison Wisconsin!
Is it a special occasion? One of those date nights? If you are looking for a great dining experience and tasty treat the Capital city has so many incredible restaurants to offer!
Now, these are not the old-school supper club experiences I normally talk about, these are the ideal place to get a great steak in the Madison Area. Those are like stepping back in time for a relaxing multi-course meal that makes you feel like family as well as being pampered at the same time. The whole relish tray and Brandy Old Fashioned Sweet experience.
SOME of these steakhouses offer a close experience to that but are more of a steakhouse than a supper club.
Where to Find the Best Steak in Madison Wisconsin
First, what are you looking for in a steak? Tenderness and flavor go into the equation. Some feel that there should be no gristle or fat on your meat. It needs to be cooked correctly so it is not too dry…while others might like it well done and add ketchup to it. (sigh)
Second, what type of meat do you prefer? People have different ideas when it comes to beef. Some like prime rib while others want just sirloin steak while some people might even consider things like flank steak or skirt steak as their favorite kind! My husband is a huge fan of the NY Strip while I love a good fillet. Everyone seems to have a different idea as to what an amazing steak should be.
Third, does price matter to you at all? Steaks can range from $25 and up per pound depending on where they come from–higher quality steakhouses charge more than less expensive ones that offer cuts with similar qualities but cut corners on the environment. So much goes into that pricing, including the quality of beef, the cut type, how long it’s been aged…I could go on and on.
Finally, what type of meal do you want to have? From a simple steak dinner with mashed potatoes and green beans to more elaborate dishes like filet topped with lobster tail smothered in truffle butter or even something as fancy as Kobe beef sirloin served New York-style–choose your favorite from this list!
Yes, I mentioned fresh seafood as this tends to go hand-in-hand with steakhouses. Shrimp, scallops, lobster – it is all fair game. And delicious.
Please Be Understanding
We are still dealing with the fallout of a global pandemic. There is an incredible labor shortage that has many things factoring into it. First of all, over 600,000 adults in our country are now gone. In 15 months. Millions of women haven’t joined the workforce again since everything shut down – for a variety of reasons. Let’s not get started on the argument of rising wages vs. killing bonus unemployment benefits…
To add insult to injury – the University of Wisconsin campus was closed to about 60,000 students who lived, ate, and worked in the community.
Places are short-staffed. They might have limited menus. They might run out of something – just like all of our grocery stores have been lately because the labor shortage also affects our supply chain.
I looked at the online reviews for some of these places over the last year and am stunned at the self-entitled little faux gourmands who think they can leave a one-star review and be justified. In a freaking global pandemic. When Dane County health orders demanded that they staged their reopenings at 25% capacity, then 50%, etc – I know it killed the owners to have to turn away those that didn’t make a reservation, even if they had empty tables. That they couldn’t legally use at the time.
Relax. Enjoy yourself. Be kind. Double-check hours before your visit – better yet? Make a reservation if you can.
That being said, we looked at a few factors with our rating system: price/value, quality of food, service, ambiance, and even what their online reviews have been over the last year.
OK – this is my favorite place of all and where we go to celebrate things like my kid brother’s 50th birthday. They have a great wine list, killer button mushroom appetizer, and Wednesday night prime rib for just $29.
Delaney’s has beef that is just so, so good and they take care of you like family. Their servers are attentive without being overbearing or pushy – I love the way they work together to come up with great ideas for each table! We think that this is the place to get the Best Steak in Madison Wisconsin.
I am a sucker for their Filet Mignon with bearnaise sauce and the hubster loves the Friday Night Fish Fry.
449 Grand Canyon Dr. Madison WI 53719 Call to make a reservation 608-833-7337
#2 Mariner’s Inn
A Madison iconic destination, Mariner’s Inn has been feeding the masses for over 50 years with its welcoming atmosphere.
No matter what you eat here, your taste buds will be pleased. I love their Admiral’s Tenderloin that is twin petite tenderloin filets topped with asparagus, seared scallops, crab, and Bearnaise sauce. Hubs likes to start with the shrimp cocktail and then move on to the fried shrimp. Make sure you plan to have a bowl of their legendary clam chowder!
5339 Lighthouse Bay Drive Madison, WI 53704 Call to make a reservation (608) 246-3120
#3 Rare Steakhouse
Aged steaks. 750 wines to choose from. This is the spot for you if you are looking for upscale, fine dining in a steakhouse setting. I’ll admit that we’ve only been there twice but it was an unforgettable experience each time.
You need to know that their menu is European style – where everything is a la carte. Your steak will not automatically come with a potato – unless you order it (for an additional charge). It is definitely a white tablecloth restaurant.
Try the Bananas Foster and see if you can have Genevieve as your server.
14 W. Mifflin Street, Madison, WI 53703 Call to make a reservation 608.204.9000
#4 Tornado Steak House
Also known as the Tornado Club, Tornado Room, or the Tornado Club Steak House. If Madisonians don’t remember the name, they will recreate it to their own satisfaction.
This is often brought up in my Supper Club group – but I feel it is more of a steakhouse – it could be argued either way.
You need to try the French onion soup and also the Brussel sprouts y’all. I then like the Coquille Saint Jacques appetizer for my entree, but I am a lighter eater. The hubster is all about the steak, and I have sampled bites each time. I am pretty sure everyone who goes there agrees on the excellent food.
116 South Hamilton Street, Madison, WI, 53703 Call to make a reservation 608-256-3570
#5 Ruth’s Chris Steak House
One thing I love about them is the fact that they are incredibly aware of the fact that some people have dietary needs. They have select menus for the gluten-free to vegetarian to even Keto-focused folks.
As one of Madison’s pricier options, Ruth’s Chris is a high-end steakhouse that can really put you in the mood to splurge.
2137 Demming Way, Middleton, WI. Call to make a reservation 608-828-7884
#6 Johnny Delmonico’s Steakhouse
Part of the Madison restaurant powerhouse known as the Food Fight Group, Johnny Delmonico’s is a more laid-back steakhouse, perfect for casual dining.
This gang is known for taking the “normal” and recreating it with a twist that has people coming back over and over again. They have some of the best steaks in Madison, and at really reasonable prices!
Try the cherry smash cocktail and the mashed potatoes will make your eyes roll back up into your head.
130 S. Pinckney St.Madison, WI Call to make a reservation 608.230.5800
#7 Smokys Club – closing at the end of Feb 2022!
I have to say I actually grew up chatting with Janet tableside when we would visit. My folks were very involved in the restaurant industry and oddly enough, my in-laws knew them well too. Delightful people who rand a fantastic place and now their son fills their shoes nicely.
Yes, it feels dated when you walk in – but that is part of the kitsch.
They have an extensive and unique martini menu. Seriously – cool “Mad-Men” era treats to try. The Smokey’s Club experience is a bit on the expensive side for us locals but it does have some of my favorite dishes. To name just a few, their steaks are absolutely outstanding. The menu isn’t a la carte as most entrees include several courses.
When you are asked about what your choice of potato is – say “hashbrowns”. Maybe risk it with a few grilled onions in addition – but they are done in a small skillet on the side and a-ma-zing.”
I will say that they used to garner awards like “Top 10 Steakhouses in the Country” — and think they need to do a little work to reclaim their former fame. You can only skate on a reputation for so long…
3005 University Avenue, Madison, WI 53705 Call Smoky’s Club to make a reservation 608-233-2120
#8 LongHorn Steakhouse
Just so you know – this is a national chain. Still, it is the one my late father-in-law adored. He was a fan of the top USDA Choice center-cut top sirloin with a baked potato. They were wonderful with accommodations for his walker, then wheelchair.
Madison WI – West Towne Mall. Call for a reservation (608) 836-1830
#9 Texas Roadhouse
I know this is far from the best steak house. It’s a chain. I know this is a loud – poor atmosphere – obnoxious kind of place. You seriously may have a difficult time carrying on a conversation with the person right across the table from you. Here is the thing: they have sirloin steak dinners for under ten bucks and those reasonable prices are perfect for those families on a tighter budget or that person who likes a well-done steak with ketchup on it.
The sweet potato is amazing, the salads in a chilled salad bowl, and you will laugh at the fact that ALL servers stop to dance when the right music comes on. Seriously, whoever thought it would be a good idea to take all of your servers off the floor at the same time was not a customer services savant.
Consider it the McDonald’s of steak houses, basically.
Now, I know you are thinking of places like Toby’s, the Esquire Club, even Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse… The first two we consider supper clubs, not a steak house, and will cover them later. The last? Just. No. But again, that is our opinion.
Where do you love to go for steaks in Madison?