Lunch

Going out to eat isn't always about cravings. Often enough, mealtimes dictate our choices, limiting restaurant possibilities. When circumstances narrow the options, let 10Best help. We'll direct you to the best Lunch restaurants in Madison and save you the hassle of calling around for business hours. 10Best readers find much to enjoy at The Casbah thanks to its all-around good offerings. It's also hard to beat Ella's Deli, which serves just what you're looking for when you're in the market for a great Lunch.

9 Kabul Restaurant
Should you tire of customary cuisine offerings, Kabul can wake up your taste buds with a menu of Afghan and Mediterranean fare. Affordable, flavorful offerings include kebabs of beef, chicken, and fish, along with entrees crafted from lamb, vegetables, and seafood. Fragrant herbs, yogurt, couscous, and legumes figure into many of the dishes, as do exotics like preserved lemons. When the weather's mild, outdoor seating is also a desirable alternative. (608-256-6322)

8 Hubbard Avenue Diner
Sleek, retro styling defines this appealing diner, which makes the most of its chrome and glass-block details. Serving food all day, the eatery offers classic diner fare, updated for modern tastes. Cheeseburgers and pulled pork sandwiches satisfy purists, as do meatloaf plates and chicken pot pie. Trendy folks revel in the Madras vegetables bowl or a dish piled high with Thai chicken and noodles. You'll also find fish-and-chips, roasted vegetable quesadillas, a bayou catfish sandwich, and plenty of fresh salads. Plus, baked goods, sundaes, shakes, and an array of pies and cheesecakes elicit grins of pleasure from local sweet tooths. (608-831-6800)

7 Hawk's Bar and Grill
A brick interior and artwork portraying prominent jazz musicians establishes a hip, laid-back ambience at this family-owned bar and grill. The place also boasts an enormous bar built by the owner and his father. At lunch, folks order at the counter and retrieve their food when called. The menu features fresh-made burgers, reubens, and sandwiches with grilled portabellos, tuna steak, pork, sirloin, and chicken. Crisp salads and homemade soups and desserts also delight patrons. Draft and bottled beers (including microbrews) are available, along with bottled and by-the-glass wines, and liquors. (608-256-4295)

6 Stable Grill at Quivey's Grove
Occupying a circa-1855 stable near the historic Stone House restaurant, this quaint, inviting eatery features substantial stone walls, rough-hewn beams, and rustic adornments. Its menu features traditional home cooking and includes grilled meatloaf with portabella mushroom sauce, pretzel-crusted perch filet, and fried chicken breast with smashed new potatoes. Sandwich possibilities include roast pork loin, smoke-roasted prime rib, marinated chicken, and corned beef with apple-cherry kraut. Don't forget the signature turtle pie either, a fantasy of pecans, caramel, and chocolate Bavarian cream. Bottled beers and liqueur coffee drinks are also available. (608-273-4900)

5 Ella's Deli
Much-loved by children, this whimsical eatery mesmerizes young and old alike with its displays of vintage toys, suspended collectibles, and animated figures. There's even a merry-go-round out front that has all the kids clamoring for a ride from spring to early fall. The menu leans heavily towards sandwiches, soups, and other kid-friendly fare, and the signature ice cream is fantastic — cold, creamy, and homemade. Ideal when you're in that soda shop frame of mind. (608-241-5291)

4 The Casbah
Adding a touch of novelty to Madison, The Casbah offers a visual and culinary jaunt to the Mediterranean world. Spread across three floors, the establishment specializes in traditional fare like grilled lamb chops, couscous dishes, Tunisian chicken, and beef shish kebab. You'll also relish dolmades, falafel, hummus, and baba ghanouj, along with a selection of combination plates. Live piano music is played weekly, and there's a full bar and a hookah lounge with a dozen flavored, imported tobaccos. Rickshaw rides can be arranged as well. (608-255-2272)

3 Paisan's
With its sunny patio, cozy wooden booths, and casual ambience, Paisan's plays host to folks seeking affordable Italian fare and some of the city's best pizza. Sandwiches and pasta standards have their place, but thin-crust pies are the signature. Test a Vegetarian Pesto from their combo list, or choose your favorite toppings and revel in the freshness. Weekday pasta specials satisfy budget-conscious diners, and pitchers of sangria call out to the college contingent. Plus, there's tiramisu! Reservations accepted Monday-Thursday. (608-257-3832)

2 Pedro's Mexican Restaurante — East
Popular with locals, this festive Mexican establishment delivers all the zesty dishes you've come to expect from south-of-the-border eateries. Sizzling fajitas feature steak, shrimp, or chicken, and fish tacos are dressed with chipotle tartar sauce. Enchiladas, tamales, chimichangas, and burritos are infused with fragrant spices and also boast tasty vegetable accompaniments. Plus, you'll find combination plates and options for gringos in your group as well. Don't forget to sample the margaritas! (608-241-8110)

1 Famous Dave's Barbeque
Founded by Dave Anderson back in 1994, this immensely popular chain serves up some of the best ribs, burgers, and chops you can imagine. As legend has it, Famous Dave scoured the country and sampled the finest barbecue dishes each region had to offer, all the while fine-tuning his own delicious recipes. How successful were his endeavors? Just sample a platter of award-winning ribs served with homemade cornbread, corn on the cob, and sides like Drunkin' Apples and potato salad — your overwhelmed taste buds will let you know immediately. (608-286-9400)


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Maps and Directions

1
Kabul Restaurant 10Best List Arrow
Dining Options: Disabled Accessible, Take Out
Cuisine: European, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern
Neighborhood: STATE STREET
COST: $
2
Hubbard Avenue Diner 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, Diner
Dining Options: Counter Seating, Disabled Accessible, Family Friendly, Take Out
Neighborhood: WEST
COST: $
3
Hawk's Bar and Grill 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American
Dining Options: Bar / Lounge, Bar Dining, Disabled Accessible, Group Friendly, Non-Smoking
Neighborhood: STATE STREET
COST: $
4
Stable Grill at Quivey's Grove 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American
Dining Options: Disabled Accessible, Parties / Private Rooms
Neighborhood: WEST
COST: $$
5
Ella's Deli 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, Deli, Ice Cream
Dining Options: Family Friendly, Group Friendly, Kosher, Parties / Private Rooms, Take Out
Neighborhood: EAST
COST: $
6
The Casbah 10Best List Arrow
Dining Options: Bar / Lounge, Bar Dining, Group Friendly, Live Music, Parties / Private Rooms, Smoking
Cuisine: European, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern
Neighborhood: DOWNTOWN
COST: $$
7
Paisan's 10Best List Arrow
Dining Options: Bar / Lounge, Bar Dining, Family Friendly, Non-Smoking, Take Out
Cuisine: European, Italian, Pizza
Neighborhood: DOWNTOWN
COST: $
8
Pedro's Mexican Restaurante — East 10Best List Arrow
Dining Options: Bar / Lounge, Bar Dining, Disabled Accessible, Family Friendly, Group Friendly, Non-Smoking, Parties / Private Rooms, Take Out
Cuisine: Latin, Mexican
Neighborhood: EAST
COST: $
9
Famous Dave's Barbeque 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, Barbecue
Dining Options: Bar / Lounge, Bar Dining, Catering, Disabled Accessible, Family Friendly, Non-Smoking, Take Out
Neighborhood: WEST
COST: $
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