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Wisconsin Dells, WI

RestaurantsOur favorites include some of this destination's best restaurants—from fine dining to simple fare.

By Inspector 293

as told to Frank Swanson

Near the Bavarian Village shopping center on Broadway, the enticing aroma of frying burgers wafts out onto the street from Monk's Bar and Grill, a tiny pub that serves, hands down, the best burgers in the Dells. Made from a secret recipe, the hamburgers are best with fried onions and melted cheese, but they taste heavenly no matter how you decide to order them. The smoky pub filled with sports memorabilia offers limited seating, but there is a small non-smoking section, and burgers and hotdogs can be ordered to go. When dining in, try the house's specialty drink, the Purple Monkey, a sweet and icy alcoholic beverage that helps beat the summer heat.

A block north of Broadway on River Road stands the rustic River Walk Pub. Right off downtown's River Walk path with gorgeous views overlooking the cliffs of the Wisconsin River, this family-run restaurant was built entirely—from floors to tables to ceiling—from old growth white pines harvested from the Dells area when expansion triggered land development. A covered outdoor terrace offers exceptional views of the river, all the while providing a homey, cottage-like feel. The menu includes all the pub classics—burgers, fish, chicken and steaks—and the deep fried cheese curds are a great way to begin a meal. Menu specials are offered daily, and in season a second terrace is opened as an outdoor beer garden. After your meal, stroll down the stone steps to the River Walk and take a relaxing stroll.

A half block south of Broadway, Swiss Maid Fudge surpasses the many other candy stores that line the streets and crowd the amusement parks in Wisconsin Dells. This award-winning establishment has been offering the most flavorful homemade fudge, saltwater taffy, toffee, brittles and candy since 1962. Unlike many places, the treats here are made the old fashioned way—handmade from scratch using fresh ingredients. Visitors are invited to watch the highly trained staff hand dip chocolates and caramel apples, pull taffy or carefully pour and paddle fudge cooked in a copper kettle. Try the creamy, delicious fudge—made from Wisconsin sweet cream butter, pure vanilla, cream and real chocolate—as well as the decadent caramel and cashew brittle. In addition to the extensive variety of sugared treats, sugar-free and low-carb candies also are offered.

Continuing west on Broadway across the Wisconsin River, you'll find Mexicali Rose next to the boat docks by the dam separating the Upper and Lower Dells. This authentic Mexican restaurant is a favorite among locals and tourists alike, renowned for its value-priced meals and festive atmosphere. Colorful murals, paper roses and colored lights strung from the ceiling and piñata-themed sculptures all bring a sense of fiesta to the down-home cooking. Tables along the large windows offer fantastic views over the river, and riverside dining is available on the terrace in season.

The menu at nearby Pizza Pub features pizza, as you'd expect, but also pasta, burgers, sandwiches and a fifty-item soup and salad bar. With its large seating capacity, arcade area and lounge, this place is a great spot to unwind and refuel after a long day of play in the Dells. Portions are generous, and the menu offers good value and enough variety to please even the pickiest eater. Specialty pizzas and toppings come on thin, pan or hand-tossed crusts. For larger groups, the “Big Kahuna” size feeds six to eight people.

The Del-Bar is a classic supper club about a half mile south on the parkway. This local institution—owned and operated by the same family since 1943—exudes simple elegance, down to the tuxedoed staff and player-piano music drifting from the lounge. Originally housed in a small log cabin, the restaurant now boasts a sprawling dining room redesigned by Frank Lloyd Wright protégé James Dresser in a coolly sophisticated style reminiscent of the Brat-pack era. Prime aged steaks and fresh seafood are highlights on the changing menu. Outdoor seating on the terrace is available in good weather.

About a mile farther south, Moosejaw Pizza & Dells Brewing Co is inspired by a North Woods lodge. The eye-catching dining room features wood-beamed ceilings, whimsical log furniture and stuffed animal heads. Pool tables and video games on the lower level will keep the kids entertained—and they'll go home wearing paper moose antlers. Beer-lovers will enjoy the sampler of microbrews made on site. The menu lists such traditional pub favorites as steak, pizza, wings and hot dogs, along with more unusual fare like broiled walleye and elk burgers.

Sarento's is another family-friendly spot just a short distance away on Wisconsin Dells Parkway South. The elegant dining area is reminiscent of an Italian villa. Intricate murals and a stone fireplace create a charming setting in which to enjoy mouth-watering homemade pastas, veal, steaks and seafood. The Caprese salad is a light and delicious way to begin your meal; the sumptuous desserts are a delightful ending.

For a romantic night out, visit Field's at the Wilderness. Inspired by the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, this elegant restaurant features stone-hearth fireplaces, waterfalls and an exhibition kitchen. The sophisticated menu offers contemporary yet creative preparations of prime steaks, chops, fresh seafood and gourmet pizzas cooked in a wood-burning oven, as well as children's items. An extensive variety of domestic and imported wines is also available.

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Wisconsin Dells, WI

Top AAA Diamond Hotels

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SpringHill Suites by Marriott Wisconsin Dells

461 Wisconsin Dells Pkwy. Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965

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Hilton Garden Inn Wisconsin Dells

101 E Hiawatha Dr. Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965

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Members save 5% to 15% and earn 10% bonus Best Western Rewards® points when booking AAA/CAA rates!

Best Western Ambassador Inn & Suites

610 Frontage Rd S. Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965

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Members save 5% or more and earn Marriott Bonvoy™ points when booking AAA/CAA rates!

Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Wisconsin Dells

511 Wisconsin Dells Pkwy. Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965

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