5 places to pick up a plateful of comfort food
Nothing provides stress-relief quite like a delicious meal.
There’s really nothing better than cozying up with big plate or bowl of comforting food after a long, stressful day — or year. Every culture has a different type of comfort food. Luckily, Madison is full of restaurants with cuisine representing different countries and ethnicities that can both relieve your stress and satisfy your hunger.
Essen Haus in Madison is the perfect place to go for an authentic dish of German food — especially for a Wisconsin favorite, bratwursts. Owner Bob Worm believes it’s the perfect comfort food. The restaurant has eight different kinds of bratwursts and a wide range of toppings, including horseradish, sauerkraut, diced pickles and onions to add an extra kick of flavor. Pair a brat with one of Essen Haus’ pretzels and dip and a good book for the perfect night in. 514 E. Wilson St., 255-4674, essen-haus.com
This French restaurant offers satisfying dishes. On Saturday’s afternoon brunches, you can sink your teeth into La Kitchenette’s Torsade au Chocolat — a soft butter pastry filled with vanilla custard and chocolate chips. For those looking for a less sweet option, La Kitchenette also offers a Torsade aux Raisins — a soft butter pastry filled with custard and raisins instead of chocolate chips. Add a cup of locally roasted coffee to your meal and you’ve got the perfect Saturday morning. 805 Williamson St., 283-4266, lakitchenettealamaison.com.
La Taguara specializes in Venezuelan and Latin American cuisine that will help you to wind down after a long day. Its most popular dish — a dish called Pabellón — is made from scratch with beans, skirt steak and seasoned with a house sofrito. The sofrito, made out of onions, seasoning and peppers, is then paired with hand-shredded beef shredded. This dish also happens to be the national dish of Venezuela, The restaurant opened in 2013 when owner Jaykell Badell brought his mother to the United States from Venezuela to create the recipes. 3502 E. Washington Ave., 721-9100, lataguara-madison.com
Nothing quite says homey quite like a bowl of pasta — and nothing quite says comfort like Osteria Papavero’s cacciatora dish. Cacciatora translates to “Hunter’s style” and truly lives up to the name with its hearty nature. The dish is a braised dish with chicken, rabbit, duck or guinea hen with added red wine, seasoned with mushrooms and olives and typically served on top of a gnocchi, polenta or pasta. One of Osteria Papavero’s recent cacciatora dishes included housemade squash and potato gnocchi with duck and chicken cacciatora, complete with tomatoes, olives and mushrooms — all paired with a red wine. According to Chef Francesco Mangano, people typically enjoy this dish because it’s pretty straightforward. 128 E. Wilson St., 255-8376, osteriapapavero.com.
Madison’s Sa-Bai Thong Thai Cuisine serves some of the most comforting dishes in the form of curry. Squash curry is a standout with kabocha squash and served with jasmine rice, the earthy flavors of this dish blend well with coconut, creating a perfect balance of sweet and savory. Those who try the dish usually come back for more, not only because of the flavor but because it’s filling. 6802 Odana Road, 828-9565, sabaithong.com