La Crosse is all about comfort, relaxation, and modern French culture. La Crosse beautifully blends historical landmarks and gardens with modern culture, while preserving the charm of the original picturesque riverside town.
For every price point, La Crosse has a culinary experience that will satisfy and inspire you. In honor of La Crosse’s riverside community and traditional hospitality, here is a list of the 12 Best Restaurants in La Crosse, WI.
Famous Dave’s Bar-B-Que
$$-$$$ | 608-779-4100 | WEBSITE
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The mission of this restaurant is to create the most authentic BBQ experience in America. The cuisine here has some of the most coveted BBQ awards in the nation and has made it into several BBQ magazines for its groundbreaking flavors.
A passion for original BBQ is why they source the highest quality meats and make all their food from scratch. They have excellent service, a great wine list, and an energetic, knowledgeable staff.
$$-$$$ | 608-796-2277 | WEBSITE
This place is almost always packed but they are excellent at getting food out quickly and accommodating allergies and preferences. The menu here is large, but the Crawfish, Jambalaya, Etouffee, Blackened Catfish, and Hush Puppies are the local favorites.
The portions here are huge and you are sure to get your money’s worth and even be able to take some food home. The atmosphere, influenced by vintage culture but with a sleeker twist, creates a comfortable yet engaging ambiance perfect for a casual date or a memorable celebratory meal.
4 Sisters Wine Bar & Tapas Restaurant
$$-$$$ | 608-782-8213 | WEBSITE
Locals say this restaurant has the best Andouille Rice, Crawfish tails, Cod Fish Tacos, and Seafood Salads in the area. This is a proudly owned veteran & female-owned business about melting backgrounds, experiences, and preferences together to create a flavor journey you’ve never experienced before.
This is a modern spot with an elegant ambiance and superb service. This restaurant is in an office building that faces the Mississippi River. They have a veranda-style terrace that is quiet, peaceful, and beautiful.
The Freighthouse Restaurant
$$-$$$ | 608-784-6211 | WEBSITE
This place is built within one of the oldest Railroad Departments in the United States and is a National Historic Site. They have intimate and large indoor and outdoor dining areas where patrons can often enjoy live music.
Some of the most popular dishes are their Steaks, fresh Halibut, Cod Filets, and Ice Creme Dessert Drinks.
It’s the perfect place to have a relaxing afternoon luncheon at their outdoor bar or to have a quick bite before going to the Riverside International Friendship Garden. It’s a pretty fast-paced atmosphere, but the staff are always helpful, engaging, and accommodating.
Digger’s Sting Restaurant
$$-$$$ | 608-782-3796 | WEBSITE
This restaurant was named after the 1973 film “The Sting” and a mafia hit man from New York City named “Digger.” The atmosphere is a progressive but historical vibe based on New York’s “gangster era.” Frank Sinatra and other melodic favorites are always playing and the walls are covered in old photos to immerse you in the nostalgic experience.
This is the perfect place in Downtown La Crosse for enticing fresh fish, delectable filet mignon, and unique hand-crafted martinis. One of the funny highlights is that a lot of the drinks are named after movie characters and actors.
$$-$$$ | 608-788-1895 | WEBSITE
Hungry Peddler is known for its outstanding hamburgers and unique beers from the nearby Capital Brewery. Their fun, old-time ambiance is the perfect place to host dinners for visiting family, or looking to grow a relationship with your coworkers.
One of their most popular requests is Doug’s Dynamite Duo where you get a steak, a choice of scallops, shrimp, or fish, and a made-to-order side. They also have heavier and lighter meals that can appeal to every diet or mood.
$$-$$$ | 608-784-9548 | WEBSITE
The mission of Fayze’s is to deliver versatile culinary experiences made up of classic and new mouthwatering recipes and flavors. This large restaurant is in the right heart of historic downtown La Crosse, is easily accessible from the street, and has a helpful, efficient staff.
Locals know this restaurant for its famous Bloody Mary’s secret recipe mix. A newer one they have is the Firecracker Bloody Mary made with Vodka, a splash of tabasco & shrimp. In addition to the restaurant, they also have Fayze’s Bakery next door.
$$-$$$ | 608-433-2234 | WEBSITE
This professional and joyful ambiance here is the greater backdrop for outstanding American comfort food. In the heart of Downtown La Crosse, this restaurant is in a repurposed older brick building that creates a modern rustic feel you can’t replicate.
The ribeye, Shrimp Scampi, and Peach Shortcake are the three locally celebrated items on their menu. Lovechild prizes itself on creating simple food with big flavors from locally sourced seasonal ingredients.
Their wine list and dessert list are extensive and loved by many also. Several people say that the creamy corn custard with blueberries and shortbread will wow you every single time!
Waterfront Restaurant and Tavern
$$-$$$ | 608-782-5400 | WEBSITE
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This is one of the most beautiful, celebrated, and high-end dining experiences in downtown La Crosse, Wisconsin. They host most of the private parties, corporate and press events, and weddings for the city’s influencers and leaders.
They pride themselves on only using the best farm-to-table ingredients, seasonal produce, and high-quality meats. Don’t be scared though!
The restaurant itself is classy but you don’t have a dress code to go in here. The outside seating is beautiful, with a great view of the River and the Bluffs beyond and a fantastic menu execution by all the staff.
$$$$ | 608-782-6498 | WEBSITE
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This is the perfect balance of ambiance, fine French cuisine, and a European-style atmosphere. Each dish is meant to take you on an explorative cuisine-defining balance of sweet, salty, and sour.
Head Chef Tim is all about crafting simple flavors executed to perfection from farm to finished dish. You can have large parties here, but they excel at the intimate dining experience for a few people at a time. Also, prepare to be wowed because they are located in the historical landmark Le Chateau.
$$-$$$ | 608-784-4877 | WEBSITE
Piggy’s has an antique ambiance that can’t be beaten! The wait staff was knowledgeable, attentive, and engaging. The scenery is stunning and the giant antique bar will knock you out of your seat.
Although known for its barbeque, the menu also gives the restaurant a steakhouse feel. In addition to their amazing barbecue, the fried chicken here is fantastic and is always crispy on the outside, tender, and moist on the inside. As an add-on, they also have a seasonal menu featuring local produce and meats that create locally unique dishes.
$$$$ | 608-519-8800 | WEBSITE
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The French-inspired cuisine is the foundation of this inviting, high-class dining experience. The restaurant is nestled within The Charmant, a 67-room luxury Hotel in downtown La Crosse, Wisconsin.
Although it is an elegant experience, keeping everything fresh, simple, and down-to-earth is the main goal of the head chef. The ambiance is like a vintage boutique and is very reminiscent of its candy factory origins, and is extremely charming.
The flavors and dishes are all gourmets, but the Wisconsin hospitality and demeanor of the staff will make you feel like you are at your family’s home. Locals rave that the food here is always beautifully presented, healthily portioned, and always out fast.
This review of the 12 Best Restaurants in La Crosse should give you the tools you need to craft an amazing culinary journey through the historic and beautiful La Crosse, Wisconsin. At the same time, you will be able to explore and experience the loving community this city has to offer.
Hayden has been a digital director for years. He has five years of experience editing and writing about food, restaurant, and recipe review content. At Birch Restaurant, he’s in charge of scouting, showing up unannounced in different restaurants, and writing a thorough food guide!