Madera is a small town straddling Route 99 in the middle of California, named after the Spanish word for ‘wood.’
It is also the capital of Madera County.
The California Lumber Company originally marked out the town, accounting for its name.
Additionally, Madera is one of California’s wine regions.
While the area makes its lower-cost wines, much of the local produce goes to other wine-making regions of California, which produce several award-winning wines.
Like many Californian towns, Madera offers a wide variety of restaurants that cater to most palates.
You will be able to enjoy most cuisines, although you will find that the town has limited fine dining options available.
Here are the best restaurants in Madera, California:
California Grill is quintessential California-style food.
Don’t be confused by the name, as the grill is only a part of their menu, which offers everything from Italian to Cajun to Asian salads.
A top contender for their best dish is the chicken marsala.
The California Grill is a popular eatery in Madera on East Yosemite Avenue, just down the road from Court House Park.
Besides good food and a relaxed and manageable atmosphere, California Grill also offers a zesty lemonade that provides a refreshing beginning to your meal.
California Grill offers dine-in, take-out, delivery, and a points system for online orders, which can earn you free food.
Black Bear Diner
The Black Bear Diner is part of the Black Bear franchise, and the Madera Diner, like the rest, is family and community-oriented.
The Black Bear Diner is easy to find just off the main Golden State Highway, heading towards Borden.
With a picturesque exterior and a beautifully decorated interior that plays on the town’s rustic stone and timber origins, the Black Bear Diner has an inviting and relaxed backcountry allure that makes one immediately think of comfort.
This comfort is echoed in the menu, which combines home-style cooking and comfort food.
They have an extensive but classically American breakfast menu that covers everything from a proper fry-up to pancakes and caters to the health conscious with oatmeal and fruit bowls.
The Black Bear lunch menu has a wide-ranging burger offering, salads, sandwiches, and specialty chicken strips.
The dinner menu is more wholesome, with great steaks and several other dishes.
Likewise, there are many options, and even the pickiest eater will find something to like.
The diner also has a decadent dessert menu and fun kid’s options.
The Vineyard Restaurant and Bar
The Vineyard Restaurant and Bar is at the junction where the Golden State Highway 99 and Highway 145 meet.
It has the distinction of being the sole fine dining experience in the town.
The Vineyard provides an elegant but relaxed backdrop for enjoying some of the best food in Madera, delivering a comfortable fine dining experience and excellent service.
The Vineyard offers both dine-in and patio dining, well-suited to its food offerings that cater to intimate dinners and family outings.
The menu stands above the average, with beautifully prepared and plated dishes further complemented by a well-rounded drinks menu that includes some good quality Californian wine.
The handmade pasta dishes are exemplary, as are the numerous meat dishes.
Each dish is beautifully imagined and executed; the Vineyard creates beautifully presented and, more importantly, delicious meals.
In addition to the food offerings, the Vineyard Restaurant and Bar has a chic, well-appointed bar with a variety of local Californian wines and a good beer selection.
Their in-house beer geek constantly updates their beer selection, with classic cocktails rounding off the drinks menu.
Sal’s Mexican Restaurant
Sal’s Mexican Restaurant is the Madera location of this family-run restaurant chain that offers excellent classic Mexican fare.
This is a go-to restaurant for classic Mexican hospitality. Sal’s has a solid and comforting family vibe, making it a tremendous low-key, casual, relaxed, and friendly atmosphere for family dining.
Sal’s offers all things Mexican and includes a bit of classic Mexican meat grills for the meat lovers, with their rib dishes standing out.
Other customer favorite dishes include homemade tamales and a fancy burrito that oozes flavor.
Along with the fan favorites, Sal’s has a fantastic selection of quesadillas made from crisp flour tortillas with various tasty fillings.
While Sal’s is a great food experience for visitors to Madera, it also offers a range of services for locals, from frozen dinners to banqueting facilities.
Likewise, they fully understand modern food needs and tastes.
Situated next door to the Walmart in Madera, Sal’s Mexican Restaurant provides well-priced and enjoyable Mexican fare.
The Tap House
The Tap House is Madera’s best craft beer establishment on Schnoor St, just off highway 99.
This sleek, stylish establishment has modernized the classic pub vibe.
Gone are the days of finding good beer in dingy, dark bars.
The Tap House has a clean, bright modern industrial chic feel to it.
The food is modern pub fare, comprising a selection of sliders, salads, sandwiches, and pasta.
More than that, the Tap House prepares famous pizzas.
The options are not many, but there are enough to cover all tastes, and you can build your own with a comprehensive list of ingredient.
There is even a cauliflower crust option available.
Pizza, of course, needs a good beer, and the Tap House offers a good variety that will keep even the most discerning brew fanatic happy.
They additionally have a constant spate of new brews on offer along with their usual tap offerings providing both consistency and unique taste adventures.
The Tap House even has wine on tap and options on bottled wines for consumption on-site or purchase as gifts or home consumption.
The wines are mainly locally produced.
This elegant but relaxed tap room is child-friendly and often has different daily specials.
The Waffle Spot
The Waffle Spot is the ultimate breakfast spot in Madera.
As the name suggests, they make mean waffle makers with sweet and savory options.
In addition to waffles, there is a wider variety of breakfast dishes from skillets to omelets to platters and benedicts.
The Waffle Spot is undoubtedly the best place to find good American breakfast.
The portions are generous, the pricing is competitive, and the excellent service brings it all together.
Moreover, the Waffle Spot caters to business people and visitors.
Its atmosphere is relaxed, warm, and friendly, the perfect place to take the kids for a breakfast treat.
While the Waffle Spot makes top-class waffles, it is also a strong contender for the best coffee in the Madera area, even managing to make its de-caffeinated offerings unforgettable.
Situated across Highway 99 from the Madera Flea Market, the Waffle Spot helps you during your weekend and weekday breakfast runs.
Dicicco’s Italian Restaurant
Dicicco’s Italian Restaurant is a family-run restaurant that started in 1956.
Since then, due to great food and service, the restaurant has expanded into more premises in different locations in California, with the menu growing over time.
The Dicicco’s Restaurant in Madera continues in the family tradition and has become one of the best Italian restaurants in town.
The dishes use fresh ingredients, including pasta and bread, which exudes a very inviting baked aroma down the street.
DiCiccio’s offers Italian fare, with the dishes being rich, flavorful, and bright.
The tomato-based pasta dishes have that beautifully bright and vibrant tomato sauce that the Italians have mastered.
This fantastic red is reiterated in the décor with bright red tablecloths and chair cushions.
A further highlight is the magnificent stained glass window which creates an intimate and comforting atmosphere in the restaurant itself.
This restaurant provides exceptional service, with friendly and prompt servers, ensuring that your experience matches the fantastic flavors of the food.
Pho’Dera Vietnamese Noodle House
If you want a more exotic meal, check out the excellent Vietnamese dishes at Pho’Dera Vietnamese Noodle House.
This restaurant is centrally situated and has a pleasant atmosphere.
Offering a variety of Vietnamese dishes, the Pho’Dera Vietnamese Noodle House provides fantastic freshly prepared meals that encompass the vast array of flavors of Vietnamese cuisine.
The noodle dishes are superb, with rice dishes and some of the most flavorful soups.
The Pho’Dera Vietnamese Noodle House offers one of the most extensive vegetarian menus in Madera, and the prices are all very reasonable.
Besides the Vietnamese fare, the restaurant offers a few Thai options.
All their food is made with love, ensuring that you will only be getting great-tasting dishes.
Perko’s Café is a popular eatery in Madera.
Although part of a franchise, it gets the formula right and offers some of the best American comfort food in the town.
Offering a very chic and relaxed atmosphere, Perko’s Café is an excellent place for family or solo dining.
The broad menu includes classic American diner-type meals, including an all-day breakfast menu.
The Perko’s burgers are one of their stand-out meals.
Moreover, the cafe considers people over 60 as honored citizens, and they receive special deals on meals and beverages.
Perko’s Cafe is on Cleveland Avenue in the center of the town, just off highway 99.
Its cheerful red façade welcomes everybody, like the delightful aromas wafting out of its doors.
As a family and community-oriented restaurant, Perko gets active in several community projects, particularly fundraising for local schools and teams.
Ristorante Gabriela is a beautiful mix of modern and old-world elegance.
This restaurant is an odd but perfect mix of Italian with a touch of Mexican fusion, and the food and service won’t disappoint.
Situated on Schnoor Street, it comes across as quite plain from the exterior.
However, step inside, and you will find a crisp, clean, well-appointed establishment that offers elegance and comfort.
From delicious, beautifully presented meals to comfy chairs and fantastic and friendly service Ristorante Gabriela will not disappoint.
Although on the pricier side, it is nonetheless well worth it, with steaks, pasta, and seafood done to perfection.
If you have a sweet tooth, Ristorante Gabriela offers a decadent array of desserts, with its iconic cheesecake.
Cachanilla offers authentic Mexican fare in central Madera, close to highway 99.
The homemade food features rich flavors.
Cachanilla has perfected the art of Mexican seasoning, and every dish is a masterpiece of flavor.
Cachanilla has a friendly and efficient staff complement who provides prompt and good service.
The menu is simple, but don’t let that deter you from ordering; they have perfected each dish.
The food is well priced, too,
Always check the register for specials you can enjoy indoors or outdoors, as they offer indoor and outdoor seating.
This fantastic little gem is great for families, although you might want to call before going to be sure of opening times.
Edgar’s Italian Restaurant
Edgar’s Italian Restaurant offers fantastic Italian cuisine, served in a friendly, homey establishment full of charm.
You can find the restaurant away from the town center, offering a more peaceful setting near Lions Town and Country Park.
The pricing is reasonable, and the selection on the menu is considerable.
Edgar’s Italian Restaurant is well-known for its pasta, particularly its past dishes with scallops and prawns, which it has perfected.
Along with great food, Edgars offers a good wine list that complements the food.
Edgar’s is an enjoyable experience thanks to the excellent service staff.
Full O Bull Madera Subs
Full O Bull Madera Subs is Madera’s best sandwich spot in the town, situated on Modoc Street near Lions Town and Country Park.
Full O Bull Madera Subs offers a range of sandwiches, including a juice and smoothie bar, making it a great lunch stop.
The sandwiches are a variety of classic California barbeque style fusion, and their fries are superb.
The premises are simple but clean and neat, all that a sub shop needs.
This place is great for a lunchtime sit-in and takeaway.
The food is tasty and flavorful, and the service is excellent and friendly.
Backstreet Bar and Grill
Backstreet Bar and Grill is one of the top bars in Madera.
It is locally run and owned and offers that classic bar atmosphere.
If you are looking for a tavern, pub, or sports bar vibe, the Backstreet Bar and Grill can easily give all of them.
One of the great features of this bar is that it is spotless and provides fantastic pub food in a fun and relaxed atmosphere.
The bar offers a comfortable and affordable place to shoot some pool, watch a game, enjoy a beer or cocktail, and have a good meal.
It is easy to see why it is popular with the Madera locals.
Compa Frank’s is an exciting blend of Mexican cuisine, with Sinaloan flavor plus a mix of seafood, traditional Mexican food, and even sushi.
The restaurant is on Howard Road, just down the road from Lions Town and Country Park, and offers comfortable dining.
Compa Frank’s also has a great atmosphere complemented by great music and friendly, helpful staff.
The food is excellent, served quickly, and well seasoned.
While Madera may be short on fine dining establishments, there is no need to worry about finding good food.
Comfort, friendliness, and taste are common themes for Madera's eateries, and aMadera’sl restaurants have a reputation for excellent service.
Check out these best restaurants in Madera to find an excellent range of well-made, flavorful, and highly enjoyable cuisine.