20 Best Restaurants in Wausau, WI

This article was written by local contributor Emilia Brooks & edited by the Travel Lens team.

Best Restaurants in Wausau, WI
Aaron of L.A. Photography / shutterstock.com

Wausau, Wisconsin, a charming city nestled in the heart of the state, has always been one of my favorite places to call home.

Over the years, I've had the pleasure of dining at numerous local restaurants, each offering a unique and delightful culinary experience.

From classic American fare to international fusion, there's truly something to satisfy every palate when trying the best restaurants in Wausau, WI.

With so many options, it's hard to narrow it down to just 20, but I've managed to compile a list of the best and most noteworthy eateries in town.

Let's dive into the exquisite flavors and unforgettable atmospheres that make these establishments stand out.

Urban Street Bistro

Tacos at Urban Street Bistro

I recently attended a wedding that was catered by Urban Street Bistro, and the food and service were absolutely outstanding.

The menu featured an array of mouth-watering dishes which provided a perfect balance of comfort food with a modern and exciting twist.

Some of the most talked-about dishes at the wedding were the chicken and waffles, smoked salmon display, cheesy potatoes, and biscuits and gravy with spicy sausage.

The bride and groom were big foodies and had high expectations for their wedding menu, and Urban Street Bistro certainly didn't disappoint.

In addition to the delicious food, the Urban Street Bistro team went above and beyond in their dedication to making the event a success.

Having enjoyed such an amazing meal and service at the wedding, I wholeheartedly recommend Urban Street Bistro for any events or catering needs.

Their creativity, dedication to quality, and outstanding service make them the perfect choice to make your special occasion unforgettable.

Van Acre

Pork chop at Van Acre

Last week, I decided to treat myself to a nice dinner at Van Acre, a restaurant I've heard a lot of good things about in my hometown of Wausau, Wisconsin.

I really appreciated the cozy ambiance of the place, and the outdoor seating area was perfect for the meet and greet event I had planned for my friends.

When I first looked at the menu, I was impressed by the variety of regionally inspired dishes, craft brews, and creative cocktails.

It was so delicious that I found myself craving it again and again!

While I was at Van Acre, I also tried their amazing dates wrapped in bacon and couldn't resist their mouth-watering S'mores cake for dessert.

I was also delighted to discover that it was made with a homemade crust rather than a pre-frozen one.

I'll definitely be back for more of their fantastic food and warm hospitality.

Sam's Pizza - Wausau

Cheese bread at Sam's Pizza - Wausau

One of my favorite spots to grab a delicious pizza in town is definitely Sam's Pizza of Wausau (http://www.samspizzaofwausau.com/).

The place has a cozy, old-fashioned dining room that's perfect for catching up with friends or enjoying a nice family dinner.

The traditional pies and draft brews available are simply amazing.

I can't help but drool just thinking about it!

When I go to Sam's Pizza, I make sure to try their half pepperoni and half sausage pizza.

It's absolutely scrumptious and leaves me craving for more.

They have been perfecting their thin crust recipe since 1958, and it truly shows in the quality and taste of their pizzas.

The homemade sausage they use is really good, and the crust is thin and crispy.

I don't mind the pizza being cut into squares – it gives me bite-sized pieces to enjoy without getting too full.

If you have kids, they will definitely enjoy the game room available at the restaurant.

It's a great way to keep them entertained while waiting for the food to arrive.

And don't forget to try their hand-scooped ice cream and draft beer selections, which make for a perfect ending to a satisfying meal.

Taqueria El Zebas

Tacos at Taqueria El Zebas

I recently visited Taqueria El Zebas, and it was a fantastic experience!

The food was delicious, the service was top-notch, and the prices were quite reasonable.

I was amazed by their extensive selection of breakfast and brunch options, as well as traditional Mexican dishes.

They also had a variety of American (traditional) diners and café options to choose from, which is perfect for satisfying everyone's taste buds.

One thing that really stood out to me was their salsa and hot sauce–both were spicy, just the way I like it.

I even broke a sweat while eating them!

It's rare to find a place that gets the heat level just right, but Taqueria El Zebas nailed it.

In addition, their fast-food, burger, and American (new) options are also worth trying out, especially if you're in the mood for something different.

With its convenient location just 1.7 miles away from other popular food spots, Taqueria El Zebas is a must-visit for anyone seeking an authentic Mexican dining experience.

Don't just take my word for it–check it out for yourself and discover the amazing flavors and friendly service that Taqueria El Zebas has to offer.


Red snapper with black rice and roasted tomatoes at Ciao

I had been hearing great things about Ciao in downtown Wausau, so I decided to check it out for myself.

I knew I was in for a treat as soon as I walked in–the ambiance is intimate, romantic, and cozy, with dim lighting, warm wood tones, and crisp white tablecloths.

It's the perfect spot for a date night or special occasion.

The menu is impressive, featuring handmade pasta, fresh oysters, and unique appetizers.

I started with the lobster bisque, which was hands-down the best I've ever had.

For my entree, I opted for the house-made cacio e pepe.

It was cheesier and a bit saltier than I'm used to, but still delicious.

I also couldn't help but sample the chicken parmesan, which was crispy and smothered in a flavorful homemade sauce.

Service at Ciao was top-notch - attentive, prompt, and extremely friendly.

And they definitely know their wines, with selections from all over the world.

I enjoyed a refreshing Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand.

To finish off the meal, I indulged in a scrumptious crème brûlée, which left me wanting more.

As a foodie, I can confidently say that Ciao is a hidden gem in Wausau.

It offers an impressive dining experience with outstanding food, excellent service, and a charming atmosphere.

I can't wait to go back and try more of their amazing dishes.

Mykenos Mediterranean Grill

Kebab with salad at Mykenos Mediterranean Grill

I was craving some Greek food and decided to visit Mykenos Mediterranean Grill for a satisfying meal.

The moment I walked in, I was greeted by the aroma of delicious Greek cuisine.

The dining area was clean and welcoming, making me feel right at home.

I decided to order the chicken gyros with tzatziki sauce and let me tell you, it was amazingly good.

The meat was juicy and flavorful, and the tzatziki sauce was the perfect complement.

I also tried their beef kabobs and spanakopita, which came hot and fresh, making for a delightful experience.

The portions were huge and very satisfying, and the fries that came with my chicken kabob were crispy and delicious.

One thing that stood out to me was their Greek salad.

It was dressed with a wonderful mix of Kalamata olives, pepperoncini, and chunks of feta cheese.

The salad was a great balance of flavors and left me looking forward to my next visit.

The prices were very affordable, making it an excellent spot for a casual lunch or dinner.

I'm glad to have Mykenos Mediterranean Grill in my neighborhood.

Strawberry Chicken salad at 319 Gallery & Bistro

I recently visited 319 Gallery & Bistro for lunch, and it was nothing short of amazing.

The atmosphere was eclectic and colorful, with mismatched chaos in the place settings and serving pieces, adding to the fun and unique vibe.

As I walked in, I was immediately drawn to the local art displayed in the gallery and the Talent Shop with crafts and other delights.

I decided to try their tomato basil soup, which was the best I've ever had.

For my main course, I opted for the tuna melt on honey oat bread with Swiss cheese.

The food was fun and flavorful, and I loved that they make their own soups, dressings, and even ice cream from scratch.

My meal was served with delightful accouterments like apple sauce, an apple slice, a stick with pickle and olives, horseradish sauce, grapes, and melon.

I couldn't help but notice one of them wearing a Ruth Bader Ginsburg T-shirt, which made me feel right at home.

After finishing my delicious meal, I treated myself to some of their homemade ice cream for dessert–it was so good!

La Taqueria

Quesadilla at La Taqueria

Just the other day, I decided to visit La Taqueria for lunch, and I was not disappointed.

The open and airy space was indeed designed for relaxation, a perfect spot for a family meal.

Upon entering, I couldn't help but notice the clean and spacious interior with a modern touch, making it very comfortable to dine in.

I was also pleased to find large and tidy bathrooms for customers.

The ordering process was quite simple - just order at the counter and wait for the buzzer to go off when your food is ready.

I decided to try the pork burrito, which was huge and full of flavors.

The shredded pork was just as tasty as I had expected.

I also ordered the elote, and it was simply delicious.

Another customer highly recommended the cucumber margarita, so I gave it a try, and it was a fantastic choice!

The service at La Taqueria was friendly, patient, and helpful.

I got my food within 10 minutes, which was quite impressive considering the quality of the meal.

I couldn't have asked for a better lunch experience, and I will definitely be coming back for more.

The Mint Cafe

Chop steak at The Mint Cafe

Whenever I feel like having some delicious American comfort food, I head straight to The Mint Cafe in downtown Wausau.

This cozy restaurant, with its retro details, booths, and paneling, instantly makes me feel at home.

The Mint Cafe offers a wide variety of dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with daily specials and impressive homemade pies and desserts.

The prices are very reasonable, and the portion sizes are just perfect.

One of my favorite things about the Mint Cafe is its old-fashioned diner style, where I can watch the cooks prepare my meals on the flat-top grill.

In particular, I love their pesto burger and potato salad, but I've also enjoyed their delicious breakfast options and the unique wagyu burger they serve.

This place has some of the best hash brown potatoes I've ever tasted!

But it's not just the food that keeps me coming back–it's the people.

They have even brought toys to help keep my little one entertained during our visits, which I greatly appreciate.

If you're ever shopping in Wausau or just passing through, I highly recommend stopping by the Mint Cafe for a meal.

Whether it's breakfast, lunch, or dinner, you're sure to find something on their extensive menu that will satisfy your cravings and make you feel right at home.

17th Avenue Grill

One of my favorite places to grab delicious and authentic Mexican food is 17th Avenue Grill.

The moment you step inside, you're greeted by the warm and inviting atmosphere.

The space is clean, modern, and spacious, perfect for a comfortable dining experience with family or friends.

They've managed to craft a delightful menu of traditional dishes, each with a modern twist of their own.

I cannot recommend their tacos enough–the carnitas, lengua, and el pastor are all fantastic but don't shy away from their camarones a la diabla if you're a fan of seafood.

One thing I love about this place is the service.

They make sure to explain their system with ease, making you feel welcome and taken care of.

On my last visit, I decided to try their cucumber margarita, and it was an incredibly refreshing choice!

If you're a vegetarian, worry not!

My sister tried their vegetarian bowl and elite, and she couldn't stop raving about the flavors.

The portions are quite generous for the price, and the food comes out quickly, so you won't have to wait long.

Tine & Cellar

Scrumptious meal served at Tine & Cellar

I have visited Tine & Cellar a few times and every experience has been satisfying and memorable.

I remember going there for Mother's Day brunch, and even though there was a long wait due to the holiday rush, it was worth it.

The avocado toast with crunchy sunflower seeds and the French toast with Amish butter and maple syrup were absolutely delightful.

The atmosphere at Tine & Cellar is great, and they have a unique and delicious beer and cocktail menu as well.

As a fan of trying new things, I was pleasantly surprised by the wide variety of options.

I also enjoyed their salmon with truffle fries, which were simply fantastic.

The combination of the fresh salmon with the cherry tomatoes and the truffle fries was a perfect pairing, making for a memorable dining experience.

One thing that stands out about Tine & Cellar is their charcuterie boards, which are made with some of the best Wisconsin cheeses.

I would highly recommend trying it!

And don't even get me started on their dessert options.

The lavender crème brûlée was to die for, and I wish I could have it shipped to me whenever I crave it.

The Loading Zone

Cheese curd at The Loading Zone

One of my favorite spots in town for a laid-back dining experience is The Loading Zone.

This modest roadside eatery and bar has been around since 1973, and it has become a local staple.

My friends and I love to gather there on Friday nights for their famous fish fry, and it never disappoints.

When we arrive, we usually have to wait in line to place our order at the register.

But don't worry, as it's part of the charm of this place.

After ordering, we head to the spacious bar area to grab some drinks and catch up while we wait for our food.

Their happy hour specials are always a hit among our group.

The food at The Loading Zone is always worth the wait.

I tried their tuna steaks recently, and it was a great option for a non-fish fry dish.

As someone with Celiac's disease, I also appreciate their gluten-free options, even for dessert!

However, the star of the show is definitely their Friday fish fry.

I had the seafood platter and walleye, both of which were absolutely amazing.

The shrimp and scallops are a must-try, and the German potato salad is a delicious side dish.

In addition to great food and drinks, The Loading Zone also has sand volleyball courts out back, perfect for a fun and active night out with friends.

It's the kind of place where you can feel at home and enjoy a tasty meal with loved ones.

Lemongrass Asian Fusion Restaurant & Bar

Cashew nut curry at Lemongrass Asian Fusion Restaurant & Bar

One evening, I decided to grab a bite at Lemongrass Asian Fusion Restaurant & Bar since I had heard some good things about it.

As I walked in, I noticed the place was quite busy, which I took as a good sign.

I chose to sit at the bar, and the service was top-notch.

Lemongrass offers an extensive menu with a wide variety of choices, including vegan and gluten-free options.

What I found impressive was that they allow you to order your "spice number" for your meal (0-5).

Since I'm not a big fan of spicy food, I appreciated being able to order a "zero"!

I started with the Steamed Dumplings, which were absolutely delicious.

The dipping sauce that came with them was so good that I almost wanted to drink the leftover sauce!

For my main course, I ordered one of their noodle dishes, and it was quite flavorful.

The portions were generous, too, so I didn't leave feeling hungry.

The ambiance at Lemongrass is pleasant, making it suitable for both lunch and dinner.

Even though it was busy during my visit, I didn't have to wait long for my table.

The comfortable waiting area made the short wait feel even shorter.

Chop-Stix Bourbon BBQ & Sushi

Sushi at Chop-Stix Bourbon BBQ & Sushi

Another one of my favorite places to grab a delicious meal in town is definitely Chop-Stix Bourbon BBQ & Sushi.

The original Wausau bourbon chicken served here is simply the best in the area.

During my last visit, I opted for the Bourbon chicken & shrimp with vegetable entrée, and it was absolutely divine.

Surprisingly, the chicken is cut into smaller and thinner pieces which retain more flavor, making it tastier than other versions of bourbon chicken I've had.

The sushi rolls are always fresh and delicious, too.

I especially love the chop-stix roll and the spicy tuna roll.

The space itself is quite spacious and well-lit, making it a comfortable dining experience.

It's the perfect spot for a quick lunch or dinner, and I can't wait for my next visit to Chop-Stix Bourbon BBQ & Sushi.

Malarkey's Pub & Townies Grill

Spaghetti pasta with meat ball at Malarkey's Pub & Townies Grill

I love hanging out at Malarkey's Pub & Townies Grill in Downtown Wausau.

It's a lively spot that perfectly combines an Irish-American pub atmosphere with delicious food and a great selection of drinks.

I love the frequent live music and trivia nights, which create an upbeat ambiance that makes me feel at home.

The food here is a delightful mix of Irish and American flavors, and I'm always impressed by the innovative dishes they come up with.

Some of my favorites are the lobster rangoon egg rolls and the 'wurst bites, which are so scrumptious that I just can't get enough of them.

On weekends, Townies also serves up a fantastic brunch menu; I never miss the chance to have their Veggie Skillet, which is loaded with fresh veggies and topped with a tasty beer cheese sauce.

But the food is only part of the experience at Malarkey's Pub & Townies Grill.

The drink selection is excellent, with a variety of brews, an extensive whiskey menu, and some truly amazing bloody Marys.

I also adore their raspberry mimosas - perfect for a fun and relaxed weekend brunch.

As a regular at Malarkey's Pub & Townies Grill, I appreciate not only the quality of the food and drinks but also the exceptional service.

El Mezcal

Cheesy shrimp rice at El Mezcal

I have been a regular customer at El Mezcal for years, and I can't get enough of their authentic Mexican food.

They've done a fantastic job of creating separate spaces in the large dining area, making sure it's never too loud, even when they're busy.

As soon as I order, I know I can expect my food to arrive lightning-fast – it's always impressive how quickly they serve up their dishes.

The presentation is always on point, and the flavors never disappoint.

In all these years, I've never experienced any issues with my orders – it's been consistently great.

On one of my recent visits, I tried the Camarones Diabla, and it was absolutely delicious.

The dish had that perfect spicy kick, with layers of flavors that made it a memorable experience.

I also have to mention their warm and fresh chips, served with a salsa that took me right back to my time in Puerto Vallarta.

Although they don't have a full bar, I've enjoyed their top-shelf margaritas which are quite good in my opinion.

Carmelo's Italian Restaurant

Linguine and Clams at Carmelo's Italian Restaurant

I recently dined at Carmelo's Italian Restaurant and had a fantastic experience!

The restaurant is known for its homemade Manicotti and Fish Fry, and the dining room overlooks the picturesque Rib Mountain Golf Course and Granite Peak Ski Area, providing a stunning view no matter the season.

As soon as I entered the restaurant, I was impressed by the warm and welcoming atmosphere.

I started my meal with their popular Veal Cutlets while my partner enjoyed the Chicken Alfredo.

Each dish was absolutely delicious and cooked to perfection, which is a testament to their chefs and cooks.

I also spent some time at the bar, sipping on a well-crafted Brandy Old Fashioned while waiting for my table.

While visiting Carmelo's, I couldn't help but notice the large group of fourteen celebrating a birthday nearby.

It's clear that the entire team at Carmelo's Italian Restaurant is dedicated to providing a memorable dining experience for all guests.

Sconni's Alehouse & Eatery

Smoked salmon flatbread at Sconni's Alehouse & Eatery

As someone who loves dining out, I decided to try out Sconni's Alehouse & Eatery here in Weston.

I was impressed with the lively atmosphere and the lovely patio area.

I opted to sit inside, excited to dive into their selection of American comfort fare and bar snacks.

One of the first things that caught my attention was their extensive beer selection, featuring a variety of types such as IPAs, Sours, and Porters.

I grabbed a refreshing IPA to start, and as I perused the menu, I found it hard to choose between their offerings of burgers, sandwiches, wings, flatbreads, and pizzas.

In the end, I went for the pan-seared tuna, and let me tell you, it was a delightful surprise!

The dish was packed with flavors–smokey chili pepper, sesame oil, green onion, and sesame seeds - and the tuna was cooked to perfection.

On another visit, I tried the smoked salmon flatbread, which was equally delicious.

The addition of dill on top was a refreshing touch that made the dish stand out.

I also noticed they had plenty of vegetarian options, including a beet burger that was simply scrumptious and packed with flavor.

Although they had run out of some popular items during a busy Saturday dinner, it didn't detract from the overall experience, and I knew I would be back to try more of their delicious creations.

Blue Willow Cafe

Pancake breakfast combo at Blue Willow Cafe

I recently visited Blue Willow Cafe for breakfast, and I was not disappointed.

The moment I walked in, I could tell this was a Mom and Pops-style diner with a cozy atmosphere.

The award-winning food and breakfast served all day long caught my attention, and I couldn't wait to try it.

Upon being seated, I noticed their extensive menu, which included popular dishes such as eggs Benedict, strawberry pancakes, and homestyle French toast.

Being a huge fan of breakfast skillets, I decided to order one.

The service was outstanding, and the food arrived incredibly fast.

I appreciated that they kept my coffee cup full throughout my visit, although the coffee itself wasn't anything extraordinary.

The portion sizes at Blue Willow Cafe were generous, and I was delighted with the taste of my skillet.

The warm syrup they served with the pancakes seemed like an excellent touch.

One thing I particularly enjoyed about Blue Willow Cafe was the great value it offered.

The prices were reasonable, and the amount of food they served made it worth every penny.

Red Eye Brewing Company

Halibut at Red Eye Brewing Company

My friends and I recently decided to try out Red Eye Brewing Company, and I'm glad we did!

We were excited to learn that they focus on sustainability and supporting local farms and businesses.

We started our culinary adventure with some of their small-batch craft beers.

I opted for the Pink Lemonade Sour, which was crisp and refreshing without being overly tart.

My friends tried the Scarlet 7 and Brunch with Paul, both unique and delightful in their flavors.

The food truly exceeded our expectations, with a variety of offerings on the menu.

I indulged in the best risotto I've ever tasted while my friends raved about the juicy grass-fed burgers and the veggie burger with a gluten-free bun.

One of my friends couldn't stop talking about the Napolitana pizza, which was made with ingredients sourced from local farms.

The outdoor patio was a bonus, as it added to the overall dining experience.

We enjoyed sipping our drinks and savoring our meals while basking in the warm weather.

Final Thoughts

Wausau has an incredible variety of dining options to satisfy any craving, whether you're in the mood for a hearty American meal, flavorful ethnic cuisine, or a unique fusion of flavors.

I've been fortunate enough to dine at most of these restaurants, and each one has left me with memorable experiences and delicious, satisfying meals.

The diverse culinary scene in Wausau is undoubtedly one of the many reasons I'm proud to call this city my home.

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