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16 Best Restaurants in Madison, GA, According to a Local

The Sinclair in Madison GA seen from outside

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Madison, Georgia, might be a small town, but it has plenty of great restaurants. While I have personal favorites, it was surprisingly difficult to put them into a list of the best of the best. I’ll tell you what I like about each one and why I frequently recommend these local eateries to anyone who will listen. 

I’ll also let you know about the restaurants I haven’t tried but have had recommended. You just might want to check them out, too. The area does have some chain restaurants and fast food, but I’m only going to focus on local dining for our purposes today.

You can get your favorite fast-food fix anywhere, but these restaurants are locally owned and operated — and sure to satisfy your tastebuds. 

My Favourite Restaurants in Madison, GA

You’ll find the small town of Madison just over an hour north of Atlanta and about half an hour from Athens, Monroe, Covington, and Lake Oconee.

Visitors come here from all over the world to see the historic homes of Madison and to bask in the small-town Hallmark-style vibe you’ll find. Expect a friendly welcome from locals and a surprising amount of local art and culture for such a tiny town. 

1. Mad Taco

Mad Taco restaurant in Madison GA, view from outside, yellow foliage
Photo by author

My absolute favorite restaurant in Town is Mad Taco, which is a part of MAD Hospitality, LLC. Start with the chips and salsa or chips and queso — either are highly recommended. Order both of them if you can’t decide!

If I had to choose, my favorite menu items are either the street-style tacos or the burro bowl. Pro tip: Order a side of street corn to add to your burro bowl! The atmosphere is delicious, and the service is impeccable. 

They also have a fairly extensive drink menu. The prickly pear margarita remains my favorite, although I’ve tried and enjoyed other drinks there. The atmosphere is casual, and although they don’t have the seating capacity for large groups, you can choose between indoor, outdoor, bar, or table seating.  

You’ll find Mad Taco at 140 East Washington Street in historic downtown Madison, between Hart & Crown Tavern and Madison Square Nutrition. 

three tacos with meet and onions
Photo by author

2. Farmview Cafe

Photo by author

Farmview Cafe is another personal favorite restaurant in the city of Madison, Georgia. You’ll find plenty of dining options inside. You can choose from the cafeteria-style hot buffet with various specials throughout the week, or you can place an order at the cafe.

Breakfast is available until 10:30 am, and lunch is available from 11 am to 3 pm. The Pecan Crusted Chicken Salad is my favorite menu item, but my regular lunch date always orders the Rock House Burger.

Photo by author

Their pot roast is also particularly good, and if you see the peach cobbler hit the menu, you’ll want to order it first — and I won’t judge you if you eat it first, too.

Once you’re done, you can mosey on over to the market and check out locally sourced meat and produce as well as gifts made by local artisans.

You’ll find Farmview Cafe inside of Farmview Market at 2610 Eatonton Road. You’ll have to leave historic downtown Madison to find it and cross over the Interstate. It’s just a short drive away.

3. Betty Gene’s

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Betty Gene’s is the most recent restaurant added to downtown historic Madison. It’s also a part of MAD Hospitality, LLC. It’s housed in the former location of Dolce Caffe. Go inside and see if you don’t fall in love with the chicken decor.

It’s surprisingly whimsical and cozy. They serve up breakfast and lunch every day of the week and brunch on the weekends. Plus, they might just have one of the best dessert menus in town!

While I’ve only eaten there once (so far), the turkey club and fried green tomatoes were utter perfection, and the service was efficient and friendly.

I have my eye on the apple pie a la mode on my next visit. You’ll find Betty Gene’s at 290 Hancock Street right behind the post office and beside the bank. It’s also conveniently located beside Community Roots Market where you can pop in to pick up a bottle of wine.

Delicious sandwich at Betty Gene's
Photo by author

4. Crowe’s Open-Air BBQ

Crowe’s BBQ is sometimes overlooked when it comes to Madison dining, but it remains one of my absolute favorite restaurants in town. They feature a Carolina-style sauce, but I have to say that their barbecue is good with or without it.

This family-owned and operated BBQ joint has been around Madison for more than 60 years, and you’ll find fast and friendly service every single time you visit. You can sit inside, sit in the covered porch area, or take your order to-go. 

My order is consistently the BBQ sandwich with baked beans and macaroni and cheese, and I always order the biggest glass of sweet tea I can get. Occasionally, I’ll throw in an order of ribs or something else that looks good to me, but it’s consistently good no matter what. Plus, it’s affordable and has a rustic, casual atmosphere.

You’ll find Crowe’s BBQ at 1320 Eatonton Road across from The Madison Flea Market, one of my favorite shops in town! You can’t miss it. It has a huge red tricycle right outside. Just ignore the construction going on in the Crowe’s BBQ parking lot.

Rumor has it, they’re building a gas station there, but I’ll believe it when I actually see it. Until then, it’s just a lot of mess and noise we’ll all be glad to see the back of when it’s done. Don’t worry: it won’t impact your dining experience at Crowe’s! 

5. R+B Soul Cafe

Photo by author

R+B Soul Cafe is easily one of the best but most overlooked restaurants in downtown Madison. Part of the issue is that it’s not in walking distance to the downtown area, but the drive is so short and the parking so easy that it’s ridiculous not to make the trip over to grab the best soul food around. A friend introduced me to this restaurant, to my everlasting gratitude. 

It’s open 11 am to 4 pm Tuesday through Friday and is open 12 pm to 4 pm on Saturday and Sunday. The daily special includes two sides, cornbread, and a drink for only $10.

You can also order off the menu if you prefer fried chicken, wings, or a sandwich. I can never quite choose between sweet tea or lemonade, but I tend to get the banana pudding for dessert each time. This is a great place to get your southern food fix on your visit! 

You’ll find them over at 461 Burney Street. The staff are always welcoming, and the space is perfect for a casual and relaxed lunch. Plus, the seating can easily accommodate groups. If you haven’t tried it yet, you’re missing out. 

6. Madison Produce

Photo by author

In the interest of full disclosure, Madison Produce’s current location used to be the home of Perk Avenue, which was a coffee shop where my writing group regularly met. While I was happy for Madison Produce to get a larger home, I was sad to see Perk close during COVID — and sadder still that the restaurant won’t offer Wi-Fi to its guests. 

With that being said, Madison Produce has one of the best locations around. It might be newer to its current location, but it used to be located where Madison Square Nutrition is housed now. The food is consistently good, and it’s the perfect place to grab a sandwich, soup, or salad for lunch.

My personal favorite menu item? The Cranberry Pecan Chicken Melt. I also love the Mad Max and the Madison Produce Co. Grilled Cheese. The soup and chili are also solid choices. You can’t go wrong with anything there.

I do have to say that the renovations they did before opening are absolutely perfect. It’s such a warm and welcoming location — lack of Wi-Fi notwithstanding — and it has the perfect view of downtown Madison.

Plus, they sell plenty of local produce. If nothing else, check out the food gift options they have on their shelves. You just might find pickles, honey, or pecans that would be perfect in a holiday gift basket!

You’ll find Madison Produce Company at 111 West Jefferson Street. It’s the sunny yellow building with outdoor (and indoor) seating. You can’t miss it! 

Madison Produce, inside
Photo by author

7. Ricardo’s Kouzzina

Ricardo's Kouzzina outside
Photo by Crystal Jackson

Ricardo’s Kouzzina is a popular local favorite! In fact, it was hard for me to put it this far down the list only because it’s one of my regular dining options. I love it, but it’s been so hard to choose. What you should know is that it’s easily one of the best restaurants in Madison. It’s located right beside Zen Relaxing Wellness Center and across from Town Park. 

My order here is almost always the Apple Walnut Salad and the Shrimp Santorini. On busy nights and weekends, you might want to call ahead to make reservations or expect a longer wait time to be seated. Like I said, this is one of the most popular restaurants in Madison.

Be sure to check out their dessert menu, too. The flourless chocolate cake is excellent, and you can never go wrong with the peanut butter pie.

You’ll find Riccardo’s at 271 West Washington Street. If you’ve got a long wait ahead of you, pop into Zen Relaxing Wellness Center for a salt room session or to book a relaxing spa appointment. 

8. Town 220 Restaurant

Town 220 restaurant in madison,GA.
 Photo by author

Town 220 Restaurant is one of the more upscale dining options in town, which is the only reason it doesn’t rank higher on the list. It’s not my personal favorite lunch destination, but it is a great place to have dinner, drinks, or dessert. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever ordered a dish I wouldn’t recommend. 

You’ll find Town 220 at 220 West Washington Street right behind the James Madison Inn across from Town Park. This is one of the more expensive restaurants in town, but the food is delicious, and the atmosphere manages to hit all the right notes of intimate and romantic. As a local, I usually go here for special occasions, but dining here can make any evening special. 

9. Amici Madison

Amici, Madison, GA
Photo by author

Amici Madison holds a special place in my heart for one very special reason. Well, two reasons. The first is that they hosted my very first book release party when Left on Main, the first book in the Heart of Madison series, came out in the fall of 2019. Left on Main is based in Madison, Georgia, and it was wonderful to be able to host a signing and release party in a restaurant in the historic downtown area. 

The other reason is that it’s got a great family-friendly atmosphere and delicious pizza. My children are always happy when we go here for lunch or dinner. The service is always friendly, and if there’s a bit of a wait for your order, you can watch a game on TV, enjoy live music, or simply soak in the rustic atmosphere.

happy kid eating at Amici Madison
Amici Madison — Photo by Crystal Jackson

You’ll find Amici at 174 West Washington Street. My favorite pizza there is the Blonde Greek. If you’re not in the mood for pizza, they’re also known for their wings. Either way, you’re sure to leave satisfied. 

10. Tequila’s Mexican Grill

Margarita at Tequila’s — Photo by author

Tequila’s Mexican Grill is a little further from the downtown historic square, but it’s still worth a visit. It’s one of the best restaurants in Madison, GA. You’ll find great Mexican cuisine here at affordable prices.

The margaritas are also amazing! While there are three places to get tacos in Madison, you’ll most likely find me at Mad Taco or at Tequilas, depending entirely on my mood. 

This place is always busy and frequented by locals. If the parking lot is full, just don’t make the mistake of trying to park next door. The owner will absolutely yell at you. Plus, a full lot might just indicate a long wait.

However, if you’re lucky enough to slide into a spot at Tequila’s, you’ll find fast and friendly service, and the food is always hot and delicious. You’ll find it over at 863 North Main Street.

11. Hart and Crown Tavern

Hart and Crown Tavern
Hart & Crown Tavern — Photo by Crystal Jackson

I love the atmosphere inside Hart & Crown Tavern. It’s so warm and cozy. There’s limited seating, so you might want to make reservations in advance. If you do have to wait, you can go grab a drink down the street at The Sinclair or pop into Mad Taco for a cocktail. Either way, you’ll want to try this English-style pub on your visit. 

This restaurant is yet another MAD Hospitality business and is located directly beside Mad Taco. My favorite dish, so far, is the Pot Pie. My only issue with this restaurant is that it doesn’t offer options for vegan diners.

While I’m not personally vegan, I have friends who are and would love to see more of the downtown restaurants offer a few gluten-free, plant-based, and vegetarian options on their menus to accommodate more diners. (Of the MAD Hospitality restaurants, Mad Taco has the best vegan option. Try the burro bowl. Just request it without dairy.)

You’ll find this cozy tavern at 142 East Washington Street. If you go in the cooler weather months, the fire might even be glowing inside. Settle in for dinner or grab a drink at the bar. 

12. Benny Paul’s Soul Food

Benny Paul’s Soul Food — Photo by Crystal Jackson

In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve not yet eaten at Benny Paul’s Soul Food. You might be wondering why I’d even include it on the list. It’s rumored to have some of the best soul food in town, and the owner also runs Wing Nights, another popular restaurant in town. You’ll find buffet-style southern soul food here. It’s right across from Town Park, so the location is in walking distance to downtown Madison.

You’ll find Benny Paul’s Soul Food at 171 West Washington Street. It’s one of the newer restaurants in town and the perfect place to find some good old-fashioned comfort food. Indoor and outdoor seating is available. 

13. Tickled Pig BBQ

Tickled Pig BBQ — Photo by Crystal Jackson

You’ll find Tickled Pig BBQ over beside the James Madison Inn. If you love brisket best, you’ll want to move this higher on your list. Crowe’s BBQ doesn’t offer brisket, but you will find it at the Tickled Pig. One of the most popular dishes here among locals is the loaded BBQ baked potato. It’s either that, the loaded BBQ cheese fries, or the brisket if you stop in here. 

Tickled Pig is open from 11 am to 3 pm Tuesday through Thursday and from 11 am to 8 pm on Friday and Saturday. You’ll find it at 270 West Washington Street. Just look for the red train car. 

14. Martha’s Favorites (formerly Adrian’s Place)

Martha’s Favorites — Photo by Crystal Jackson

Back when Martha’s Favorites was Adrian’s Place, I ate here a time or two. I can highly recommend both the friendly service and the soul food served hot. The prices are also reasonable. The reason it’s not higher on the list is I haven’t been to the new location, and it was so hard to choose between the wonderful restaurants in the area!

You’ll find it just on the other side of the tracks at 325 West Washington Street in downtown Madison. If you love southern cooking, add this to your list and let me know what you think. I know when it was Adrian’s, you could count on a meat and two sides along with bread and a drink. Plus, dessert! You can’t forget that. 

15. Wing Nights @ Benny Paul’s

Photo by Crystal Jackson

Wing Nights at Benny Paul’s is THE place to get hot wings in Madison, and it’s conveniently located in the former Ricky D’s location. You have to go inside just to see the classic theatre vibe. In fact, you’ll find theatre seating in the back and a game on the movie screen. While there’s limited seating both indoors and out, wing lovers will need to swing by and check this out on their visit. 

You’ll find this friendly locally owned and operated restaurant at 139 East Jefferson Street, just across from the courthouse on the downtown square. If there’s a wait, you can always pop over to The Sinclair for coffee or a cocktail. 

16. Dos Amigos Mexican Grill

Happy kids eating at Dos Amigos Mexican Grill, Madison GA
Dos Amigos — Photo by Crystal Jackson

You might have noticed that the picture I used for Dos Amigos Mexican Grill features pizza. There’s a good reason for that. Children. Children are the reason for that.

Dos Amigos has one of the best kids menus in town. They understand that children often want very simple food — pizza, chicken nuggets, and cheese quesadillas. While it’s not my favorite restaurant in town, the food is consistently good and very family friendly.

Plus, they have a big parking lot and tons of seating inside. You’ll notice that Dos Amigos is very popular with locals and stays busy.

I usually opt for a quesadilla or fajitas here. You’ll find Dos Amigos just across from Walmart at 1650 Eatonton Road. It’s not in walking distance to downtown, but it’s only a short drive away. 

Best Special Occasion Dining: The Dining Room

The newest addition to downtown dining is here! The Dining Room, another MAD Hospitality, Inc, creation, recently opened just behind Hart & Crown Tavern in historic downtown Madison, Georgia.

You’ll find it open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 5:30 pm with the last seating at 8:30 pm. You’ll find a Three or Four Course Prix Fixe menu featuring farm-to-table ingredients and a curated wine selection. Reservations are required.

This is my pick for the best special occasion dining restaurant in Madison. If you’re looking to impress your significant other, you’ll want to make your reservation here. You’ll find The Dining Room at 146 East Washington Street. 

Best Coffee in Madison: Oconee Coffee Roasters

My pick for best coffee in Madison is Oconee Coffee Roasters. My favorite is the oat milk mocha, but you can’t go wrong with any coffee choice at this locally owned and operated coffee roaster and shop. Jin, the owner, is a master coffee roaster with over 16 years in the coffee business.

The coffee is sourced from family farms around the world and roasted in-house. Plus, you can’t beat the friendly service or welcoming atmosphere here!

Although this shop hasn’t been in Madison long, it’s a personal favorite of mine. You’re sure to get a friendly greeting, knowledgeable coffee recommendations, and great coffee. Plus, you can sit downstairs or upstairs to work, study, or sip your coffee.

It’s conveniently located beside Madison Markets if you choose to take your coffee to-go to wander the shop next door. Either way, if you need to caffeinate during your visit, this is THE coffee shop in Madison. You might find coffee offered elsewhere, but this is the best Madison has to offer. Plus, if you see a pumpkin muffin, you’ll want to grab one of those, too. 

You’ll find Oconee Coffee Roasters at 142 Academy Street between Amici and the James Madison Inn. If you find a coffee you love, you can even take a bag home with you. They also offer gift cards (which is a great idea for local gifts). 

Best Bakery in Madison: Patisserie on Main

Let’s be clear: Patisserie on Main is currently the only bakery in Madison. It still needed to make this list because the pastries here are divine! Once you’ve scored coffee from Oconee Coffee Roasters, you’ll want to take a leisurely stroll through the historic district to visit Patisseries on Main.

You won’t be shocked to learn that this is another MAD Hospitality creation. It’s a welcome addition to downtown historic Madison, especially since we lost our favorite coffee shop, Antique Sweets, some time back.

While it doesn’t replace the chocolatier, it is nice to have a good bakery downtown. Honestly, I can’t even pick a single pasty to recommend. I’ve yet to encounter one I didn’t absolutely love. 

You’ll find Patisserie on Main at 129 South Main Street. There’s no seating inside, but you can always sit at one of the benches on the square to enjoy their delicious treats. Weather permitting, of course. 

Best of Shakes & Drinks: Madison Square Nutrition

I cannot write a best of the best article without mentioning Madison Square Nutrition. Their protein shakes are a wonderful way to satisfy your appetite between meals. The banana pudding one is probably my favorite, but they have so many good drinks and shakes you’ll want to try. Plus, there’s seating inside, and you’ll get fast and friendly service. 

You might also want to try one of their donut shots. It really does taste like a glazed donut! I’m not sure how, but it’s true. Give it a try.

Look for Madison Square Nutrition beside Mad Taco at 132 East Washington Street. 

Best of Cocktails in Madison: The Sinclair

For best cocktails, you’ll want to check out The Sinclair. They also offer breakfast pastries and lunch, but I love to visit for a drink. There’s limited indoor seating, but I love to sit outside. They have heaters up in the winter, and it’s a great place to sit and observe the town. Order a cocktail and relax with friends. 

You’ll find The Sinclair at 298 Hancock Street across from the courthouse in historic downtown Madison. It’s a beautiful place to sit and enjoy a drink with friends. If you don’t drink alcohol, they also have coffee options available. 

Dining in Madison, Georgia

Do yourself a favor and skip the chain restaurants. Eating local and shopping local businesses boost the economy and is the best way to say “thank you” to the community that you visit. Even if you’re a local, taking the time to eat at a locally owned restaurant helps them stay in business — and provides us with some wonderful downtown dining options. 

Happy eating!

Recommended read: 24 Unique Things to Do in Madison, Georgia, According to a Local

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