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Wisconsin Parent

Restaurant Review: Bonefish Grill in Madison

Dec 07, 2014 08:30PM ● By Julie Henning
Open not even a month, the Bonefish Grill restaurant in Madison, Wisconsin—one of over 200 Bonefish Grill locations across the U.S. and the second in the state of Wisconsin—has hosted a steady stream of diners, enough to generate a wait even on a week night.

Located at 7345 Mineral Point Road on Madison's West side, you'll find Bonefish Grill located in the West Towne Mall complex. Founded in St. Petersburg, Florida, Bonefish Grill specializes in market-fresh fish from around the world—the restaurant uses a wood-burning grill to add a savory, even-cooked flavor to the entrees.

Donating $5000 to the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County on the venue's opening night, manager JD Duncan is a father of a 15-month-old son and understands the dynamics of dining with children. Interested in both the menu and the family-dining experience, Duncan invited our family of five to come out and experience the restaurant from a parents point of view.

To begin, our reservation was for 6PM on a Saturday night during the peak holiday shopping and party season. When we arrived, the host station was doing its collective best to keep the traffic flow moving smoothly, with the every seat occupied in the open bar area. As an incentive to making an advance reservation (something I strongly recommend) you can receive 15% off your final check simply by doing this online.

If you have younger children, Duncan recommends arriving earlier in the evening. As a suggestion, happy hour is from 4PM-6:30PM Sunday through Thursday. When seated, the kids received a Bonefish Kids Adventure Menu and a pack of crayons. As someone who has traveled all over the country and dined at more restaurants than I can accurately remember, kudos to Bonefish Grill for nailing this one on the head. Putting the single page, black and white word search/tic-tac-toe grid to shame, the Adventure Menu is a six-page activity book with a scavenger hunt, science questions, maze treasure tracker, code cracker, missing letter, connect the dot, coloring sheet with food choices on the back.


I always pack an emergency deck of playing cards to keep kids entertained during our wait, but we barely dented the deck as the activity book really held their attention (even the oldest kid, who is usually the first to lose interest and start asking for a smart phone).  Next up, we received bread and a pesto and olive oil sauce for dipping and I was pleasantly surprised at the freshness of the bread. Many times the items in the bread basket are hit-or-miss; not the case this time.

AppetizersWe started with Wagyu Beef and Ginger Potstickers. When available, I like to order wagyu beef, as it is higher in unsaturated fat than meat from other breeds of cattle. Doing my part to save the planet, I ordered the Ocean Trust Tropic Heat Martini made with pineapple infused Absolut vodka, muddled mango, lemon juice, and a jalapeño. Bonefish Grill donates $1 to the award-winning ocean conservation foundation Ocean Trust each time someone orders this martini ($121,000 was donated in 2013). I also supported the local Wisconsin Cranberry Growers Association with a Winter White Cosmopolitan (this is a best-selling cocktail and it was delicious). Wink!


Available for kids 10 and under, the Minnows Menu entrees include broccoli or French fries and a beverage. Creatures of habit, my kids ordered chicken tenders, mac n' cheese, and grilled chicken (an item approved by the National Restaurant Association to be included in the Kids LiveWell program).  Fish strips and popcorn shrimp are also available for families wanting to stay in the seafood theme. If your child has a large appetite, you might want to add an additional side (choices are garlic whipped potatoes, potatoes au gratin, steamed broccoli, herbed couscous, and jasmine rice).

Kids Menu ItemsFor the adults, my husband selected the Sea Scallops and Shrimp with squash and I had the While Grilled Mediterranean Branzino. Both were delicious and we commented on how nice the portion sizes were (not overwhelming the plate, which seems to be prevalent in American culture).

Adult Menu ItemsIn fact, because the portion sizes were manageable, we found room to share the Oreo Cookies and Cream Flatbread, a brioche flatbred topped with chocolate ganache whipped cream, and sprinkled Oreo cookie pieces, as a family dessert. This was a nice solution for everyone and a special treat for our kids, as we typically skip the added expense five desserts would add to the final bill.

IMG_0238At full capacity, I felt a bit uncomfortable taking photos of the building's interior (but the stock images below will give you a good idea on the overall feel for the ambiance). All in all, the Madison location is 6,400 square feet and can seat 303 patrons (including 60 in the bar area and 38 on the covered patio). The facility also has two private dining rooms that seat 32 guests each (or can be opened to double the size) and are ideal for holiday parties, private functions, etc.


The Madison location serves dinner nightly, lunch Monday through Saturday, and brunch on Sundays. Normal hours of operation are:

Monday – Thursday 11 a.m. – 10:30 p.m. Friday – Saturday 11 a.m. – 11:30 p.m. Sunday 10 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.


Phone: 608-827-5720

You will also find a Bonefish Grill in Brookfield, Wisconsin:


Address and Phone Number: 18355 West Bluemound Road, Brookfield, WI 53045 | 262-797-0166


Savor decadent dishes from the new Colossal Winter Menu featuring favorites like Lobster Stuffed Shrimp with a creamy lobster and shrimp Imperial stuffing, succulent King Crab Legs, and Whole Grilled Mediterranean Branzino stuffed with citrus and served with a Mediterranean sofrito and arugula almond grains salad. To embrace the season and all its frost, sip one of Bonefish Grill’s Winter cocktails including the Cold Snap Blackberry Frost served in a glass made entirely of ice, mixed with freshly muddled blackberries, blood orange liqueur, vodka and fresh lemon juice or the winter-time favorite Winter White Cosmo, mixed with St. Germain Elderflower liqueur, white cranberry juice and fresh lime.

$10 gift for you and yours:

A special thanks to Bonefish Grill Madison for providing our family with complimentary food and drinks. All opinions are my own.