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Wisconsin: Madison – The Green Owl (Review)

Armed with my trusty GPS I navigated my way through downtown Madison, Wisconsin, nearly crashing several times as I turned my head to gaze admiringly the Christmas decorations in peoples front yards.

My destination was the Green Owl Cafe, located a mile or so from the Wisconsin Capital Building. Despite having been before I still needed the GPS as the cafe is tucked away in a quiet, primarily residential community. The Green Owl is not large, which makes it cosy. I decided to get there early to beat the crowds (it can be busy) and also it would me I could snap a few photos without disturbing many people.


The menu has something on it to please all tastes, from the exotic Middle Eastern Platter to Mac & Cheese. My problem is limiting myself to just a few dishes.

I decided to start with the Middle Eastern Platter, which is made up of hummus, tabouli, muhammara (a roasted red pepper and walnut spread) and baba ganoush served with toasted pita, kalamata olives and pickled vegetables. It was delicious and for a change there was plenty of pita to eat the hummus and other spreads. All too often in restaurants I have to ask for extra bread (or perhaps I am too greedy!) The presentation of the plate was wonderful and I had a hard time deciding where to start. You could easily share this plate, so by the time I finished I was full, but it was too late as I had already ordered my next course.

Middle Eastern Platter - yumm
Middle Eastern Platter - yumm

My main course was a TLT (Tempeh Lettuce Tomato) sandwich with avocado, served on sourdough wheat bread with a vegan aioli. I had this with some tangy fried potatoes. This was a more traditional dish. The tempeh had been prepared to have a smokey flavour – not quite bacon (possibly the only meat I miss since becoming a vegan) but it was pretty darn good.

TLT with Avocado

By this time I was definitely at the point of bursting but I wanted to review the deserts too. I have always been a sucker for cheesecakes and that there were two on the menu was far too tempting for me to resist. After a bit of umming and ahhing I settled on a chocolate mint cheesecake – with Christmas approaching this felt to most festive option. When the cheesecake arrived I was pleasantly surprised – it looked great.

My wife always tells me I eat too quickly, but on this occasion I was full so I ate very slowly which did me give me the chance to savour the flavours of the cheesecake. It was very rich, and the consistency of a torte rather than what I might expect for a cheesecake. Sometimes I find that chefs go overboard with the mint flavouring but with this cheesecake it was for me, just about perfect.

Chocolate mint cheesecake

I loved going to the Green Owl and I am sure I will be back before long. I need to work my way through the menu!

Address:1970 Atwood Ave, Madison
Telephone:T:(608) 285-5290

Sun               10AM–3PM

Mon             Closed

Tue – Sat     11AM–9PM

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