In Dining

Sanford has been on the short list of AAA Four Diamond honorees since 1994.

Four Wisconsin restaurants earn AAA Four Diamond for 2020

Today, AAA released its 2020 Five Diamond list, which includes just 67 restaurants throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean, all of which are honored for their "leading-edge cuisine, ingredients and preparation with extraordinary service and surroundings."

Among the new picks for the 2020 list are Ha' (Playa del Carmen, Mexico), Le Baccara (Gatineau, Canada), Providence (Los Angeles, California), Single Thread Farm (Healdsburg, California) and Smyth (Chicago, Illinois).

And while Wisconsin was (yet again) a fly-over zone when it came to Five Diamond ratings, there were four restaurants which earned Four Diamond status. Among them are three repeat honorees and a brand new addition for 2020.

The Immigrant Restaurant & Winery
419 Highland Dr, Kohler, (920) 457-8888
americanclubresort.com/the-immigrant-restaurant
First honored: 1988

"What once housed a laundry for immigrant workers, now celebrates the heritage of people who helped grow Kohler into a multinational corporation. The menu is contemporary with the best market-fresh and organic items used along with the finest beef, seafood, pork and artisan cheeses. While the service is formal and detailed, it remains refreshingly unpretentious. For a special treat, consider the chef's tasting menu paired with specially selected wines." [Read more]

L'Etoile
1 S. Pinckney St., Madison, (608) 251-0500
letoile-restaurant.com
First honored: 2013

"This upscale restaurant features stunning views of the capitol building from the dining room's floor-to-ceiling windows. The constantly changing menu offers incredible creations that incorporate local artisanal ingredients. The servers are extremely knowledgeable and highly attentive." [Read more]

Sanford Restaurant
1547 N. Jackson St., (414) 276-9608
sanfordrestaurant.com
First honored: 1994

"In a small residential building, this intimate dining room is home to a wonderful adventure. The smartly attired waitstaff employs a seamless team approach to service, making guests feel special. The ever-changing menu offers a la carte, four- and seven-course options. The menu is as varied and often includes game dishes, lamb, prime steaks and excellent fresh seafood." [Read more]

Ardent
1751 N Farwell Ave., (414) 897-7022
ardentmke.com
First honored: 2020
"While the dining room is small (only 20 seats) with a largely understated décor, center stage belongs to the waitstaff and amazing chefs in the kitchen. The staff here are both artists, experts and obviously have the gift of hospitality because they, not only prepare the food and pour the wine, they wait on your table. While the restaurant offers an a la carte menu, the best way to experience this place is to splurge and opt for the tasting menu. You will be wowed with each course." [Read more]

Over 30 Milwaukee area restaurants were also honored with Three Diamond ratings. Click here for the complete list.

More about AAA Diamond Ratings

In January, AAA unveiled an updated version of its highly acclaimed AAA Diamond Program, modernized to meet the needs of today's travelers. A new Diamond designation reflecting AAA's professional inspector reviews using updated guidelines sets the program apart from services that rely on unverified hotel and restaurant ratings.

The updated guidelines rate more than 30,000 restaurants in the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean, which have passed unannounced onsite evaluations.

Approved restaurants, which comprise 71% of the list, are noted as having met industry-leading standards. Three Diamond restaurants occupy 26% of the list, offering trendy food skillfully presented in a remarkable setting.

From there, Four Diamond honors are granted to 2.3%, identifying restaurants which employ executive chefs with complex, creative menus and an upscale ambiance.

Just 0.2% of restaurants are awarded with Five Diamonds; these restaurants offer diners a world-class experience including upscale menus and exceptional service, which exceeds diner expectations.

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