Best Restaurant for Upscale Dining

1st Place: Mona Lisa’s Restaurant
2nd Place: Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse
3rd Place: Houligans Steak & Seafood Pub

For a city named by French explorers, we sure have a hankering for Italian cuisine. Longtime darling of the local food scene, Mona Lisa’s Restaurant (428 Water St., Eau Claire) proves once again that locals think it’s worth its salt and takes top honors. Relative newcomer Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse (4751 Owen Ayres Court, Eau Claire) has received a New York Strip-sized portion of praise for its intimate atmosphere and craft drink menu. Houligans Steak & Seafood Pub (415 S. Barstow St., Eau Claire) has played host to everything from lively Irish bands to jazz combos during the spring’s 52nd Street event. — Garrett Denney