Located on Route 66 in Springfield, Illinois Maldaner’s Restaurant has been in business for over 120 years. It is a convenient dining option when you are visiting just about any of the historic downtown sites. The distinctive canopy on the exterior is hard to miss. In the warm weather you have the option of dining outdoors. The temperature was in the 90’s when we visited, so we opted to dine indoors.
This is one of the finest restaurants in the city of Springfield. The interior bears that out with crispy white table cloths and napkins and fine historic features. Don’t let the historic looks of the building fool you, Chef/owner Michael Higgins offers a modern menu with the freshest local produce. I was lucky enough to be shown the garden and beehives that are located on the roof so that when they are looking for herbs, tomatoes and peppers, they can just go up and pick them. They produce about 45 pounds of honey in an average year.
The menu offers a nice selection of appetizers beginning with classic minestrone soups and including such delicacies as warm goat cheese and country pate. We decided to start with a Caesar salad with their homemade dressing and it was delicious. They also bring some warm bread and olive oil for dipping.
They offer a wide choice of entrees including traditional Italian dishes such as risotto and lasagna with Bolognese sauce. On Friday and Saturday night, prime rib is available. Specials are offered daily as well. I ordered the wild salmon with Asian glaze crusted with pistachio, medley of vegetables and mashed potatoes. My husband had the Saratoga cut ribeye steak which is grilled and served with a red wine sauce and Gorgonzola cheese butter.
The salmon was slightly sweet. It was cooked perfectly and just fell apart with my fork. My husband loved his ribeye. He said that it was the best one he has ever had and that is very high praise indeed since he has eaten hundreds of ribeyes over the years. The steak was served with mashed potatoes and corn. The corn was right off the cob, you could tell that after one bite. I have to admit, my fork wandered over into his plate several times, it was an amazing taste of summer.
My husband was too full to have dessert but when I heard that they had peach crisp with basil, I had to have some. It came warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It is a huge serving and I did a reasonable job of at least eating all the peaches. It is made with local peaches and basil from the roof top garden.
Service at Maldaners is definitely white glove. Our water glasses were kept full, my ice tea was refilled several times and we never for a second felt neglected. It was an amazing experience and it is certainly special enough to come for the dressiest of occasions and yet casual enough to come every week. We loved the food, the atmosphere and the service.