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What is your best dining experience in Madison? Worst?

Where are you eating and what do you think? What's opening, closing, succeeding, failing?

Postby Chez Ecteaux » Tue Jun 24, 2008 8:24 am

Best = La Mestiza (on Odana). Not whay you might expect, owners are very proud of the quality of the food and variety of offerings.

Worst = Pasquales on Monroe
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Postby Veeder » Tue Jun 24, 2008 9:20 am

nutria wrote:Worst: Paisan's, and it isn't even close.

They were just rated a 'best of' in Madison Magazine. I don't get it. The editors must take bribes.
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Postby Veeder » Tue Jun 24, 2008 9:21 am

redrose wrote:Dardanelles : worst
Agreed! I can't understand why that place is still there.

If prices were reduced by around 60-70% it would be ok. The food isn't bad per se, its just REALLY REALLY expensive for what it is.

Oh yeah, and the place is kind of a dump.
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Postby aaron » Tue Jun 24, 2008 9:34 am

Best: The Dining Room at 201 Main

(Ok, ok, I know it is not in Madison but in Monticello...but still, some of the finest meals I have ever had in the whole area and service is great as well.)

Worst: I also have to say Dardanelles, although I really wanted to like it.
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Best and Worst

Postby Rachelz » Wed Jun 25, 2008 9:46 pm

Best: Bluephies, Cafe La Bellitalia, Liliana's

Worst: The Continental (Fitchburg) - so awful that a year later we are STILL making inside jokes about it. Like when at the end of an EXCRUCIATINGLY hilarious bad experience, our waitress said that she couldn't tell us if the banana fosters dessert was any good because she was allergic to "toast." Our favorite part though was when she apologized for our water not being refilled and that she would have to "draw a map" for the water girl (which she apparently never drew because we did not receive a single water refill during our entire meal)

Most Disappointing: Sardine
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Postby pattymcnutt » Wed Jun 25, 2008 10:15 pm

Best: Cafe La Bellitalia, hands down! The food is AMAZING and the prices are extremely reasonable. The staff is also really friendly!

Bad: Jolly Bob's- the food is pretty good, but the service is always really bad- not only excruciatingly slow, but rude and surly too.

I have also been to Bluephies many times and I have wanted to like it, but the food is just always substandard for the price and the waitress is usually some giggly airhead high school girl who forgets everything and can't answer questions about the menu.

WORST: Buraka on State St. The food is decent, but the waitstaff is TERRIBLE! The waitress actually stopped in the middle of taking our order to answer her cell phone, and then stood right there at our table while she had some inane 5-minute conversation.
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Postby JohnnyBlood » Thu Jun 26, 2008 5:48 am

Best: Glarner Stube (New Glarus)

Amazing food, reasonable price, and far enough outside to make the place interesting. Food is always fresh and delicious.

Worst: Gray's Tied House (Verona)

Couldn't believe that a place that spent so much money on its building and concept that it didn't bother to take the time to consider its menu and how to prepare food. I even gave them a second chance and was not at all pleased.
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Postby sitnspin » Thu Jun 26, 2008 9:31 am

Best: Cafe Porta Alba, L'etoile, New Seoul, Tornado. And Glarner Stube!

Worst: Come Back Inn, Cafe Continental, Alchemy, Roman Candle.
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Postby BobbyOrr » Thu Jun 26, 2008 11:52 am

Gotta stick up for Cafe Continental -- they have a great brunch...try the Bananas Foster...
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Postby kitten » Thu Jun 26, 2008 1:09 pm

Veeder wrote:
nutria wrote:Worst: Paisan's, and it isn't even close.

They were just rated a 'best of' in Madison Magazine. I don't get it. The editors must take bribes.

Bribes maybe, but I think this is just indicative of the readership. Suburbanites seem to love this place. I can't say it's my worst dining experience since the one time I went we didn't even make it through a cocktail there!

Best: Restaurant Magnus for fancy, Pizza Bruta and Natt Spil for pizza, and Marigold for breakfast. I always enjoy Muramoto downtown and Sushi M. Hilldale too
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Postby Parintachin » Tue Jul 01, 2008 11:50 pm

I've never really had a BAD meal in Madison. I've had bad meals elsewhere. I once at at Hot and Now in Appleton and that is the only restaurant that I ever gave a 2 out of 10 on my own informal scale. It was 1 point for being food and one point for not making me physically sick, other than that, I could have had the meal compressed into a gel cap and swallowed it for all the flavor the burger had. Seriously, the ketchup had no flavor. How do you make flavorless ketchup?

I have, however, had endless amounts of mediocre meals. The same Sysco or Badgerland supplied crap is served at probably 60-75% of the restaurants in Madison. It's all the same. The same burgers, the same cheese, the same buns... the same menus. Other than a change of interior decor and an inexplicable change in price for something that is essentially the same thing that's being served across the street, there is no difference. I think that's why the ethnic food is so good in this town. It's good by comparison. It's actually made by someone with a little pride in what they do and what they make in comparison with some college dropout cranking out his 10,000th chicken ranch sandwich with fries. You're not going to drag pride out of that poor fucker without some serious medication.

My best meal in town so far. Brassiere V, with Smokey's thrown in a close second. Smokey's probably wins my favorite restaurant for it's overall experience and Martini Bob.
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Postby Duncan Hines » Wed Jul 02, 2008 3:38 pm

A clarification about Cafe Continental and The Continental. They are no longer under the same ownership or management. Same family but The Continental in Fitchburg was being run by Nick Schiavo ... Cafe Continental downtown by his brother Jim and their parents, Tony and Rose Marie. Jim and his wife Jenny bought The Continental in Fitchburg. The two restaurants no longer have any connection. A lot has changed at The Continental since Jim took over and for the better.
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Postby Right Bower » Wed Jul 02, 2008 3:54 pm

So what's Nick up to?
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Postby Duncan Hines » Wed Jul 02, 2008 4:09 pm

Nick is downtown at Cafe Continental with his parents -- he's there Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Tony works Sunday, Tuesday & Wednesday nights and Rose Marie Saturday & Sunday Brunch and Monday night. They quit serving brunch in March.
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Postby BourbonBoy » Wed Jul 02, 2008 6:45 pm


I have to agree with the cake man. If you haven't been to The Continental (Fitchburg) recently you should give it another try. I was there in the last couple of months and thought it was great.
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