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“Excellent food, kitchen service concern...” 4 of 5 stars
Review of L'Etoile Restaurant

L'Etoile Restaurant
1 South Pinckney Street, Madison, WI 53703
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Ranked #7 of 826 Restaurants in Madison
Price range: $25 - $100
Cuisines: American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romance, Local cuisine, Special occasions, Entertaining clients
Dining options: Dinner, Reservations, Late Night
Dining style: Fine Dining
Cross street: East Washington
Portland, ME
Top Contributor
73 reviews 73 reviews
29 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
“Excellent food, kitchen service concern...”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 20, 2014 via mobile

We started to go into "Graze"', the new affiliated restaurant, but could tell it would be way too loud for us, plus packed and we were concerned about service delay.

So we turned into L'Etoile, a lovely and elegant space and were seated immediately. Our server appeared promptly and took drink orders, which came right along. After a nice amuse bouche, we ordered risotto with ramps, nettles, asparagus and crab - excellent!

But then things started go south, as the shared kitchen was obviously backed up with orders at Graze. Before us, another table had to inquire where their entrees were. Theirs, and ours came shortly thereafter. Both the mushroom/cheese stuffed crepes and the Alaskan halibut were excellent, but the long delay tempered our enjoyment. We skipped dessert..

Management needs to focus immediately on how to focus on the food delivery to BOTH restaurants, not serving the volume of one over the experience at the other.

Visited May 2014
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182 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Madison, Wisconsin
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“One of a kind”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 29, 2014

Loved the artistic and creative versions of their dishes. Very unique and still so tasty. Staff was cordial, and attentive. While the food is great, this is more of an "experience in dining" sort of restaurant. Be prepared to pay a hefty price for the meal, but it is well worth it. My family and I will keep coming back!

  • Visited April 2014
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
McLean, Virginia
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
16 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Excellent food, but a bit overpriced”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 2014

Had a very good meal with a large group. The service was excellent, which sometimes be a problem with a large group. We were well attended to, and we weren't left sitting forever, which has happened to me on numerous occasions when dining in a large group. The food was quite good, with a lot of options for the tastes of everyone in our group. Our major complaint was the cost of the meal - especially the wine. I was with a group for a business meeting. We travel to cities all over the country for our meetings throughout the year. We were stunned by the cost of a bottle of wine - which averaged well over $140. In fact, the few white wine drinkers in the group opted for significantly less expensive option to order by the glass. Overall, it was a nice dining experience, and we all had a great meal, but I've had better meals for much less money.

Visited April 2014
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Wilmington NC
14 reviews 14 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
“Martinez lives”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 17, 2014

I went with a group of eight and started off with a Martinez, which I believe is a recreation of the original martini. It was excellent! We then had the charcuterie plate and several other starters. There are plenty if mid course, or small plates, which is what I ate. We finished with several shared desserts. You can have a wonderful meal and not break the bank if you are careful. But you can also run up a large tab. The wine list is extensive and stocked with many unfamiliar, expensive bottles. Ours were in the $100 range and were very good. Staff was friendly and our waiter, Patrick, could not have been more pleasant. Hands down the best restaurant in Madison if you are a foodie.

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Chicago, Illinois
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
25 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
“One of the BEST experiences in Fine Dining”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 31, 2014

This is our fourth visit to L'Etoile in Madison, WI and I still cannot believe I have not written anything about this restaurant. It is one of the best experiences I've ever had in my life. Again, it is an experience more than just a meal. From the moment you walk in the restaurant you know you are in for a treat. Our table this time was facing the Capitol building, and or course, our two chairs were arranged so that we would both have a view of the Capitol while dining. From the mise en bouche to the last bite it was phenomenal. We had the foie gras which was splendid. A pasta dish to die for. Corned beef tongue and grilled octopus that were delicious. My main dish were scallops in a brown butter sauce.... YUM! The sommelier was right on with the wine recommendation. My partner wanted a light red wine and he got it!!! What a treat! And to finish it all a fantastic cheese plate. Of course they have to bring you a last sweet compliment - a little chocolate truffle that wrapped the whole experience. Definitely worth the trip (at least for us)!!!

  • Visited March 2014
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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