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“Big City quality” 4 of 5 stars
Review of L'Etoile Restaurant

L'Etoile Restaurant
1 South Pinckney Street, Madison, WI 53703
+1 608-251-0500
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Ranked #5 of 847 Restaurants in Madison
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Price range: $25 - $100
Cuisines: American
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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
Ann Arbor
Top Contributor
87 reviews 87 reviews
62 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
“Big City quality”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 12, 2014

Maybe it's because Madison is a state capitol, but this restaurant far exceeded expectations for fine dining. It could have been a much more expensive meal, but we were not that hungry and we all opted for two first courses. Nevertheless, these came with an amuse bouche and a small taste of cold soup. I had the smoked salmon and the local greens salad. Both delicious, but my companions really scored with the risotto. Get the salmon, but share it and order the risotto! The wine list was lovely, with the by-the-glass options to be quite nice without needing to order a whole bottle if your table has different preferences as mine did. The staff were very professional with out being stuffy. I'd go again and get the full experience next time!

Note that this restaurant is the same building with the much busier "Graze." We couldn't get in there and in the end were quite happy that "'L'Etiole had open tables... You don't have to spend a fortune to eat well here.

  • Visited June 2014
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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208 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    142
    33
    25
    6
    2
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Milton, Wisconsin
Top Contributor
390 reviews 390 reviews
163 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 131 cities Reviews in 131 cities
196 helpful votes 196 helpful votes
“Girls Night out!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 8, 2014

I made reservations on our way back from Wolershine Winery. They asked if I had any food allergies when making the reservation!!! What a GREAT idea!! I am gluten free, so very much appreciated this! My food sensitivity was confirmed when we were seated! Our waiter, Patrick, did a very nice job! I was the designated driver, or would have loved to have tried the wine flights offered. Enjoyed listening to the wine steward as he brought wine to other tables. The view is nice as others have said, looking directly to the capitol. The pre-appetizer was very thinly sliced apples with a nice sauce. The appetizer was a salad with cold veal. Both were great! We both ordered steak for dinner, which was delicious! The desserts were just OK... the flourless cake was displayed beautifully on the plate, but lacked taste. My girlfriend tried the creme brule, but didn't care for it. It was fun to try a new venue! I am very pleased that they us locally sourced ingredients!

  • Visited June 2014
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Madison, Wisconsin
Senior Contributor
39 reviews 39 reviews
21 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
“Felt E'lite at L'Etoile”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 7, 2014

We have had 3 excellent meals at L'Etoile. The view of the Capitol out the front window is beautiful. They use only locally sourced ingredients for their offerings, which changes daily. They have one of the best wine selections in the city with excellent staff knowledge. Because the menu changes frequently, I will just say that we have never had a meal that wasn't wonderfully prepared and presented by a very attentive staff. A few of our exceptional offerings have been Lettuce Soup w/fried chicken, Beet Salad and superb Steaks. Worth the price.

  • Visited May 2014
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Madison, Wisconsin
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“The best restaurant in Madison!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 29, 2014 via mobile

And one of the best I've dined at in the US. A balance of great food, service, and atmosphere, where the staff take real care to give you a perfect dining experience!

  • Visited April 2014
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portland, ME
Top Contributor
90 reviews 90 reviews
42 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 37 cities Reviews in 37 cities
45 helpful votes 45 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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