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“Pretty good food for a pretty good price” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Paisan's

Paisan's
131 West Wilson, Madison, WI 53715-1043
608-257-3832
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Ranked #96 of 850 Restaurants in Madison
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Cuisines: Italian, Pizza
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children, Doing business, Large groups
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Late Night, Reservations
Redmond, Washington
Top Contributor
81 reviews 81 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 61 cities Reviews in 61 cities
99 helpful votes 99 helpful votes
“Pretty good food for a pretty good price”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 29, 2014

Friends and I would often go to Paisan's when we were University of Wisconsin students in the 1990s, when the restaurant was located at the since-demolished University Square. It provided affordable full service dining for cash-constrained students. Now, we're grown up, and Paisan's serves as a gathering place for many in the same group when we're back visiting Madison. The current setting overlooking Lake Monona and the ambience are more upscale than in the old days, but it remains a good place for affordable dining in a pleasant atmosphere with food that is perhaps not fabulous, but eminently acceptable.

Many speak highly of their pizzas; I'm not among them as I find them to be a bit heavy, and as far as I am concerned, if you're only in Madison for a few days, save your pizza craving for Rocky Rococo. Although they are not Italian items, I have generally gravitated to their burgers and chicken sandwiches and find them enjoyable. Their salads are also a solid choice.

Servers are always friendly and helpful.

All in all, a pleasant and enjoyable place to eat.

  • Visited December 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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159 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    65
    42
    30
    16
    6
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • English first
  • German first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Niceville, Florida
Top Contributor
183 reviews 183 reviews
130 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
143 helpful votes 143 helpful votes
“Absolutely outstanding pizza”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 11, 2014

I started going to Paisan's in about 1970, when it was in the basement of another restaurant, in a building a couple blocks from where Paisan's is today. I remember walking down the spiral staircase into the basement, and all the old, tattered travel posters that were stuck to the walls around the staircase. I remember the high-back benches and the dark, rather black basement, with the single spot light shining down from the ceiling onto your table.

The pizza was just as wonderful back then as it is today. I've lived in about a dozen different states from Alaska to Florida. I've had pizza in probably one or two hundred different restaurants. And I've never had a pizza that "called me back" like the peperoni pizza at Paisan's (I always ask them to "hold the onions). It is, quite simply, the best pizza I've ever had.

I cannot recommend Paisan's more highly.

  • Visited April 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 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.
Front Royal, Virginia
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
16 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“Nice place, decent pizza”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 28, 2013

The atmosphere is nice, service was good, but we were disappointed in the pizza. It wasn't terrible by any means but definitely left something to be desired. We ordered a deluxe pizza and a vegetarian pesto. The sausage on the deluxe was fantastic, a little kick to it, very good. The pesto on the veggie was also great. The one thing that really killed it on both of the pizzas for us was the cheese, big lack of flavor, made the pizzas a bit bland. Personally I would use roma or Sun dried tomatoes with pesto and feta cheese and maybe even some pine nuts. I felt like the only thing between the veggie pesto and a regular cheese and tomato pizza was changing marinara for pesto, it didn't really click for me. The salads were good and the sangria wasn't bad either. Overall, not too bad but if you're really in the mood for good pizza I'd look elsewhere.

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Madison, Wisconsin
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
“The worst italian food.”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 2, 2013

Chiken alfredo was horrible. The pasta overcooked, the salsa directly from the can, no flavor. I asked for spices, but it was impossible to improve the food.
The ravioles were horrible too. We were 4 people and any of the dishes were acceptables. We could not finish the food, not even half of the plate.

  • Visited December 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Food
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Wisconsin
Top Contributor
128 reviews 128 reviews
84 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
62 helpful votes 62 helpful votes
“Great pizza!!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 25, 2013

Excellent pizza!! If the weather is cooperative, grab a seat outside so you can watch the world, well the traffic, go by and see the lakes and the boats. Very relaxing. Very good food.

  • Visited September 2013
    • 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.

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