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“Not impressed”

L'Etoile Restaurant
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Ranked #16 of 990 Restaurants in Madison
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $25 - $100
Cuisines: American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine, Special occasions, Romantic
Dining options: Late Night, Dinner, Reservations
Dining style: Fine Dining
Cross street: East Washington
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Level 3 Contributor
9 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Not impressed”
Reviewed July 20, 2014 via mobile

We were first at l'Etoile about 25 years ago and enjoyed the meal. Last weekend we were there with our children and were not impressed. While the service was very good, the menu is limited and the price is high for what you get. While it may be a good restaurant for Madison, it doesn't compare to a number of restaurants in Milwaukee. For that kind of money, the restaurant should be better.

Visited July 2014
2 Thank Dan V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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304 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Madison, Wisconsin
Level 4 Contributor
38 reviews
30 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Really, Madison's only really great restaurant.”
Reviewed July 16, 2014

Madison is a dichotomy -- folks consider it a "foodie" haven, but it doesn't have many really good restaurants. There are a few good ones, and L'Etoile is head and shoulders the best of the bunch. It is a seriously ambitious restaurant, and successfully so.

It is the only place in Madison that would be considered good by Chicago or New York standards.

This comes with a price, which is high by Madison standards but low by Chicago standards. If you want big platters of food like prime rib, whole duck or elaborate stuffed chicken breasts, find a supper club.

  • Visited July 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
3 Thank David S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dearborn Heights, Michigan
Level 4 Contributor
45 reviews
31 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Wonderful Birthday Place”
Reviewed July 13, 2014

My wife and I share a birthday. Our son and his wife treated us to dinner last night at L'Etiole. They have changed format to a chef's choice tasting menu. We opted for the Seven Course offering with wine paring. It was incredible. The service was most attentive but not intrusive. Our party required dietary modifications which they accomodatd handily even to the point of substituting a wine pairing for a nonmenu replacement. Each course was an amazing creation using locally sourced foods.

  • Visited July 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank michiganwanderer7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Memphis, Tennessee
Level 5 Contributor
92 reviews
17 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 71 helpful votes
“Great cocktails; high prices”
Reviewed June 17, 2014

This is a very nice restaurant with good food and service. It has a very impressive cocktail service with very unusual combinations and liquors. The food uses local ingredients and is similarly top-notch. The issue is price. Some of the cocktails are very reasonable (around $12) but a few were $20 - I don't think I've seen those prices in New York or Vegas. Some of the entrees were also very high (around $50). I really liked the place, but the prices are an issue.

  • Visited May 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank Memphis_piranha
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ann Arbor
Level 6 Contributor
165 reviews
108 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
“Big City quality”
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
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank A2Steph
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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