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“The owner should watch restaurant impossible sometime.”
Review of Casa de Lara

Casa de Lara
Ranked #339 of 985 Restaurants in Madison
Cuisines: Mexican
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Waitstaff
Level Contributor
16 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“The owner should watch restaurant impossible sometime.”
Reviewed January 20, 2014

The last time I ate at this place was about 10 years ago. We sat in our booth for more than 20 minutes with no server, no drinks, didn't get to order. I figured that was a fluke and the fact that they are still open means it can't be that bad so we gave it another try.

On a Friday night, 6:30 pm, only about a dozen other customers in the place. Walls, dirty, paint, old worn out, I went to the restroom, through a door in the back of the restaurant, down a totally dark hallway with burned out lights, how hard would it be to replace a lightbulb?

The lime margaritas were very good, I had 2. I love chili relleno and ordered that with the shredded beef inside, rice and beans. The poblano pepper had a good flavor, nice presentation, but the beans and rice were lukewarm at best. I ate mine mostly cold.

My wife had enchiladas that she really liked but her rice and beans were also barely heated so she sent hers back to be reheated. The shredded beef in my relleno was flavorless, stringy, and pretty tough, It was kind of like chewing string, like it had been around for a while. I pulled that out and ate the poblano and it was fine. The flavor of the rice and beans was really pretty good but there is no excuse for serving cold food. I used to be the head chef at a Mexican restaurant and I had to be pretty tough with the waitresses in the area of getting my best work out from under that heat lamp and onto the tables within a minute or so. The cooks in this kitchen need to work on that.

This visit wasn't a disaster by any means but with so many outstanding restaurants around Madison I would need a good reason to go back to this one. It has the potential to be really good again as I have heard it was but I sense a loss of fire to excel by management. Get fired up owner! Be there to speak to your customers, ask them if everything is ok, let your employees know you're watching and you do care! Do that and I will give it another try sometime.

  • Visited January 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank leisureguy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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38 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Manitowoc, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
238 reviews
150 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 219 helpful votes
“Not what it once was”
Reviewed January 17, 2014

I've been going to Casa de Lara for years. It is my fall back restaurant when I find myself on State Street. The food is always well prepared; and the wait staff is efficient but not very personable. I like really hot salsa. This restaurant serves fairly bland salsa, just like 99% of the Mexican restaurants in Wisconsin. It seems to me it used to be better and has dropped off in the years. Still a place to find decent comida de Mexico.

  • Visited April 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Calicoboy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Madison, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
8 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Eh...Disappointing at Best”
Reviewed January 16, 2014 via mobile

We went here on a Friday night. It was not busy. Service was slow and not really friendly. I would call it cordial. Our food was ok. Not at all memorable. We will not return. Too many other choices nearby that we know will not disappoint. They used to have another location that we frequented and it was a favorite so this was a surprising disappointment.

Thank BeALittleFancy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bradenton, Florida
Level Contributor
64 reviews
24 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“very tasty and economical”
Reviewed September 15, 2013

In Madison and from Texas, I was expecting insipid Mexican food, but really nicely spiced and good. It started with good salsa and chips - the salsa was tasty with some bits of cilantro in it and the chips were light. I had a taco salad, which was healthier than usual in Texas, with minimal refried beans and lots of fresh vege chunks. Even with a beer, under $20!

  • Visited September 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank LC34201
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Madison, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
22 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Poorly staffed”
Reviewed July 29, 2013

At lunch time during a busy conference in the area, they had one girl working outside of the kitchen. Very poor staffing.

Visited May 2013
Thank Kirsten W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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