Francesca's al Lago
Francesca's al Lago

Francesca's al Lago

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://www.miafrancesca.com/static.asp?path=3092
  • Phone: 6082556000x
  • Hours of Operation:
    Lunch:
    Monday - Saturday: 11:00am - 3:00pm
    Dinner:
    Sunday - Thursday: 3:00pm - 9:00pm
    Friday & Saturday: 3:00pm - 10:00pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Italian, Mediterranean
  • Executive Chef: Sergio Lopez
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cafe, Counter Seating, Farm to Table, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Private Room, Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine, Wine Bar
  • Catering: Francesca"s al Lago has a wide range of catering services available to suite your needs. From full-service to pick-up, Francesca's catering is an easy & reliable way to entertain guests in your home or workplace.
  • Private Party Facilities: Francesca’s al Lago proudly offers customer-focused special events in our private dining room. Our philosophy of simple, rustic cooking served in a casual sophisticated trattoria setting translates flawlessly to group dining. Our private room can offer both an intimate yet lively atmosphere with the ability to accommodate groups as small as 10 and as large as 40. Perfect for social events, company outings and family get-togethers, consider hosting your next event at Francesca’s!
  • Private Party Contact: Heather Griffith 6082556000x

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Main Street
  • Public Transit: From Milwaukee & EAST
    I-94 West WI-30 West Left onto US-151 S/E (Washington Ave)
    Right onto Wilson Right onto MLK Jr Blvd

    From Chicago & SOUTH
    I-90 West/1-94 West US 12-18 toward Madison John Nolen Dr Exit
    Left onto Broom Right onto Wilson Left onto Hamilton
    Right onto Doty Left onto MLK Jr Blvd
  • Parking: Street Parking
  • Parking Details: Metered street parking available or visitor parking on the 1st level of the Block 89 building
A word from Francesca's al Lago
Francesca's al Lago is the 21st addition to The Francesca's Restaurant Group. The Capital Square location offers guests “simple rustic cooking, friendly service and fair prices,” which has been the winning recipe at all Francesca’s locations since 1992. Our menu features the zesty, earthy cuisine of Rome and the surrounding areas of Tuscany, Umbria and Lazio. An expansive wine list, local beers and handcrafted martinis are the perfect accompaniment to an outstanding dining experience.

About The Francesca’s Restaurant Group: Founded in 1992 by Restaurateur Scott Harris, Francesca’s Restaurant Group has grown from a small, welcoming Italian restaurant on Chicago’s North Clark Street to a restaurant group of three concepts across 33 locations and four states. Based in Chicago, Francesca’s Restaurant Group currently owns and operates 23 Francesca’s Restaurants, five Davanti Enoteca, and five Glazed and Infused locations.
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Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerItalian
Francesca's al Lago reviews from OpenTable diners
77 reviews since June 4, 2014
Overall Rating4.3
  • Food4.4
    Service4.2
  • Ambiance4.1
    Noise LevelModerate
95% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
special occasion (36)good for groups (30)fit for foodies (26)great for lunch (22)neighborhood gem (19)romantic (15)great for outdoor dining (14)notable wine list (9)kid-friendly (8)scenic view (6)hot spot (6)vibrant bar scene (6)late-night find (4)great for brunch (2)Show More
  • A Home run!
    crayz
    Dined on 9/26/2014
    All went great during our special anniversary date night. The mussels were an outstanding appetizer with just enough kick. Outstanding caprese salad with tastey tomatoes and fresh mozzarella and basil. The topper was delicious chicken Romano and a perfect cappuccino . service was terrific and attentive.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Very loud
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 9/26/2014
    Very loud, group next to us was very loud, Food was good.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Nice restaurant
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 9/26/2014
    My friend and I were staying at the Concourse Hotel and chose Francesca's for dinner. So glad we did! Our server did a really good job...very attentive and the food was very good. The location was perfect!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Disappointing
    LJDP
    Dined on 9/20/2014
    We have eaten at their other restaurants in Chicago and were looking forward to trying this one when we were in town. The food was just okay. I actually love salt but one dish had too much even for me. Our waiter was very nice. But the man managing the check in desk was really rude and unfriendly. He didn't welcome us...just told a young girl which table to take us to. We told him that we were waiting for one more person and he did come over to our table 10 minutes later to ask where the person was and tell us they were on a tight timeframe. We are experienced and considerate diners and didn't need to be told that. It's unlike that we will return given other really good options in town.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • A good double date
    DoubleDate
    Dined on 9/19/2014
    restaurant was loud inside which makes it hard to converse, but all in all a great place to eat! We liked the calamari. Everyone really liked their entrees from the chicken parm to the lasagana to the gnocci. All very good food, would come back and hopefully get a different server as she was really not good at all.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, notable wine list, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Food and Great Service
    herold1961VIP
    Dined on 9/13/2014
    A variety of dishes and all were fantastic. An extra benefit of using Open Table: I forgot my credit card on the table and the manager used my Open Table reservation to find my cellphone and call me before I got too far away. An extra touch was the baby bib with "I ate at Francesca's" :-)
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, kid-friendly, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • DINNER AT FRANCESCA
    HAROLD
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    WE WERE SEATED RIGHT AWAY. I HAD TO CALL OVER THE MATRE"D TO FIND OUT WHERE OUR WAITER WAS. THIS WAS AFTER 10 MINUTES. SHE EXPLAINED THAT THE WAITER WAs working at a private party but will be coming over asap. TOOK ORDER AND WE 1ST ORDERED AN APPITIZER. IT WAS DELIVERED WITH NO PLATES FOR US TO EAT ON. THE FOOD WAS GREAT. SERVICE HAD A LOT TO BE DESIRED.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, late-night find, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Outstanding!
    tsodes
    Dined on 8/28/2014
    Very friendly wait staff. The food was amazing and lived up to the recommendations I've heard.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great reliable food
    occasionaldiner
    Dined on 8/28/2014
    Over the years since Francesca's opened in Madison, we've dined there often, and never been disappointed. The food is always very well prepared, with special attention always given to the appetizers. The calamari & the antipasto plates were superb, fresh, tasty & light. The swordfish & salmon were cooked perfectly. And the pastas were al dente, hot & well garnished with shrimp and chicken. The lone issue this time was a salad special, whose dressing was bland, a rare faux pas at a great old reliable joint. Even that was saved by a wonderful grilled salmon, though, so we came away from a late dinner (another nice trait, always serving late) pleased we had returned when the other, "trendy" joints in the area were bustling.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • A happy birthday
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 8/14/2014
    My husband and I took our son to Francesco's to celebrate his 21st birthday. The food was great. I had some tortalacci, my husband had gnocchi and my son had roast chicken. All the dishes were very well prepared and presented. Everything appeared to be freshly made on site. To celebrate my son's birthday, I went inside (we were seated on the patio) and gave our waiter some candles and told him to put them on the dessert I ordered and present it too my son. He did a flawless job in executing that and my son was very happily surprised. We'll be back next time we visit Madison.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Francesca
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 8/13/2014
    Lost our order. When it came ,it was wrong so had to be redone. Ordered sorbet for dessert. Was full of ice crystals, had been thawed an refrozen.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Special order!
    kbeaucoop
    Dined on 8/12/2014
    Francesca's was very accommodating when I requested a dish that was not listed on their menu! They prepared a seafood pasta dish with large shrimp and mussels in a spicy red sauce - Excellent! The calamari appetizer & tiramisu dessert were the best we'd ever had! They took good care of our party of 8 and all throughly enjoyed their meals! Thank you!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, scenic view, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Felt special
    JSC26VIP
    Dined on 8/7/2014
    My family and I were spending the weekend in Madison and noticed the restaurant in a great spot near the Capital. While reviewing the menu, the manager came out and asked if we had any questions. We told them about our need for lots of gluten free options. We also asked if it was the same Francesca chain out of Chicago (which is well run and delicious). He said that it was. We later made a reservation. When we arrived, we were treated like royalty - the manager went out of his way to give us two special gluten free appetizers and made sure that we had a great experience - which we did. The food was delicious from the salmon to the pasta!
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Good food and service.
    7725
    Dined on 7/30/2014
    Enjoyed the meal and actual service was well timed, prompt, attentive, and unobtrusive. Thank you.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • lovfood
    Dined on 7/28/2014
    Very tasty and tradition Italian food served in a friendly atmosphere.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • monsty
    Dined on 7/26/2014
    We had a few issues with our dinner. First, I ordered a cocktail from the menu only to find several minutes later that the restaurant was out of one of the ingredients (amoretto). Second, I ordered the lasagna bolognese after our waiter told us we could order it even though it was not on the menu, only to find out several minutes later that the restaurant was out of that as well. Finally, the pasta that we ordered was undercooked in our opinion. Overall, we were not very impressed with the menu nor what we ordered for dinner.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Excellent!
    tripleg1013
    Dined on 7/25/2014
    I love Mia Francesca's in Chicago and this is just as good. Wonderful ambience, professional staff, and fantastic food! Great place to go for lunch, dinner or just a cocktail.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, great for lunch, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Give this one a try
    Klp56
    Dined on 7/25/2014
    With a nice varied menu and great service, Francesca's is a wonderful place to lunch. They offer outdoor seating in the summer offering view of the bustling Martin Luther King Blvd. Only drawback leading to the 4 star versus 5 is the noise volume, and limited gluten free options. Still well worth a try
    Special Features:
    good for groups, special occasion, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Karen
    KarenC
    Dined on 7/23/2014
    We enjoy our meal every time! Excellent! The seafood entrees are always wonderful.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great experience, great food.
    Weeillbeback
    Dined on 7/22/2014
    Our first time at the restaurant and we really enjoyed the food. We visited for restaurant week and they offered a variety of food that everyone could enjoy. The wine and drink list had many choices and the service was outstanding.
    Special Features:
    special occasion, late-night find
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Awesome double-header
    MadEater
    Dined on 7/22/2014
    Just by chance I ate at Francesca's today twice, for lunch and dinner, during Restaurant Week. I cannot fault this place for anything. Both meals were great. I had the talapia for lunch and dinner, cooked 2 different ways, and both were excellent. The artichoke salad and Caesar salad, the tiramisu and the mint chip gelato also great! Well done on all accounts! Good bread to boot.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Wonderful
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 7/22/2014
    We had lunch and from beginning to end it was wonderful. The food was delicious and our waiter was perfect.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Great food, ok service
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 7/22/2014
    I have been there couple of times. I loce their food. But this time the server was not very professional. Very slow and not accurate. Well overall good place to dine
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Leisurely lunch
    chowhound
    Dined on 7/18/2014
    We were waiting for two of our four-person party for about a half hour, and the waitstaff was attentive, but not obtrusive. Once we ordered the food was served in a timely fashion and was delicious. The restaurant seemed oddly quiet for a Friday at 12:30. The only disappointment was that there was no herbal or non-caffeinated ice tea option.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Never disappoints!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 7/15/2014
    The food and the service four our group of six was once again superb! With the menu changing frequently I tried something new this time. A delicious chicken pasta with an awesome pesto sauce. Everyone at the table, including a few first timers, loved their selection.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • luv2eat
    Dined on 7/15/2014
    We celebrated a 15 year anniversary and it was the perfect setting for that! I would highly recommend this restaurant to everyone! The staff was outstanding. Definitely coming back
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, scenic view, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great food, service not up to par
    Donaldo
    Dined on 7/12/2014
    The food was great at Francesca's, as usual. However, our server didn't seem as knowledgeable about the menu as I would have hoped. He gave an effort but clearly needs to pay more attention to his support staff.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, scenic view, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Francesca's
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 6/25/2014
    We have enjoyed Francesca's several times. However we have never tried anything except the chicken--it is wonderful
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Very Good Italian Restaurant
    Fredloes
    Dined on 6/25/2014
    Service here is friendly, thoughtful and efficient, with water and bread promptly delivered to the table upon arrival and ample time to peruse the varied menu. Food is uniformly very good, with ample portions and reasonable prices. Busboys are too eager to clear plates away (empty plates should stay on the table until all guests are finished) but I can't fault their enthusiasm and this is a minor gripe. Overall I strongly recommend this fine restaurant for lunch and dinner.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Loved IT
    Bonedoc79
    Dined on 6/15/2014
    Francesco's was comfortable, friendly and vibrant. Great food. Great service. Very fresh. Lots of choices, but not overwhleming.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great food & Staff
    Awesomeplace
    Dined on 6/14/2014
    Great little place tucked in on Williamson st. It was our first time there. We did the brunch. They took common foods and sparked them up. Everything was good. Staff was even better. The were courteous and took their time explaining the items on the menu. Glasses on the table stayed full !
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, special occasion, scenic view, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Never Disappointed
    dininggals
    Dined on 6/13/2014
    I'm a fan of this restaurant and am never disappointed with the food or the service. One of my favorite Madison dining establishments.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Another A+ for Francesca's
    RoadWarriorVIP
    Dined on 6/8/2014
    It is always a challenge to go to dinner with a 4 year old and a 2 year old. The people at Francesca's were ready, willing, and able to accommodate our needs. When I arrived, there were 2 gluten free menus, two of the seats had children's drinks, crayons, and coloring paper. Emily, our waitress, was great. She was attentive, friendly, and efficient. The food was excellent and the wine list was very respectable. I chose Francesca's based on the higher quality of reviews than the other Madison mainstays and they definitely didn't disappoint. We'll be back.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Good food, great service, noisy
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 6/7/2014
    It was good to see so many different ages enjoying themselves. Waiter was excellent and food was good. Not much you can do about the noise..but it is hard to hold a conversation in the middle of the dining room when you are busy.... We enjoyed our selves and were happy to be able to find a place to eat in downtown Madison on a busy Saturday night.
    Special Features:
    notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great Food
    marfilius
    Dined on 6/6/2014
    This was the second time that I've eaten here, the first time was for lunch. They have a nice varied menu along with a number of specials. The food was excellent with great flavors.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 42 ratings-only reviews submitted since June 4, 2014
    • Overall Rating4.4
    • Food4.4
    • Ambiance4.2
    • Service4.3
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 453 reviews are from the Francesca's al Lago reviews archive.
  • Great place near the Capitol
    paminmi
    Dined on 5/24/2014
    Had a really enjoyable meal here. The food was great, and they are flexible in customizing a dish to your liking. A lot of dishes have feta cheese, which I don't like, and they were more than happy to substitute Parmesan. Our waitress was not very attentive and was a little odd, but besides her, the service seemed pretty good. I highly recommend the prosciutto salad - it's more of an appetizer, so it's easily shareable between two (or even three) people. I would definitely return here in the future.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Special occasion
    crayz
    Dined on 5/23/2014
    Had a great experience entertaining relatives from across the country at a high school graduation party. Friendly staff, great food selections, good wine choices, fun environment and easy parking made it a great evening.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great food, but a bit loud
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 5/10/2014
    First time at this restaurant. Food was very good, but it was a bit loud for talking amongst the 4 of us. We were getting together to talk and enjoy dinner with people who we had not seen for sometime and wanted to talk more but it was too loud. Service was great with Isaac.
    Special Features:
    special occasion, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Delicious, unique, food!
    klnigl
    Dined on 5/10/2014
    The food was delicious - I had the salmon and it was cooked perfectly and in a sauce that was amazingly buttery yet not super heavy. The service wasn't great, but I think that is just because the restaurant has a relaxed atmosphere.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Very Nice
    Tina
    Dined on 5/3/2014
    Perfect spot for an elegant but affordable prom dinner for 3 young couples.
    Special Features:
    Good for Groups, Romantic, special occasion, Scenic View
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic