Francesca's al Lago
111 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
Madison, WI 53703Neighborhood:
ItalianPrice: $30 and under
Francesca's al Lago
- Dining Style: Casual Dining
- Website: http://www.miafrancesca.com/
- Phone: 6082556000x
- Hours of Operation:
Lunch: Everyday: 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: Scott Harris
- Dress Code: Casual Dress
- Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
- Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cafe, 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, 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
- 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
The Francesca’s family of restaurants brings simple, rustic Italian cuisine and a causal trattoria dining experience to Madison, Wisconsin. The original location, Mia Francesca in Chicago, which was once just a dream for owner and chef, Scott Harris, has now grown to include twenty locations across Chicagoland with Madison’s Francesca’s al Lago as the first out of state venture for the group. Steps away from the Madison Capital building on the Capital Square, the Madison community can now experience the energetic, community-centered atmosphere and delicious, rustic Italian dishes of Francesca’s al Lago.Continued
Foodspotting photosSee all photos
Awards voted by OpenTable diners
- Diners' Choice WinnerBest Food
- Diners' Choice WinnerItalian
Francesca's al Lago - Best Restaurants in Madison ›
Francesca's al Lago reviews from OpenTable diners
74 reviews since May 5, 2014
- Ambiance4.1Noise LevelModerate
special occasion (39)good for groups (28)fit for foodies (25)great for lunch (24)neighborhood gem (18)romantic (16)great for outdoor dining (15)notable wine list (10)kid-friendly (9)hot spot (7)scenic view (6)late-night find (4)vibrant bar scene (4)great for brunch (3)Show More
- Outstanding!tsodesDined on 8/28/2014Very friendly wait staff. The food was amazing and lived up to the recommendations I've heard.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Great reliable foodoccasionaldinerDined on 8/28/2014Over 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:
- A happy birthdayOpenTable Diner Since 2009Dined on 8/14/2014My 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:
- FrancescaOpenTable Diner Since 2014Dined on 8/13/2014Lost 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.
- Special order!kbeaucoopDined on 8/12/2014Francesca'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:
- Felt specialJSC26VIPDined on 8/7/2014My 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:
- Good food and service.7725Dined on 7/30/2014Enjoyed the meal and actual service was well timed, prompt, attentive, and unobtrusive. Thank you.Special Features:
- lovfoodDined on 7/28/2014Very tasty and tradition Italian food served in a friendly atmosphere.I would recommend this to a friend.
- monstyDined on 7/26/2014We 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.
- Excellent!tripleg1013Dined on 7/25/2014I 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:
- Give this one a tryKlp56Dined on 7/25/2014With 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 trySpecial Features:
- KarenKarenCDined on 7/23/2014We enjoy our meal every time! Excellent! The seafood entrees are always wonderful.Special Features:
- Great experience, great food.WeeillbebackDined on 7/22/2014Our 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:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Awesome double-headerMadEaterDined on 7/22/2014Just 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:I would recommend this to a friend.
- WonderfulOpenTable Diner Since 2009Dined on 7/22/2014We had lunch and from beginning to end it was wonderful. The food was delicious and our waiter was perfect.Special Features:
- Great food, ok serviceOpenTable Diner Since 2014Dined on 7/22/2014I 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 dineSpecial Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Leisurely lunchchowhoundDined on 7/18/2014We 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:
- Never disappoints!OpenTable Diner Since 2011Dined on 7/15/2014The 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:I would recommend this to a friend.
- luv2eatDined on 7/15/2014We 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 backSpecial Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Great food, service not up to parDonaldoDined on 7/12/2014The 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:
- Francesca'sOpenTable Diner Since 2007Dined on 6/25/2014We have enjoyed Francesca's several times. However we have never tried anything except the chicken--it is wonderfulSpecial Features:
- Very Good Italian RestaurantFredloesDined on 6/25/2014Service 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:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Loved ITBonedoc79Dined on 6/15/2014Francesco's was comfortable, friendly and vibrant. Great food. Great service. Very fresh. Lots of choices, but not overwhleming.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Great food & StaffAwesomeplaceDined on 6/14/2014Great 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:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Never DisappointeddininggalsDined on 6/13/2014I'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:
- Another A+ for Francesca'sRoadWarriorDined on 6/8/2014It 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:
- Good food, great service, noisyOpenTable Diner Since 2014Dined on 6/7/2014It 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:
- Great FoodmarfiliusDined on 6/6/2014This 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:
- Great place near the CapitolpaminmiDined on 5/24/2014Had 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:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Special occasioncrayzDined on 5/23/2014Had 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:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Great food, but a bit loudOpenTable Diner Since 2012Dined on 5/10/2014First 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:
- Delicious, unique, food!klniglDined on 5/10/2014The 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:
- The following 449 reviews are from the Francesca's al Lago reviews archive.
- Very NiceTinaDined on 5/3/2014Perfect spot for an elegant but affordable prom dinner for 3 young couples.Special Features:
- nothing specialjuds18VIPDined on 4/25/2014We arrived late and didn't get any attitude!! Sat us immediately....Waiter ok... one dish of spaghetti with muscles was extremely spicy!! asked for side of plain spaghetti and he charge us! Food was fine nothing special. Felt like restaurant could be compared to a chain italian restaurant. wouldn't rush back anytime soon.Special Features:
- ImpressedOpenTable Diner Since 2014Dined on 4/24/2014This was our first time there. Although the atmosphere was more lively than romantic my husband and I were so impressed by the food we could've been anywhere and not cared. Disclaimer: I don't eat meat.Special Features:
- Good Easter BrunchdrhaazDined on 4/20/2014With all the options downtown for Easter brunch, this was a good choice. plenty of good food with Gluten Free options. Not the best desserts, but still a very good choice for brunch and reasonably pricedSpecial Features:
- Easter BrunchUWkidsDined on 4/20/2014We had never been to Francesca's before, but will definitely go again. I found Francesca's online and read some customer reviews. The reviews were spot on. My family of four (age 19-50) loved everything about this restaurant.Special Features:
- Very EnjoyableDustyMomDined on 4/4/2014We had wonderful service here. The staff were all enthusiastic and helpful. The food was very good and we both enjoyed our meals. We were there on a Friday and they had their own version of "fish fry" which my husband said was excellent. I had the risotto that came with three large scallops and it too was great. I will definitely go back in the future when we are looking for a restaurant in the downtown area. My only complaint was that they have a whole string of two person tables and they filled these with various two-somes as they arrived. My husband is a normal sized man, but he felt cramped in the small space and we would have preferred a larger table near the window. I had a reservation, so I would have expected a better table.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Even the best can have an off nightBannksDined on 4/2/2014We're regulars so we know this is an aberration. The bar service was poor, the tonic was flat and one meal was way, way too spicy. But the table service was top notch as usual.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- The food was very good wishBobMDined on 3/29/2014The food was very good wish they offered more on the menu.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.