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  • Francesca's al Lago

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Francesca's al Lago
Francesca's al Lago

Francesca's al Lago Details

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.miafrancesca.com
  • Email: lagocontact@miafrancesca.com
  • Phone: (608) 255-6000
  • 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
  • Executive Chef: Scott Harris Chef de Cuisine
  • Dress Code: Smart Casual
  • 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: Brittany Vezina (608) 255-6000

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
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
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerGood for Groups
Diner Reviews
  • "We 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."
    Dined on 4/4/2014
  • "We'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."
    Dined on 4/2/2014
  • "We had a group of eight for a work lunch and we were in an out within an hour. The food was delicious to boot."
    Dined on 3/27/2014
  • "The food was very good wish they offered more on the menu."
    Dined on 3/29/2014
  • "The fish was wonderful as usual. Great preparation and fast service."
    Dined on 3/28/2014
  • "This is a great restaurant to bring friends to to celebrate a special occasion. Food was delicous, good size portions and wonderful ambience"
    Dined on 3/8/2014
  • "Great place that is a Neighborhood Gem! Love the different choices on the menu-the Lamb with Spinach Noodles was incredible! We will be back when we are visiting Madison again> We go to Rockford Location at least once a month for meeting and we were glad to see your menu was slightly different"
    Dined on 3/8/2014
  • "Went there on the spur of the moment before a play at the Overture Center. We love Italian food, and it is not overly expensive. We had a nice seat by the window and the food was very good. My wife's ravioli was exceptional."
    Dined on 3/8/2014
  • "Great Food, good service, wonderful atmosphere, reasonably priced! Will definitely go again!"
    Dined on 3/8/2014
  • "After a cruise & visiting the Foodie Capital of South - Miami, the food at Francesca's outshown all the other dining experiencesby a mile. And it was close to home!"
    Dined on 2/28/2014
  • "Our daughter attends UW Madison and we were visiting her for a long weekend. We had been to Francesca's on our last visit and we all voted to go back. The food was wonderful both times and the atmosphere fun and relaxed. Special requests due to food allergies were respectfully noted and accommodated . Our server was knowledgeable and the rigt amount of friendly. We had several excellent meals in Madison over the weekend but Francesca's was everyone's favorite!"
    Dined on 2/22/2014
  • "The hostess could not locate our reservation and was rude. She showed us to a truly terrible table by a wait station when 4 window tables were open, and then told us we couldn't have a window table unless her manager okayed it. We insisted and she conceded but it was clearly very grudgingly done. She told us that "other people had reserved" those tables. My husband's $39 steak was grisly and inedible. When he asked for a replacement, the manager brought out the new steak and was unapologetic about the terrible cut of beef. He was as rude as his hostess was. The sea bass that I ordered was mushy and flavorless. The waiter was absolutely excellent and saved the evening from being a total disaster. Dessert was good."
    Dined on 2/15/2014
  • "Went here for Valentine's Day with my girlfriend. I was busy the whole week, so there weren't many open tables left when I finally inquired about one. Got there at 5 and was for a couple of hours. I had the Fettuccine alla Bolognese and she had the Salmone con Lenticchie, and we shared the Bruschetta con Caraofi. Everything was delicious. For dessert, we had this Valentine's Day special which was like a raspberry mousse with a chocolate torte of some sort, drizzled in some sort of raspberry sauce. That was not only delicious, but it looked amazing too! Our waiter was very helpful and friendly and made the overall experience better than it already was. It's a little expensive, but it's worth it. I'm surprised this place isn't more popular."
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "Great experience overall, I took my girlfriend and kids out for a nice dinner and to ask my girlfriend to join our family. The wait staff was awesome and helped me set up my proposal. Not only did they do everything I asked but they were conscious of what was going on and let us enjoy our moment even if they were bringing food or just checking in. Amazing food and service."
    Dined on 2/15/2014
  • "Enjoyed everything from server to food to drinks to dessert. Would definitely recommend."
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "We made a reservation for Valentine's Day based on reviews online. We showed up early, were seated right away, and had great service and food from start to finish. We are both under 21, so I can't review the wine, but the food was delicious. I recommend the Chicken Diavolo and the Prosciutto appetizer/salad. The total ended up being about $70 with tip included for two. I would come her again for a nice, romantic, delicious dinner."
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "We had friends in from out of town and decided to go out for Valentine's night. Knowing that Francesca's offered reservations it was a quick choice. We arrived at our reservation time and were seated promptly. We had a great server who was super informative and even offered us items not listed on the menu as a build your own pasta. While deciding on what to order, the waiter brought fantastic fresh bread to our table on which there was an infused olive oil for us to dip. My Fiancé as well as our friends ordered from the valentines menu and I decided to try the make your own pasta. All of our food was prepared flawlessly, each including seafood. Being that it was a special occasion we ordered dessert too! The creme brûlée was delightful!"
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "The food was amazing as was our server. My only real complaint is that they ask you if you want soup or salad with you entree, but don't tell you that it's not included."
    Dined on 2/8/2014
  • "It could've been our choices (penne, chicken & potatoes) but everything was just very "OK". The pasta was a tad under-cooked and both dishes had very mild flavors. The experience was also just "OK" as well, the service was more than adequate but we were shoe-horned into a corner table which made ordering slightly awkward. The descriptions of our meals sounded great, in practice they tasted just "OK" as well. I love to cook and experiment so my bar for restaurants is: "Can I do better at home myself?" To answer that question regarding the dishes we tried, "Yes, I can". I would've loved some bold flavors and daring recipes but besides the "fancy" sounding descriptions everything tasted just very "OK". I would give this place one more shot."
    Dined on 1/24/2014
  • "Been there twice and both times the food and service were very good to excellent. Thanks."
    Dined on 1/24/2014
  • "I came here for Restaurant Week with a friend. I was impressed. The calamari appetizer was very soft, none greasy; best I ever had & I love seafood. The spicy marinara dipping sauce took me by surprise. It is a good thing I like spice & heat. It was VERY GOOD. The tilapia was flaky & tasty. My friend had the pizza and said it was very good. The host(s) were nice and friendly. The waitress, friendly and knowledgeable. What I would expect for such a place. I enjoyed my time there. I would go back again outside of Restaurant Week."
    Dined on 1/24/2014
  • "First visit was for Restaurant Week at lunch. Menu had enough choices. Food was outstanding as was the service. Looking forward to returning on another occasion."
    Dined on 1/22/2014
  • "First time diners at this restaurant. We had a great evening. The service and food were both excellent. The atmosphere was perfect for conversation - warm, tasteful decor with tables spaced nicely apart to create privacy with a social sense. This is definitely a place we will return to."
    Dined on 1/21/2014
  • "Love the vibe here. It's beautiful and friendly and the food is fantastic. I keep coming back."
    Dined on 1/20/2014
  • "We were in Madison for a college track meet and knew that there was a Francesca's there. We love the ones in the Chicago area so we wanted to give it a try. It was delicious! Hubby had clam chowder and four cheese and spinach cappellacci - loved both. I had the warm lentils with spinach and goat cheese and the tilapia - both winners. Our waiter was very good - let us enjoy our glasses of wine before ordering. The restaurant is right on the Madison capitol building square and it looks so beautiful at night. If we are ever back in Madison, we'll eat here again."
    Dined on 1/17/2014
  • "The food was creative in selection and preparation. The servers were attentive but didn't hover. A very large party came in when we were eating and the noise level greatly increased but it was not a problem."
    Dined on 1/16/2014
  • "I don't know who Francesca is, but she has great food. Seating was questionable. Many tables were vacant, but we were seated two feet from another couple. It wasn't a big deal, but questionable nonetheless. Outside of that the service was good, the food was good and the atmosphere was nice."
    Dined on 12/31/2013
  • "We went on New Year's Day. Very nice ambience and wait staff. Entrees were good but a bit overpriced. Enjoyable evening but will probably not be back.."
    Dined on 1/1/2014
  • "We were impressed with both the service and the food. We are in our mid-fifties and noticed we were in a sea of 20 and 30 somethings, but, we did not feel uncomfortable. Extensive wine list. The chef was very helpful in creating a personalized dish. We highly recommend Francesca's al Lago."
    Dined on 12/31/2013
  • "We had a delightful dinner on New Years Eve. It was a nice change not to have a fixed menu and fixed price. I liked that we could choose our food. Food was delicious and the atmosphere was very festive!"
    Dined on 12/31/2013
  • "My boyfriend and I had dinner here on New Year's Eve. The restaurant was crowded, but the service and food were both great. We'd definately return."
    Dined on 12/31/2013
  • "Received great service. Celebrated a birthday. Great family friendly place, too. My 3 year olds enjoyed it, too."
    Dined on 12/24/2013
  • "Very good food and good service. The wine prices are big city prices and not a very good value, but nice selection. With a bottle of wine, dinner for two was $140 plus tip. Too expensive for Madison."
    Dined on 12/20/2013
  • "Perfect place to go for our daughters graduation! Love that you can make a reservation on a Friday night! Food, service and atmosphere wonderful plus half off wine, beer and appetizers during happy hour another plus!"
    Dined on 12/13/2013
  • "New to the area, my husband and I have enjoyed trying different restaurants. We knew Francesca's was a little more of a "fine dining" establishment, so we saved it for a date night. The food was absolutely incredible. They start you off with some delicious bread and oil, then continue to fill you up with your entree. Huge portions, enough to take home! The service was also amazing. Our waitress was very attentive, friendly and polite. The Christmas decorations gave it an extra nice ambiance."
    Dined on 12/6/2013
  • "Very much appreciated that the chef was willing to make a Carbonara even thought it was not on the menu and it was delicious! Also, the waiter was willing to check things out for us and make sure one guest had a gluten-free dinner."
    Dined on 12/7/2013
  • "I thought the hand written paper menu's were cheap. The pasta dishes were boring however the roasted half chicken was good. Staff was excellent and very considerate. Noise level was really loud with large groups."
    Dined on 12/6/2013
  • "We've been here about 5 times and this was the worst service experience to date. We arrived at 7:30 Saturday evening and our reservation was honored as we arrived. We were seated and it took over 30 minutes and a trip to the host desk to get a server to take our drink and appetizer order. It seemed all of the other staff went out of their way not to make eye contact with our table for fear they might actually have to help us. The bus staff did give us water and bread so all was not lost. The food, in particular the Calamari appetizer and the Chicken Parmesan were outstanding! I just hope they can get their service up to a better standard as I will likely not return soon after my experience."
    Dined on 11/30/2013
  • "Met a friend here for lunch and it was nice, not loud and the food was very enjoyable. The waitress was very attentive to our needs."
    Dined on 11/23/2013
  • "I loved the table we had overlooking the Capitol square. The pasta dishes we had were excellent with fresh ingredients and presented well. The noise level was somewhat high with a large family with very small screaming children close by... but then the space is set up for large group dining. My partner and I are in our seventies and have some hearing loss, so would have preferred a quieter space. The staff was extremely friendly, but our waiter seemed very tentative and hovered... maybe just needs more experience. Overall I was very pleased and will return. I was especially impressed that the night manager chased us for two blocks to make sure we got our leftovers which we'd forgotten."
    Dined on 11/23/2013