Fresco
Fresco

Fresco

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://www.frescomadison.com/
  • Phone: 6086637374x
  • Hours of Operation:
    Monday: Closed
    Tuesday-Thursday: Dinner served 5 pm - 9 pm
    Friday-Saturday: Dinner served 5 pm - 10 pm
    Sunday: Dinner served 5 pm - 9 pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Contemporary American
  • Executive Chef: John Jerabek
  • Dress Code: Business Casual
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Farm to Table, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Late Night, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Private Room, Takeout, View, Wheelchair Access, Wine

Getting there

  • Public Transit: Henry & Dayton
  • Parking: Public Lot
  • Parking Details: Parking available at the Overture Center ramp on the corner of Henry & Dayton.
A word from Fresco
Located on the rooftop of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Fresco is a modern dining space boasting panoramic views of the Capitol and State Street. Enjoy exceptional views of Madison while relaxing with cocktails in the all-glass lounge. Dine indoors alongside a glass wall overlooking the museum’s 7,100 square-foot sculpture garden, or sit at the garden’s edge and enjoy dinner al fresco. Fresco's menu consists of contemporary American cuisine made with fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients.
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Overall
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Ambiance
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Food
Fresco reviews from OpenTable diners
211 reviews since May 21, 2014
Overall Rating4.4
  • Food4.5
    Service4.4
  • Ambiance4.4
    Noise LevelModerate
97% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
scenic view (154)great for outdoor dining (146)special occasion (120)romantic (114)fit for foodies (110)notable wine list (36)neighborhood gem (33)hot spot (31)good for groups (21)late-night find (18)vibrant bar scene (12)great for brunch (5)great for lunch (5)kid-friendly (2)Show More
  • Meh...
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 9/14/2014
    Our server was great. No complaints there. And the building is beautiful. But the food? Generally bland and anything even remotely experimental missed the mark. All the proteins were dry and overcooked. Vegetables were soggy. Nothing was properly seasoned and the platings uninspired. I come up to Madison about twice a month from Chicago and like to see what's happening in the center of farm to table cooking. This city has amazing access to produce and some very impressive chefs. Fresco was a serious disappointment. Not to mention over priced, but I suppose your paying for the view. With all the new offerings in Madison (Forequarter and Heritage just to name a few) this is a definite "can miss."
    Special Features:
    scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • more than we could have imagined
    JasonHeien
    Dined on 9/5/2014
    Our drinks, our cuisine, the atmosphere, were all more than anything we could have expected. I saw the sign as we were walking by, checked out the website, and we knew we would have to go while we were in town for the Ironman. Lori our server was perfect with her recommendations. The next time we are in Madison, we will be back to make Fresco a tradition.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great food, great views
    mbeemsterboer
    Dined on 9/5/2014
    I had been to Fresco one other time before this visit and it was exactly as great as I had remembered. The food was perfectly prepared and we were very pleased with the service. My girlfriend had some special dietary requests for her fish and the preparation of her fish and veggies and those were taken into account and the food was still delicious. Our only complaint for the night was that the noise level was very high due to a very loud DJ setup downstairs for a MMoCA event. If you are planning ahead, it may be worthwhile to check on their events before dining if you don't want it to be too loud.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, romantic, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Delightful Anniversary Dinner
    Johnny
    Dined on 9/3/2014
    I scheduled a last-minute anniversary dinner here for my wife and I after recommendations from friends. The service was excellent, the food delicious, appropriately sized portions, wide variety and combination of local and non-local fare. There was a also a good choice of wine. We were blessed with fine weather which helped. We would certainly go back again.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Food
    DocRob
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    Very good menu with plenty of choice. Love the desert!!
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, late-night find, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A let down
    MaadFoodGuy
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    Had heard a lot of good about Fresco but they didn't deliver. The Short Rib dinner was basically flavorless, like the cook forgot to season it. The Mussels in the Mussel app were so small you couldn't taste them. Wife got the Halibut which tasted great but was too crusty. Same goes for the scallop appetizer.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Out-of-towners Impressed!
    Betz
    Dined on 8/29/2014
    Loved by New Yorkers, excellent wine selection, good vegetarian choice! Our only criticism, desserts not normal enough! Who wants "corn" in their creme brûlée! Gorgeous location and atmosphere!
    Special Features:
    hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Fresco
    Cathy
    Dined on 8/28/2014
    An amazing dining experience. An excellent Bibb wedge and the best steak I have ever had. Chocolate filled beignets were heavenly. Service and ambience were excellent.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014VIP
    Dined on 8/27/2014
    Very nice to sit outside - however it was a little bit louder outside then I would have expected. Service was ok - and the food was also good. The outdoor seating is the highlight.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Fresco for dinner
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 8/26/2014
    Very nice meal with excellent and friendly service. Would definitely recommend.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • one of the nicest restaurants
    juds18VIP
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    A definite place to go when in Madison!!!Great atmosphere and delicious food!
    Special Features:
    scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Summer 2014 Fresco
    Wikolo
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    Excellent service and food as usual. Got a tat loud once the tables around us started on their drinks. Acoustics aren't 100% in that place, but it didn't really matter once the food arrived.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Amazing
    ieatlocal
    Dined on 8/22/2014
    Fresco was absolutely gorgeous inside and out. The only complaint I had was the bar was very backed up and we sat there for about 10 minutes before even being acknowledged. Other then that...we had scallops to start which were very fresh tasting and cooked just right. We had the salmon which again was fresh and paired with a delicious risotto, and to finish off we had the short ribs which were cooked to perfection and paired with an amazing sauce. We will definitely be back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, scenic view, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Short rib heaven
    Snaggletoof
    Dined on 8/22/2014
    Heavenly short ribs. Duck confit sliders, halibut entree and cocktails were outstanding. Service was excellent. Even though it was very busy, our server was attentive and pleasant. I would recommend Fresco to anyone.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Watch for the weather
    Daisy
    Dined on 8/22/2014
    This was my forth visit but the first time in summer and on Friday. There were a lot going on outside and where we sat (in front of the kitchen), the warm air came in whenever the door to the outside opened. It was too noisy and busy to enjoy the conversation with my friend. The food was so so. I ordered mushroom risotto cake and cippino pasta, and mango pudding to share. Risotto cake did not have much flavor; pasta was tasty and seafood was cooked perfect but it was too salty; pudding was really a rice pudding with mango pieces. Two other items fir the desert had totally different texture and I am sure that was what expected to enjoy but fried piece really did not make sense and sorbet was too sweet. I had much better experience before.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • First Time
    MidnightBlue
    Dined on 8/20/2014
    I stopped at Fresco with my girlfriend for the first time. Food was great. My only real issue was the time it took to receive food and drinks. New staff due to college just starting, but a simple drink took some time to come out. Otherwise I would recommend this restaurant to everyone.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • good food, but served cold
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 8/20/2014
    I think they forgot about us, and the dishes had been sitting out too long - 'm giving up on this place
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • funwithfood
    Dined on 8/20/2014
    Excellent starter choices! All the food was delicious and so fresh. This was my first visit and I can't wait to come back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • One of the nicer places in Madison
    nickname
    Dined on 8/15/2014
    To start off, this is definitely one of the nicer places in Madison. They have done very well being unique with their decor, view and outdoor seating. The menu is simple but very tasty and food presentation definitely adds to the overall quality of the dishes. Staff was welcoming and helpful when there were questions about food and drink. The one set back was that even though we had a reservation, it still took us about an hour to sit down at a table outside. I understand that outdoor seating is first come first serve but that was something that we found out after we arrived. This was minor and we grabbed apps at the bar but I wish we had known ahead of time being that sitting outside was one of the main reasons we chose Fresco.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, scenic view, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Food Good, Ambiance Disappointing
    MK608
    Dined on 8/15/2014
    Selected Fresco for an anniversary dinner. First time there and the experience was so-so. My main dislike is the decor and ambiance. Sitting inside, I felt like I was in a diner rather than an upscale restaurant. I get it's supposed to be minimalist but it didn't work for me. There was a private party in the sculpture garden. Maybe a table there would've proved more appealing. The menu was fine but nothing stood out as particularly original. Both entrees were fine, well-prepared- but did not stand out beyond the many other fine eateries in Madison. Service was fast. Too fast. Barely sipped my wine before app arrived, and so it went. Waiter was efficient but kind of stern. Seemed to tower over us. Didn't smile. Not engaging.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Poor Environment, Good Food
    madisoneater
    Dined on 8/14/2014
    Our table was close to the door to the outside dining area, and waiters frequently were moving in and out, making huge gusts of wind that blew at us throughout dinner. Although it was a warm night, those constant winds made our area very chilly. Although we asked a manager if the staff could use the other door, more out of the dining section's range, there was no effort made to change anything. Our service was very slow, although the dining room was not seemingly busy. The food was very good, however the other flaws definitely detracted from the overall experience.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 8/9/2014
    A great night! The only thing I wish they would have done was let me know that the outside would have been closed for a private event. When making the reservation I specifically let them know we were a bachelorette party and requested a great seat. We probably got the worse seat in the house looking into the kitchen. Other than that, great food, great setting. Would definitely go back!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great meal
    Dan123
    Dined on 8/9/2014
    This is really a great place for a romantic dinner- we ordered a series of appetizers which filled us up easily- the gin Rickey is a great alternative to the sweeter cocktails on the menu.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, romantic, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great night
    FoodieInTraining
    Dined on 8/8/2014
    I diner at Fresco with a few co-workers to celebrate the end of summer. The food and drinks all tasted great and were unique to the restaurant, which we loved. I also really liked that the dishes all used local and seasonal ingredients (the Farmer's Market salad was wonderful). The ambiance was nice, as was the layout, though if the tables had been any closer they would have been "too close." Nice atmosphere, overall. Unfortunately, the wait for an outside table was 45 minutes so we opted to eat inside, but I would love the opportunity to come back and sit outside on a nice evening.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, scenic view, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Wedding Anniversary
    masmoe
    Dined on 8/7/2014
    My wife and I celebrated our anniversary at Fresco last week and loved it. The ambiance, food and service were outstanding - and at a very reasonable cost. I would have no problem recommending it to anyone - especially for a special event of some sort. The rooftop setting was unique and most enjoyable, but that's a summertime only opportunity.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, scenic view, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • RC13
    Dined on 8/1/2014
    Fantastic view from tables outside. Very good food and service at reasonable prices.
    Special Features:
    special occasion, late-night find, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fun on a Stormy Night
    citasunchild
    Dined on 8/1/2014
    We visited FRESCO for the first time this week. There were four of us. Service was well-paced (4 courses in about 2.5 hours). All 4 people at our table ordered different things for each course; so they were nearly making their entire menu for our table. We sampled each other's fare and get a good idea for the menu. The "favorite" starter were the pork tostados. In each of the other courses, everything was so good we couldn't really come up with a favorite. I had the ricotta gnocchi for the main course--fantastic! On the particular evening we visited, I was hoping for outdoor rooftop seating; that didn't happen due to thunderstorms and rain. Panoramic view was still fantastic during the storm! Rose' wine pitcher was awesome!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Wonderful
    GreatMartini
    Dined on 8/1/2014
    The food, service and view were wonderful. Would not recommend Fresco for young children but sure they would be welcome. The pace is slow and perfect for enjoying a good martini without feeling rushed to order.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, scenic view, hot spot, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Had a wonderful time
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 7/30/2014
    We would have rather sat near the live music but understood that outdoor seating is first come first serve. Next time will get there earlier or later so we can enjoy the larger area of the roof top!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, scenic view, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Very accomodating
    Caroline
    Dined on 7/29/2014
    We had a great group meal at Fresco. Unfortunately that evening, it chose to rain and we were seated indoors instead. The view was not as spectacular as you would think for a "scenic view" but we were indoors. Our server was super accommodating, and when an extra guest arrived she didn't bat an eyelash. The food was good, (I enjoyed the duck confit slider with peanut butter!) and we all enjoyed our meal. Overall would recommend it to anyone.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, romantic, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Excellent dining experience!
    Mikenleslie
    Dined on 7/26/2014
    Fresco was excellent! My husband and I waited for a table outdoors, which was worth it! Beautiful view on the rooftop and the hostess was very helpful. We had drinks at the bar while we waited & the bartender was very friendly. My husband had fish & I had the ny strip. Absolutely, wonderful! One of the best steals I have ever had. The asparagus & potatoes were Also great. For dessert we had the creme brûlée. Perfect! Nice & crisp top, very flavorful. Our waitress was one of the best we have ever had too. She was fast, knowledgable, kind, and not too overbearing My husband and I picked the perfect spot to dine for dinner! I would definitely come back to dine at Frescos. I would not bring my kids though. It was business casual and we enjoyed!
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, scenic view, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Girlsnightout5
    Dined on 7/25/2014
    We had an amazing time at Fresco.The wine and desserts were fabulous.The rooftop outside seeting was most impressive.Our server was wonderful as well. Thank you for a great experience Fresco
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, romantic, scenic view, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Consistently the Best
    Bayatbeach
    Dined on 7/25/2014
    Fresco is, time after time, the best restaurant in Madison. We will have one, maybe two, good meals at other restaurants, but eventually, the quality slips and they disappoint.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Restaurant week
    Steve
    Dined on 7/24/2014
    We went there during restaurant week, and it was delicious. The wine was great, and we sat on their rooftop which overlooked state street. Great experience, we will definitely go back the next time we are in Madison.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, romantic, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • ambience great, food meh
    bbca
    Dined on 7/23/2014
    Thought the decor, location, view, service, everything was great... except the food felt a little bland for my wife and I. We're used to big flavors, and I get it that this type of cuisine lends itself to let the ingredients "speak for themselves," but it's just not our thing. Most people would probably like it, but I need SOME seasonings on my food! The pork belly I got was an exception though since there was some flavor in it, so that gave the food an extra star because of that entree.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, late-night find, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Excellent meal!
    foodiesimplyput
    Dined on 7/22/2014
    The food was excellent. Prepared expertly. The tastes worked wonderfully together. A must for dining in Madison!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Delicious food
    Tasty
    Dined on 7/21/2014
    Very quality ingredients and well presented. Enjoyed the pleasant rooftop garden too.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, scenic view, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • LeisureSuitLarry
    Dined on 7/20/2014
    Service was excellent. Not only was the waitstaff pleasant and informative, but it was refreshing to see people smiling as if they were truly enjoying their work. I enjoyed my restaurant week meal of ricotta gnocchi and especially loved the ruby port sorbet that was part of my dessert. The corn pot de creme was very good as well.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • made her happy!
    stunning
    Dined on 7/19/2014
    I was looking for a restaurant with great ambiance, and the web pointed to fresco as a fit for the style I needed. I booked with them for a birthday dinner at 830, but had to change it to 730, which wasnt available on a Saturday, the day before. So I decided to go to fresco before 730 to see if I could get a reservation change. Nothing was available, but, the hostess worked her magic to make it happen. My girlfriend was especially happy with the view, "beautiful", she said and watched the sun set. I got the New York strip, the cut was good, the flavors were great, I could taste a lingering citrus. Asparagus was perfect. She had the salmon, said it was on the top of her list. AhiTuna for the appetizer, good selection. Overall, stunning!
    Special Features:
    romantic, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Pleasant Saturday night dinner
    bookworks
    Dined on 7/19/2014
    5 of us dined at Fresco on Saturday night to celebrate my granddaughter's birthday. We were seated immediately. They have great cocktails and wine coolers. We shared a couple of appetizers and went on to all get different entrees. Everyone liked what they got. They have an excellent chocolate crème brulee for dessert that I would definitely recommend. The cheesecake was just OK. We had a very pleasant dinner and will return again soon.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic