Nostrano

Nostrano

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://nostranomadison.com/
  • Phone: (608) 395-3295
  • Hours of Operation:
    DINNER /// MON-WED | 5-9pm | THU-SAT | 5-10pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Contemporary Italian, Italian, Mediterranean
  • Executive Chef: Tim Dahl
  • Dress Code: Smart Casual
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Farm to Table, Full Bar, Late Night, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), View, Wheelchair Access, Wine, Wine Bar
  • Special Events: You can follow Nostrano on Facebook and Twitter for news, menu changes and special events.

Getting there

  • Cross Street: W Main St | S Carroll St
  • Public Transit: Madison Metro | Routes 1-8
  • Parking: Street Parking
  • Parking Details: Limited parking is available in front of the restaurant and around the square. There are public parking ramps located at adjacent corners of the Capitol square.
A word from Nostrano
Nostrano is owned by former Chicago Chefs Tim and Elizabeth Dahl, who have honed their skills in some of Chicago’s finest restaurants, such as Blackbird, Boka, Naha, Charlie Trotters and NoMi. Nostrano offers seasonal, Italian-influenced small plates, entrees and desserts created in-house from local ingredients. Nostrano’s wine list features selections from small producers throughout the Mediterranean region, and its unique cocktail list highlights classic cocktails from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
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Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Food
  • Diners' Choice WinnerFit for Foodies
  • Diners' Choice WinnerNeigborhood Gem
Nostrano reviews from OpenTable diners
75 reviews since July 27, 2014
Overall Rating4.4
  • Food4.6
    Service4.1
  • Ambiance4.3
    Noise LevelModerate
92% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
fit for foodies (65)special occasion (41)romantic (33)notable wine list (28)neighborhood gem (24)great for outdoor dining (7)scenic view (6)vibrant bar scene (5)late-night find (4)hot spot (3)great for lunch (3)great for brunch (1)good for groups (1)Show More
  • Always interesting food in a cozy nook!
    KellyTF
    Dined on 11/21/2014
    This restaurant always has such interesting, great food! My friend and I each had a great appetizer (hers - cauliflower soup, mine - beet salad), split the Sturgeon main course and then had room for a wonderful dessert (hers - a pear cake, mine - toffee salted caramel cake with ice cream). We were going to a show and the waiter was especially helpful in making sure we ate within our time frame. Our coats were even graciously hung out of sight for us! Wish they were still open for lunch, as I really like this cozy, nook of a place with fabulous food!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Nice little restrauant - great desserts!
    DrJay
    Dined on 11/17/2014
    Overall, we had a great dinner. The food was prepared and plated very well, but it just lacked that last little wow factor to send it over the edge into awesome-land. Everything was solid and tasty - I really don't have anything to complain about, but when you're on the cusp of greatness, there's always a few places who have moved just that little bit further beyond you. The desserts (and cocktails) were the best part.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Nostrano never disappoints
    hazenfree
    Dined on 11/13/2014
    We especially love the seasonal craft cocktails. The atmosphere is perfect for an intimate conversation between friends. The tables are close, but you don't feel like you're on top of the party next to you. Plates are smaller, for foodies. Great for a nice meal before the Overture. You will feel sufficiently satisfied without wanting to fall asleep at the show. I ordered the sturgeon and it was delicious. The fish was cooked perfectly and the broth was so tasty and multi-dimensional. My date ordered the sweet corn risotto and it was equally great. Great experience.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Enjoyable experience
    joyzgr8
    Dined on 11/8/2014
    Food was excellent, but it was a bit of a wait. There was probably an hour between the first courses we ordered and the second. We were also seated near the front of the restaurant in front of a really cold window, and while the host was very sweet about it and said "if there's anywhere else I could put you, I would", there was a two 2-tops available farther away from the door/window that were open for the whole time we were there - not sure why we couldn't have been given one of those. Craft cocktails are really well done
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 11/8/2014
    After hearing great things about Nostrano, we were disappointed, mainly in the quality of the service. We had to ask for water and to order drinks. Our server was friendly but in no hurry. She would walk past our table without seeing if we needed anything. The entrees were all delicious but beware that the servings are small. I found it somewhat off-putting that we were charged for our two baskets of bread, considering that the food is not inexpensive. We ordered affogato for dessert and it came with three nuggets that tasted like donut holes and the gelato was already melting when it hit our table. I have had more delicious desserts at numerous restaurants for far less than the $11 we paid.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • NutellaLuv
    Dined on 11/7/2014
    I can't say enough good things about my dining experience at Nostrano. The service was attentive and relaxed. You can really tell that they put so much thought in their menu. Everything from the appetizers to the cocktails and entrees and desserts were outstanding! There is not one single thing to complain about here. A perfect elegant, yet relaxed, atmosphere for a night out.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Excellent, innovative and healthy menu
    LynnBill
    Dined on 10/29/2014
    I was visiting from Toronto and Murphy served me....she was charming and the food and drink selections were unique and truly excellent. The building was also charming. Wonderful evening.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Perfect birthday dining
    kindam
    Dined on 10/27/2014
    The four of us have celebrated two of our birthdays together in cities all over the world at excellent restaurants. This past week we celebrated in Madison, Wisconsin and Nostrano did not disappoint! We had a perfect dinner with roasted carrots and salumi boards for starters and four distinct, delicious entrees. The rigatoni with duck ragu was my choice. Yum! Our waiter was knowledgeable and helpful, present but not interfering. The candle on the panna cotta was cute. My after dinner scotch from a remarkable cocktail list a perfect ending!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good restaurant
    kdl1
    Dined on 10/25/2014
    The restaurant is great. Someone may say that the dishes are overly complex; combined with the limited size of the menu, this may make it difficult to find something you like. However, personally I thought the food was very good.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Amazing food!!
    Natand
    Dined on 10/20/2014
    We came in late on a Monday evening. The Beet Sfrormato, Riagtoni, and Pan-Rosted Quail. Everything was outstanding!!! My girlfriend and I, who are no stranger to fine dining, found their beet salad to be the best we've EVER had. Amazing flavors! The quail and the rigatoni are fantastic!! If you try them, have them or ordered as separate courses. We did it together, and, honestley, they are best enjoyed within the first 5 minutes. Hot, tasty food!! As we were finishing to leave, I asked the bartender about a drink we've previously had. They not only made it, but brought us one "on the house". A special place, if you share you're enjoyment of food and drink with them, they'll acomidate. A wonderful place to enjoy!!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great special occasion spot
    Rhonda
    Dined on 10/20/2014
    Enjoyed three courses - each one delicious and fit for foodies! Great wine pairings and coctails recommended by the waiter. Low noise level so great for conversation.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent food at Nostrano
    gpdiner
    Dined on 10/20/2014
    My experience with fine dining is limited, but I needed to choose a place to take a guest from New York who has eaten at fine restaurants around the world. I remembered how much my wife liked Nostrano on our only visit, so I chose it. I was delighted when my guest liked the food so much that she sent her complements to the chef. The service was fine, but our server being a bit less personable than I prefer. I was also a bit puzzled that we were seated close to another table when the restaurant was mostly empty. (It was in the early evening on a Monday and the more guests came as the evening wore on.)
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Stop at the bank first!
    mspm
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    Two of our dishes were outstanding (cauliflower soup and lamb ragu). The third (snapper) was teensy, and contained not nearly enough spice or flavor. I appreciate that a lot of time goes into making a good soup. But $11 for a (not-large) bowl? $24 for a bowl of (barely-enough) pasta? If you have money to burn, and don't care for leftovers, you'll like this place.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • A gem of a place
    Punkseed
    Dined on 10/17/2014
    We were excited to try this place after hearing about it. They focus on farm to table. The bar serves twists on classic drinks and they very adapt and making you a familiar drink all over again. I tried their take a on old fashion and the result was enjoyable. The waiter was great at making suggestions with our wines and our meal. The wine list was very unusual, not the typical varietals or brands. We picked out a great wine with dinner based on his recommendation. The salami starter board/plate was excellent, they apparently make all these in house. Our main course, were done perfectly, my commented the broth and sauces were excellent. I enjoyed my meal as well. We finished with a very good dessert and would come back again.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Food-A+, Service B-
    madtowndiner
    Dined on 10/16/2014
    The food was absolutely fantastic, all around. Cocktails, food, wine. All flavors balanced perfectly! I highly recommend it to anybody, and will go back again myself. But for a meal of that high quality and for our group, sparing no expense, I would have liked a lot more attention from our waitres. In her defence, It was a busy evening, but I think we fell off her radar and it put a put an unfortunate damper on an otherwise perfect meal.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Best Meal in Madison
    SpecoVIP
    Dined on 10/11/2014
    Very satisfying meal. The roast quail is exquisite. The salami plate is delicious also.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great Wine!
    Ldtalb
    Dined on 10/10/2014
    Have been here a few times for special events (birthdays/graduations) but we went on Friday cause an out of town foodie was visiting. We ordered a glass of wine and our friend wanted to order the bottle- they didn't have a bottle - but suggested another wine bottle that we ended up liking even more! We keep saying that wine on Friday was so good. The food was amazing as always that goes with out saying!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Nancy
    Dined on 10/10/2014
    Excellent food, creative presentation, friendly staff. Definitely not cheap, so I was less than pleased when we were asked to vacate our table at the two-hour mark (after a three-course meal with two bottles of wine and a tab over $200). That takes away the fifth star; otherwise, we enjoyed the meal very much.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Fine Time when at Nostrano you dine
    Luvabountifulrepast
    Dined on 10/4/2014
    We had a lovely meal with friends in from out of town. It was their first time to Madison so we wanted to show off the city and some of its best cuisine. We were not disappointed! The food was really superb. The presentation of all of the entrees was very nice and the food was sensational.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Wonderful food-service off
    Miles
    Dined on 9/27/2014
    We have been here before and the food is fantastic! Unfortunately, the service was not tonite--hopefully, it was an off night.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Birthday dinner
    Muskrat
    Dined on 9/25/2014
    Again, Nostrano does not disappoint. Imaginative, sophisticated dishes well-executed, along with some of the finest cocktails in Madison.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • fantastic salads
    janmadison
    Dined on 9/19/2014
    The radish salad was the most beautiful I've ever seen. Still mad at myself for not taking a picture with my iphone. Delicious beyond words. The server was great in letting us know how large the quantities were before we ordered. Limited number of entrees so may not please 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.
  • Fancy pants
    ba28
    Dined on 9/17/2014
    I'm not a foodie so this was a little over my head. The waitress didn't provide very good descriptions of the menu items that we had no idea what it would taste or look like. This place is fit for foodies and people with fat wallets. I won't be coming back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great Evening
    Suztravels
    Dined on 9/15/2014
    Most enjoyable dining experience. Very interesting taste combinations. Excellent wine. Trendy fun place. Would come back again.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Delicious Date Night
    MadisonFoodie
    Dined on 9/13/2014
    The salumi board, rigatoni with lamb ragu, and snapper brodetto, rounded out by espresso and the affogato was great. They also have some really great beers that I have struggled to find at other upscale restuarants in Madison - e.g. Lolita from Goose Island. Nice wine list as well, the waiter was knowledgeable and courteous in letting me sample a few to find the right match for my meal.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great food!
    KLeigh
    Dined on 8/29/2014
    We had a wonderful meal! Highly recommend the Snapper Brodetto. Drinks and dessert were great too!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Not for foodies
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007VIP
    Dined on 8/27/2014
    My husband and I were looking forward to a special night out at Nostrano, but had a very disappointing experience. The waitress was snobby and unwelcoming. Meal prices are very high for Madison, more on par with prices we used to pay while living in New York City. We didn't mind paying that, but expected the same quality as you would find in a New York Italian restaurant where the pasta is handmade daily and served perfectly al dente. The flavors of our entrees were good, but they served us pasta from a box that was extremely overcooked. It was a mediocre meal that came with a large bill! We left hungry and had ice cream at jazz on the square.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Good food service need improvement
    madcrystal22
    Dined on 8/21/2014
    We had high hopes for Nostrano since we knew about the chef owners from their time in Chicago. Unfortunately, though the food was good, it didn't make up for an unfriendly welcome and overall vibe as well as the prices seemed just a tad high for what was being served. Again, we live in Chicago so sticker shock is not the issue here but my husband is also a chef and he thought the pricing was a little high for some of the items. Our server was very friendly. But the hostess gave off a chilly vibe when 'greeting' us and when we left the chef was out in the bar and yet nobody thanked us or said goodbye as we left. Something my husband took particular note of. If you don't expect much in the way of service then this may not bother you as much.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Outstanding!
    Lieb22
    Dined on 8/13/2014
    We attended Nostranos for our anniversary. The food was delicious. Our server was understated but attentive. The meal was not rushed but well paced. We will definitely choose Nostranos for other special occasions or just for an excellent dinner out.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Slow, slow kitchen
    DCVisitor
    Dined on 8/8/2014
    Although I appreciate that the entrees offered take a while to prepare, it took the kitchen a very long time to send out our 3 entrees. There was a very long gap of time between our salad and main course. Diners who came in after us received their main courses before we did.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • For foodies
    PascaleVIP
    Dined on 8/7/2014
    Menu had new dishes , we tried the snaper very testy and the beet salad plus the buckwheat pasta everything was delicious .
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fantastic restaurant
    cdlaVIP
    Dined on 8/7/2014
    Wonderful, sophisticated Italian cuisine. Small but inventive menu. Wine list short but very well thought out and relatively inexpensive. Excellent advice from knowledgeable, helpful server. Charming spot.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Nostrano Stand Out
    happygrandma
    Dined on 8/5/2014
    We had an excellent meal last Tuesday night, creatively designed and perfectly executed from beginning to end, from the little gem summer salad with summer beans, peas and tendrils and fingerling potatoes with a subtle, bright sauce, to the dynamite buckwheat tagliatelle with spring onion pesto, green beans and basil, to creative and flavorful pan roasted quail stuffed with quail sausage and served with grilled cucumber (have to try that at home), to great deserts, a deconstructed goat's milk cheesecake with blue berries and a nifty salted carmel gelato, and Nostrano's terrific take on the classic affogato, this meal rated a come back again soon to try more entries rating from us.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 42 ratings-only reviews submitted since July 27, 2014
    • Overall Rating4.5
    • Food4.6
    • Ambiance4.5
    • Service4.2
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 631 reviews are from the Nostrano reviews archive.
  • GREAT food, but unfortunate service
    hungryhungrylady
    Dined on 7/26/2014
    We waited about an a half for our food. As a pregnant lady, I was ready to pass out. The server was very apologetic and gave us some free bread, she said that the owners were stuck cooking (their chefs must have quit?). The restaurant was not very crowded, so we were pretty confused. The food was great, though. Will be back when they have more cooks in the kitchen :-)
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • localfoodlover
    Dined on 7/25/2014
    Went during restaurant week. Will never go back. Took 50 minutes for our second course to come back. Portions were a joke - they must have been operating on a 90% margin - I work with local farmers and know the cost of products. Really disappointing. That place has gone down hill
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Pretty good--too salty, though.
    MadisonDiner001
    Dined on 7/25/2014
    The restaurant opened about 20 minutes late. We enjoyed the ambiance, and the service was excellent. The portion sizes were smaller, and we appreciated that. The presentation of the food was lovely, but two of the dishes were way too salty.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • good food
    bbca
    Dined on 7/24/2014
    Food was good, the area was nice too. Overall nice place, no complaints.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, late-night find
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Good Food, Rude Service
    Dottie
    Dined on 7/23/2014
    Nostrano is a great place to eat some decadent, unique food. You can tell that the chef takes special care in creating outstanding dishes. I ordered the Orecchiette with Spicy Fennel Sausage, Roasted Turnips, Rapini, Preserved Meyer Lemon, Fiore Sardo (without the sausage because I am a vegetarian). The waitress gave me quite the huff about no meat and said the chef would not do it. I politely told her that I have dined here on several occasions and the kitchen was more than happy to accommodate my request. When the dish did finally arrive, it was superb! I suggest you order the Affogato for dessert. The decadent bambolini (similar to a small doughnut) dipped in espresso was divine! Too bad the waitress was condescending and rude.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Nostrano Was Fantastic!!!
    LRC65
    Dined on 7/23/2014
    The food was fantastic. I wanted to go back the next day and would have but already had other plans.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great Food, Awful Service
    AwfulService
    Dined on 7/23/2014
    We visited Nostrano over lunch during restaurant week. The food was good, dessert was excellent. The service was terrible. We were there for almost 2 hours. Two other tables were served before us and they arrived after us. When we asked what was taking so long they told us it was because there was only 2 people working in the kitchen. Our waitress then had an attidude with us. They should have been more prepared for Restaurant week. We also had problems with our bill. Beware they put a hold on your credit card for more than your bill. Even though the food was good I will not be returning.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall