Nostrano

Nostrano

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://nostranomadison.com/
  • Phone: 6083953295
  • Hours of Operation:
    LUNCH /// MON-FRI | 11:30 - 2:30pm
    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.
Continued
Foodspotting photos
See all photos
Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Ambiance
  • Diners' Choice WinnerFit for Foodies
  • Diners' Choice WinnerNeigborhood Gem
Nostrano reviews from OpenTable diners
75 reviews since May 22, 2014
Overall Rating4.2
  • Food4.3
    Service3.8
  • Ambiance4.3
    Noise LevelModerate
82% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
fit for foodies (56)special occasion (40)romantic (32)neighborhood gem (23)notable wine list (14)great for outdoor dining (12)great for lunch (6)vibrant bar scene (5)scenic view (4)good for groups (3)hot spot (3)late-night find (3)great for brunch (2)Show More
  • Great Evening
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    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.
  • 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
  • Excellent for a date
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 7/21/2014
    Nice corner restaurant near the capital. Food was excellent, although slightly pricey. Nice wine list.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great. Just great.
    BMLC
    Dined on 7/21/2014
    Great food. Great space. Great prices. Check it out.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Disappointing
    ChefP
    Dined on 7/21/2014
    Cocktails were excellent but unfortunately ended there. Cauliflower soup was quite good to start. Wettest risotto I have ever had, like porridge. Flavor was fine. I think we were forgotten about outside. We waited for drink order and waited probably 20 min for each first two courses. We will try dinner again sometime. .
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • slow service and overpriced
    1234
    Dined on 7/14/2014
    The server that we had seemed pretty disinterested and both the pasta dishes and the appetizer were uninspired for the $20+ price tag. Not really sure why this place is so well reviewed...
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Nice place for special occasion
    ratdog
    Dined on 7/12/2014
    I had the pleasure of dining at Nostrano for the second time. Our greeter was tepid in her greeting but our server was very warm. We started with the Salumi appetizer which we had in the past. I did not disappoint. I was excited to see sturgeon on the menu. My husband had had it before and raved about how it was. But when I received the dish, it wasn't grilled as I expected but came as a small piece in a bowl of soup that seemed more of a starter dish rather than an entree. My husband ordered the snapper which also came as a soup. The flavors were very good but again, it seemed more of a starter dish rather than an entree. The coffee was excellent as well as the caramel desert. Don't expect to have a quick dining experience.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Still an excellent restaurant
    WIFoodLover
    Dined on 7/11/2014
    We've eaten at Nostrano a number of times, and the food is consistently high quality and inventive. We ordered the buckwheat pasta with an interesting "pesto," very delicious, and the orecchiette with a very delicious, somhwat spicy sausage, though the mustard in the sauce was a bit overpowering. My wife usually orders the old-fashioned, and the current one needs some work. The Pimms was fine. Unfortunately, the service was not what we had come to expect at Nostrano, where the waitstaff are typically very knowledgeable about food and beverages. This time, our waitress was not a "foodie" and not congenial, especially in comparison to earlier visits. She had to check her notes when we asked her questions, and her responses were vague,
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, late-night find, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • KonovanVIP
    Dined on 7/8/2014
    Near the beginning of 2013 we stopped going to Nostrano as for our taste there was trend of too much salt in the food. Because of the interesting menu we decided to give Nostrano another try. Alas, there hadn't been a changed and again everyone in our party felt there was too much salt.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Celebrating the marriage of friends
    willtryagain
    Dined on 7/5/2014
    We've had several superb special occasion dinners at Nostrano and raved about it to our friends. We were delighted to find we could cancel our indoor reservation and eat outdoors, which we enjoyed. The refreshing Pink Ranunculus was a perfect start for the ladies, and our server could not have been friendlier, more knowledgeable, or more accommodating. We expected a leisurely dinner, but 50 minutes between salads and entrees was simply unacceptable! Also, the dishes were less consistent than I remembered from our last dining experience. We were offered free desserts for our wait, and did get free coffee and tea. However, when we asked to remove the charge of a drink, we were somewhat grudgingly given a $25 gift certificate instead.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014VIP
    Dined on 7/3/2014
    Food was outstanding - with ambitious menu that they are able to pull off. Staff was very friendly - though the servers seemed quite new and nervous. Great space, with a lovely bar. Tables can be quite close together.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • excellent as always
    fridolinVIP
    Dined on 6/27/2014
    I have eaten here many times, and continue to be delighted with the food, including the reasonable portion size [please don't supersize me!]. The bar produces excellent cocktails. The wine list is interesting. The service is attentive. Really, no negatives come to mind.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, hot spot, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • First Time Would Go Back
    Hopefull
    Dined on 6/26/2014
    This was my first time and went with a friend who had gone before. You are paying for the food creation not quanity. I had the Lamb Ragu over pasta and while it was delicious, I felt it overpriced for what it was at $24.00 and was primarily pasta. All items are ala-carte. the Olive appetizer was a good starter served with well seasoned focaccio bread. For desert I opted for the goat milk cheese cake. These small pieces came with a scoop of sorbet, seasoned apples (excellent) and several other additions, and at $11 a fair price. Although available we did not have wine or spirits. Overall, we left feeling satisfied, recognizing the smaller portions and higher prices as a positive when that was what we was looking for.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Summer evening Mid-week B-Day
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 6/25/2014
    We went to Nostrano for the first time on a Wednesday during Concert on the Square. We sat outside and it was so lovely... we could hear the orchestra playing and the weather was perfect for outdoor dining. The food was also wonderful: Flavor, Presentation, and Service!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, scenic view, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 6/23/2014
    Truly interesting food in the heart of Madison. Perfectly prepared, well presented. Great desserts. Service a little slow, but what's the hurry when it is this good, and it's a special occasion
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • uninformed waitress, food just ok
    ambrai101VIP
    Dined on 6/20/2014
    waitress didn't know her menu, and when there are less than 15 dishes on there, that is just sad. I asked what kind of seafood was in my dish before I ordered on purpose, not just for curiosity, and she was completely wrong. The serving size is very small for what you pay, but flavor-wise it was fine, just not something I would order again. Could overhear another waitress talking to the table behind us, and was wishing she was ours, because she not only knew the menu, she obviously had tasted everything and knew what to recommend. Disappointing experience.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great food, nice setting
    Erhall
    Dined on 6/11/2014
    The menu is good, a bit heavy on meat, but has some excellent vegetarian offerings for which I am grateful. The deserts are the best in the city.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 6/7/2014
    The restaurant was outstanding. My only real complaint is that it is basically Manhattan-level pricing in Madison. In other words, a bit overpriced.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • nice evening but need more servers!
    Patti
    Dined on 6/5/2014
    We had a fabulous evening but there were too few people on the floor - one server for 10 tables! food was great!
    Special Features:
    notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Oma1
    Dined on 5/31/2014
    We were celebrating our 34th wedding anniversary and since this space was my art gallery 36 years ago it is where we met. It was perfect. Staff was wonderful. Food and drink delicious. It exceeded our expectations.
    Special Features:
    romantic, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Exquisite - and expensive
    Su123
    Dined on 5/27/2014
    The salami board as appetizer provides a wonderful variety of flavors. Even better, the entrees are exquisite, seasonally inspired, with a wide variety for taste. I would personally recommend the grilled octopus salad. It is rare to find a restaurant that does not bread and/or overcook octopus - Nostrano was perfection. Desserts are works of art. One caveat - prices are high - ranging in the $20's for entrees, so don't go there if you're not willing to spend. Note: the seasonal soda, on the night we went, was rhubard elderberry - do, go try it.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, scenic view, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Another great meal
    HappyTummy
    Dined on 5/23/2014
    Nostrano has become my favorite place to eat. Consistently great food, nice beer selection, and the best desserts in town. This time I had the cauliflower risotto and the pineapple dessert. Both were outstanding!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 38 ratings-only reviews submitted since May 22, 2014
    • Overall Rating4.5
    • Food4.6
    • Ambiance4.3
    • Service4
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 604 reviews are from the Nostrano reviews archive.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2003VIP
    Dined on 5/21/2014
    My only concern is that the menu is way too limited. Although what I had was very good, going to this restaurant is chancey, given the combination of the very limited choice and the rigid, if polite, no-subtitutions policy.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Restaurant closed for lunch
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 5/12/2014
    I'd been to this restaurant once before and enjoyed it. This time, I made a reservation for a lunch date with my mom, but when we got to the restaurant it was closed! So we had to scramble and find another place to eat. Luckily it was a weekday lunch and a nice day for a walk.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Big talent in a little restaurant
    Winedog
    Dined on 5/10/2014
    If you are looking for a restaurant in Madison with the most insightful, balanced and just plain delicious cuisine, Nostrano is #1. Even better you get two great chefs, Elizabeth and Tim Dahl. Our Sunchoke Sformato salad and Grilled Octopus salad, were both incredibly fresh, vibrant with great combinations of flavors. Tagliatelle entrée had a nice explosion of flavors mixed with great texture and depth. The Grilled Sturgeon was impeccably balanced with layers of flavor (I wanted to lick the bowl clean). We had two dessert specialties from Elizabeth’s kitchen, her Affogato and Copetta, which are both as delicious as they looked, the fusion of flavors were seamless with breadth that filled your mouth. A great wine menu to match.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.