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  • Nostrano

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Nostrano Details

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://nostranomadison.com
  • Phone: (608) 395-3295
  • 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: Italian, Mediterranean, Contemporary Italian
  • 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 & Promotions: 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.
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerItalian
  • Diners' Choice WinnerFit for Foodies
  • Diners' Choice WinnerRomantic
Diner Reviews
  • "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."
    Dined on 8/27/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 8/21/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 8/13/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 8/8/2014
  • "Menu had new dishes , we tried the snaper very testy and the beet salad plus the buckwheat pasta everything was delicious ."
    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."
    Dined on 8/7/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 8/5/2014
  • "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 :-)"
    Dined on 7/26/2014
  • "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"
    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."
    Dined on 7/25/2014
  • "Food was good, the area was nice too. Overall nice place, no complaints."
    Dined on 7/24/2014
  • "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."
    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."
    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."
    Dined on 7/23/2014
  • "Nice corner restaurant near the capital. Food was excellent, although slightly pricey. Nice wine list."
    Dined on 7/21/2014
  • "Great food. Great space. Great prices. Check it out."
    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. ."
    Dined on 7/21/2014
  • "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..."
    Dined on 7/14/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 7/12/2014
  • "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,"
    Dined on 7/11/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 7/8/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 7/5/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 7/3/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 6/27/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 6/26/2014
  • "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!"
    Dined on 6/25/2014
  • "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"
    Dined on 6/23/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 6/20/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 6/11/2014
  • "The restaurant was outstanding. My only real complaint is that it is basically Manhattan-level pricing in Madison. In other words, a bit overpriced."
    Dined on 6/7/2014
  • "We had a fabulous evening but there were too few people on the floor - one server for 10 tables! food was great!"
    Dined on 6/5/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 5/31/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 5/27/2014
  • "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!"
    Dined on 5/23/2014
  • "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. "
    Dined on 5/21/2014
  • "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. "
    Dined on 5/12/2014
  • "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. "
    Dined on 5/10/2014
  • "I had been to Nostrano for dessert in the past and was blown away by the creativity and delicious desserts. This time, I returned for an entire meal. While my main of orecchiette with game bird sausage, roasted turnips, etc. was excellent, the dessert of some sort of cake was lacking and disappointing. The service was slow too and this was odd because it was a Monday night and not very busy. It took about 10 minutes for our server to acknowledge us once we were seated and we waited about 20 minutes to place our dessert order. And servers weren't very good on refilling water. "
    Dined on 5/5/2014
  • "Nostrano was a delight. Lovely atmosphere, delicious food, wonderful service."
    Dined on 5/3/2014
  • "Nostrano is our favorite restaurant in Madison. The sformato and quail were among the best things we have eaten in town. For cocktails, we trusted our server's recommendation and had three glorious Fistfuls of Dollars. Impeccable service. Very quiet on a Tuesday night, with a beautiful view of the capitol."
    Dined on 4/29/2014