Nearby points of interest

  1. Distance: 0.06mi
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  3. Distance: 0.07mi
  4. Distance: 0.08mi

Nearby points of interest

  1. Distance: 0.06mi
  2. Distance: 0.07mi
  3. Distance: 0.07mi
  4. Distance: 0.08mi

About Fresco

After strolling up to the third floor of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art via its stunning glass staircase, entering Fresco can feel like stepping into another world. The main dining room boasts wall-to-wall windows that provide panoramic views of downtown Madison. During warmer months, Fresco has plenty of outdoor seating in the Sculpture Garden.

The essence of Fresco is its menu – a thoughtfully prepared combination of fresh, seasonal offerings and contemporary twists on the classics. Fresco’s chefs have a deep appreciation for fresh, local ingredients, sourced directly when possible from the Dane County Farmers’ Market, just two blocks away on the Capitol Square.

Outdoor seating requests are accepted upon check in on a first come, first serve basis due to the possibility of inclement weather, and the limited amount of outdoor tables. Thank you for your understanding and we are excited to have you dine with us.

227 State Street
Madison, WI 53703
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Dining Style:
Casual Dining

Cuisines:
Contemporary American

Hours of Operation:
Monday: Closed
Tuesday-Thursday: Dinner served 5 pm - 9 pm
Friday-Saturday: Dinner served 5 pm - 10 pm
Sunday: Dinner served 4 pm - 8 pm

Cross Street:
State Street / Henry Street / W. Johnson Street

Dress Code:
Business Casual

Price Range:
$30 and under

Payment Options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Phone Number:
(608) 663-7374

Website:
http://www.frescomadison.com/

Catering:
For offsite catering inquiries, or catering within the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, please contact Amanda Schnoll.

Parking Details:
Parking available at the Overture Center ramp on the corner of Henry & Dayton.

Public Transit:
Henry & Dayton

Executive Chef:
Giovanni Novella

Additional:
Banquet, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cocktails, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Late Night, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Private Room, View, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine

Fresco Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.6

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.5

service

4.6

ambience

4.7

value

4.3

Noise

Moderate

97% would recommend it to a friend

Scenic View (40)
Pre/post Theatre (38)
Special Occasion (37)
See All
Good for a Date (35)
Romantic (35)
Great for Outdoor Dining (35)
Good for Anniversaries (33)
Creative Cuisine (31)
Fit for Foodies (28)
Local Ingredients (25)
Good for Birthdays (21)
Worth the Drive (16)
Quiet Conversation (16)
Notable Wine List (15)
Good Vegetarian Options (15)
Handcrafted Cocktails (15)
Fun (13)
Healthy (13)
Seasonal (13)
Business Meals (10)
Good for Groups (10)
People Watching (10)
Hot Spot (9)
Authentic (8)
Neighborhood Gem (8)
Cozy (7)
Bar Seating (6)
Casual (6)
Late-night Find (6)
Organic (6)
Tapas (6)
Happy Hour (5)
Vibrant Bar Scene (5)
Gluten Free Options (4)
Great for Brunch (3)
Sunday Lunch (3)
Comfort Food (2)
Great Beer (2)
Great for Lunch (2)
Tasting Menu (2)
Vegan (2)
Disabled Access (1)
Paleo Friendly (1)
Spicy (1)
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1912 reviews
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 (Milwaukee)·Dined 3 days ago

Lighting is too dim. Getting off the elevator with such dim light makes it hard and unsafe to navigate.

Tags: Special Occasion
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food3
ambience4
service4
value4

 
·Dined 4 days ago

Excellent service. My special dietary needs were easily met.

Tags: Special Occasion, Good for Birthdays, Good for Anniversaries
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Milwaukee)·Dined 5 days ago

Wait staff were very attentive to our food allergies and made sure our meals were safe for us as well as REALLY tasty!

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Seasonal
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
·Dined 6 days ago

We had the special harvest dinner. The pear burrata salad was terrific. The budino dessert was wonderful.

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Good Vegetarian Options, Special Occasion, Romantic
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined 6 days ago

Exceptional food, with wide menu that is always changing with the seasons. Beautiful setting, and great service.

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Creative Cuisine, Special Occasion, Good for Birthdays, Pre/post Theatre, Handcrafted Cocktails
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Chicago)·Dined on November 11, 2017

Lively atmosphere. Friendly and attentive wait staff. Food was awesome. Get the Brussel sprouts if you go!

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Milwaukee)·Dined on November 10, 2017

We enjoyed everything about our dinner - from cocktails to dessert. My halibut was absolutely amazing, and the taste I had of my husband's scallops was equally great. Fresco is quiet and intimate. We'll be back often!

Tags: Pre/post Theatre, Fun, Fit for Foodies, Good for Birthdays, Healthy
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Indiana)·Dined on November 9, 2017

Everything was excellent— terrific food and great service.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Kansas City)·Dined on November 7, 2017

We visitied Fresco before heading to a concert. The restaurant itself is beautiful and I can only imagine how nice it is to sit outside when the weather is warmer. The service was wonderful. The wait staff let us know about different dishes and drinks. Both of our dishes were wonderful, as were our drinks. I would recommend this restaurant to anyone visiting Madison and I would visit again when I am back in town.

Tags: Special Occasion, Handcrafted Cocktails, Good Vegetarian Options, Good for a Date, Great for Outdoor Dining, Pre/post Theatre, Quiet Conversation, Creative Cuisine, Good for Anniversaries, Notable Wine List, Seasonal, Scenic View
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Milwaukee)·Dined on November 6, 2017

Loved the food and service, but we were there at 630pm for dinner and the restaurant was so dark we truly could not see our food. When my fish was delivered, I thought there were large olives on my plate, only to discover they were tiny potatoes. We really disliked the ambience. We could listen to every conversation in the 4 surrounding tables because the tables are so close together, which also made it very difficult to move between the tables comfortably when exiting. As I said in my opening statement, the service was excellent, as was the food. I ordered crispy skin salmon that was superb, as was the small plate of crispy Brussels sprouts. My husband and I shared an appetizer of chickpeas and hummus, also very good, and my husband greatly enjoyed his burger of local grass fed beef and the amazing french fries. However, if we return, it would only be for lunch so we can see our food.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Paleo Friendly, Local Ingredients
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food5
ambience2
service5
value4

 
 (Milwaukee)·Dined on November 5, 2017

Was disappointed with the service but decided not to say anything because a friend from overseas was treating us. We were given 2 bread rolls for 3 people & when we asked for one more we were basically told that we could ask for more if we wanted but that was usually enough. (We thought we HAD asked!) We never got an extra roll. Because lighting was so dim we couldn't read our menus, the waitress gave us the candle from an nearby table but never replaced that candle for that table so an angry man at that table later very rudely came to claim his candle saying we shouldn't have 2 candles when he had none. It made for an extremely uncomfortable "beginning" to a meal we'd planned as a very special meal.

Tags: Pre/post Theatre, Scenic View
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food3
ambience5
service2
value4

 
 (Washington DC)·Dined on November 5, 2017

Fantastic!!! Chef brought a dessert tray with several small items. It was the best!!! Thank you.

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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
·Dined on November 4, 2017

Absolutely delicious meal that wasn't too expensive. Great atmosphere. Can't wait to come back

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Creative Cuisine, Vegan, Cozy
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on November 4, 2017

Fresco made our 5 year anniversary so special! We will definitely be back!

Tags: Scenic View, Quiet Conversation, Romantic, Tasting Menu, Neighborhood Gem, People Watching, Good Vegetarian Options, Business Meals, Pre/post Theatre
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food5
ambience5
service4
value5

 
 (London)·Dined on November 1, 2017

I really liked the special menu for the Hunger Task Force. The pasta was very good, and the chocolate dessert was a bit hit. Very easy to get a table by the window for a nice view of State Street.

Tags: Handcrafted Cocktails, Business Meals, Tapas, Seasonal, Authentic
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on October 25, 2017

Excellent and very fresh food, relaxed atmosphere and great service. Loved the seasonal options.

Tags: Special Occasion, Seasonal
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food5
ambience4
service5
value5

 
·Dined on October 20, 2017

Excellent food, service, and environment whether at the bar or dining.

Tags: Scenic View, Good for Anniversaries, Special Occasion, Quiet Conversation
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (New Orleans)·Dined on October 20, 2017

delicious food, with very attentive service! the inside part of the restaurant is not very interesting aesthetically; better to eat here during warmer weather to be seated outside. it was also hard to find the entrance to the restaurant from the street, and then again once inside the museum.

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food5
ambience4
service5

 
·Dined on October 18, 2017

Service and view was outstanding, the food was the best I've had in a long time. My date loved it and the portion sizes were actually pretty big for what I'd consider pretty fine dining. I left full and very satisfied. Try the rack of lamb for a treat, I'll definitely be back!

Tags: Special Occasion, Healthy, Good for Anniversaries, Sunday Lunch, Notable Wine List, Pre/post Theatre, Seasonal, Business Meals, Organic, Good for Groups, Great for Lunch, Late-night Find
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Chicago)·Dined on October 14, 2017

This place was fantastic! We chose it because they had so many vegetable options on the menu and we are vegetarians and this did not disappoint. Get gnocchi and the broccolini, they were both out of this world! Everything is delicious and sharable, the wine list is great, my boyfriend got a cocktail that was delicious also. The food though really almost comes second to how amazing our service was, our server made great recommendations, she was attentive and super nice! And of course, the atmosphere and view ... OMG! beautiful, definitely recommend this place.

Tags: Local Ingredients, Organic, Scenic View, Pre/post Theatre, Handcrafted Cocktails
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on October 14, 2017

Brought my best friend for dinner before a show at the Overture and we both loved it. She was new to the place, but I had been there a few times. She just called me on her way home from work to tell me was thinking about Fresco all day. Guess she liked it!! We had great food, great waitress, Megan, and a spectacular view! Love it even more in the summer when I can sit outside with the sculptures!! And how can you beat that location?

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Special Occasion
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Chicago)·Dined on October 13, 2017

My son and his girlfriend got engaged earlier in the evening. Everyone at Fresco's was amazing (personable, professional and attentive) and the food was outstanding. And of course the view was fabulous. Fresco is a definite go to restaurant for special occasions or just a nice night out.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on October 8, 2017

We came with new friends. I was a little nervous they would want more of a meat and potatoes meal, happily we all enjoyed our choices.

Tags: Pre/post Theatre
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service4
value4

 
 (Milwaukee)·Dined on October 6, 2017

As always, the food was very good. But the piece de resistance was les beignets (think donut holes), injected with chocolate. The first time we ate at Fresco they had beignets (sans the chocolate, and they just called them donut holes at the time), which were good, but these were fantastic.

Tags: Casual, Creative Cuisine, Authentic
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service5
value3

 
·Dined on October 5, 2017

Very classy and great ambiance for a romantic setting. Once you ascend the great glass stairwell you walk into a quiet, dim lit, dinning area. Perfect for a more intimate setting.
We ordered a few of the appetizers, although higher end than we anticipated, still was well prepared with amazing presentation.
Dessert was mouth watering and the Vodka Gimlet was spectacular.

Tags: Special Occasion, Notable Wine List, Romantic, Quiet Conversation, Handcrafted Cocktails, Good for Anniversaries, Creative Cuisine
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food3
ambience5
service5
value3

 
 (Milwaukee)·Dined on October 4, 2017

Beautiful place with interesting and creative menu. Love that the menu changes frequently

Tags: People Watching, Tapas, Fit for Foodies, Quiet Conversation, Great for Outdoor Dining
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience5
service3
value4

 
·Dined on October 3, 2017

Very good food. Excellent atmosphere.

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food5
ambience5
service4
value4

 
 (Chicago)·Dined on October 1, 2017

The atmosphere, location and view were good and our server Meghan was very nice and energetic. The food overall was awful and not worth the price. My son, a UW freshman, said that the dorm food was better. The spring rolls had absolutely no flavor. The halibut was extremely dry and difficult to swallow. The burgers were not tasty and the fries were thick and undercooked. We had a fun evening but would not recommend eating at Fresco.

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food2
ambience4
service4
value2

vip
 (Milwaukee)·Dined on September 23, 2017

Salmon and wine-poached beets were both outstanding. Attentive service from a very very busy server. Atmosphere wasn't at all hectic despite crowd and the wedding/reception in the garden

Tags: Good for a Date, Scenic View, Pre/post Theatre, Fit for Foodies, Special Occasion
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Milwaukee)·Dined on September 23, 2017

Opted to sit outside on the terrace as was a nice summer evening. Soda tasted weird (like had alcohol in it). When our food was brought out (different person than our server), we asked for refills on our drinks. I was almost done with my meal by the time the refills arrived. Was this a result of being outside? Also, food was not prepared as requested. Desert was very good though.

Tags: Romantic, Scenic View
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food3
ambience5
service3
value4

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on September 22, 2017

Very nice sitting outside; great food and service.

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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
·Dined on September 21, 2017

We visit Madison frequently and always dine at Fresco at least one evening when we are there. The food and service are both excellent. During our last visit, there was a kitchen mix-up that resulted in a slight delay in serving our food. We were so busy chatting that we did not even notice the delay until the manager came over to our table to apologize for it, and to tell us that he was not going to charge for our dinner because of it. I want to emphasize that we had not complained. This commitment to excellent service simply reaffirmed our already high opinion of the restaurant. As always, the food was creative, appealing, and tasty and the wait-staff courteous and attentive.

Tags: Pre/post Theatre, Good for a Date, Romantic, Good for Anniversaries, Scenic View, Neighborhood Gem
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on September 20, 2017

Work Dinner, great spot for that

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food4
ambience5
service4
value4

 
 (Milwaukee)·Dined on September 17, 2017

We had a great time and the food and wine were excellent. The wine choices were expensive.

Tags: Casual, Healthy, Notable Wine List, Pre/post Theatre
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value5

 
 (Chicago)·Dined on September 17, 2017

We had to change our reservation time and Fresco was able to work that out very easily. I have been to Fresco before and went with 2 friends who had not eaten here before and they just raved about their meal, the ambiance in the restaurant and the lovely view of the Capital.

Tags: Scenic View, Good for a Date, Bar Seating, Good for Anniversaries, Great for Outdoor Dining, Happy Hour, Good for Birthdays
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on September 16, 2017

I moved from Madison four years ago and come back for a visit twice a year to drag my friends to my three favorite restaurants and catch either an MSO concert or Opera in the Park. Fresco never disappoints. The ambience, the view, the style, and the presentation are all superb. The people are expert and professional yet connect with that Midwest warmth that is unmistakable to anyone who has ever left and then returned. But the food! The food is a treat for any palate. Each dish is carefully conceptualized so that taste and presentation create a work of art. Modern art. I particularly appreciate how flavors both blend and separate and the textures are also considered. I have eaten at restaurants purporting to be fine only to be served messy piles -- too many ingredients in some sort of more is better theory. Not at Fresco. Oh, I already ache to be there again. Whatever meal or small plate combination you choose (I had the rack of lamb) be sure to end with the beignets served with vanilla creme anglaise. Oh gosh. Rats. It's going to be another 6 months.

Tags: Gluten Free Options, Special Occasion, Healthy, Fun, Good for Groups, Good for Birthdays, Good for Anniversaries, Scenic View, Creative Cuisine, Authentic, Pre/post Theatre, Organic, Great for Outdoor Dining, Fit for Foodies, Worth the Drive, Notable Wine List, Good for a Date, Good Vegetarian Options, Local Ingredients, Romantic
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Milwaukee)·Dined on September 16, 2017

This has become my favorite dining spot in Madison. Staff, ambiance and food are outstanding.

Tags: Worth the Drive, Fit for Foodies, Great for Outdoor Dining
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Milwaukee)·Dined on September 15, 2017

It was a beautiful evening sitting in the sculpture garden, enjoying the view of the city and very good food and wine.

Tags: Romantic, Good for a Date, Great for Brunch, Good for Anniversaries
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food4
ambience5
service5
value3

 
·Dined on September 15, 2017

We'd been wanting to go to Fresco for dinner for months and when we finally had the chance, we were not disappointed! Patio atmosphere was great and as quiet as you can hope for on State Street. Service was professional and fast, and we were never left without something in front of us. We had some appetizers, small plates, and two entrees and everything was phenomenal. Cocktails and wine were impeccable as well, and when we lingered with dessert and port, we were not rushed out the door. Highly recommended for a date or a dinner splurge.

Tags: Romantic, Great for Outdoor Dining, Special Occasion, Pre/post Theatre, Seasonal, Authentic, Good for a Date, Fit for Foodies, People Watching, Scenic View
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Milwaukee)·Dined on September 15, 2017

Normally, we enjoy Fresco, but there some table issues when we visited last Friday. We were seated outside at first, and the setting sun was clearly going to be an issue, so were were reseated at another table that rocked so badly that it was clear our drinks if not our meal would likely end up in our laps. We were checking out another outside table when we were scolded by one of the waitresses for not checking with the hostess (we had done that twice previously so we were getting tired of it.) We finally ended up inside where the food was good and the service (finally) efficient. However, the bad outdoor experience is what's sticking with us.

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food3
ambience2
service2
value3

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