L'Etoile Restaurant

4.7
1172 reviews
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$50 and over
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Contemporary American
L’Etoile has served local and seasonal offerings since it first opened its doors in 1976. Multiple menu formats tailor each guest's experience as well as reflect the best ingredients of the season.

At L’Etoile there’s always a sommelier on hand to answer any questions you might have about our extensive wine list and provide recommendations based on your preferences, budget, and food compatibility.

Specials

Mother's Day Menus & Specials

Treat your Mom, or Graduate to a special tasting menu! $150 per person, with an option to enjoy wine pairings for $90. See the menu on our website!

Sunday, May 12, 2019

What 1172 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.7based on recent ratings
4.7
food
4.8
service
4.8
ambience
4.2
value
Noise · Quiet
92% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful special dinner with beautiful ambiance and superb wait staff. Very knowledgeable and friendly. The menu was excellent.

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D
Miami
110 reviews
Dined on April 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Everything about the place is lovely and refined. The food I had was superb, starting with a few amuse-bouche and then the delicious beets appetizer. As the kitchen had one of my favorites, soft shell crabs, the evening I was there, as an appetizer, I asked if they could accommodate a main course preparation that the chefs graciously did. Again, it was superbly executed, with the crabs having the requisite crispy outside surrounding the delicate sweet crab meat inside. The dessert I chose, after getting advice from my server, was the grapefruit mousse that was light as promised. I also had requested the wine accompaniment, and could not have been more pleased with each wine chosen for me. The entire staff was uniformly welcoming and relaxed as if I were a guest in their own homes, which is of course what I was -- in the best way.

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OT
Minneapolis
68 reviews
Dined on April 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

A quote from a recent Frank Bruni column in the NY Times summarizes how we feel about L'Etoile: "James Beard famously told people that when he was stopped in airports and asked what his favorite restaurant was, he answered: 'It’s the same as yours...It’s the one that loves me the most.' " When we dine at L'Etoile this is how we feel and we love it in return.

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DB
1 review
Dined on April 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Worth every penny! I've been going to L'Etoile for 25 years and I have never had a bad experience there.

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SR
Chicago
7 reviews
Dined on March 30, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

We had a very enjoyable evening at L'Etoile. A friend from out of town dined with us and had many questions for the waiter. He answered each one gracefully and to her satisfaction. The sommelier was outstanding and recommended wine pairings for two of us that were both unique and excellent choices. The entrees were surprisingly large in portion. The quality of the ingredients really stood out as did the attentive service. We enjoyed the quiet calm of the dinner service and the outstanding view of the capital building. It was our first time and it won't be our last.

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TS
1 review
Dined on March 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing food. Great picks by chef. Our waiter was great and informative

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NL
1 review
Dined on March 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Octopus was best I’ve ever had. Great service and ambiance!

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NA
Milwaukee
1 review
Dined on March 23, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Another amazing meal at L'etoile. The food was incredible and creative, as usual, but it's the incredible service and knowledgeable staff that sets this place apart.

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SB
Miami
4 reviews
Dined on March 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Absolutely amazing dining experience. Every bite was a food journey. Service was impeccable.

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CS
1 review
Dined on March 15, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 2

Not up to expectations at all. 20 minutes to get a drink when we first sat down. Food was honestly average. I appreciate gourmet cooking but to me this was borderline strange. There should be a wholesome element to the innovative dishes that would keep a person coming back. Nothing on the tasting menu was “the best I ever had”.

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OT
Atlanta
1 review
Dined on March 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food, excellent staff, excellent service. Celebrated our engagement here and the staff made sure everything was personalized for us. Incredible experience all around!

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R
Milwaukee
1 review
Dined on March 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fantastic meal and service!

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MC
1 review
Dined on March 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

What a fun night! You pay for the great service and unique cuisine, but it’s wonderful on all counts.

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MR
Chicago
8 reviews
Dined on March 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

If you're within a hundred miles of Madison WI and you want to have a special meal this is the place. The location and view of the Capitol is great and the food is better. We've been going a couple of times a year for 25 years and it's always a really friendly, professional fun night out.

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M
Chicago
1 review
Dined on February 23, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 4

It was fine. Food was good not great and the service was underwhelming. We also ordered a bottle of wine and asked for it decanted. They decided to open the bottle in the back and pour it in the decanter there. They didn’t do anything to make me think they did a bait and switch with the bottle of wine but I just thought that was weird. Overall, food was pretty good but I don’t think we’d go back.

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JL
1 review
Dined on February 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The service was superlative from start to finish. As the host asked our reservation name, a gentleman took our coats, hats, etc. We were seated promptly. This was my wife's and my second time at L'Etoile, our high school-aged boys' first (and their first experience in fine dining). All four of us ordered the tasting menu; I ordered the matching flight of wine as well. The meal was served with great efficiency and something of a quiet fanfare. The courses were widely varied and uniformly outstanding. Kudos to the sommelier. I'm not exactly a foodie or an oenophile, but I know a little and I learned quite a bit more. The wines and wine pairings were excellent.

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EL
Milwaukee
4 reviews
Dined on February 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Delicious, as always!

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MB
Las Vegas
1 review
Dined on February 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

So wonderful! The food was incredible. If you're adventurous and don't have any food sensitivities, then the tasting menu is definitely the way to go. They have excellent cocktails, and they even had a "non-spirited spirits" menu for people who prefer a non-alcoholic beverage. I've lived in Madison a long time and only recently got the chance to go to L'Etoile after hearing about how awesome it was for several years. It definitely lives up to the hype. So, if you have some extra funds and want to go all-out for a date night, I highly recommend L'Etoile.

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OT
Milwaukee
1 review
Dined on February 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food and great service

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FW
New York Area
13 reviews
Dined on February 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Dinner with my Daughter
Wonderful

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w
Chicago
4 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

FAbulous meal and wonderful service. I do recommend L'Etoile often but I also mention the pricey menu and offerings from the wine cellar. They have wines from all over that trust me you have never tasted and will enjoy. It turns out our server Owen is in charge of the wine cellar and explained everything to us with great patience and the wine was amazing! The one downside that night Valentines evening was an unusual delay in food service although when the plates came they came at a nice sometimes overlapping pace. The starter was placed on dry ice and the view of the evaporation was amazing see the picture I uploaded

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TZ
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Awesome meal and service!
I would’ve appreciated a heads up that this Valentine’s Day meal was a fixed price menu only, and the price was never mentioned. It was a bit more expensive than I would have planned.

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c
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on February 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Had the tasting menu with wine pairings. Each course was beautifully presented and paired well with the wine. The food was excellent and the service impeccable.

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U
Milwaukee
1 review
Dined on February 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

They take care of every detail. The drinks and the food are exquisite. The service is thoughtful and sincere. There is not a finer dining experience in the Madison area.

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OT
Milwaukee
1 review
Dined on February 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Emily Ro was a great server, after plates were finished they were cleared off very quickly giving the table an open and easy conversational feel. We were seated right by the sidewalk and had a GREAT view of the capital. The tempo of the meal was perfect as well, didn’t feel rushed at all. 10/10 would definitely recommend and would dine here again.

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F
Milwaukee
3 reviews
Dined on January 31, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Outstanding food and service, excellent ambiance, not surprisingly it's expensive. Perfectly suited to that special occasion.

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TD
Milwaukee
2 reviews
Dined on January 31, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

All aspects of this visit was great. The chef put together a birthday menu for one of our diners and offered vegan, gluten-free and no mushroom options. While a bit more pricey, a visit here is always well worth it. It is our go-to spot for special occasions.

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B
Chicago
16 reviews
Dined on January 5, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Whereas everything was really good, and we had a lovely time, we didn't think the food was outstanding and didn't justify the hype and the prices.

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OT
Chicago
17 reviews
Dined on January 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Everything was exceptional! The best fine dining restaurant in Madison, WI!

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KS
Milwaukee
30 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2018
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 4

Unfortunately never again on New Year Eve.
From the less-than-friendly greeting, long wait for service to the lack of attentiveness throughout, and huge disappointment in the the food preparation. For a 150 per person, this should have been special.

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JT
Jacksonville
2 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Very classy, very expensive restaurant. Food was good, drinks were good, service was good, staff was excellent. I had never been to a place this upscale before. I appreciate the complementary champagne for my new fiance and I. (I proposed here on NYE). I hope we can have many anniversary dinners at L'Etoile.

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GI
Birmingham
2 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 4

Disappointing and frustrating. We booked dinner reservations for NYE as soon as l'Etoile was taking them, as we were excited to go to the "best restaurant in Madison." On the positive side, the food to wine pairings enhanced the dining experience, and three (out of the ten) dishes were outstanding: the foie gras, cauliflower and lamb. What went wrong? First, when we arrived, the staff who greeted us clearly didn't want to take our jackets, which was a little off-putting as they had just done so for the couple that entered before us. Because the table wasn't ready, they ushered us to the bar where we ordered two glasses of champagne. After about 10 minutes, the bartender finally started to pour one of the glasses, and then we were called to our table. We then sat there waiting for our cocktails (or any kind of interaction) for another 10-15 minutes. Our waiter finally came to the table and asked us if we were ready to order without going through any of the items on the menu. We asked what kinds of wines would be paired and he stated he didn't know and didn't offer to get the information or pass it on to us either. He said he'd recommend that for next year. And then we waited. And waited. To the point where both tables on either side of us teasingly asked what we'd done wrong. It was incredibly frustrating, especially after having had such amazing service and food in WI all week. When our first course finally arrived (after we had to ask for the bread that everyone around us was getting), it was impossible to miss the dark hair on my plate. They did replace the dish, with a smaller portion, and an apology. Our waiter also disappeared for two of the courses which was odd. Things got better halfway through the meal, but unfortunately the first hour ruined the full experience. I would definitely not recommend this restaurant.

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JN
1 review
Dined on December 31, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Best birthday meal I've ever had. My husband was blown away by the lamb, and I got emotional over the almond cake. Truly an amazing experience. Thank you!

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JD
Milwaukee
11 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Best restaurant I have ever been to. Totally worth the price.

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EC
Chicago
1 review
Dined on December 31, 2018
Overall 3food 5service 1ambience 2

This review is ment to be a true evaluation of the experience my husband and I had on New Years Eve.
First let me say how grateful I felt getting a reservation at all on NYE. I lived in Madsion many years ago and knew L'Etoile to be the best restaurant in Madsion and was super excited to finally get the chance to dine with you.
We arrived at our 5:30pm reservation and were luke-warmly greeted by 3 staff members, one of whom reached passed us to hug the people behind us and usher them in.
We then were sat at a table that felt like
Panara bistro seating, turned away from the main dining room and too close to where all the servers and other workers were using it for a thruway. I was in a hole and my husband was in the middle of traffic. Not enjoyable ambiance.
Our server was pretentious and bad. He spilled my wine when he poured it, poorly described the food and brought my espresso after I finished my dessert. I would have liked it with my dessert. We both expected way better service.
The pace of food delivery felt rushed, although the people bringing the food were attentive and seamed better than the lead server.
The food was well done, but was hilariously tiny. I get the "small bite is all you need of a good thing" and artful presentation is achieved in miniature, but the cheese and cracker course was no bigger than a postage stamp. I would argue 3 of those postage stamps would have been spot on, topped with honey from different fields of clover, alfalfa and buckwheat. That would have been fair.
The salmon was awesome. I just wish I had a few more ounces of it. The Lamb was from our friends farm and well prepared, but again, just wish it was a little larger portion.
Thank you for supporting Wisconsin local farms and transforming those ingredients into world class culinary creations. From two WI locals who dine on her fair often, there are far better places that serve up tummy filling delights at hometown prices. We'll continue to support them over L'Etoile.

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J
Chicago
16 reviews
Dined on December 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We love sitting at the bar. It seems cozier than the main dining room. It's like being in France: ambience is quiet , the service is unobtrusive but attentive, the portions of food are small, for sure, but the dishes have such complexity and are so delicious, you feel you've eaten just enough. Like France, the wines are tremendous and varied; staff are knowledgable and care. Unlike France the staff are really quite welcoming and friendly. We feel as if they know us and we aren't even regulars. L'Etoile is expensive, but for a splurge, worth every penny.

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e
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on December 22, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Ultra high-end dining with outstanding food and service. Can't be beat.

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MR
Chicago
9 reviews
Dined on December 22, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This is the best restaurant in Wisconsin. Tory Miller is an excellent chef and his staff is highly trained and very good at what they do. The venue is also fantastic with a perfect view of the State Capital. Highly recommended.

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BV
Milwaukee
1 review
Dined on December 19, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Started out the evening with an excellent cocktail. It was the perfect start to a fabulous meal-such unique ingredients and wonderful presentation

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LL
1 review
Dined on December 15, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 5

We enjoyed ourselves. The service was on point. We left there thinking that all the complimentary tasting were better than our main course meal.

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