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Contemporary Coastal Cuisine - Amara, Madison, WI

Amara

4.4
4.4
167 Reviews
$31 to $50
Italian
Amara is our take on contemporary coastal Italian cuisine featuring sharable small plates and bites, hand-crafted pastas, and entrées showcasing the bounty of Madison, Wisconsin. Our wine list features cutting edge Italian and Italian-inspired artisan wines farmed by hand and made with classical methods. Our bar showcases the art of Italian drinking including aperitifs, negronis, cocktails, and espresso. It all comes together to match our decor – light, beautiful, clean, relaxed, simple, energetic, and revitalizing…

Make a reservation

2 people

7:00 PM


Booked 76 times today
Experiences are available.

Additional information

  • Dining style

    Casual Dining

  • Cuisines

    Italian, Mediterranean

  • Hours of operation

    Mon–Thu, Sun 11:00 am–9:00 pm Fri, Sat 11:00 am–10:00 pm

  • Phone number

    (608) 716-7989

  • Payment options

    AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

  • Dress code

    Business Casual

  • Neighborhood

    Madison

  • Parking details

    Public Lot

  • Additional

    Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cocktails, Dog Friendly, Gender Neutral Restroom, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine

Experiences

  • Graduation Weekend at Amara!

    $10.00 per person

    Prepaid

    May 12 - May 13, 2023
    Due to such high demand for reservations on graduation weekend, we will be charging a $10 ticket fee per person. This applies to bookings during the evenings of Friday May 12th and Saturday May 13th. This ticket is non-refundable and is simply a fee charged to confirm bookings with us on these dates! In the case of cancellations at anytime, this cost will NOT be reimbursed to our guests. All graduates will receive a glass of bubbly from us to celebrate all of their achievements, and all friends & family of graduates will be offered a sampler of bubbly to cheers them with! We can't wait to host you during graduation weekend!
  • Aperitivo Hour at Amara!

    Multiple dates available
    Join us for Aperitivo Hour every day of the week from 2-6pm! Including wine, spritzi, and NA/ cocktail drink specials, in addition to spuntino and bruschetta food offerings! Please note our full dinner menu is available starting at 5pm. Please note that this does not qualify as a dinner reservation. Dinner reservations are available starting at 5pm! The Art of the Aperitivo: Derived from the Latin aperire, the tradition is meant “to open” the appetite before dining. We invite you to take this moment to unwind with a drink and a bite, reconnect with family and friends, and toast to health, rejuvenation, and the meal to come. Cheers!

What 167 people are saying

Overall ratings and reviews

Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant

4.4
4.4 based on recent ratings
  • 4.4Food
  • 4.4Service
  • 4.6Ambience
  • 4.1Value

NoiseModerate

Loved For

  • Madison

    Innovative

  • Madison

    Healthy

  • Madison

    Hot spot

  • Madison

    Great for fine wines

  • Madison

    Lively

  • Madison

    Most Booked

Sort by

Filters

  1. F

    Foodie99

    Milwaukee

    33 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    33 reviews

    Dined today

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Excellent service; server was very helpful with menu choices. Food (pasta, Porchetta) was great. Good wine selection. Noise level reasonable. Nice venue. Overall a wonderful experience!
  2. DG

    DietrichG

    Milwaukee

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined 1 day ago

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    we chose to go on Date Night (ever Wednesday at his restaurant) for the savings and b/c this restaurant was new to us. we so loved it that we then booked it for two weeks out for Valentine's Day as well.
  3. M

    Marv

    Milwaukee

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined 6 days ago

    overall5food5service5ambience4
    We really enjoyed our first visit and Restaurant Week meal at Amara. We will definitely be back in the near future!
  4. SL

    SamL

    St. Louis

    1 review

    4.0

    1 review

    Dined 7 days ago

    overall4food4service5ambience4
    Had a great dinner during Restaurant Week. My server was attentive and knowledgeable about the menu. The food did not disappoint! Will definitely be coming back.
  5. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Milwaukee

    4 reviews

    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on January 26, 2023

    overall5food4service5ambience5
    We had the restaurant week specials, it was a nice way to try the menu.
  6. PT

    PenTim

    Milwaukee

    7 reviews

    5.0

    7 reviews

    Dined on January 26, 2023

    overall5food5service4ambience5
    Place looks great, very appealing. Staff bright and friendly. Food a substantial step up. Wine timely but beer slow.
  7. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on January 26, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    We went to Amara for winter restaurant week and everything was so incredible it was hard to pick a favorite. The drinks were well crafted and unique. We had the straciatella and Whitefish bruschetta, the winter greens panzanella salad, osso bucco entree, and burnt ricotta cake for dessert. Everything was delicious.
  8. M

    Marlena

    Milwaukee

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on January 26, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Wonderful, attentive service and delicious food. Cocktails were enticing and the seating generous.
  9. R

    Robind

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on January 25, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Wonderful evening. Staff very welcoming. Food was outstanding. It was restaurant week so tasted a variety of dishes. Can’t wait to go back.
  10. TN

    TryingNewThings

    New York Area

    1 review

    4.0

    1 review

    Dined on January 25, 2023

    overall4food3service3ambience5
    Restaurant week so folks were definitely a bit frazzled. The sea bass was excellent, but the lasagna definitely left something to be desired.
  11. CG

    ClarionG

    Naples

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on January 25, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Restaurant week so very busy, but did not feel at all rushed. Very accommodating to get 8 of us together at the same time when they were so busy. Food was excellent. Shared plates with plenty of food.
  12. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Chicago

    3 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on January 24, 2023

    overall5food5service4ambience5
    Service great except that entrees did not come at the same time. Not to fault of the servers. Kitchen problem Noise level too high. Otherwise very enjoyable. Food excellent
  13. EF

    EFunk

    Milwaukee

    10 reviews

    5.0

    10 reviews

    Dined on January 23, 2023

    overall5food5service4ambience5
    My husband and I went to Amara for lunch on a 'date day'. The food was surprisingly tasty (especially the fried baby mozzarella and the Mafaldine pasta), and our waitress provided excellent services. It's our first time dining at Amara, and we will definitely revisit some time with our kids.
  14. TC

    TonyC

    Milwaukee

    50 reviews

    vip
    4.0

    50 reviews

    Dined on January 22, 2023

    overall4food5service4ambience5
    We out during restaurant week. Our food was delicious. The wine we selected went well. The only issue we had was the pacing of the food delivery was rushed.
  15. DL

    DorisL

    Milwaukee

    1 review

    1.0

    1 review

    Dined on January 22, 2023

    overall1food2service2ambience3
    He food was good but the charges were outrageous. The menu said $40 per person and they charged us $80 for a very small serving for 2 people. Will never go back.
  16. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Milwaukee

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on January 22, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Perfect in every way …love this restaurant, my new favorite!
  17. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Milwaukee

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on January 19, 2023

    overall5food5service4ambience5
    Tried it for the first time with my sister. Super cute place, friendly staff and delicious food!
  18. A

    Allen

    Milwaukee

    5 reviews

    5.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on January 19, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    This was our third trip back to Amara. We've been delighted each time, Beautifully designed space, very creative menu guided by the approaches that have made Italian cuisine among the top eating experiences one can find. Top service from the staff. Kudos to Tim our server the last two trips - he is personable while being totally professional and always ready to offer his take on any item on the menu. An excellent selection of Italian wines and the bar offers an assortment of Negroni interpretations. Amara is an excellent fine dining addition to Hilldale.
  19. SD

    SDIneR

    Milwaukee

    16 reviews

    5.0

    16 reviews

    Dined on January 19, 2023

    overall5food5service4ambience5
    Fantastic date night deal!
  20. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Milwaukee

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on January 18, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    We celebrated my fiancé’s birthday. The waiter was very knowledgeable about the dishes. The food was fast, fresh and delicious despite it being closing. The serving sizes were enough to share and our cocktails were delicious. I will be returning.
  21. T

    Toby

    Chicago

    3 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on January 15, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Great food and amazing service.
  22. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Chicago

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on January 14, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Jennifer was our server and she was amazing. We had great conversation with her.
  23. JH

    JenniferH

    Milwaukee

    1 review

    3.0

    1 review

    Dined on January 14, 2023

    overall3food4service4ambience4
    Nice atmosphere. A bit pricey for example, a martini was $16.
  24. S

    Stevo

    Los Angeles

    6 reviews

    vip
    4.0

    6 reviews

    Dined on January 13, 2023

    overall4food5service5ambience3
    The overall experience was quite nice, but they had an odd choice for ambience music. It did not seem to fit the restaurant.
  25. LB

    LBMJEM

    Chicago

    22 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    22 reviews

    Dined on January 12, 2023

    overall5food4service5ambience4
    For a relatively new restaurant, the servers are incredibly knowledgeable. The GM was helpful and had knowledgeable regarding wines and food. Menu changes frequently, so get your favorites while you can.
  26. CC

    CharlesC

    Milwaukee

    13 reviews

    3.0

    13 reviews

    Dined on January 10, 2023

    overall3food3service3ambience4
    Food and wine mediocre and pricey.
  27. JE

    JoelE

    1 review

    3.0

    1 review

    Dined on January 8, 2023

    overall3food4service3ambience3
    Kitchen knew what it was doing. Gigante beans, excellent. Nearly as good endive and arugula salad and the golden beets. Entrées, Osso Buco strongest, Roasted sweet potato plate very good. Spinach and ricotta gnocchi very well put together, but gnocchi almost too pillowy soft, needed a little more tooth. Weakest was Shellfish Cavalli, described as almost brothy, good for sopping up bread, was actually not wet at all, slightly fishy, did not do spiral pasta noodles justice. Bread should be included, expresses Italian warmth and hospitality to do so. Also, high quality sourdough does not need to be scorched, example where less is more. Wine list expensive and poorly organized. Place affordable good "value" wines at top; your high rollers will quickly skip down anyway. We know our wine, not impressed wait person asked white or red then jumped down menu to recommend "this one if you like sweet, this if you like dry". Felt like those were wines staff was instructed to push. Mixed drinks also very expensive, $16+. High quality, though, but hard to want to order more than a first round. Finally, pacing could be better. All apps and salads came out at once. If intent is shared tasting menu, nice to pace the offerings. Summary, creative Kitchen, good preparations. Some kinks to work out re: ambiance and value.

    AmaraResponded on January 9, 2023Hello Joel and thank you for the thoughtful comments. We're happy to hear you enjoyed your meal, and we will be discussing your feedback as team. We work very hard and take a lot of pride sharing our menus with guests, and are continuously working with staff on presenting our wine list, and fine tuning pacing to give our guests the best experience possible. We hope to see you again soon, and look forward to talking more wine!

  28. D

    Dick

    Minneapolis

    6 reviews

    5.0

    6 reviews

    Dined on January 7, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Interesting, eclectic dinner menu, well-prepared pasta entree, lively but not boisterous atmosphere, romantic setting for our anniversary, and wonderful service. On our Madison west side favorite list.

    AmaraResponded on January 9, 2023Thank you for the kind words Dick. We're so glad to hear you enjoyed your recent visit, and celebrating your special occasion with us. We look forward to seeing you again soon.

  29. G

    Gerbear

    Milwaukee

    9 reviews

    3.0

    9 reviews

    Dined on January 7, 2023

    overall3food2service3ambience3
    Not your old Wisconsin supper club. Couldn’t get a regular old fashioned. No Brandy or blended whiskeys. My lasagna looked like salmon with a relish on top. Didn’t taste like any lasagna I’ve ever had before. Otherwise great, except for being so noisy.
  30. AK

    AmyK

    Milwaukee

    1 review

    4.0

    1 review

    Dined on January 6, 2023

    overall4food3service5ambience5
    There's so much good about Amara. We've been there twice since it opened. The hosts and wait staff are wonderful and the ambience is great. Overall, we enjoyed both experiences. But the flavor combinations are off on a few of the dishes and maybe that's because it's a new restaurant and the kitchen is still finding its way. For example, we tried a vegetarian dish based on sweet potatoes and other additions which sounded great but wasn't. While good, the panzanella was full of fresh ingredients but was overpowered by the pickled onions. On the other hand, the Gnocchi and Butini were both good and we very much enjoyed the Calamari with panko crumbs and aioli. All in all, it's a great addition to Madison's restaurant scene.
  31. BS

    BrittanyS

    Milwaukee

    3 reviews

    5.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on January 5, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Food was great. Wednesday night has a special for “date night.” I didn’t love how close the 2 top tables are, just a little too close. Room for medium sized groups, get togethers would be convenient here. I love the location, great food and I don’t have to go downtown.
  32. B

    Beth

    Milwaukee

    18 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    18 reviews

    Dined on January 4, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    This was the second time we went to Amara and it was great both times. The setting is very nice and the service is good. Drinks are a tad pricey but overall a nice experience and we will be back.
  33. M

    Mcmmcm

    Milwaukee

    2 reviews

    4.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on January 3, 2023

    overall4food3service5ambience5
    We've been twice and have tried many of the starters. Some are good--octopus, gigante beans, caponata. But others, including calamari and some salads, are done better elsewhere. The pastas are good and elegant but didn't make anyone says "wow, I want to come back again." We didn't try any entrees because they didn't sound particularly intriguing. Nice wine list, friendly and efficient service. Large and attractive space. I want this restaurant to succeed, and I hope they get a little more interesting.
  34. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Milwaukee

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on January 1, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    We had a wonderful NYE dinner at Amara! Food was done perfectly. We LOVED the octopus starter.
  35. H

    Hanna

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on January 1, 2023

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Our New Years Eve dinner date at Amara was delicious! The restaurant was beautiful and the staff were attentive and kind. Also, I really enjoyed the smell of the hand lotion from the bathroom. Ha!
  36. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Milwaukee

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on December 31, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    it was great
  37. M

    Marie

    Monterrey

    3 reviews

    4.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on December 31, 2022

    overall4food4service3ambience4
    Entrees were well designed and yummy. Seating is way too close, so having a romantic conversation is not possible. Service was good, but slow.
  38. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Minneapolis

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on December 31, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    This was our second visit to Amara for dinner service. The food, service, and ambiance was stellar. The only major feedback would be to space the tables out because servers had a hard time delivering food and also it’s a tight fit when there’s people sitting right next to you and you can hear other people’s conversations. Other than that, our server was lovely! The food was beyond and you could taste quality! Can’t wait to try a lunch service sometime to see how different it is. I’m also very grateful for the gluten free options!!
  39. LC

    LCBR

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on December 30, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    The service was great. We had a reservation and we got our table quickly. The food was wonderful!
  40. JJ

    JJLO

    1 review

    2.0

    1 review

    Dined on December 30, 2022

    overall2food1service3ambience5
    Beautiful restaurant. Staff were friendly. Menu was trying too hard, the food sadly was just not good. We were very disappointed. Fried mozzarella batter to thick, sauce lacked flavor. Gnocchi was bland. Pepe de caccio way too lemony. Sad that this place did not meet expectations.

Safety precautions

  • Cleaning & sanitizing

    • Surfaces sanitized between seatings
    • Common areas deep-cleaned daily

FAQs

Amara is rated 4.4 stars by 167 OpenTable diners.

Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable.

Make a reservation

2 people

7:00 PM


Booked 76 times today
Experiences are available.
Google Map for Amara

670 N Midvale Blvd, Madison, WI 53705

Additional information

  • Neighborhood

    Madison

  • Hours of operation

    Mon–Thu, Sun 11:00 am–9:00 pm Fri, Sat 11:00 am–10:00 pm

  • Cuisines

    Italian, Mediterranean

  • Dining style

    Casual Dining

  • Dress code

    Business Casual

  • Parking details

    Public Lot

  • Payment options

    AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

  • Additional

    Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cocktails, Dog Friendly, Gender Neutral Restroom, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine

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