L'Etoile Restaurant

4.8
1206 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.
What 1206 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.8based on recent ratings
4.8
food
4.8
service
4.7
ambience
4.3
value
Noise · Quiet
98% of people would recommend it to a friend
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k
Milwaukee
2 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My friends and I have made L'Etoile an annual tradition. I am vegan, noted that in my reservation, and was greeted with a 7 course custom vegan menu upon my arrival. Everything was delicious! My friend enjoyed the wine pairing. We will be back - thank you!!

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R
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 4service 4ambience 5

Great destination restaurant for special occasions, such as birthdays, wedding anniversaries, etc. Tasting menu has terrific selections and wine pairings with each course make this a memorable dining experience.

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LK
Milwaukee
2 reviews
Dined on July 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

An incredible dining experience for a special occasion

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TF
1 review
Dined on July 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We went to L’etoile for our 20th Anniversary. Our menus were personalized, the service and good was amazing. Our desert was personalized as well. It was a wonderful evening.

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DR
1 review
Dined on July 6, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

My wife and I celebrated her 40th birthday. It was the appropriate restaurant for a romantic dinner, but would work with a small group as well. The food was among the best I've ever had. The flavor was probably the best I've had. Textures and presentation were excellent as well. Hard to say the "value" is good because it is expensive, but I don't think you can get better food for cheaper. One first course, one second course, and one dessert was perfect for me (6'2" man). My wife (5'1") was full before dessert. I did the wine pairings and was very pleased. I'd give L'Etoile a solid A. I'm still thinking about the shortbreads and the wine pairing with the duck.

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m
New York Area
12 reviews
Dined on June 21, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We blundered into a reservation and LOVED our fine dining experience in Madison! The food was fresh, delicious and inventive; the wine pairings delicious and appropriate; the service was impeccable!
All in all we had a wonderful experience and wish Maxwell our server much luck!!!

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SO
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on June 21, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We keep telling ourselves that we need to go here more often, not just "occasions".

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D
1 review
Dined on June 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

L'Etoile is always excellent. My only complaint, and I know this is a matter of taste, but I wish the background music were classical. I'm not sure what it was, but it wasn't equal to the excellent quality of everything else.

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OT
1 review
Dined on June 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Awesome experience. Waitstaff were incredible and the food courses were delicious works of art.

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OT
Miami
1 review
Dined on June 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Everything was amazing, from the food, to the service, to the atmosphere.

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OT
New Orleans
4 reviews
Dined on June 8, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 2

Birthday - pop rocks best part of meal - everything else average, disappointing for the hype the restaurant got

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TW
Milwaukee
3 reviews
Dined on June 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I was there with my friend to celebrate his birthday. The whole staff really went out of their way to make our evening so special and amazing. From the personalized menu's, to the descriptions of the entree's and wine to the final desert presentation which they wrote Happy Birthday. Our waiter Frank was incredible. Great stories and so knowledgeable about everything. The sommelier Michael was so great with the background story of each wine. It was an amazing 4 hour experience. I can't wait to go back and experience another tasting menu and reserved wine pairing.

L'Etoile Restaurant
Responded on June 17, 2019

Thank you for the kind words, Tom. We're happy to hear that you enjoyed your friend's birthday celebrations. We will be sure to share this with the team.

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GD
Seattle
5 reviews
Dined on June 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Never have I paid so much for so little food --and enjoyed it so much!

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OT
Milwaukee
1 review
Dined on June 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Best meal we’ve ever had in Madison. Even better since we celebrated our engagement there.

Will definitely be back in the future!

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KH
1 review
Dined on June 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

L'Etoile was a special occasion dining experience for us. When we found out we would be moving out of Madison we decided to have our last dinner at L'Etoile. My husband and I both did the tasting menu and it was by far one of the best we have had. The personalized service was fantastic and the food out of this world. For a special occasion I can't recommend L'Etoile enough. Thank you for a lovely evening!

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s
Indiana
5 reviews
Dined on May 31, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

A great evening. My wife and I did the chef’s tasting menu. We had a great meal. Kinda like being a judge on Iron Chef!

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L
Milwaukee
2 reviews
Dined on May 31, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had the $150 tasting menu. Our meal lasted 2.5 hours and was incredible - better than before.
My favorite course was a banana/miso mousse covered in chocolate “dirt”, topped with a heated piece of foie gras. The servers then flash froze a yuzu cream at the table and sprinkled the pieces over the top of our plate. To die for!
In addition to all the courses, there were two amuse bouches and some little sweets. The second amuse bouch deserved a larger plating - flash frozen rhubarb (that popped in your mouth like the old pop rocks candy) surrounding a creamy chèvre on top of a rhubarb mousse.
If we could afford it, we would dine here more than twice a year.

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BR
Milwaukee
8 reviews
Dined on May 30, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Service was excellent as always - food not up to prior visits, but will definitely go back.

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S
Milwaukee
2 reviews
Dined on May 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The staff is amazing, so wonderful. The food was superior and worth the experience. We will be going again

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TK
1 review
Dined on May 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Absolute experience of a lifetime! Everything was perfect.

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TS
Chicago
7 reviews
Dined on May 18, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Courses were very good. Desserts were wonderful! Service was great. Would definitely dine here again.

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M
Milwaukee
1 review
Dined on May 17, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I have dined at L’Etoile a couple of time a year for more than twenty years. To be honest, I still miss the atmosphere and congeniality of the original location, but my last two visits seemed relaxed and enjoyable. Naturally, twice a year does not put me in the uber-patron category, but I am tempted to return more often in spite of the advice of my financial advisor.

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CK
1 review
Dined on May 16, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

The food was great, wine suggestions were on point and the service was friendly and knowledgeable without being overbearing. Meal was well paced, well executed and overall a great experience.

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M
Western NC
1 review
Dined on May 16, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 5

Loved the ambience and the view and the ability to talk without shouting. Excellent service, wonderful but expensive wine and entrees. As retirees we could not afford to dine there very often but would recommend it for a special occasion to any of our friends.

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SH
1 review
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The meal was more than just a meal. It was a most enjoyable event. Everything about our experience was exquisite.

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T
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on May 11, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 3

Graduation weekend, and that may be why l’Etoile was a disappointment. We’ve had great meals and experiences there in the past. Service was a bit rushed and the prix fix menu was a surprise to us and underwhelming.

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OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined on May 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Graduation celebration

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a
Milwaukee
85 reviews
Dined on May 4, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

Went for a special anniversary dinner. They did a nice job from the start with a great table, personalized menus, a little bubbly, even payed attention to my Open Table Notes that I was gluten free. Wait staff was professional yet personable. We went with the pricey tasting menu, glad we did. Didn't love everything, but appreciated the presentation, uniqueness, flavors, etc. We wanted an event and the 7+ course menu is just that . The only drawback to the evening was the pace of service. We had 7pm reservations and didn't get out until 1015. There were some long breaks between courses. Watching tables sat after us, they seemed to have better timing. It was a nice evening...just a bit longer than we had planned for.

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on May 4, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 1ambience 4

Disappointing compared to expectations.

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DW
Las Vegas
3 reviews
Dined on April 27, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

A very enjoyable birthday dinner with family. Ambiance is great. Service we extremely good and professional. Appetizer dishes were fabulous...octopus, ramps and cauliflower dishes. Wine list is extensive but I had a hard time finding reasonably priced wines. Ended up going with a wine service with sommolier who was fantastic - very enthusiastic. My main course was fine but lacked sauce and vegetables were barely cooked. Desserts were great. Pricing is very steep....not an "every week" kind of place.

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j
1 review
Dined on April 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

This was the best meal I had in Madison by far. The dishes were creative, beautifully plated in a modern manner, and very delicious. There are many restaurants in Madison that are trying to push culinary boundariesbut unfortunately their dishes come out a little contrived by through conflicting techniques or irreverence to culinary cultures or history. L'etoiles dishes avoid this through thoughtfully crafted dishes by paying homage to local ingredients and respecting cultural techniques and flavor profiles. Excellent dining experience!

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D
Milwaukee
15 reviews
Dined on April 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had another exquisite dining expierience with stellar food , outstanding ambience andout of this world service from server Frank!!!

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BH
Birmingham
2 reviews
Dined on April 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Very accommodating, professional and friendly staff. We went with their recommendations and did not regret it at all. Don’t gripe about portion size. Simply eat slowly and one will notice how absolutely phenomenal the food is.

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JM
1 review
Dined on April 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My husband and I celebrated our 1st anniversary with the tasting menu, I added the wine pairing. We enjoyed each of the 7 courses - the food was great, presentation was outstanding. Each server provided an overview of the course and at some points how to eat it (do I pick it up with my hands, do I use a spoon or fork?) I was amazed at the wonderful flavor combinations and willing to try food I didn't think I'd like (chicken foot), but I did. The service was spectacular and they all worked together to ensure all diners were taken care of. I loved the experience!

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OT
1 review
Dined on April 19, 2019
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
114 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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