Your last five restaurants

Where are you eating and what do you think? What's opening, closing, succeeding, failing?
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Postby square » Fri Mar 14, 2008 6:15 pm

Any given week I could say that the last five places I've eaten are:

Natt Spil because I'm up late and usually hungry. I usually get the tofu appetizer or the three cup chicken. Last time I ordered the Italian sausage and chevre cheese and I was very very pleased. When my girl and I are feeling up for it, we split a bowl of the butternut squash soup which mysteriously tastes just like the one they had at Magnus. Hmmmmm....

Noodles because it's always got something I want and it's cheap. Also - it appeases my girlfriends strange vegetarianism. She hates mushrooms, bok choi, red onions, cabbage, the list goes on and on. I'm a fan of the Pasta Fresca with feta. The Indonesian Peanut Saute is good, too. When I need a pick-me-up the Mac n Cheese works - even though I know I could make it at home for a fourth the price.

Sophia's because it's right around the corner and I goddamn love me some of what they serve up. The pastries are fantastic, the croissant sandwiches are fantastic, the pancakes and waffles are fantastic, the mega omelettes are fantastic, and the woman who's always working there is so nice and remembers me every time I come in. Someone said earlier that Mildreds IS Madison, but I would suggest their neighbor as the true arbiter of what it is to eat in Madison. Go in there when it's busy (it always is) and it's mandatory community table time. And her daughter may be the cutest girl I've ever met.

Chiptole because it makes an effort at being environmentally friendly, is extremely tasty, more affordable than other options on State Street, and because they have chipotle hot sauce which is my favorite. I like that I can get a veggie burrito for $5 and some change. (I'm extremely anti-Qdoba)

Recently added to this list is Chins if the tofu they served us last time is permanent. You can't order anything except the peanuty stuff or the orange flavored sauce, otherwise I've experienced way too much "plastic" taste in their food... I dunno. But they hit the spot with the Thai peanut noodles.

Speaking of Thai, Sa Bai Thong is probably something I've had recently. I can't get enough of that peanut sauce. I'm freakin addicted. Chicken Satay, yes please. #42 Pa-Naeng!!!! mmmmmmm.... Also Bandung is fantastic. They also have a wicked lunch delivery special - $1 Satay skewers, and they have the most amazing tempe.

My go-to for special dining is Restaurant Magnus. I've eaten there a handful of times over the past year or so, and I was only disappointed once, when I didn't realize I couldn't handle beef that wasn't medium to well done. I'm a pussy when it comes to rare steaks...

I recently ate at Lao Lang Xang on Willy and I was thoroughly impressed. I had some sort of pineapple curry, vegetables and shrimp. I'm not much of a shrimper but when the occasion strikes I have to go for it, even if my girlfriend gives me the evil eye for it.

I ate at L'etoile for the first time recently as well, and the high praise I've heard was not enough to describe our experience there. It helped that I had this fish called Kona Kampachi or something to that effect and it may be the most amazing fish I've ever eaten. That place is the apex of fine dining in my opinion.

and, of course, Taco Bell. That platter they introduced during the Super Bowl is delicious and even be relatively healthy for fast food.

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Postby boston_jeff » Fri Mar 14, 2008 8:12 pm

The Icon-decent tapas, concept a little nightmarish
Great Dane-pub food and microbrew standby
Weary Traveler-best nabe joint
Lombardino-excellent eye-tie
Capitol Chophouse-typical high end steakhouse

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Postby towanda » Sat Mar 15, 2008 10:52 pm

India Darbar - lunch buffet - always a winner
Little Caesar's - mushrooms and green olives
Hubbard Ave Diner - Mediterranean penne (usually good, but this time there were three eighths of an inch of oil in the bottom of the bowl, which I discovered only after I'd eaten most of it)
Chipotle - veggie fajita burrito
Sa Bai Thong - jungle curry with tofu. Yum! Wowza!

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Postby fennel » Sun Mar 16, 2008 2:06 am

Lao Laan-Xang: Though I've had mediocre meals there, on average, they tend toward excellent. Nice visual ambience, but it can be jarringly noisy when busy. Warning: early closing hours. 5-9 pm Sun.-Tues., 11 am-10 pm Wed.-Sat., according to the Isthmus. (A common problem, I've heard.)

India Darbar (Lunch buffet): Depressingly bland Indian food, per the Madison norm for Indian. Warm, accommodating service.

Mediterranean Cafe: Cheap, good food. *Lightning fast* pleasant service. Beware the baked dishes which are often over-salted, and avoid the felafel (think salty charcoal briquets...). But the hummus and pita are good. This place is an anchor of the Madison restaurant landscape.

State Street Brats: Cheap food in a plastic basket. A wide selection of industrial and local beers which cover the beer flavor spectrum from A to B.   TV-land ambience. No surprises, one way or the other.

L'Etoile: "Food to die for and wine prices that will kill you." The omnipresent celebrity-chef-bacon/ham/lardon trend figures large here, but that's the only tiresome convention I could see. Spectacular balance and contrast in both flavor and texture, and a light touch that accentuates the savor of (very) fresh foods. As for the wine, it would be nice to see a bit more encouragement of good wine as a normal accompaniment to a meal, rather than as a big-ticket special-occasion splurge.

(Nobody could argue that the food prices aren't rarefied, but it's easy to figure these reflect the particular efforts and talents of the chef and culinary staff. As for the wines, it's clear the selection is informed and discerning, but ... C'mon!)

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Postby towanda » Sun Mar 16, 2008 2:29 pm

fennel wrote:India Darbar (Lunch buffet): Depressingly bland Indian food, per the Madison norm for Indian. Warm, accommodating service.

If you order from the menu, the kitchen will happily spice the food to your liking, all the way up to "spicy like you'd make it at home." Of course the lunch buffet is not going to be terribly spicy. The majority of Midwestern tastebuds are intimidated by anything stronger than ground black pepper that's been sitting in the shaker for months.

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Postby jossli » Thu Mar 27, 2008 8:17 pm

Maharaja - Indian Lunch Buffet Everything was great but the bread was not warm enough.

Tex Tubbs Tacos - Fish tacos with pickled onions were good and more substantial than normal. The refried beans taste like they came out of a can.

Great Dane - Beer, Beer Bread, and Honey Butter all good food on a cold night.

Manna Cafe - Sticky Bun, Coffee

El Pescador - accidently ordered an entire fish with visible fins and face

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Postby pattymcnutt » Thu Mar 27, 2008 9:34 pm

Tru Tavern in Cambridge
Ale Asylum
Laurel Tavern
Pasquals Salseria (the Hilldale one)
Market Street Diner in Sun Prairie

Hmm I seem to be visiting a lot of Taverns lately!

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Postby Ryanwiz » Mon Apr 07, 2008 1:43 pm

Pizza Extreme, Sherman Ave - Not bad, not bad. Didn't get what we ordered, but what we did get was tasty enough. I highly recommend their Spinach Pesto Chicago Style Pizza. Perhaps next time we'll actually get one.

Lazy Jane's - Last time I went there I was BLOWN away. It was delicious. This time, however, was meh. Everything was cold, and the wait was longer than usual. Will I go there again?...yeah, probably.

Perkins, University Ave - Exactly what I was lookin for; fast & greasy. The Santa Fe Mini Chimis are a delight.

Brian's on Baker Street, Waunakee - Always fast and easy. We have a 4-mo-old, and they're not usually too it's a good match. Good soups and great pancakes.

Athen's Gyros, Trader Gus, Westport - Best.gyros.ANYWHERE.

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Postby Ducatista » Mon Apr 07, 2008 2:10 pm

All chosen for Film Fest proximity, except Eat, 'cause we felt like taking the motos for a little spin Sunday morning. Starting last night and working backward:

Chautara, great end-of-Fest dinner
Eat (aka Fair Oaks Diner), tasty breakfast as always
The Local, mediocre burger and inedible steak salad, blech
Casa de Lara, good and surprisingly fast dinner
Orpheum, tasty sandwiches at the bar before our first movie

Wait... do snacks count? Then wedge mozz sticks & beer outside at Hawk's between Local & Fair Oaks. Nice noshing with you, Blunt!

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Postby christopher_robin » Mon Apr 07, 2008 2:54 pm

Ducatista wrote:
Wait... do snacks count? Then wedge mozz sticks & beer outside at Hawk's between Local & Fair Oaks. Nice noshing with you, Blunt!

Hawk's is definitely more interesting than I would have expected--it's pretty hard to rock bar food.

I like(d) those guys.

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Postby Kenneth Burns » Mon Apr 07, 2008 2:56 pm

Counting my lunches here on the Square, we're talking:

Sunprint. The food's good enough, and it's cheap, cheap, cheap. That's as opposed to...

Marigold Kitchen. I'd lunch here every day if I had money to burn. Love the burger. Love the ham and cheese. Love the grilled chicken salad. But combine lunch and some hot coffee and a brownie and a paper, you're looking at real money.

As the most recent dinner choices, most recently there was...

Glass Nickel. We get a Fetalicious for carry-out when we don't feel like cooking and don't feel like going out. We're seldom disappointed.

Lao Laan-Xang. I didn't go there for years because the one guy was rude to me. But I'm glad I got over that. Love the squash curry. And finally...

Hubbard Avenue Diner. The food's good, and cheap, especially the pies. We're there frequently, even though it's all the way across town.

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Postby Paco » Mon Apr 07, 2008 3:56 pm

Quizno's - had a coupon.
Mediterranean cafe - fav place....but don't go there, it's too small!
Burrito cart on MLK & W Main. - best burrito in town.
Amy's Cafe - it was too cold to walk to Med Cafe, so stopped here.
Slice's near O-M. - greasy, greasy grilled food. Cheapest micro-brews in town too during happy hour.

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Postby Villanelle » Wed Apr 23, 2008 10:10 am

Starting with most recent...

1. Cabana Room: The interior is nice, the food was pretty good and the prices were better. Best of all, they have a great selection of beer from all around the US(try shiner) and many they also have many imports(try hoegaarden).

2.Porta Bella: we liked the pizza (right below Paisan's).

3.Muramoto (hilldale): Muramoto has a hip atmosphere and all the food is presented well. I loved my spider roll, but my spicy tuna roll was lacking. I was told the black cod was pretty good too.

4. Flemings: If it's steak served at Flemings it's excellent.

5. Imperial Garden: My favorite Chinese restaurant so far. Try their spicy fragorant chicken.

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Postby Bellwether » Sun Jun 29, 2008 1:37 pm

Last five?

1) Great Dane.
2) Laredo's.
3) The Continental (Fitchburg).
4) La Concha.
5) Milio's.

Soon I won't have to leave Fitchburg for any of that... soon as Laredo's opens.

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Re: Your last five restaurants

Postby Henry Vilas » Sat Jul 24, 2010 1:21 pm

Sushi Muramoto - Yesterday mid-afternoon after seeing Inception. We prefer Takara for sushi, but they don't open until 4:30. Still a very enjoyable meal. Calamari for apps, hamachi sashimi and five rolls. We were stuffed.

Mickey's Dairy Bar - Breakfast. Crowded as always. I got the regular order of blueberry pancakes. Two huge as a dinner plate, Man vs. Food size portion. I should have ordered just one.

1855 Saloon & Grill (Cottage Grove). Ms Vilas got a birthday gift certificate in the mail. She didn't know how she got on their mailing list. $18.55 off. We both had the Scallops Monterrey. Excellent. Lake Louie IPA on tap. We'll be back.

Cilantro - see my comments on that thread.

Cafe Continental - I was dragged down to the Art Fair on the Square and we needed to get out of the heat. I wanted a Smithwick's at Brocach, but it wasn't open yet. We had the baked brie and apple slices and I had a Bell's Two Hearted Ale.

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