What is your best dining experience in Madison? Worst?

Where are you eating and what do you think? What's opening, closing, succeeding, failing?
brdnwi
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Postby brdnwi » Sat Jul 12, 2008 11:31 am

I was mistaken to assume it was a chain. However the Samba Grill in Salt Lake is the same setup as the one here in Madison. I googled all this information and city search found this on the salt lake joint.

It's all about samba churrasco (Brazilian barbecue), a one-price deal that includes a buffet loaded with Brazilian specialties: fried bananas with cinnamon, spicy black beans, polenta and yucca stuffing. Skip the salad bar, a mix of pasta salads and limp greens, and save space for the main event. Servers wielding skewers loaded with 15 varieties of grilled meat appear at your table to slice you a juicy portion. Don't pass up sirloin, pork sausage, chicken wings, garlic steak or bacon-wrapped turkey. Grilled honey-glazed pineapple is refreshing, but charbroiled vegetables with cheese can be bland. Wash it down with Brazilian lemonade or caipirinha, a tangy mash of limes, sugarcane and rum.


there was on in San Diego and it looks like that one is closed.

thebookpolice
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Postby thebookpolice » Sat Jul 12, 2008 12:15 pm

Yeah, it's a churrascaria. Sorry, don't mean to be pedantic. I assumed you knew that it's a known type of restaurant, like a sushi bar or a sub shop.

brdnwi
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Postby brdnwi » Sun Jul 13, 2008 11:40 am

no worries book. gotta learn everyday, right? ;)

eurotic
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Postby eurotic » Sun Jul 13, 2008 12:38 pm

I'm amazed at how many people really enjoy Lombardino's. We were there maybe 6 months ago and I had high hopes but was massively disappointed. I really enjoy the ambience, but the food was mediocre at best, and for that price I expected a lot more.

It reminded me of the old Italian restaurants I hit in Northern NJ when I was growing up, but eating there reminded me why 90% of the Italian restaurants in town aren't comparable, unfortunately. I actually ran into an old friend of mine from high school in NJ there and she'd been there many times and completely agreed-- she just liked the feeling it gave her of back home.

Eh, maybe I'll give it another try.

But, to vote:

WORST experience in a restaurant in Madison- Edo in Monona. Mostly for the service. It was textbook "What not to do", right down to the waiter actually COMPLAINING when he noticed a member of our party NOT giving him a tip. Hysterical.

BEST? Hmm, I really did enjoy Samba when my wife and I went there for her birthday. I'm not even a massive red meat eater but wow was that good. I'll just go with that. Cafe Costa Rica is pretty damn amazing, though.

Right Bower
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Postby Right Bower » Tue Jul 15, 2008 4:54 pm

Best experience: Magnus

Worst: The Local. I've given them way too many chances too.

Although I wouldn't say it's, "the best," the stuffed chicken at Kabul is pretty incredible.

towanda
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Postby towanda » Sun Jul 20, 2008 11:31 am

What is it with waitstaff in Madison grabbing your plate and whisking it off the table as soon as you're done eating, or as soon as they think you're done eating, no matter whether your companions have finished their meals or not? It's a peculiar Madison restaurant trait and it's bad service. I've had to grab my plate out of waitstaff's hands before because they wouldn't listen when I said I wanted to retain it.

Wanda
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Postby Wanda » Sun Jul 20, 2008 4:05 pm

towanda wrote:What is it with waitstaff in Madison grabbing your plate and whisking it off the table as soon as you're done eating, or as soon as they think you're done eating, no matter whether your companions have finished their meals or not?


One of two reasons. If it's earlier in the evening or lunch, restaurants make their money from table churn and wait staff make their money from tips. The more people they can serve/churn, the more money the restaurant and the wait staff make. They're trying to "ease" you along to hurry up and order desert or pay your bill and get out so they can sit the next diners.

If it's later in the evening, it's because the staff wants to get done with their shift and get the hell out of the place so they can hit the nearest bar and down a few drinks before last call.

And it's not just Madison, I've had the same experience at restaurants all over the country. A polite and professional waiter/waitress will as, "may I take this away".

Alauda
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Best and worst restaurants in Madison

Postby Alauda » Tue Jul 22, 2008 2:32 pm

:The best is definitely Madisons Downtown. The staff is fantastic, and the entrees are ambrosial. We were a party of four picky eaters, and all were completely satisfied by the food and the service.

Essen Haus is probably the worst German restaurant ever created. We've tried eating there over the years, and each time it was disgusting. It is too bad, because it has a great location. It certainly can't compare to the Berghoff, but it can't even compete with McDonalds.

depinmad
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Postby depinmad » Tue Jul 22, 2008 2:45 pm

eurotic wrote:I'm amazed at how many people really enjoy Lombardino's. We were there maybe 6 months ago and I had high hopes but was massively disappointed. I really enjoy the ambience, but the food was mediocre at best, and for that price I expected a lot more.

It reminded me of the old Italian restaurants I hit in Northern NJ when I was growing up, but eating there reminded me why 90% of the Italian restaurants in town aren't comparable, unfortunately. I actually ran into an old friend of mine from high school in NJ there and she'd been there many times and completely agreed-- she just liked the feeling it gave her of back home.

Eh, maybe I'll give it another try.

But, to vote:

WORST experience in a restaurant in Madison- Edo in Monona. Mostly for the service. It was textbook "What not to do", right down to the waiter actually COMPLAINING when he noticed a member of our party NOT giving him a tip. Hysterical.

BEST? Hmm, I really did enjoy Samba when my wife and I went there for her birthday. I'm not even a massive red meat eater but wow was that good. I'll just go with that. Cafe Costa Rica is pretty damn amazing, though.


when i first moved to town, lombardinos was literally serving chef boyardee out of the can. then new owners took over and completely revamped the menu, making it much much improved, but while i've had a few decent meals there, and maybe one or two really good ones, i agree that the place is completely overhyped on these pages. it's maybe my fourth or fifth favorite italian place in the immediate area.

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Postby dstol62 » Tue Jul 22, 2008 2:53 pm

While recently at Bluephies, I had ordered a dinner salad and noticing that there were no onions, asked for some to put on the side. I was brought a small serving, and upon tallying the bill noticed that they had charged $.80 for the "extra" without telling us. Most of their dinner entree items are between $3-$4 too much.

TAsunder
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Postby TAsunder » Tue Jul 22, 2008 2:57 pm

Which 3 or 4 other places are superior, depinmad? I'm guessing you're going to rattle off a list of dive pizza joints now, since you seem to only ever go to pizza places, supposedly several times a week to one.

depinmad
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Postby depinmad » Tue Jul 22, 2008 3:11 pm

TAsunder wrote:Which 3 or 4 other places are superior, depinmad? I'm guessing you're going to rattle off a list of dive pizza joints now, since you seem to only ever go to pizza places, supposedly several times a week to one.


are you saying that a "dive" pizza joint can't be better than lombardinos? what a fucking pretentious food snob you are. and just in general a no-taste cunt.

better italian food than lombardinos:

Cafe Porta Alba - which now serves pasta and meat dishes.

tutto pasta - the one in middleton, not state street.

trapani's - if this is a "dive" pizza joint, then rock on.

add to that list the tutto pasta subsidiary on king street, and the other joint on the east side owned by the trapani's peeps.

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Re: Best and worst restaurants in Madison

Postby Veeder » Tue Jul 22, 2008 3:16 pm

Alauda wrote::The best is definitely Madisons Downtown.


You either work there or own it because no one can like the food there. I mean, I can see partying there but the food is downright disgusting.

Right Bower
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Re: Best and worst restaurants in Madison

Postby Right Bower » Tue Jul 22, 2008 3:24 pm

Veeder wrote:
Alauda wrote::The best is definitely Madisons Downtown.


You either work there or own it because no one can like the food there. I mean, I can see partying there but the food is downright disgusting.


You beat me (and countless others I'm sure) to this post. Madison's is close to my worst dining experience.

TAsunder
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Postby TAsunder » Tue Jul 22, 2008 3:43 pm

depinmad wrote:are you saying that a "dive" pizza joint can't be better than lombardinos? what a fucking pretentious food snob you are. and just in general a no-taste cunt.


I'm sure a dive pizza joint could be better, but not any of the dive pizza joints in Madison, and certainly not any in the "immediate area." What I was actually saying is that your opinions on food are limited only to pizza reviews - and I guess bagel reviews many years back. Your entire repertoire of food analysis consists of whether the canned tomatoes taste good and how chewy something is. That sums up the entire set of contributions you've made to TDPF restaurant reviews.

better italian food than lombardinos:

Cafe Porta Alba - which now serves pasta and meat dishes.

tutto pasta - the one in middleton, not state street.

trapani's - if this is a "dive" pizza joint, then rock on.

add to that list the tutto pasta subsidiary on king street, and the other joint on the east side owned by the trapani's peeps.


So "immediate area" means anywhere in Madison or Middleton now? Interesting mastery of the English language you have there. I find Le Bec-Fin and French Laundry to be better restaurants in the "immediate area" than Culver's.

Tutto Pasta is one step up from Olive Garden. Maybe you like them because you never were able to finish reading the menu of 50 combinations of bland before it was time to pick your kids up from your other favorite place, Chuck E Cheese.

But then again, I do find their pasta excessively chewy, so maybe it's just your cup of tea.


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