Recommendations for Wedding Rehearsal Dinner in Madison WI?
My fiance and I are getting married in Madison, WI in September 2010 near the Capital and were wondering if anyone had any suggestions for a rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding?
We are hoping for a restaurant with a private room, not too formal, with vegetarian and fish options. We are thinking of having approximately 30-40 people at the dinner and are hoping to stay around $20-30 pp.
Any suggestions 'hounds?
I would highly recommend Bellini Restaurant. It is the most authentic Italian restaurant in Madison, set in an absolutely gorgeous historical church with arching stained glass windows and romantic ivy and twinkling lights and candles curling over the inside walls.
My husband and I had our rehearsal dinner there about a year ago and the owners Angelina and Maria Gargano and their staff are so accommodating - they are just wonderful people. We had about 30 guests for our rehearsal dinner and were seated in the lower-floor Dragonfly Lounge which was very cozy - dim romantic lighting with italian music playing, candles everywhere and our own bar as well. With four tables to seat all my guests, it was an intimate, memorable setting. We had a florist come in and decorate all the tables, and we brought a sheet cake which the staff plated for us beautifully.
The servings are very generous - I couldn't possibly finish my entree, but the food is genuine and absolutely delicious. I had a wonderful ravioli dish - circular cheese ravioli served in a fantastic brandy marsala cream sauce with portabellas, plum tomatoes, spinach and parmesan. My husband had a salmon filet in a brandy tomato cream sauce with the most wonderful garlic mashed potatoes I have ever tasted. We also offered a marsala tortellini vegetarian dish to our other guests, and a delicious spicy vodka-tomato sauce shrimp dish with fettucine. We also ordered wonderful bruschetta and cheese-stuffed mushroom cap appetizers for our guests. Everything was so tasty.
The prices are very reasonable for the quality of the food. Each dish was about $20 per guest, but dishes like the sirloin chianti and the veal seemed to be more expensive, but still within your price range. If you don't want to provide your own dessert Bellini's also has fantastic desserts - the tiramisu is to die for, my husband and I tried it before our rehearsal dinner.
Overall, the building is beautiful, the servers are all cheerful, friendly and knowledgeable, the food is incredible, and I look forward to returning to Bellini's for years to come.
Bellini Italian Restaurant & Lounge
401 E Washington Ave, Madison, WI 53703
Marigold Kitchen is a breakfast and lunch spot just off the square that caters and sometimes hosts private events at night. It is owned by the same duo as Sardine. We had our rehearsal dinner at Marigold in 2007 and had a fabulous experience. The food was amazing, the price was very reasonable, the service attentive and the ambience perfect. It's a casual place that can be made special with flowers and candlelight. I liked that we had the restaurant to ourselves (it's not huge) and dedicated staff. We were able to play our own music, mingle and relax without competing with other diners. Marigold also catered a brunch at my parents' house the morning after the wedding.
My wife and I were married in Madison and had a wedding dinner at Harvest. It ran us $35 per plate for a three-course meal (without beverages). There is a less expensive option available as well. We had our own private dining room that easily accommodated our 50 or so guests. Everything was perfect from the ambiance to the service to the food. Their location right on the capitol square make them centrally located and a great choice.
Bonus, your guests can stop by The Old Fashioned for a cocktail before or after your dinner. It's another great restaurant and pub located right next door to Harvest and owned sharing the same owners.