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Anything New and Chow-worthy in Madison, WI?

I'll be in Madison for a few days soon. It's been 3 years since I've been there: are there any new and noteworthy places to try?

ETA: I'll be near the Capitol and won't have a car - but I'm willing to brave the bus system if some place is really exceptional!

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  1. Hope someone answers. I'm going to Madison in a couple weeks and would love to know what not to miss. I have a car, so anything goes.

    Also, is it cherry season up there yet? I've heard about wonderful Wisconsin cherries, would be great if I am coming at the right time.

    4 Replies
    1. re: TrishUntrapped

      Not sure what the full gestation time is for cherries, but the flowers on the cherry tree in my yard here in Madison bloomed exactly a week ago.

        1. re: kellyds

          I can't speak for Wisconsin, but in Michigan, cherry season isn't until late June and July. Each variety of cherry only has a season of a couple of weeks, and it seems like the sweet and tart are usually a week off from each other.

          1. re: Wahooty

            Cherry harvest won't happen until later in the summer. I just came back from Door County(known for cherries) and the trees just started to blossom.

      1. Forequarter, A Pig in a Fur Coat and Heritage Tavern all opened in the last 3 years and are quite good. Heritage Tavern is a block off of the Capitol while Forequarter (my fave of the three) and A Pig in a Fur Coat are less than a mile walking. Grampa's Pizzeria is also excellent, but is about a mile and half from the Capitol - worth the walk/bus ride and inevitable wait in my estimation.

        Other places that have been around for more than 3 years, but are still very good and could be worth a repeat visit depending on what you're looking for: Graze, Sardine, Tornado Room, Nostrano (all near the Capitol). Brasserie V and Lombardino's are a bit further away but are easily accessible by bus/taxi.

        1 Reply
        1. re: kellyds

          I'm a more casual diner so I like the menus for Grampa's Pizzeria and Brasserie V. I went to the Tornado Room on my first trip to Wisconisn. A good time was had by all there (brought my elderly mom).

        2. Not a new place, but we really enjoyed Fresco when we were in Madison about a month ago. We enjoyed the views of State Street and the rooftop sculpture garden, and we thought the food was very well prepared and presented. I had the Chicken Fresco, which was absolutely delicious and I want more of that roasted tomato sauce.

          http://www.frescomadison.com/

          1 Reply
          1. re: shaja

            I agree! I've been to Fresco several times and absolutely loved it. It seems to be an overlooked gem in town. Everything's been great, but if I had to recommend one dish as "do NOT miss", it's the beignets for dessert. Save room for them! :)

          2. Back from my trip to Madison. Thank you everyone for your thoughtful tips. My report: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/977300