Hey Madison folks - Moved here about a year ago from Seattle, and I have to say...for the sheer number of restaurants here in Madison, there is a lot of hit-or-miss chowhounding...
Of course, have been to L'Etoile - perfect service, one of the best food experiences I have had anywhere, ever. The expense was worth it, but maybe not on a regular basis!
Smoky's - Not impressed. I didn't think I moved here from a city known for its steak houses, but I have had better. The cuts of meat were decent both times I was there, but I found the hash browns seriously lacking and the veggies a bit wilted.
El Dorado - Actually very good for what they are pulling off. I lived in Santa Fe for three years and Texas for two, so am very familiar with the food. I thought it was reasonably priced.
Have been to all the "marquee" Thai places - all good. Have had numerous fish fry dinners - to include Quivey's Grove and the Avenue bar. But I just haven't been anywhere that *moves* me lately, you know?
So, my current quest is for good Italian. I am not looking for a place that just serves huge bowls of noodles, either. I am Italian so this might be difficult, but I am ready to try any and all recommendations and report back! BTW, have been to Porta Bella - won't be going back unless someone recommends a knockout dish there. Good atmosphere, but the sauces, red and white, were lacking.