Insights for a Certain 7-Day Period During Which Establishments that Serve Food in Wisconsin’s Capitol City Have Good Deals

Here are the best deals during Madison Restaurant Week.

Happy Restaurant Week! I collected all the menus, the Yelp scores, and looked at the normal menu for each of the 50 participating restaurants and created a website where anyone could easily find the Restaurant Week deal of their dreams. Within an hour, I had a message in my Twitter inbox from Madison Magazine demanding I take the website down. Here are some insights on the best Restaurant Week deals.

Best Deals of Restaurant Week

Looking only at restaurants with 4 stars on Yelp and the normal menu price of the items offered during Restaurant Week, here are the best deals of Restaurant Week Summer 2015:

Fresco: $30 Dinner

frescoLogoAppetizer: Summer Frittata – normally $12, “fingerling potato, kale, poblano, chicory salad, pine nuts”

Entree: Sumac-Dusted Salmon – normally $24, “purple cabbage, potatoes, beets, pickled ramps, tarragon-mustard aioli, alsatian sauerkraut”

Note: the Heritage Pork Loin is also normally $24

Dessert: Chocolate Mousse, Strawberry Napoleon, or Lavender-Scented Meringue – all normally $7

See the Restaurant Week Menu

Merchant Madison: $30 Dinner

Merchant_hiresAppetizer: Beef Carpaccio – normally $12, “grass-fed tenderloin served rare, grilled spring garlic, sorrel, radish, SarVecchio, fried fingerling potato, sunflower vinaigrette

Entree: Osso Buco Cut Pork Shank – normally $23, “Fox Valley Berkshire pork shank, roasted potatoes, brown sugar carrots, chard, pork jus” 

Note: another option, the Roast Chicken, is normally $22. 

Dessert: Key Lime Pie – normally $7, “graham cracker crust, whipped cream, lime zest”

See the Restaurant Week Menu

Sardine: $30 Dinner

downloadAppetizer: Soup du Jour – normally $6

Entree: Grilled Pork Loin – normally $27, “lemon caper dressing, crispy fried fingerling potatoes, sautéed broccoli rabe”

Dessert: Gianduja Crunch – normally $7, “chocolate-hazelnut ganache on a crunchy feuilletine crust, caramel sauce, hazelnut brittle tuille”

See the Restaurant Week Menu

Lunch Deals

Now including restaurants with 3.5 stars on Yelp, here are the best lunch deals. All are $15.

Brocach on Monroe
Doolittles Woodfire Grill
Quivey’s Grove Stable Grill
Nonno’s Ristorante Italiano

Other Fun Insights

Three restaurants (Nau-Ti-Gal, The Mariner’s Inn, and Captain Bill’s) are essentially the same. Same website, same menu, same mention of “As seen on the Food Network” in the description of the “Famous Clam Chowder.” But for some reason the dinner menu at Nau-Ti-Gal is $25 while Captain Bill’s and The Mariner’s Inn are $30. Note: they are also the same in that they are poorly rated on Yelp

42 of the 50 restaurants have the word “Salad” somewhere on the menu. “Steak” can be found on 17 menus, “Scallop” on 6. The word that surprised me was “fingerling,” appearing on 8 menus, 3 of which were my choices for top deals of the week.

17 of the 50 restaurants have a 4 star rating on Yelp, of which only four offer a lunch menu (Inka Heritage, Osteria Papavero, Nonno’s Ristorante Italiano, and Buck and Honey’s)

Almost half the restaurants are categorized as “American” cuisine. Thanks a lot The Hub.

Rest in Peace, Website

What happened to the magical website that produced these valuable insights? I had to take it down due to its violation of Madison Magazine’s trademark on Madison Restaurant Week. Sorry about that, Madison Magazine. I could say a lot more, but my Twitter account can only handle one threat per week.

Do you know of any other great deals this week? Any other statistics you’re curious about? Do you have a trademark on my name and need me to take this website down? Post a comment below!

[Update] Check out the Reddit conversation about this article.


I'm Tom. I'm a <a href="">software engineer </a>at <a href="">Redox</a>. I live in <a href="">Madison</a>, Wisconsin, and I try to <a href="">travel</a> for at least 1 month per year. Recently I've gotten back into making videos, and I love cooking. I've worked many places, mostly startups. Here, I write about the things I've learned. Follow me on <a href="">Instagram</a>.

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