111 South Hamilton Street

This post is a bit delayed because after my wonderful meal at Nostrano I hopped on a plane off to Beijing to start my month of traveling around China. However, that does not deter from how this post may leave you wanting to run as fast as you can directly to Nostrano’s matre’d asking for a table!

I first heard about Nostrano from my sister who lives in Chicago. She has had the privilege of dining at Tim Dahl’s Chicago restaurant, Blackbird and also follows the extremely helpful, Tasting Table, an online food blog. Tasting Table did an article about the brand new Nostrano that Tim and Elizabeth Dahl planned to open in the culturally thriving Madison, a place to start a family but still have customers in their restaurant who truly enjoyed good food. This article started my love for Tasting Table as I now have “To-Do Lists” under each category but also left me eager to try Nostrano.

The perfect opportunity arose when my mom and I were trekking through Madison gathering last minute supplies for my trip abroad and also hoping to end the day with a belated Mother’s Day meal… therefore time to dine at Nostrano, and explaining the title of this post. Along with my beliefs on local sustainable foods I also like to think everything happens for a reason. Thanks to my sister living in Chicago and eating at great restaurants along with reading Tasting Table and sending it my way, I was now able to feast like a God.

Since this had been a long day and we had a two hour drive ahead of us we both ordered coffee as soon as we were seated. To this day I am searching high and low for the Guatemalan blend of Ancora’s coffee we were served. This past semester has transformed me into a coffee drinker as apparent in one of my past posts about how I enjoy a cup of joe. Although I have grown to depend on it from time to time I still am not the wildest fan, until now!! My mom and I both had three cups each and were left wide awake and ready for anything but also so satisfied before we even received our menus, oopsy 🙂

The menu is small, which is how I prefer it, and it was filled with extravagant options that allowed me to realize the chefs must LOVE cooking under the Nostrano roof. We started with the Marinated Olives with Sourdough Focaccia bread that was great to dip in the olives’ oil. There was also a butter lettuce salad that my mother enjoyed so much she almost licked the plate after. The amazing flavors combined had a freshness in each bite.

For the main meal I choose to splurge with the Pork Shoulder Agrodolce that was served with cannellini beans, cavolo nero or kale, and a piece of grilled ciabatta resting on top. My mom was surprised that an ex-vegan would choose a pork shoulder entrée but I am so unbelievably glad I did, and so was she!! The meat was cooked to perfection as it fell to pieces with the poke of my fork allowing all the other ingredients and flavors to mix in the bowl. I was reluctant to share but with the friendly portion served I wouldn’t of been able to clean the plate on my own.

My mom opted for something a little lighter as she ordered another butter lettuce salad to go along with the Sunchoke soup. They brought over a bowl with a small jar and pouring the piping hot soup right in front of us and added a small garnish of sunflower sprouts. I must admit this was the most elaborate presentation of soup, and the flavor fell in line as being smooth and exquisite.


We were beyond full at this point but as dessert was being explained to us I magically made room for some good chocolate lovin’! We sampled the Crema which is explained on the menu as milk chocolate cremeux, malted barley pizzelle, brandied cherries and lambic gelato but I would state it simply as heaven on earth!

Three hours had now passed, the restaurant was full and our waiter was our new best friend. As one last meal before leaving the country I was beyond satisfied with our choice.

A fun fact to go along with the great meal is that Nostrano actually means local allowing each employee to pride them-self on promoting the slow food idea by serving uniquely amazing meals.

Bon appetit and hurry over to the corner of South Hamilton and Main Street on the Capitol Square in Madison.

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