Sardine – A French Bistro with a pleasant Spanish surprise!

We have been to Sardine a number of times since it opened in 2006. We always make reservations. Last month we were undecided where to go (which is a good problem to have since there are so many great restaurants in Madison 🙂 ). My sister was visiting from Spain and we wanted to take her out to a nice dinner. For the first time, we showed up at Sardine without reservation and hoped to get a table on a Saturday night. Well, we definitely lucked out. After we were told that it could be about one hour wait, we spot a party leaving a table by the bar area and we were seated right away. Bingo!

I have to say that I always see a lot of buzz about Sardine having the best view and it definitely is located in a great spot by the lake. I am yet to be lucky enough to be seated somewhere with a great view or better yet to get there on time to grab a table on the deck on a nice afternoon. This time was no exception; the table we grabbed was in a corner with no lake view. I keep hoping for the next time!

All right, so let’s talk about the food which is the reason we went to Sardine in the first place. I believe it would be hard to be disappointed on my choices at Sardine. This time we started out with a Caesar Salad, served with fresh croutons and topped with anchovies, it was crunchy and creamy, you almost whish you wouldn’t have agreed to share it! I decided to go with the grilled lamb chops with rosemary goat cheese croquette, Swiss chard and roasted tomatoes. The chops were perfectly cooked, juicy and flavorful from the first cut to the last bite; the croquettes were crunchy on the outside and soft in the inside, creamy and delightful. My sister ordered the Grilled Norwegian Salmon served with French lentils, spinach & portabella mushrooms. The salmon was flaky, moist and tender, the lentils were just perfect with that little crunchy bite in the center and the mushrooms earthy and… I know, my sister asked me to stay away from her plate 🙂 My husband ordered the Grilled Hanger Steak that came with a piece of toasted bread topped with shallots confit, olives and a port demi-glaze; he likes his steak cooked all the way through and it came in with a little red in the center but he still liked the taste even thou it wasn’t cooked the way he ordered it. It was juicy and tender, in my opinion it was perfectly cooked. The sides to all the dishes were as good as the main ingredient on the entrée. Very fresh and consciously prepared. We were all very pleased with our food choices once again and being the first time for my sister she loved it.

Dinner served at Sardine Madison - Summer Menu
From top left – clockwise – Lamb Chops, Norwegian Salmon, Rose Wine from Toledo, Hanger Steak

Sardine is definitely a great place to go dining in a big group. It is spacious and very loud. The bar area is always busy. There is a great ambiance and the service is friendly.

No desserts this time but we did take our time to enjoy every last sip of our wine, oh yes! the wine: I was very happy when our friendly waitress handed us a list of Rosé Wines. If you follow me on twitter you’d know that I am a bit of an oenophile and also that I am obsessed with Rosés 🙂 – We were about to order a French Rosé until I spotted a Spanish wine made in Castilla y Leon, which is a region in Spain that I visited with my sister last year. Tempranillo Rosado we ordered!!! The wine selection couldn’t have been any better! It was crisp, light, and refreshing. It brought us back in time to the beautiful sunset we watched in Toledo – Spain, while sipping a bottle of Cava Rosado last year. I love it when one experience can take you back to remote places!

Sardine was a great choice that night, food and wine were perfect. We had a good time. This place will continue to be on our list of choices when deciding where to go.

Would I recommend this restaurant? Absolutely!

To see the menu and make reservations visit their site

Sardine Madison - SIsters
Here with my sister enjoying a glass of Spanish Rose (from Castilla de la Mancha – Spain) at Sardine Madison – 2014
Toledo Sunset 2013
Here with my sister enjoying a beautiful sunset in Toledo – Spain, 2013

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