Restaurant Review: Sardine

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Another Saturday, another brunch! This week, I’m at Sardine. Regularly voted one of Madison’s best brunches (in Madison Magazine or the Isthmus), Sardine is a beautiful spot to relax and enjoy a long morning. Located just off the bike path on John Nolan Drive, this lake front spot has one of the best ambiances in the Madison restaurant scene. Dark wood floors and white tiled walls lend to a polished and sophisticated look, but the cozy chairs and lake front feel make it equally as welcoming. And I love the impeccably white uniforms of the servers and staff. It makes it feel like brunch is a special occasion or something to celebrate.

Always, always, always start off a Sardine brunch with a drink. They make a delicious Bloody Mary that is just the right amount of spicy and refreshing. If that’s not your thing, their Mimosas rock because they use real pulp orange juice. For the first time, I just tried a Salty Dog and this will probably be my new go-to summer drink.  Equal parts gin and grapefruit, with a splash of lemon juice, this tart drink made the humid weather totally enjoyable!

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If you have the option, definitely sit out side. Although the patio is narrow, it over looks the lake and the chairs are surprisingly comfortable for metal outdoor chairs. It’s hard to go wrong with anything on this menu. I’ve been here a few times, so I’ve tried a few different things, and I can honestly say, they are all delicious and well worth the price. Today, I opted for the shrimp, crab and bacon cakes. Featuring a chiptole hollandaise, eggs your way (pouched for me), and a frise salad, this $18 dish is filling but light. The crab cakes are fried to perfection and the panko breadcrumb crust makes them nice and crunchy on the outside, but moist and rich on the inside. A lime cilantro lime dressing on the salad adds a nice contrast to the smokiness of the chiptole hollandaise.

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My brunch date Meghan got a classic, the mushroom, brie and arugula omelet with fries and a side salad. Also perfectly cooked and seasoned, this a great vegetarian option. We were so tempted by their fresh selection of oysters, but just didn’t have room today. On previous occasions, I’ve also gotten the baked cremed eggs, which are so rich, but so good. If you’re not into the traditional brunch faire, and want something more lunchy, go for one of the sandwiches. They offer a large portion and cheaper price, but you really don’t lose the quality. My favorite is braised pork shoulder with a fried egg, onions and a tasty (and zesty!) aioli. Basically what I’m saying, Sardine kills their brunch menu and regardless of what you order or drink, you will not be disappointed. This is truly one of Madison’s best brunches, and definitely takes a new flair on seafood for breakfast.

 
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Author: Megan Arz

I am a travel and food obsessed Midwesterner living in Chicago and dreaming of the world. I work as a full-time program manager for Greenheart Travel, but I am also committed to integrating the travel lifestyle into my every day routines. I am passionate about ethical travel, meeting new people, creating unique memories and eating local cuisine!

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