restaurant review: cento

I had one of the best birthday meals to date this year. My sweet fiancé took me to this great new Italian restaurant in downtown and it became an immediate favorite. Check out my Yelp review and photos below.

Yelp Review: 10/14/2014

centomenu

Probably one of my favorite birthday dinner to date. Walking in this place, you can sense it’s a wee bit different than the usual Italian fare around Madison. Dressy? Yes, please.

My fiancé took me here for a birthday dinner after we’ve been driving past it the last couple of months. We thought, why not? So we got dressed and headed here for some Italian.

We started off with the bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with spicy sausage and piquillo pepper sauce after reading other Yelpers’ reviews. Small, but tasty! There’s literally like a burst of flavor once you bite into it. I expected it to be really just a bacon flavor, but I was wrong. The sweet and salty was a perfect combination in this little plate. The piquillo pepper sauce would’ve made for some good bread dip also.

They were out of gnocchi tonight (?!?!?!?) and it almost felt like it was meant to be. I LOVE gnocchi and always seem to steer towards that dish at any restaurant, so it forced me to try something else. First world problems over here.

We opted for the smaller versions of two pastas: 1) agnolotti with pumpkin, sage, walnuts and parmigiano reggiano and 2) black tagliatelle with lobster, prawn, mussels, lobster sauce and fresh horseradish. The agnolotti was so soft and the parmigiano reggiano wasn’t as strong as I’ve experienced. I was hoping for more pumpkin because that actually was my favorite part of the dish. Go figure. The black tagliatelle dish (aka squid ink pasta, y’all) was oh-my-gee seafood heaven! My fiancé wasn’t a fan of it because it was too fishy for him, but this Filipino girl felt at home. It was a very rich dish–that lobster sauce was very creamy. Overall, the pasta dishes were no disappointment. It’s definitely worth it to get 2 or 3 of the smaller pasta dishes to be able to try them all out. Or that could just be me.

We also got a pizza (sweet italian sausage, bocconcini, broccoli rapini, tomato sauce, garlic and chili flake)–very thin, not too crunchy, but very good. It wasn’t out of this world, but it was a good introduction to their pizza selections. My fiancé’s main dish was the pollo al mattone with salsa verde, arugula and lemon–the chicken just looked so pretty with the skin roasted into a perfect brown (I felt weird typing that?) and the arugula was a good balance to the simple flavoring of the chicken.

My birthday dessert was the the cherry chocolate truffle cake with gelato–LOVE. The fiancé isn’t a huge dessert person but he really enjoyed this and actually ate more of it than I did. The cherry was a good choice too–I was weary at first but it really made the dish.

Overall, a very satisfying dinner. The service was great (oh! Chanel/Shanell? was our sweet server) and I was greeted happy birthday several times. Felt pretty special! So glad this place exists.

Cento
122 West Mifflin
Madison, WI 53703
(608) 284-9378
centomadison.com

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