Osteria Papavero

128 E Wilson St, Madison
(608) 255-8376

Recent Reviews

Dave Donahue

Absolutely fantastic Italian place. Everything we got - salad, drinks, mocktails, pastas, and desserts- were all great. Service and ambience was great. Definitely would return when back in town!!


We made dinner reservations for last night, looking forward to the restaurant week special menu. I live a block away and walk past the restaurant every day. They have outdoor seating every night. We requested outdoor seating, thanks to ongoing COVID issues. The night before, I called to confirm that we could have outdoor seating. Absolutely, I was told. Then we showed up for our reservation. No outdoor seating. Sorry, I was told, we're short-staffed tonight. I said I'm happy to set up the table myself. Sorry, I was told, we're short-staffed tonight. We cancelled our reservation and won't be going back. We had dinner (outdoors) at the Tempest Oyster Bar, which was fabulous. My advice: don't go to Papavero. Go next door to Tempest, which knows how to treat its customers!

Tracy Traeder

Excellent service, great menu, awesome food and drinks. Highly recommend!


I liked the bread. That’s about it. Service was slow and unremarkable. It began as soon as we arrived. We waited for them to take our drinks order then got drinks and no bread and it moved slowly from then on, the waitress was more interested in a friend. Food was just not great. Just sad. Don’t get their mushroom soup.

Amy Stoecker

Delicious food and great service. It is such a wonderful restaurant!!


Overall, we enjoyed our recent dinner at Osteria Papavero. Service was friendly and attentive. The ambiance of the restaurant was very nice, not noisy even though every table was occupied. The menu is interesting with several daily specials. One of us had a delicious meal at every stage, the other diner had a string of disappointments. The happy diner had the seafood sampler and the mixed grill. The other had the asparagus gazpacho (which was just ok) followed by the sea bass. The fish itself was tasty and well-cooked, but drowned in a heavy and heavily seasoned pea stew. There was a second piece of fish in this stew (cod, I think) that was dry, tough, and flavorless. For dessert, one diner ordered the delish chocolate brioche while the other chose the mille-feuilles which turned out to be heavy and without the advertised cocoa flavor.

Michael N.

Oh My God!!! The goulash special is amazing! I came here with dinner reservations for the cinghiale but unfortunately they were out. Stop right now if you are going to give this place a 1 star for not having it. Supply chain for boar is hard but they made it up to me by making the goulash with the egg pappardelle to perfection. I travel to Madison for work once a year and I cannot stand to tell you how accommodating Osteria is. Great food great ambiance. Highly recommend.

Diane R.

Do yourself a favor and visit this little Italian restaurant in Madison. The nightly specials menu is different each night. We thought the atmosphere was warm and inviting Italian themed. The service was excellent all night long with a knowledgeable server guiding our meal. The bread basket was amazing, yes you read right. The bread! We had a tomato bread, so soft and savory with a nice crust. Then a white pillowy warm ravioli shaped light bread sprinkled with salt. The third bread was a white bread with a slight hint of Parmesan. Oh yum! Beware though there are so many yummy courses don't eat too much bread. Also they will charge you for additional baskets of bread so practice restraint. The appetizer of three vegetables was delicious, this also varies daily. On this night it was spinach sautéed in olive oil and garlic topped with cheese. The middle vegetable was sweet bell peppers with onions also topped with crumbled cheese. Lastly a cold bean salad with asparagus. Our main courses were from the specials menu of asparagus filled ravioli in a light wine sauce and a pork dish with fresh peas and prosciutto. Both mains were good but I hope to try other things. Lastly were told that they just brought back a pine nut pie that was a marriage between pine nuts and pecan pie accompanied by a tart sour cream ice cream. Oh the dessert was all that was described and more, so delectable. I will hope to return next time we are in town.

Sudeep Chadha

Soooooo disappointing. This was probably the worst meal of my life. I don't know if they are short staffed or what but the food was undercooked. I ordered the Grigliata Mista (gf) and it was horrible. The meat was super chewy and I was so disappointed. Never again..never ever

Sudeep C.

These images are so deceiving. My meal was nothing like the pictures that have been posted. I ordered the Grigliata Mista (gf) and it looked horrible..not only that the meat was half cooked and all stringy. I've heard good things but maybe they are short staffed so the food was horrible. But never again, not going there again.

Marc Galletti

I just move from Italy to Madison and what a surprise: I found a real Italian restaurant!Francesco is from Bologna like me, and his menu is so good!Do a favor to yourself, don’t miss it!

Jessica R.

the food was really good. we got the fried seafood app and then i got a fish entree for my meal which was really good (i think i got fish, i actually don't remember)

Jimmy Gabioud

Portion sizes leave a lot to be desired, the spicy pasta is insanely spicy do not order unless you REALLY like spicy foods. The restaurant is small, but quite charming and the wait staff is friendly. The drinks are very good.


Incredible meal! I was there with my husband and a dear friend. We each had a different pasta dish. Of course we sampled them all and they were all tremendous.

Lilly Fish

My mom and i were just driving through and were able to get a dinner reservation and i am so happy we did! i felt so safe with the distancing of the tables, they provided us with hand sanitizer as well. The food was AMAZING. I was doing a little dance in my seat. my stomach was SO happy. the waitress Julie was so kind and gave us great advice on things to do on our trip. i will definitely find a way to get back here!

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