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About Cento

Chef Giovanni Novella focuses on local ingredients and authentic Italian preparation methods with a modern twist. Translating to “100″ in Italian, the significance behind Cento’s name (pronounced Chento), lies in our location.

122 W. Mifflin St.
Madison, WI 53703
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Dining Style:
Casual Elegant

Cuisines:
Italian, Wine Bar, Pizzeria

Hours of Operation:
BRUNCH: Saturday & Sunday, 10 am - 2 pm

DINNER
Sunday, 5 pm - 9 pm
Monday-Saturday, 5 pm - 10 pm
[Bar opens daily at 4 pm]

LATE NIGHT
Thursday-Saturday, 10 pm - 12 am

Cross Street:
Fairchild

Dress Code:
Smart Casual

Price Range:
$31 to $50

Payment Options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Phone Number:
(608) 284-9378

Website:
http://www.centomadison.com/

Catering:
For catering inquiries, please contact Jordan Bright at jbright@foodfightinc.com.

Parking Details:
Cento’s central location on the corner of Mifflin & Fairchild Streets ensures easy access to convenient downtown parking. Two public parking structures adjacent to Overture Center offer more than 1,400 parking spaces. Additional parking ramps can be found on State Street and the Capitol Square, and on-street metered parking is also available for short-term parking in the downtown area. www.cityofmadison.com/transportation/parking.cfm

Executive Chef:
Giovanni Novella

Private Party Facilities:
At Cento, we pride ourselves on hosting spectacular private events. Whether you would like to entertain a select small group, or host a large reception throughout the entire restaurant, Cento offers a number of options suitable for any occasion. We tailor each event to suit your needs, and a dedicated staff will ensure that every detail of your event is attended to.

Experience Cento from within the intimate atmosphere of our second dining room, which can accommodate up to 35 guests. Our second dining room is equipped with a private bar and is perfect for any occasion, whether it"s a business function or a celebration with family and friends, and is situated a few steps up from our main dining room. For larger groups, exclusive use of the restaurant can be arranged for both luncheon and dinner events, with the front lounge and bar as the perfect setting for a reception in advance of a seated event.

Private Party Contact:
Jordan Bright: (608) 284-9378

Additional:
Banquet, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Chef's Table, Farm to Table, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Late Night, Non-Smoking, Private Room, View, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine

Cento Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.6

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.5

service

4.5

ambience

4.5

value

4.2

noise

Moderate

93% would recommend it to a friend

Good for a Date (78)
Special Occasion (62)
Good for Anniversaries (59)
See All
Fit for Foodies (55)
Pre/post Theatre (52)
Romantic (43)
Business Meals (39)
Creative Cuisine (39)
Handcrafted Cocktails (39)
Notable Wine List (34)
Good for Birthdays (31)
Authentic (29)
Worth the Drive (27)
Good for Groups (25)
Neighborhood Gem (23)
Modern Decor (20)
Happy Hour (20)
Cozy (18)
Bar Seating (18)
Great for Brunch (17)
People Watching (16)
Sunday Lunch (16)
Casual (16)
Fun (15)
Hot Spot (15)
Open Kitchen (14)
Local Ingredients (14)
Comfort Food (14)
Vibrant Bar Scene (13)
Healthy (12)
Good Vegetarian Options (12)
Quiet Conversation (10)
Scenic View (9)
Tapas (9)
Great for Lunch (9)
Tasting Menu (8)
Late-night Find (7)
Wood Oven (6)
Great Beer (6)
Quick Bite (5)
Gluten Free Options (4)
Great for Outdoor Dining (3)
Seasonal (3)
Organic (2)
Spicy (2)
Waterfront (2)
Molecular Gastronomy (1)
Outstanding Value (1)
Family Style (1)
Private Room (1)
Vegan (1)
Live Music (1)
Paleo Friendly (1)
Disabled Access (1)
Fireplace (1)
Afternoon Tea (1)
Kid-friendly (1)
Afternoon Coffee (1)
Historic (1)
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865 reviews
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vip
 (Nashville)·Dined 3 days ago

Enjoyed our meal here. Had the spicy salumi pizza and the tagliatelle. Both were outstanding! Recommend the delicious green salad to0!

Tags: Sunday Lunch, Romantic, Fit for Foodies, Pre/post Theatre
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food5
ambience5
service4
value4

 
 (Milwaukee)·Dined 4 days ago

Enjoyable meal and nice atmosphere, was able to have conversations amongst our group of six. Recommend dinner for any occasion or even just drinks and light fare.

Tags: Tapas, Creative Cuisine
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Milwaukee)·Dined on July 15, 2017

My only real negative comment remarks on how they ran out of red wine glasses - probably unimportant, but with a bottle of wine at +$40, it seems as though this should be a given. I was given the option to wait 10 minutes for appropriate glassware - but we wanted to toast an occasion - Granted, our reservation was for after 9pm and the place was alive with guests and energy. Food was quite good - not the most spectacular I've had, but we all Enjoyed the flavors & my guests enjoyed the ambiance. A nearby table of 10 was far too loud / but they left after we were served appetizers. I honestly don't know of a local restaurant that has solved their noise problems.

Tags: Notable Wine List, Special Occasion
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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (Minneapolis)·Dined on July 15, 2017

Excellent brunch and a great place to get together with friends. Will definitely come again!

Tags: Great for Brunch
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Chicago)·Dined on July 14, 2017

We love Cento and always choose it when we want to celebrate. The complimentary glasses of champagne for our anniversary were a nice touch! The food is always delicious, the ambiance is lively and energetic and the service is excellent. We are never disappointed.

Tags: Business Meals, Great for Lunch, Pre/post Theatre, Good for Anniversaries
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Milwaukee)·Dined on July 14, 2017

The food as always was outstanding along with great service! A favorite of mine and best authentic Italian place in Madison! Great wines at good value! A bit noisy if you are seated by kitchen! Overall a great experience!

Tags: Handcrafted Cocktails, Gluten Free Options, Sunday Lunch, Live Music, Hot Spot, Happy Hour, Healthy, Great for Lunch, Cozy, Good for Birthdays, Good for a Date
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Milwaukee)·Dined on July 13, 2017

Great tasting food, kind and attentive waitress, enjoyable atmosphere. I only wish at least bread would be complimentary.

Tags: Tasting Menu, Authentic
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food5
ambience5
service4
value3

 
 (Milwaukee)·Dined on July 12, 2017

It was a lovely evening and a wonderful way to celebrate our 15th anniversary.

Tags: Worth the Drive, Neighborhood Gem, Local Ingredients, Romantic, Fit for Foodies, Good for Anniversaries, Great Beer
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Milwaukee)·Dined on July 12, 2017

I had an amazing time with my wife for our anniversary.

Tags: Great for Brunch, Good for Anniversaries
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on July 11, 2017

They were so kind--and the food was amazing!

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on July 10, 2017

We love Cento and go often. We made last-minute reservations and since it was a Monday night, got a nice large table. Our server was good and very friendly, but we felt there were a lot of servers chatting with each other, which lent a Chili's vibe to what is normally a very on-point service experience. Salad came with dressing on and had to be redone, but that was resolved quickly. Wine was good. I had the cioppino (seafood stew) which is excellent and the grilled bread is a favorite. My husband had lasagne which was quite good and a hearty portion. Overall good experience .... only wish is that the socializing between unbusy servers didn't happen next to our table.

Tags: Handcrafted Cocktails, Fit for Foodies, Quick Bite, Good for a Date
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food5
ambience4
service3
value4

 
 (Milwaukee)·Dined on July 10, 2017

Since I discovered Cento a few months ago it has been my go-to place for every date night and when friends and family come to town. The food is incredible and the ambiance is wonderful. Prices range from affordable to pricey but their $15 pasta dishes are the best I've ever had and I usually have leftovers. The single best dinner I've ever had is Cento's tagliatelle! Try it! Also don't skip the $3 sourdough bread - a great value. Great service too.

Tags: Happy Hour, Special Occasion, Business Meals, Cozy, Fun, Fit for Foodies, Good for Anniversaries, Handcrafted Cocktails, Good for Birthdays, Romantic, Good for a Date
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Milwaukee)·Dined on July 10, 2017

We have eaten at Cento 3 previous times, and we took my Mom and another friend this time. Both of their meals were cold (I tasted each of them) and had to be sent back to be re-heated. Our waitress did not check back with us but we finally found another person to take the food back to be warmed up. Other than that, our waitress was pleasant and did a nice job. Our food was delicious, and we had the Brussels Sprouts appetizer which was wonderful. Our friend had the butternut squash soup (served barely luke warm), and it was wonderful once it was warmed up, as was her butter lettuce salad, and the croutons was especially good. My Mom's lasagna was very good (after it was reheated) and my husband's pasta dish was very good. I had the gnocchi , and while I have loved it in the past, it was just "OK" this trip. It could definitely use more gnocchi & less peas. We were served a dessert that was supposed to be butterscotch & was loaded with strong spices, especially cloves and/or allspice, & did not taste like butterscotch at all . We all 4 had a small bite, and it tasted so terrible, we absolutely could not eat it. Our waitress removed the dessert charge from our bill and said she would inform the baker as she had had other similar complaints about the dessert.
The restaurant was noisier than usual, and we were seated in a booth closer to the bar this visit--but there were not a lot of people in the bar this visit. In the past we have sat in the booths nearer the kitchen. We arrived early for dinner--about 5:15 PM. We will return but may try some other restaurants in the area first.

Tags: Healthy, Pre/post Theatre, Good for Anniversaries, Good Vegetarian Options, Vibrant Bar Scene, Notable Wine List, Local Ingredients, Special Occasion, Good for Birthdays, Good for a Date, Creative Cuisine
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food4
ambience4
service4
value5

 
 (Milwaukee)·Dined on July 9, 2017

We went for a slow dinner and it was fantastic! Service, wine, and setting was great. Food was delicious.

Tags: Pre/post Theatre, Good for a Date, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience4
service4
value3

 
 (Milwaukee)·Dined on July 8, 2017

The ambience was very satisfying. The hostess group was very, very helpful. The server was polite and efficient, but...it would have been helpful to have told us the olive starter was really for more than two people unless one was there for wine and olives only. Also she could, and should have mentioned the pasta portions were enormous. Undoubtedly too large for out of town senior visitors who could not take home leftovers. If we had this information, we may have ordered as we did, but we would have felt we were treated with care, rather than simply efficiently.
Perhaps the server did not recognize us as eighty plus, which would be a compliment, but we do look senior enough to qualify for senior consideration. I realize our age group is not your target.
This note, although critical is meant to be helpful in reminding your servers that efficiency is critical, but deference to your guests as individuals, fosters the "I want to come back and tell others of our experience" mindset.
Sorry for being so long winded.

Andy

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food4
ambience5
service3
value3

 
 (Milwaukee)·Dined on July 7, 2017

The food was amazing as always! My friends who hadn't been there before want to go back!

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Milwaukee)·Dined on July 7, 2017

Cento was top shelf all the way. The food was great and the our server Madeline was very attentive and knew all about the menu when we asked questions.
Would highly recommend. Nice outdoor seating area too.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Notable Wine List, Worth the Drive
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Seattle)·Dined on July 6, 2017

While quite pricy, overall the food was excellent. Bacon wrapped dates, steak tartar, Tuscan seafood were all very good. Desserts weren't particularly inspired. Wait person was earnest and enthusiastic, if not particularly knowledgeable.

Tags: Business Meals, Good for Anniversaries, Good for Birthdays, Special Occasion, Good for a Date
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food4
ambience4
service5
value3

 
 (Milwaukee)·Dined on July 5, 2017

Loved the pizza and the salad I had, but my husbands romaine salad was not great. He expected anchovy taste at least. I liked their wine selections.

Tags: Authentic
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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

vip
 (Dallas)·Dined on July 3, 2017

The food was delicious.

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food5
ambience5
service4
value4

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on July 2, 2017

I have eaten here numerous times. It's consistently excellent in every way. I highly recommend it.

Tags: Business Meals, Good for a Date, Sunday Lunch, Local Ingredients
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Chicago)·Dined on July 2, 2017

Great spot. Very good Italian food, well-trained, pleasant waitstaff. It is also convenient to the theater, State Street, and the Capitol. The tagliatelle is excellent.

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food4
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Milwaukee)·Dined on July 2, 2017

My second time dining here was just as good as the first. Friendly professional staff makes eating here a treat.

Tags: Great for Brunch, Romantic, Special Occasion, Pre/post Theatre, Seasonal, Great for Lunch, Business Meals, Good for Anniversaries, Worth the Drive, Good for a Date
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Milwaukee)·Dined on July 1, 2017

12yr anniversary dinner, bar staff and waitstaff very friendly. Had the lamb and prawns, side of mushrooms. All very good, prawns light, lamb savory, mushrooms were the favorite. Would go back.

Tags: Bar Seating, Romantic, Comfort Food, Pre/post Theatre, Business Meals, Vibrant Bar Scene, Handcrafted Cocktails, Good for a Date, Good for Anniversaries, Local Ingredients
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (Milwaukee)·Dined on July 1, 2017

This restaurant is attractively furnished and in a great location. All people in our party thought the food was good but not great. I had the shrimp which was served in a mix of pulled pork and mashed potato. It tasted exactly like it sounds. Another in our party had the pasta with eggplant and she did not eat it as she found it to be quite bland and the eggplant undetectable. The deserts were also quite unremarkable. This is a very expensive restaurant and we were hoping for better.

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food3
ambience3
service4
value1

 
 (Philadelphia)·Dined on June 29, 2017

Everything was good - beautiful decor, good waitstaff, good selection at reasonable price. The only issue was that I like my food less salty. But this seems code for the course in Madison. But less salt would be better.

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Business Meals, Hot Spot
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food4
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Milwaukee)·Dined on June 29, 2017

Wanted to try some place new for our anniversary. The on-line menu and reviews made this place appealing. Easy access, close to Dayton St. ramp for parking.
In-house brandy old fashion was awesome. Sourdough breadboard was worth the $3, but really, why doesn't it just come with the meal? Spinach pear salad was yummy. I had the seafood risotto and my hubby had the Pappardelle (prosciutto, arugula, parmesan); both were delicious.

Tags: Notable Wine List, Special Occasion
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food4
ambience5
service5
value3

 
 (Denver)·Dined on June 28, 2017

One of the best restaurants in Madison, great every time

Tags: Special Occasion, Handcrafted Cocktails, Notable Wine List, Good for Anniversaries, Comfort Food, Romantic, Good for a Date
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Portland)·Dined on June 27, 2017

Cento used to be very good. I am not certain what happened. Maybe new owners? The menu is pedestrian and so are the ingredients. Spend your money elsewhere, I know that I won't be going back.

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food2
ambience4
service4

 
 (Milwaukee)·Dined on June 26, 2017

Cento never fails to disappoint. Staff is always super friendly and the food is excellent. We've taken business clients here who all have great things to say after the fact and my wife and I have come here on our own and will continue to do so.
Only note I would have is that you should ensure that there's not an event happening at the Overture across the street since that can make access difficult without a reservation! On the positive side, they do offer theater night meals which are designed to get a group in and out quicker on those nights.

Tags: Good for Groups, Pre/post Theatre, Great Beer, Handcrafted Cocktails, Special Occasion, Fit for Foodies, Neighborhood Gem, Business Meals
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food4
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on June 26, 2017

Cento had good reviews and was close to the Madison Concourse where we were staying. It had a nice menu selection, but compared to my other Italian dining experiences (which are numerous), it was somewhat underwhelming with flavors. On top of that, I signed up for the newsletter to get the complimentary bacon wrapped appetizer, but failed to get it complementary despite mentioning this to the server. Perhaps, this is one of the restaurant prizes of Madison, but if so, I would likely look for other dining experiences.

Tags: Business Meals
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food3
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Milwaukee)·Dined on June 24, 2017

Wonderful meal! Very attentive and polite service from our waiter who made excellent suggestions. Food was incredible. The lamb ossobuco fell off the bone.

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food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (Milwaukee)·Dined on June 24, 2017

As usual, the food and atmosphere is phenomenal. There is a reason why it's our favorite restaurant.

Tags: Romantic, Handcrafted Cocktails, People Watching, Fit for Foodies, Cozy, Creative Cuisine, Authentic, Good for a Date
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food5
ambience4
service5
value5

 
 (Milwaukee)·Dined on June 24, 2017

The food was good, but the potatoes were over-fried and really hard and greasy.

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food3
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on June 20, 2017

Great restaurant and we will for sure be back. My son has life threatening food allergies and I had sent in a note with the reservation so they would be aware and prepared to help him with the menu. When the waitress welcomed us she had the information and was ready to help Jacob with his choices. The waitress then checked all food choices with the chef and made my son feel very safe and comfortable. The best part is the food was excellent, my son comments that it was the best pasta bolognese he had ever had and we live in NYC so have many options and choices. Overall an excellent experience, a great restaurant and one I would highly recommend.

Tags: Casual, Notable Wine List, People Watching, Authentic
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Chicago)·Dined on June 18, 2017

Beautiful modern room; great service! Warm olives melt in your mouth- also enjoyed fried artichokes. We shared the artic char and the lamb- delicious. Would return!

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Hot Spot
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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (Milwaukee)·Dined on June 18, 2017

Excellent choice for a Father's day brunch. Attractive space downtown, a bit noisy for group conversation. Pancakes were unusual and delicious. Very good omelettes. Excellent coffee. Friendly service, perhaps a bit slow, but we weren't in a hurry. Dinners can be more expensive, but we will return to try.

Tags: Sunday Lunch, Fit for Foodies
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food5
ambience5
service4
value4

 
 (Indiana)·Dined on June 17, 2017

Great experience celebrating our engagement! The food was incredible and staff amazing. Our waitress provided complementary wine to celebrate our engagement...great experience!

Tags: Romantic, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Milwaukee)·Dined on June 17, 2017

Hostess and waitress that assisted in the bar were wonderful but our main server barely made eye contact and was often already turning to leave the table while finishing what she was saying. Cool decor but very loud so thankfully we were in a booth with high sides to buffer some of it. Overall, good experience.

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food4
ambience3
service3
value4

 
 (Milwaukee)·Dined on June 17, 2017

My husband and I booked our reservation with Cento 2 months in advance through OpenTable. The morning of our reservation, Cento personally called us to remind us of our 6:00 reservation. We arrived at 6:00, and the hostess did not have us down for a reservation. She brought over another hostess and asked for proof of our reservation. We showed them the OpenTable email and explained that Cento personally called us that morning, so we knew they had us in the books somewhere. Then the hostess proceeded to say that they accidentally gave away our table and we could wait at the bar for an open table, but it would be a few hours. We had a show to attend at 7:30, so that wasn't an option. All of the sudden they miraculously found us on the list and sat us at our table. The food and wine were absolutely amazing, but our server didn't have the time of day for us. Waters were left empty and she gave us the bill after we ordered desserts without saying a word to us. I would definitely go back for the food, but that service needs some work.

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food5
ambience4
service1
value3

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