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La Hacienda

In a word: A good place to get your salsa on.

The specs: #0316
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at Yelp, the Culinary Adventures of Jahboh and Tossy, Taste Test Madison, Search for Authentic Food; La Hacienda Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Latest La Haciendanews and reviews

Amanda ate the pozole.
Carlos had an horchata and some chips & guacamole (which we shared).
JM ate the beef quesadillas with a lemonade.
John ate the torta milanesa de pollo with an horchata.
Nichole ate the caldo de camarones with a coffee.
The bill was about $40, or $8/person, plus tip.
Amanda gave La Hacienda an A; JM and Nichole gave La Hacienda an A-; John gave La Hacienda a B (see our grading rubric).

Nothing breaks up a cold, icy winter day like some spicy food shared among friends.  Of course, around a basket of chips this camaraderie is amplified. We started off the meal with a bowl of guacamole in addition to the chunky house salsa. It used to be that you could order guacamole by the dollar, but however you get it, try it. We figure anyone who brings a bowl of La Hacienda's guacamole to their next party will be a hit.

Caldo de camaronesThe caldo de camarones (shrimp soup) was a generous serving of a simple soup - the size pictured is the small bowl. The mellow seafood broth covered potatoes, carrots, celery, and several large, fresh, curly shrimp. Lime wedges, paper cups of diced raw onion and cilantro, slices of creamy avocado, and (for the Anglos) Saltines came on the side. It was nothing fancy, but it was thoroughly enjoyable. Even better was the coffee, which Nichole is pretty sure they flavor with cinnamon.

Beef quesadillaJM's beef quesadilla was pretty tasty though there's only so much latitude with meat betwixt tortillas. The cheese:meat ratio was good though the meat itself was pretty greasy and didn't have much seasoning. The rice wasn't his favorite - seeming a little bit clumpy and bland. Others prefer this style, however.

Torta con pollo milanesaCompared to the tortas at La Concha, John felt this sandwich wasn't quite as good. The horchata at La Hacienda is far better, however. Other than that, John couldn't say La Hacienda blew him away in any respect, just that it seems like a reliable place to eat.

PozoleAmanda ordered a bowl of pozole, the special-occasion soup made with pork (her favorite meat ever) and hominy. She swears that radishes are only good if and only if they're used in this dish. She also relishes the whole concept of raw toppings on nice hot soup.

As a postscript: We wanted to acknowledge that we followed last summer's dust-up over La Hacienda's wage and labor policies, but not in too much depth. The story seems to have died abruptly, with no news since September 2007. While we are curious about whether a resolution was reached, we were thankful we weren't crossing a live picket line; on the other hand, we know abuse of employees' time and trust is widespread in the restaurant industry. Being customers only and not scene insiders, we generally prefer to stay out of things we have little experience of.


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The picketers were out there this morning on my way to work and a bunch of signs stuck in the snow saying "La Hacienda Injusto". I don't believe the situation has been resolved. We've been much happier with El Pastor anyways.

Worst restaurant in Madison for about 3 reasons, especially the ridiculous treatment of their own workers and poor quality of the ingredients.

I love La Hacienda. Their service is always great, the food is always great and the margaritas a good too. They serve a spicy pork tenderloin that is out of this world. Need to check that out next time.

I really enjoy a few things on the menu a lot, but I haven't been able to eat there since all these labor issues came out into the open. Of course, similar situations exist in kitchens all over town, so it feels a little silly.

Why can't La Ha exploit peope more quietly so I can enjoy some comfort food without guilt.

Forget the labor wars, the burritos here are SKIMPY! El Pastor and Taco Guadalajara are both infinitely superior in quality and care with much larger portions for a lower price. And both are just down the street.

I've always wondered why La Hacienda gets such rave reviews. The food there is bland and I didn't care to go back before the labor issues. Now it's definitely not happening. Fair to say that Mexican food isn't a strength in Madison? Still, I prefer Tex Tubb's, Abuelo's, the Laredo's/Mi Cocina network or even Pedro's to La Hacienda, Casa De Lara and La Bamba. Different tastes, different opinions I suppose.

I'll never eat at La Hacienda again after tonight -- the restaurant looks very worn, the service is slow, and the food was the worst Mexican I've had in several years. What wasn't so soggy it was completely textureless and falling apart was so dry it was like chewing on straw. I prefer Taco Bell over La Hacienda!!!

La Hacienda is disappointing.

I have been there 3 times (because of their "chunky salsa" or pico de gallo) which is very good.

I have had their chicken mole--very mediocre. I make a much better mole. Tried their chili reyenos--awful! Very greasy and too bready. The chili could have been left out and I wouldn't have noticed. Also tried the beef quesadilla which was also quite mediocre. It was greasy.

I make better mexican food than La Hacienda.

You still can't beat Laredo's.

It seems everyone has been missing the best dish on the menu: The Parrillada. Most delicious Mexican dish I've had in this entire city.

I lived in the Southwest and this place is the only close to authentic restaurant in Madison. Food is always good and service quality. I dont care about labor issues there. I care about quality food so their labor strif dont matter to me and don't influence my opinions. This is good mex..try it

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