« Milio's | Main | Monty's Blue Plate Diner »

Monona Garden Family Restaurant

Monona Garden Family RestaurantIn a word: Will make you say, "Whatever."

The specs: #0388
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; Monona Garden Family Restaurant on Urbanspoon

JM ate the French dip sandwich with the steak and potato soup.
John ate the half pound house burger with onion rings.
Nichole ate the BLT with a cup of split pea soup and a decaf.
Rose ate the apple almond stuffed chicken with a house salad and complementary bread pudding for dessert.
The bill was $35, or $8.75/person, plus tip.
Rose gave Monona Garden Family Restaurant an A-; Nichole and John gave Monona Garden Family Restaurant a B+; JM gave Monona Garden Family Restaurant a B (see our grading rubric).

Latest Monona Garden Family Restaurant news and reviews

There are few surprises at Monona Garden Family Restaurant. It's got the big menu, $7.50 senior specials, and $0.79 coffee that any family restaurant worth its salt has. The interior is clean and bright with cherry-stained wood and navy blue furnishings. If you go, ask for a booth; the straight-backed chairs are not very comfortable.

Bread basketThe bread basket contained a whole loaf of warm white bread. The crust was crunchy, the crumb tender, and it went great with our soups.

Stop and go soupsNichole tried the split pea, a very smooth potage with tiny cubes of ham, flavorful herbs, and oddly enough, no carrots. The steak and potato soup had a red broth with squishy noodles and beef and was universally praised as very good.

BLTWithout a Monte Cristo on the menu, Nichole opted for the diner fallback of a BLT. It turned out to be a triple decker with perfectly sound architecture. Though stuffed with lots of crisp iceberg lettuce and thick slices of tomato, the layers didn't slide around when she picked up the sandwich. There was a generous amount of mayo and bacon in each bite.

BurgerJohn's house burger featured bacon, mushrooms, onions, lettuce and tomato on a huge bun. His onion rings were only OK. The burger was a little more well-done than he likes (the health inspector would approve) though had he been asked he would have opted for rarer meat.

Rose's apricot chicken special came with green beans and rice. The chicken was basically laid atop some apricot stuffing, which was very good, and topped with a delicious sauce. JM's French Dip was also nothing to write home about. The "au jus" was good but the bun was too dry; the whole meal was standard if a little less than completely good and the French Dip was one of only a few items that even merited his attention.

DessertsBetween courses, Nichole snuck off to check out the dessert case.Nothing really grabbed her - the crusts on the pies appeared underdone, though looks can be deceiving.

Bread puddingWith Rose's special came a choice of tapioca, Jell-O or bread pudding. Opting for the latter, she found it the strangest bread pudding ever. It seemed to be a slice of the bread basket bread warmed up and topped with Hershey's and whipped cream.


We ought to mention that our server was great and spunky, and didn't mind (or didn't notice) that we played with our leftovers.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

I've had mixed results as far as food goes with Monona Garden. Overall the food is good - but not spectacular. It is a great family restaurant. If ever you're debating between Denny's, Perkins, or Monona Garden - do Monona Garden. Their staff is very friendly - and very attentive. I think this restaurant is linked to Dairy Land on Cottage Grove Rd.

We just tried it this week, thanks to the review here- never even considered it before. We found the (owner?) to be quite charming and our server was very good. Food was aobvve-average for this type of place in my opinion. Was pleasantly surprised to find a family restaurant with a full bar and OK-enough wines by the glass. Two adults and two teens out the door under $40- we'll be back!

Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear on this weblog until the author has approved them.

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In.


Listen to The Corner Table podcast "Remembering Restaurants," aired December 24, 2020, where Chris and Lindsay talk with us "about the menus and memories left behind when restaurants go away."

Madison Food coverInfo about our book Madison Food: A History of Capital Cuisine is here, or read it for free thanks to the library - print & ebook.



About Follow madisonatoz on Twitter Contact
Blogroll Ad 
Free Blog
Read our book and food tour
Dish du jour Creative Commons License subscribe to RSS Subscribe
Memo to restaurants Bloggers' Rights at EFF Quizzes
Reflections BlogWithIntegrity.com Tip jar
Banner image by Kayla Morelli, Red Wheelbarrow Design