« La Zacatecana | Main | Monroe St. Bistro »

MiaZa's Cafe

Update: MiaZa's is closed.

In a word: Is that the best you can do?

The specs: #0434
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at Wisconsin State Journal, Will Blog for Food, kristy24, Sarah's Blog; official web site (warning: flash intro), Mia Za's Italian Cafe on Urbanspoon

Latest MiaZa's Cafe news and reviews

JM ate the make-your-own-pizza bread (bbq chicken) and a fountain drink.
Judy ate the pasta alfredo.
Nichole ate the tomato basil soup and salad.
Tiffany ate the pasta marinara with a fountain drink.
The bill was $29, or $7.25/person.
JM gave MiaZa's Cafe a C+; Judy gave MiaZa's Cafe a C; Nichole gave MiaZa's Cafe a C-; Tiffany gave MiaZa's Cafe a D (see our grading rubric).

On this first Dane County Farmer's Market Saturday, and one of the nicest days of the spring, State Street was packed. Lines snaked out the door and down the block outside Jamba Juice and Med Cafe. MiaZa's Cafe was not the recipient of such enthusiasm.

Ordering is a mix-and-match affair with golf pencils and four kinds of order forms (pasta, pizza, salad, sandwich) which could be fun if you're in the right mood. You get your drink, sit down, and wait for your name to be called - and then, apparently, take careful inventory. On our visit MiaZa's only filled about 82% of what we ordered.

Nichole went for the odd Asian-themed salad (odd because it included feta cheese) and tomato basil soup with fruit (missing from the plate, mistake #1). She also asked for a slice of caramel cheesecake, which didn't arrive because as it turns out there was a sign in the bakery case but no cheesecake by that description; she asked the staffer at the window to check on it, but he disappeared. Nichole went back to the order-taker, who said, quote,

"Well, I guess I'll believe you."

He eventually gave her her $2 back. That was mistake #2 and a customer insult to boot.

PastaThe salad and soup didn't do much to redeem the place; the tomato basil soup had a bizarre, sweet citrus flavor that no one could pin down. Perhaps it was artificial sweetener. There's a reason Diet Soup has not caught on yet.

Judy's pasta alfredo was missing the chicken (mistake #3). The sauce was flavorful but had a very out-of-a-can taste.

PastaThe marinara also had a sickly sweet overtaste, almost like Chef Boyardee. Tiffany deemed the meal weak and overpriced.

All JM said of his pizza bread was that he could have made better at home, which is all he can say since he chose the toppings, which were no better than what you could get canned at the store, but thankfully no worse.

The garlic toast was OK. This is the highest praise we have.

Pizza bread

This was the second time we'd been to MiaZa's - the first time we weren't overly impressed but it wasn't nearly as star-crossed as this "official" visit. Even among the faux-talian places on State, you could do a lot better than MiaZa's.


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

That all looks awful, yikes.

Guys, really, don't go soft. This place screams D. All around.

On the other hand, go, Tiffany!

This place used to be better (pizza and pasta fast food for under $5 is a worthy concept for a student population) but the staff seems to change every other week and it has indeed grown less and less reliable as the preparation has become sloppy and some of the ingredients have gotten cheaper. The way it's currently run I can't imagine Za's will attract much new clientele, with all of the eats on State.

How are we supposed to pronounce the name of this establishment? Because all I can think of when considering it is "miasma," and that's hardly a similarity for which the owners should be aiming.

I ate there when it was called "Za's" and it was good for cheap. But the "pizza" in the picture does not look like what i used to get. Bummer.

I ate here for the first time two years ago, like many here when it was just Za's, and it's gotten worse. I always find things (edible but not wanted) in my pasta, and no matter what I order, I feel sick afterwards. I only go anymore because my mom is a HUGE fan of the greek salad (not sure why...). This review is spot-on.

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