Taking stock of the year in restaurants points to how lucky Madison diners were in 2018 when it came to great food and exceptional variety.

This year-end wrap also takes into consideration gorgeous spaces and excellent service, a trick that’s getting harder to pull off in a local economy with near full employment. Restaurateurs routinely complain about how hard it is to find and keep staff.

It’s amazing how many food entrepreneurs continue to spend the fortunes it takes to create beautiful restaurants, wonderful menus and delicious food. As always, 2018 gave Madison-area diners many new choices and pleasures.

Most of the restaurants that follow are new. Some are just newly reviewed.