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City Guide



A GUIDE TO A GREAT CITY The recent decision by the Democratic National Committee to hold the 2020 Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee confirms what Milwaukeeans already know: We live in a great city. Milwaukee’s history is unique and has contributed to the identity and quality of life we enjoy today. From the cultural legacy left by the beer barons of the 19th century and the 20th century socialist administration that gave us America’s greatest park system, through the traditional work ethic of our industrial workers in the days when Milwaukee was known as the Machine Shop of the World and right up our present-day network of entrepreneurs and artisans, Milwaukee has always been a city that demands quality. Milwaukee’s politics have long been honest in contrast to larger cities to our south. After a period of adjustment in the early 1980s—a time when Milwaukee joined so many other cities in the post-industrial Rust Belt—a combination of

civic leadership by government, private industry and private initiative turned the city around. In recent years, Milwaukee has become a nationally known destination for its many summer festivals, its proliferation of performing arts groups, continuous opening of new restaurants and its ongoing revitalization of neglected neighborhoods. For the past 37 years, the Shepherd Express has played a role in the growth of Milwaukee by promoting positive political and social change as well the growth of our city’s cultural life. We dedicate the latest edition of our annual City Guide to our readers—the people of the greater Milwaukee area who have made the city a great place to live, work and play. Louis G. Fortis Publisher and Editor-in-Chief David Luhrssen Managing Editor

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Community Sailing Center

North Point Lighthouse


So many things to see and do in and around Brew City throughout the year !//0120'3'450647890:7;<='

Year≠ Round Lakefront Fun If you live in Milwaukee but only venture to the Lakefront for the occasional fireworks show or big summer event at Henry Maier Festival Park, you are missing out on one of the best assets of the city. Milwaukee’s Lakefront is a beloved destination all year long.


Ring in New Year’s Day with the traditional Polar Bear Plunge! Whether you choose to participate or simply observe the mad dash into (and often rapidly out of!) frigid Lake Michigan, you’re almost guaranteed a great laugh. Alternatively, if there’s snow on the ground, kids and kids-at-heart will love bundling up and racing down St. Mary’s Hill or Lafayette Hill on a sled. As an added bonus, if you end up too chilly, stop in at Colectivo Coffee (1701 N. Lincoln Memorial Drive) to warm up with a hot drink.



As summer begins in earnest, the lake is a draw just to catch the cooling breeze (“cooler by the lake!”). Sun worshipers flock to Bradford Beach to soak up the rays and cool off in the water. Have fun in the sand by joining the Recreation Department’s Beach Volleyball League or get out on the water by taking sailing lessons at the Community Sailing Center (1450 N. Lincoln Memorial Drive). Satisfy your creative side and shop for new art at the popular Lakefront Festival of the Arts in mid-June. The final days of June and early July make music lovers rejoice, as Summerfest takes command of the festival grounds. Big name acts and local talent alike draw huge crowds, while the lake air keeps everything somewhat cooler than places well inland. Festa Italiana, German Fest, Irish Fest, PrideFest and many other Lakefront festivals take place on the Maier festival grounds throughout the summer. At the end of July, catch the awe-inspiring Air and Water Show featuring the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds.


Spring is the perfect time to take a stroll along the water or ride a bike along the Oak Leaf Trail before the onrush of summertime crowds. You can also check out the annual Family Kite Festival near the McKinley Marina during Memorial Day weekend. Springtime is also great for a visit the Northpoint Custard (2272 N. Lincoln Memorial Drive) and get Bartolotta’s version of a burger-stand favorite. It’s only open seasonally, so grab a fantastic burger and shake while you can.

In autumn, after the large-scale events have mostly ended and temperatures begin to dip, serenity returns to Milwaukee’s Lakefront, and fall colors abounds along the wooded areas of Lincoln Memorial Drive. Get up early to enjoy a stunning sunrise or visit the restored North Point Lighthouse (2650 N. Wahl Ave.) to gain a perfect vantage point for taking in the beautiful autumnal colors. Wander the trails and paths through Lake Park and immerse yourself in one of the prettiest times of year along Lake Michigan.


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Havenwoods State Forest

Milwaukee Alfresco While Milwaukeeans don’t shy away from outdoor pursuits in the chilly winter months, summer’s warmth tends to lure us from our dwellings with far greater ease. Few things are more delightful than pulling bikes out of storage, dusting off those hiking boots, or simply taking a cruise in your car with the windows down. Whatever your activity level is, there are plenty of places to enjoy the great outdoors around Milwaukee.


Milwaukee County has long been blessed with a legacy of natural beauty. As the city was growing, land was set aside for public use starting in the 1880s. Renowned landscape architects of the time—most famous among them Frederick Law Olmsted, the genius behind New York City’s Central Park—were hired to plan and create the system of parks we still enjoy today. Milwaukee is also home to a state park. Havenwoods State Forest (6141 N. Hopkins St.) is the only urban state park in Wisconsin. Six miles of hiking trails also double as a perfect cross-country ski trails during the winter months. Havenwoods’ nature center offers programs throughout the year to promote enjoyment of nature; children will especially love participating in a geocaching adventure or earning a “Wisconsin Explorer” badge by completing booklets available at the nature center.


What began as a community effort to clean up the natural areas along the Milwaukee River has grown into an organization with three locations: Riverside Park (1500 E. Park Place) on the East Side; Washington Park (1859 N. 40th St.) on the North Side; and Menomonee Valley (3700 W. Pierce St.) on the city’s South Side. Educational classes strive to connect children and community members with nature. Memberships to the center come with perks such as kayak, snow shoe and camping equipment rentals, so you can explore the outdoors without the expense of buying your own gear.



Milwaukee may have lucked out by having so many former rail lines, because the happy consequence of that has been the creation of several bike trails and paths that crisscross the city along those former train routes. Those who take the time to explore the trails may find opportunities to take in some breathtaking views or discover secret nature pockets which haven’t be touched by urban sprawl. Long trails such as the 120-mile-long Oak Leaf Trail are mostly made up of paved asphalt or crushed gravel, with occasional connecting city street portions. Go to the library or look online for maps of the bike trails, and you’ll find that you could navigate the county—and beyond—by pedal power alone.


Milwaukee’s German heritage was happily celebrated the day the Estabrook Park Beer Garden (4600 Estabrook Parkway) opened back in 2012. Since it was so well received by the public, several more permanent beer gardens have been ensconced in other parks (as well as the creation of a traveling beer garden) in the following years. An outdoor beer garden is all about community. Bring the kids, share a communal table with neighbors and raise a stein to summertime! The city’s beer garden season typically runs from April to October.


Everyone knows about Milwaukee’s premier Lakefront festivals, but the smaller, closer-to-home festivals may be just as much fun and are usually free. From the big ones like Bastille Days in Cathedral Park that span several days to the smaller one-day affairs like Brady Street Festival, there is always a lot to see and do. Sample foods from local vendors, enjoy music from hometown musicians and/or national acts and generally celebrate our community. While the Lakefront festivals attract the most media attention, smaller summertime ethnic festivals take place across the greater Milwaukee area. Check out Armenian Fest in Greenfield, Taste of Egypt in Oak Creek and Serbian Days on the city’s South Side. On any given weekend in summer, you will likely have more than one festival to choose from, so get out and party!!


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Milwaukee for the Kids Planning a day in the city with kids but unsure where to start? In addition to the sparkling Lakefront, neighborhood parks and seasonal festivals, there are lots of other places in the city that are geared for the entertainment of Milwaukee’s small fry. The good news is that parents will likely enjoy them, too! A great must-visit place with kids is the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum (929 E. Wisconsin Ave.). Hands-on exhibits provide opportunities for learning and playing for kids of all ages. A special baby and toddler “Pocket Park” area keeps the littlest ones contained while they explore (and provides something of a break for tired parents). School-age kids will treasure the chance to take control in the “Home Town” area. Kids can pretend to drive a bus, shop the grocery store, fix a car, go to the bank and generally spark their imaginations. Varying special exhibits and themed-activity days makes Betty Brinn a little different with each visit. Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, it makes sense that science museum Discovery World (500 N. Harbor Drive) has dedicated a large portion of its facility toward fresh water preservation and other water-related exhibits in the aquatorium area. Large expanses of the building look out onto the lake, so it is nearly impossible to not consider the importance of the water to Milwaukee when at Discovery World. Like at Betty Brinn, there are many interactive exhibits for kids, yet older kids and adults will still find plenty to enjoy here. Computer nerds will love the technology exhibits, and music enthusiasts should plan extra time to enjoy the beautiful guitar collection in the Les Paul House of Sound exhibit. The Milwaukee County Zoo (10001 W. Bluemound Road) is home to 348 animal species and offers a full day’s worth of fun for the family. On warm summer days, visitors can stroll through the beautifully landscaped grounds, taking in the way a wide range of animals enjoy the Sun. Education classes for the kids often come with a rare glimpse behind the scenes, while special events like the popular “Feast with the Beasts” offer a chance to sample tasty food and listen to music on the park-like zoo grounds.

Betty Brinn Children’s Museum

Open year-round, the best time to visit the Milwaukee County Zoo may actually be during the winter. Bundle the young ones up well and brave the elements for the reward of being able to stay in front of your favorite exhibits for as long as you’d like with no competition for prime viewing. But, in any season, the zoo is a lot of fun. Be sure to plan for a ride on the Safari Train, which circles the grounds and provides a pleasant break for tired feet. In a cold weather climate, the winter months can be very difficult for those who enjoy green things. Milwaukee parents in the know have been taking their children to the Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory (524 S. Layton Blvd.) since it opened in the 1960s whenever they needed a reprieve. The three themed glass domes feature different climates to showcase different types of plants. The Tropical Dome, especially popular in winter, boasts some 1,200 humidity-loving plants that are typically only found in jungles and rainforests. The arid Desert Dome has all sorts of rare cacti and succulents. The third dome hosts five different specially themed shows throughout the year. During winter holidays, it’s packed with poinsettias; during spring holidays, it’s full of lilies; but the show that captures the fancy of the youngest of kids to the oldest of grandparents is a miniature train show that usually runs through the dome during the first few months of the year. A trip to the First Stage Children’s Theater (Todd Wehr Theater, 929 N. Water St.) is a perfect diversion for imaginative kids. Favorite classic children’s books are brought to life in play or musical form and either way, the stage will be simply set and the acting top-notch. An age-range recommendation is available for each play performed during the season, so you can get a gauge on whether or not a particular play will be suitable for your child. Kids particularly seem to enjoy the question-and-answer period that follows most performances, where the cast comes onstage and picks a few questions from the audience to answer.


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CITYGUIDE The tour takes you through the processes used to create their awardwinning spirits and ends with a full tasting flight of their products.

Tour Milwaukee By foot, boat, bus, bike or streetcar, there are many ways to explore the city. Tours with focuses on food, architecture, history or just an overview of the city can all be found in Milwaukee. Historic Milwaukee, Inc., is a great place to start when looking for an indepth tour focused on city history and architecture. Available tours vary throughout the year, but walking tours on the street or in the skywalks are typical, and recently a tour via the HOP streetcar has been added to the list. This is also the group that is behind the scenes on organizing the annual Doors Open event in September, when businesses, institutions and other places of note in Milwaukee offer visitors the ultimate in tour opportunities, often showcasing spaces which are rarely open to the public; it’s an event definitely worth checking out if you haven’t done so yet. When you’re in Brew City, you’re practically required to take a brewery tour. For a large-scale operation steeped in 160 years of brewing industry history, visit Miller Brewing (4251 W. State St.). You’ll get to see the caves that were used to chill beer before refrigeration, sample beers (for those 21 and older!) in a classic Bavarian-style tavern and compare classic and modern brewing technology and procedures. Taking a brewery tour with the kids? Head to Sprecher Brewing (701 W. Glendale Ave.). The tour itself may not be as in-depth as some in town, but adults will appreciate the delicious micro-brew samples, while the kids will love trying out as many of the fun and tasty Sprecher sodas as they’d like (or as parents allow). Several other breweries in town offer tours as well; Lakefront Brewery (1872 N. Commerce St.) and Milwaukee Brewing Company (613 S. Second St.) are standouts worth a trip, too. Not much of a beer drinker? Consider a tour of Milwaukee’s first distillery since prohibition— Great Lakes Distillery (616 W. Virginia St.).

Another delightful way to get to know a city is through its cuisine. Luckily, we have Milwaukee Food and City Tours (2419 N. 62nd St.) to guide you through all sorts of local culinary adventures. There are many excellent tours offered throughout the year, but some of the hits include a Lenten fish fry tour, Milwaukee-style pizza tour, and a burgers and custard stand (“custard-crawl”) tour. The guides know their stuff, and the establishments that are visited are very welcoming to the tour groups. Milwaukee is a city that was built around water. Early commerce depended on both Lake Michigan and Milwaukee’s rivers to transport goods and played an important role in the development of the city in general. Take a boat tour in Milwaukee to learn more about the importance of those waterways and gain a whole new perspective on the city. Go for a cruise on the Edelweiss (205 W. Highland Ave.), which offers historical tours as well as other themed cruises. Milwaukee Boat Line (101 W. Michigan St.) offers a sightseeing cruise, as well as cocktail and live music cruises. Or, you can rent a boat and simply enjoy the sights without the informative narrative. It’s important to note these tours are available seasonally, as the rivers and harbor may freeze in winter, so plan accordingly. A unique way to tour the Third Ward, Walker’s Point and Downtown is via a people-powered Pedal Tavern (820 S. Water St.). Gather up to 16 of your closest (and/or most physically fit!) friends and pedal your way around to some of the best food-and-drink establishments in the city. A Pedal Tavern guide will steer the “bike” to two or three outstanding local bars. Public tours are good for groups that are too small to fill all of the seats. Public or private, it’s a very fun way to tour. As an added bonus, you’ll certainly burn off at least some of the calories you take in from all the good drinks along the way!

Pedal Tavern


Miller Brewing Tour


Milwaukee Public Museum

Charles Allis Art Museum


Harley-Davidson Museum

A great way to discover more about any city is to visit its museums to learn about its history, culture and commerce. Residents of and visitors to Milwaukee will be pleased to find that there are some worldclass options to explore here. Anyone who has spent time in Milwaukee will tell you one place you must see for yourself is the Milwaukee Art Museum (700 N. Art Museum Drive). As visitors approach from the outside, they’ll already recognize this building is a work of art unto itself. The museum’s 2001 Santiago Calatravadesigned addition features the brise soleil, better known to some as the “wings that open and close.” It is definitely worth timing a visit just to see this process, which calls up images of a bird in flight. Once inside, the more than 30,000 collected works in the museum’s permanent collection, including a large collection of works by Georgia O’Keeffe, will draw your attention back to art on a smaller scale. Be sure to check out the changing special exhibits throughout the year. A visit to the Milwaukee Public Museum (800 W. Wells St.) is a leisurely day well spent. From dinosaurs to butterflies and Ancient Egypt to the Streets of Old Milwaukee, the MPM is a local treasure. Generations of Milwaukeeans have grown up knowing where the hidden button is located to make the rattlesnake “rattle” in the buffalo hunt diorama and make the howler monkey scream in the rainforest exhibit. It’s always a safe bet to check out an IMAX or planetarium show. Most often, one of the IMAX movies relates to a traveling special exhibit currently on display at the museum. The staff of the planetarium typically create shows which are focused on the night sky over Milwaukee. Whenever you choose to visit the MPM, it’ll be a pleasurable and historical journey. With more than four million pieces in their permanent collection, you’ll learn something new every time you go. Milwaukee is recognized around the world as the home of Harley-Davidson motorcycles, so it makes sense that Milwaukee is also home to a fantastic museum dedicated to this storied brand. The Harley Davidson Museum (400 W. Canal St.) steeps visitors in the history and lore of the company

through interactive exhibits and a wide array of motorcycles from all eras of the company’s existence. Hardcore bikers and casual observers alike will find things to hold their interest while exploring the various displays. Those looking to be immersed even deeper in Harley-Davidson lore should plan to visit on a day that a guided behind-the-scenes tour is available. If the Harley-Davidson Museum isn’t “real life” enough for the experience you want, take a Powertrain Operations factory tour (W156 N9000 Pilgrim Road, Menomonee Falls). Depending on the level of detail you are looking for, the general tours are free, but the more in-depth “Steel Toe” tour is available for a fee. These tours are very popular and may sell out, so plan ahead and reserve on-line to be sure you get in when you want to. Please note: Tours are typically available only Monday-Friday; weekend tours are only occasionally available. Ever wonder about the way Milwaukee’s elite lived in the early days of the city? Find out by taking a tour of a grand old house. The Pabst Mansion (2000 W. Wisconsin Ave.) is the lovingly restored former home of Frederick Pabst. The home serves as a beautiful tribute to how the “upper crust” lived during America’s Gilded Age. For an added dash of elegance, tour during the holidays, when everything is decorated to seasonal perfection. The Charles Allis Art Museum (1801 N. Prospect Ave.) is another fine old home to visit in Milwaukee. Designed in the Tudor style by famed local architect of the day, Alexander Eschweiler, visitors can explore a gorgeous home while enjoying the enormous collection of art preserved by the family for the people of Milwaukee. The Charles Allis Art Museum is one part of an associated group of four small, East Side museums that call themselves the Milwaukee Museum Mile. Explore along Prospect Avenue, North Terrace and North Wahl Streets to visit the Jewish Museum Milwaukee, Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum, Museum of Wisconsin Art and the North Point Lighthouse Museum in Lake Park. All of the museums are within an easy walking distance of each other and offer a more intimate experience than some of the larger, more well-known museums in town.



American Science and Surplus

Milwaukeeí s Lighter, Quirkier Side Getting to know any new area is always more enjoyable if you can discover what the locals do for some fun. Thankfully, Milwaukee has plenty to offer those looking for fun, games and laughter. ComedySportz (420 S. First St.) was born in Milwaukee in 1984. Today, citybased branches of ComedySportz can be found in more than 28 locations across the country. You’ll find improv theater at its finest, so be prepared to laugh yourself silly when you go to see a show. Audience participation is encouraged (but not required), as the players draw from the energy in the room. Kids love it too, but definitely consider the time of day if you’re bringing the junior set; crowds tend to get rowdier as the evening goes on. Tabletop and boardgames were once considered the purview of nerds and the socially unskilled. The recent rise in nerd culture has changed it all. Popular bars across the city feature geeky themes like boardgaming, video gaming, axe throwing and (the now almost commonplace) trivia nights. Visit Oak and Shield Gaming Pub (600 E. Ogden Ave.), where you can play games while sipping mead and noshing on cleverly named dishes. AXE MKE (1924 E. Kenilworth Place), on the other hand, is a bit more physical. You may like to imagine yourself as your favorite World of Warcraft character, but axe throwing in real life is a workout (while still being a lot of fun). Food consists of bar snacks, but there are plenty of drinks. Cages around the lanes ensure no axe goes flying in the “wrong” direction! If trivia is more your speed, with even a tiny bit of research, you’ll find that many bars host trivia nights. Some will even have theme nights, so if Harry Potter or ’80s movies are your forte, you’ll be in luck. Las Vegas-style gaming may be found at the Potawatomi Casino (1721 W. Canal St.) in the Menomonee Valley. Everything from bingo to poker tournaments and slot machines to off-track betting are on offer. Feast on topnotch seafood and steak at the Dream Dance restaurant and catch a quality performance in the casino’s Northern Lights Theater. Should you choose to spend a few nights in their high-end hotel, you could easily skip that FunJet flight to Nevada and take your casino vacation right here in Milwaukee.


If you like the idea of indulging in your affection for the James Bond franchise or Cold War spy thrillers in general, you definitely need to find your way to the Safehouse (779 N. Front St.). This fun, spy-themed bar and restaurant is a delight for anyone with a sense of humor or a love of the espionage genre. The first challenge is knowing the password to get in (or preforming a silly stunt; they’ll let you know at the door). Once inside, you’ll be amazed by the collection of spy-related memorabilia and inventions, as well as some funny tricks and unexpected twists throughout the space. Spy-themed food and drinks (including several that come with a souvenir glass) will thrill even the most casual fans of the spy game. Do traditional museums seem too serious for you? Perhaps you’re just looking for a fun way to spend a little time? Then check out the new Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum (170 S. First St.). With more than 6,500 bobblehead figures on display, it is possibly the largest collection in the world, and the owners are in the process of attaining a Guinness World Record certification accordingly. Bobblehead enthusiasts, casual collectors and the rest of us can all find something to appreciate while taking in the well-ordered, impressive (and slightly jiggling) collection. Another true gem for fans of the odd and unusual, American Science and Surplus (6901 W. Oklahoma Ave.) is a must-do shopping trip when in Milwaukee. Chock full of interesting, unique items, visitors never quite know what they’ll find. Pens with logos from long gone companies, gempolishing kits, beakers of every shape and size, mismatched hot pads, random Star Trek or Dr. Who merch, electrical wires and connectors, telescopes of all sizes and any number of other unusual items may be available for sale. Even if you aren’t in a spending mood, it’s still worth the trip just to read the hilarious and extremely specific shelf tags that the staff concoct in suggesting uses for the odd assortment on offer.



Exploring the Greater Milwaukee Area In the counties surrounding Milwaukee, there are many interesting cities and towns well worth a day trip. To the north, there are Ozaukee and Washington counties; to the west is Waukesha and to the south is Racine. No matter which way you head, you’ll find plenty of history, charm and activities to keep you busy.


Travel directly up the North Shore of Milwaukee, and you’ll come to Ozaukee County. If you only have one day to explore, your best bet is historic Cedarburg. The enchanting downtown is chock full of quaint shops, a winery (tours available), a great mix of fine and casual dining and the Cedarburg Cultural Center (W62 N546 Washington Ave.) with varying exhibits, classes and live music performances, all highlighting the charms and history of the area. Throughout the year, Cedarburg puts on festivals for just about every season. Strawberry, Harvest and Winter Festivals are well-attended celebrations. The city also plays host to the Ozaukee County Fair (W67 N866 Washington Ave.) every summer. But if smaller crowd activities are more your speed, take in a movie at the old-timey, single-screenonly Rivoli Theater (W62 N567 Washington Ave.) and savor the memories of a simpler time. Also north of Milwaukee is Washington County. West Bend is its largest city, where you can always find something to see or do. Play all year round at Roegner Park (800 N. Main St.), which boasts a small lake with sandy beaches for swimming in summer and smooth-as-glass ice skating in winter. Looking for some culture? Peruse works by local artists or take a class at the Museum of Wisconsin Art (205 Veterans Ave.), which features more than 5,000 contemporary and historical pieces. MOWA is focused on promoting art and artists from Wisconsin. West Bend is also home to the Washington County Fair (3000 Pleasant Valley Road) in late summer and hosts many other events throughout the year from craft fairs and winter carnivals to St. Patrick’s Day celebrations and alpaca festivals. Washington County is also home to many beautiful lakes and rolling countryside. If you take time to explore in autumn here, be sure to visit the Holy Hill Basilica (1525 Carmel Road, Hubertus) to treat yourself to some of the best views of colorful fall foliage in the area.


Turning your attention to the south, you’ll find the city of Racine (in the county of the same name). Many people may only know the name as an exit ramp from the freeway, but if you take the ramp and head east into downtown Racine, you’ll be amazed at what you’ve been missing. A true gem and must-see is the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed SC Johnson Wax headquarters (1525 Howe St.). The gravity-defying lily pad workroom is incredible in and of itself, but this is a tour full of delights for both architecture aficionados and those with only a casual appreciation of great Midwestern architecture. Be sure to register in advance for tours as space is limited. One Racine item many people know about is kringle. Check out O&H Danish Bakery (1841 Douglas Ave.) for some of the best flaky, buttery fruit- or cheesefilled pastry you’ve ever have and some seriously delicious doughnuts, too. Be sure to check out the Racine Art Museum (441 Main St.) showcasing a collection of more than 9,500 works consisting mostly of contemporary craft works by internationally recognized artists. If you’re visiting Racine with younger kids, head to Racine Zoo (2131 N. Main St.) for some wild entertainment. Situated on the shores of Lake Michigan, it’s a lovely place to spend an afternoon feeding giraffes, riding the little train, chilling out in the petting zoo and making silly faces at the spider monkeys.


To the west of Milwaukee you’ll find the city of Waukesha (in the county of the same name). Begin with a visit to the Waukesha County Historical Society and Museum (101 W. Main St.) to gain some insight and perspective on the city. Local legend and world famous musician Les Paul is well represented in the exhibit. Looking to take in some nature? You could spend a whole day enjoying beautiful Minooka Park (1927 E. Sunset Drive). This park has a little something for everyone. In the warmer months hiking, biking, swimming and fishing in the small lake are popular activities. In the cold winter months, crosscountry skiing and sledding are tops. Canine owners will appreciate that the dog park is separated into larger and smaller breed areas. Like some of the other Milwaukee metro-area cities previously cited, Waukesha is home to their own county fairgrounds and Expo Center (1000 Northview Road). While the fair only runs for a few days during the year, everything from a Scottish festival to food truck events and theatrical and musical performances held at the center fill the calendar the rest of the year.

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DINING GUIDE Whether you’re in the mood for burgers or sushi, you can find what you’re hungry for in the Shepherd Express’ 2019 City Guide Dining Guide! Compiled by some of Milwaukee’s top food critics, this Dining Guide is your tour of eating establishments that range from old favorites to brand-new discoveries located throughout the greater Milwaukee area.

Reviews by: Jeff Beutner (J.B.), Franklin K.R. Cline (F.K.R.C.), Jake Culhane (J.C.), Eric Engelbart (E.E.), Jack Fennimore (J.F.), Susan Harpt Grimes (S.H.G.), Rob Hullum (R.H.), John Jahn (J.J.), Elizabeth Janowski (E.J.), Sheila Julson (S.J.), Lisa Kaiser (L.K.), Todd Lazarski (T.L.), K.L. Lorenz (K.L.L.), David Luhrssen (D.L.), Kevin Lynch (K.L.), Alisa Malavenda (A.M.), Paul Masterson (P.M.), Selena Milewski (S.M.), Lacey Muszynski (L.M.), Yvonne Ochillo (Y.O.), Emily Patti (E.P.), Matthew J. Prigge (M.J. P.), Jamie Lee Rake (J.L.R.), John Reiss (J.R.), Evan Rytlewski (E.R.), John Schneider (J.S.), Amanda Sullivan (A.S.) Restaurant Info Key: Price range of a typical entrée with soup or salad: $: $10 or less; $$: $11-$20; $$$: $21-$30; $$$$: $31 or more • CC: Credit Cards Accepted • RS: Reservations Accepted • OD: Outdoor Dining Available • SB: Sunday Brunch Served • FF: Friday Fish Fry Offered • FB: Full Bar • V: Valet Parking Available • LT: Late Night Dining Available • LB: Lunch Buffet Served • GF: Gluten-Free Menu Items Available • NA: No Alcohol Served • Phone Numbers: All phone numbers are in the 414 area code unless otherwise specified.





Alem Ethiopian Village

The Bay Restaurant

307 E. Wisconsin Ave. The food of Ethiopia can be fiery. Alem offers a gentler version, though their hot pepper sauce still has richness and depth of flavor. Try the doro wot—chicken with a hardboiled egg—prepared with this sauce. There are also beef and lamb versions of this dish. Half of the menu consists of vegetarian items; most tend to be mildly spiced—mostly greens and lentils. Every entrée is served on injera, a round flatbread with a spongy texture. This is also your dining utensil. Dig in and have fun! (J.B.) $-$$. CC. LB. Handicap access. 224-5324

Blue Star Café

1619 N. Farwell Ave. Blue Star Café is an excellent place to grab a quick bite either for carryout or dining in on the eastern edge of the East Side. Specializing in Somali cuisine, it offers affordable and delicious options for meat-eaters, vegetarians and vegans alike. Blue Star offers soups, sandwiches, chicken and veggie sambusa and tasty platters with choice of meat or vegetables atop rice, pasta or salad. (F.K.R.C.) $. CC. Handicap access. 273-9744

342 E. Silver Spring Drive “By The Bay, For The Bay,” is The Bay Restaurant’s tagline, and it practices what it preaches. Nestled next to the Fox Bay Cinema Grill on Whitefish Bay’s “Main Street” of East Silver Spring Drive, The Bay is a comfortable and casual restaurant with an authentic neighborhood vibe. It serves eclectic American fare for lunch and dinner, seven days a week. (K.L.L.) $$. FB. Handicap access. 455-3045

Buckley’s Restaurant & Bar

801 N. Cass St. Serving American comfort food with many global influences, Buckley’s selections are familiar but intriguing with many creative spins and unassuming ingredients. Housed in a casually elegant setting, the East Town restaurant serves a fine fish fry, a vibrantly colorful Vietnamese-style barbecue pork sandwich, one of the city’s best Caesar salads and house-made desserts. (K.L.L.) $$$. CC. FF. FB. SB. 277-1111

Champion Chicken

1824 N. Farwell Ave. The restaurant’s name refers to the traditional dwellings of Ethiopia, where the delicious stews redolent of Africa and the Near East were prepared over open fires and arrayed on a crepe-like sourdough called injera. The hearty tradition is kept alive at Ethiopian Cottage, which features an assortment of meat and vegetarian options plus Ethiopian beer, coffee, tea and honey wine. (D.L.) $$. CC. LB. 224-5226

8718 W. Lisbon Ave. A full-service restaurant on the Northwest Side for decades, Champion Chicken’s spacious, dark interior has many quiet corners amid the barn wood walls and rustic ornaments. And if you want a delivery, your dinner may arrive in one of Champion Chicken’s famous trucks topped with the image of its namesake fowl. The menu is huge and, unlike many chain-operated “family restaurants,” a full bar is available. The specialty, of course, is chicken in all its varieties. Especially good is the barbecue chicken pizza. (D.L.). $$. CC. FB. 462-6200

Irie Zule

Comet Café

Ethiopian Cottage

7237 W. North Ave. Irie Zulu’s seamless blend of African and Jamaican cuisine makes for a vibrant dining experience unique to Milwaukee. Meals are thoughtfully prepared, made with local ingredients and gloriously spiced using products from Afro Fusion Cuisine, owner Yollande Tchouapi Deacon’s line of spices and marinades available in store or online. Enjoy hard-to-find African dishes including Beef Suya and delicious seafood pepper soup made with sustainably raised cod. Try a house-made hibiscus juice to offset the spicier dishes. Irie Zulu’s ambiance is warm, inviting and familial. Be prepared to wait if the restaurant is busy but, as our server pointed out, this only allows for more bonding time. (S.M.) $$. FB. 509-6014

1947 N. Farwell Ave. An all-in-one bar, restaurant and coffee shop, Comet Café cooks its comfort food from scratch using mostly local ingredients. Entrées are hearty and satisfying, with options including meatloaf with beer gravy, a turkey dinner and a vegan Salisbury steak (one of many vegetarian or vegan options). Among the more inspired sandwiches are the Leghorn (pulled chicken with vegetables topped with cream cheese and apricot jam) and a vegan gyro made with grilled seitan. Breakfast options, including pancakes made with bacon (one of the menu’s favorite ingredients), are served until 3 p.m. daily. (E.R.) $-$$. CC. OD. SB. FF. FB. Handicap access. 273-7677

Crabby’s Bar & Grill

2113 E. Oklahoma Ave. Crabby’s Bar & Grill has been a Bay View fixture since 1964. A windowless dining room diminishes distractions—allowing diners to focus on specialties ranging from Cajun, seafood, steaks

and pasta dishes. Homemade dressings are a nice touch on the salads. Tuesday through Saturday, sample Francisco’s classic thin-crust pizzas featuring favorite traditional toppings. For those with a more adventurous side, try a cheese and kraut pizza topped with sauerkraut, caraway and sausage. (S.H.G.) $$-$$$. CC. FF. FB. Handicap access. 769-9999

side. All dinners are served with a choice of garlic mashed potatoes, French fries or rice, side salad and a warm cheddar corn bread that’s outstanding. The Farmer’s Wife carries about 40 beers (including some craft beers on draft) but also offers a nice selection of Wisconsin wines and spirits. (A.M.) $$. CC. FB. FF. SB. GF. 488-8296

Crazy Water

2308 W. Wisconsin Ave. With the hiring of new culinary director Jason Gorman, the Ambassador Hotel has remodeled and rebranded its restaurants and bars. The Fitz replaces Envoy as the hotel’s flagship restaurant . The name is a nod to F. Scott Fitzgerald, which fits in with the hotel’s roaring twenties feel. The Fitz will serve breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner in a gold-accented art deco dining room. The dinner menu consists of some retro classics, like rumaki made with chicken livers and pork belly, crab louis salad and lamb chops with sweet pea potato pancakes. (L.M.) $$-$$$. CC. FB. RS. SB. 345-5015

839 S. Second St. Located inside a former Walker’s Point tavern (sound familiar?), Crazy Water was the pioneer. Cooking occurs behind the bar, and it’s enjoyable to watch the chefs whip up their American fusion magic. The menu follows trends with the mandatory kale salad, flat iron steak and diver scallops. The signature “crazy” shrimp adds a bit of spice to the menu. Crazy Water remains a gem. (J.B.) $$$$. CC. FB. OD. RS. 645-2606

The Diplomat

815 E. Brady St. Dane Baldwin, former chef at Milwaukee institutions like Harbor House, Bacchus and Carnevor, has opened The Diplomat in the former Bosley on Brady space. A new mahogany bar is the focal point of the restaurant, and the rich red color is carried throughout the space. Pops of color come from a living wall of plants and historical Milwaukee posters. The Diplomat serves a menu of about a dozen American small plates along with a full bar that has its own food menu. Dishes will change seasonally, and right now include items like corn bruschetta with bell peppers and cherry tomatoes, New York strip steak with cured egg yolk, and Diplomat fries which are cooked three times and served with aioli. (L.M.) ) $$. CC. FB. OD. GF. 800-5816

East Town Kitchen & Bar

323 E. Wisconsin Ave. East Town Kitchen & Bar has a focus on Milwaukee and local ingredients, just like its new name. The space features a new layout with a subway tile-backed relocated bar and new banquette seating. Small plates include BLT deviled eggs, a jumbo pretzel with cheddar beer cheese, and Widmer’s cheese curds. Two burgers feature Fred Linz Farms beef and toppings like white barbecue sauce and thick-cut peppered bacon. Beer battered walleye, fried chicken with a hot honey drizzle, and baked mac ‘n’ cheese round out the entrees. Brunch includes items like biscuits and gravy and a 32-ounce “Big Ass Bloody Mary.” (L.M.) $$. FB. SB. 847-3162

Farmer’s Wife

6533 W. Mitchell St. One of the area’s growing number of restaurants supporting local farmers, the Farmers Wife speaks to an easier time when folks gathered around the dinner table for classic American cooking. The menu’s East Coast-inspired dishes include lobster roll and stuffed quahogs as a


The Fitz

Good Land Wing Co.

2911 N. Oakland Ave. The way Good Land Wing Co plans to stand out in a sea of chicken wing competitors is with a cooking process that involves no frying. All wings and sides are baked, and indeed the restaurant’s tagline is “no fryers allowed.” Wings are available in bone-in, boneless, and naked boneless, which is essentially a chicken breast. Sides include white cheddar mac ‘n’ cheese, waffle fries and onion rings. Skillets, like a tater tot version topped with boneless chicken, and salads and wraps like the bourbon fire chicken with sriracha bourbon wing sauce, bacon and pineapple are also available. (L.M.) $$. 367-9886

Honeypie Bakery and Café

2643 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. Honeypie’s menu is mainly sandwiches plus a few appetizers, entrées and salads. The theme is home-style Midwest cooking. Expect plenty of pork, chicken, turkey and bacon. The pork fries feature Honeypie’s fine French fries smothered with pulled pork, pickled jalapeño, green onions, bacon and cheese sauce. The Wisconsin Beef sandwich comes with shaved ribeye, roasted giardiniera and horseradish sauce on a soft hoagie. This is true slow cooking—no shortcuts at all. (J.B.) $$. CC. OD. SB. Handicap access. 489-7437

Hubbard Park Lodge

3565 N. Morris Blvd. Tucked away on the banks of the Milwaukee River, the Hubbard Park Lodge enjoys a scenic, woodsy locale. Offering its rustic cathedralceilinged space for weddings and other events most days of the week, the Lodge also serves a Friday fish fry and a Sunday brunch. The former is a laid-back but organized affair with attentive servers, high-quality surf-and-turf selections

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DININGGUIDE and a family friendly atmosphere (you probably will see small children dancing to the accordion music). The beer-battered cod is a particularly tasty Wisconsin favorite, and the drink menu continues the local pride with selections from Lakefront Brewery. (S.M.) $$. CC: All major. RS. SB. FF. FB. 332-4207

Mad Rooster Café

4401 W. Greenfield Ave. A kitschy big red barn on Greenfield Avenue houses one of the best breakfast spots in Milwaukee. The one word that best describes Mad Rooster’s food and service would be consistent. Across the board, both are consistently good and make it an enjoyable and tasty experience. Mad Rooster serves both breakfast and lunch all day and has a long list of choices in the sweet and savory category, as well as some interesting dishes that combine both for the ultimate taste sensation. (A.M.) $$. Handicap access. 231-9120


939 S. Second St. While the name of the restaurant comes from a Greek word, the cuisine at Meraki is not Greek. Rather, it’s more of an “American Contemporary” style. Served as “Small Shares” or “Large Shares,” this food works well with a small group of diners who like to share with the rest of the table. The menu changes frequently, so some dishes that are here today may be gone tomorrow. Catch them while you can! (S.H.G.) $$$. FB. Handicap access. 897-7230

Milwaukee Gourmet House

800 Milwaukee Ave., South Milwaukee The Gourmet House serves a fine selection of daily specials, including a Friday fish fry with choice of lightly breaded cod, walleye and perch. The pizza dough is made in house; there are seven burgers and such unusual bar food appetizers as sweet potato wedges and fried dumplings. Many small touches brighten the menu (where else is “Greek dressing” an option for salads?). Portions are generous, service is friendly, and the dining room walls are covered with vintage photos of South Milwaukee. “Gourmet”? Let’s just call it good food. (D.L.) $$. FF. FB. 435-0181

Motor Bar & Restaurant

401 W. Canal St. The Harley-Davidson Museum restaurant is as architecturally impressive as the galleries. The dining room and the outdoor terrace boast serene views of the Menomonee River. The menu focuses on Wisconsin and the Midwest, including booyah—a soup thick as a stew and said to originate in Green Bay. Entrées include homey fare like mac ‘n’ cheese, fish fry, steak and barbecue ribs. Portions tend to be large. While the museum is recommended, Motor has a setting and food that are worthy of a visit, too. (J.B.) $$-$$$. CC. RS (8+). FB. OD. Handicap access. 287-2778


501 E. Silver Spring Drive The contemporary American restaurant serves lunch, dinner and brunch. Starters like a Wisconsin cheese board and brandied liver pâté appear on both the lunch and dinner menus. Sandwiches and salads make up the bulk of the lunch options, while dinner adds entrées like a tomahawk pork chop and scallop carbonara with crispy pork belly. Four different versions of eggs benedict are available at brunch, including one with steak medallions, fried green tomatoes, poached eggs and hollandaise. (L.M.) $$-$$$. FB. SB. 204-8980

nines American Bistro

12400 N. Ville du Parc Drive nines American Bistro is located at the corner of casual and elegance. The restaurant at the River Club of Mequon wants everyone to feel welcome. nines serves dinner Tuesday through Saturday plus brunch on Sunday. The menu is expansive. Many categories with plenty of variety accommodate just about every taste or occasion, including vegetarian and gluten-free offerings to satisfy even the heartiest carnivore and carbivore. (K.L.L.) $$-$$$$. CC. SB. FF. FB. GF. Handicap access. 262-518-0129

North Avenue Grill

7225 W. North Ave. The popularity of North Avenue Grill speaks to the new owner’s ability to make delicious, highquality comfort food at wallet-friendly prices. The place is clean and cozy, with booths along one wall, a few tables with chairs up front and a counter area for the classic diner experience. In the warmer months, outdoor sidewalk seating is perfect to catch a breeze or enjoy the vibe of bustling North Avenue. (S.H.G.) $-$$. CC. FF. OD. No checks. 453-7225

North Star American Bistro

4518 N. Oakland Ave., 964-4663 19115 W. Capitol Drive #100, 262-754-1515 “Real. Good. Food.” Is North Star’s motto. A pretty simple concept, though most of us would agree finding it executed successfully and consistently is often the exception not the rule. Not only does North Star deliver on its food, it does so with comfortable confidence and without pretension. The servers are professional and knowledgeable from the wine list to the menu. Little details are attended to, including keeping water glasses filled, empty plates cleared and bread in three styles (from Breadsmith) with whipped butter. (K.L.L.) $$$-$$$$. CC. SB. FF. FB. RS. Handicap access.

Open Flame

5081 S. 108th St. Although there is a martini menu, don’t expect anything trendy from the kitchen. Go for allAmerican fare like plump roast chicken or sliced roast pork with real mashed potatoes and gravy.

The renovated interior of the former Omega has a clubby feel with dark woodwork and a spacious lounge. It’s a family friendly place that just happens to serve cocktails. (J.B.) $$-$$$. CC. FF. SB. RS. OD. Handicap access. 425-5177

The Original

2498 N. Bartlett Ave. The concept is upscale: new American cuisine in a speakeasy-like setting with low banquettes, tin ceiling and dark wood accents. Dinner items include a chicken liver mousse starter, steamed clams with charred lemon and tasso, scallops with confit mushrooms and grits, and a flat iron steak with duck fat potatoes. Brunch is also served, including house doughnuts with cinnamon sugar and cider icing and a Wisconsin breakfast burger with a brat and burger patty, cheddar, egg and Dijon mayo. (L.M.) $$. FB. OD. 763-4811

Range Line Inn

2635 W. Mequon Road Inside, you feel transported in time: Low ceilings, lots of wood paneling, even carpet flooring, all contribute to the cabin-y vibe. The menu is driven by daily specials, including prime rib (Tuesday), fresh Lake Superior whitefish (Thursday), whole roast duck (Saturday) and even lobster (Wednesday, seasonal)—not to mention Wisconsin classics like Friday fish fry (haddock, perch or cod) and pot roast. Served traditionally with mashed potatoes, veggies and smothered in brown gravy, pot roast is never the best-looking dish, but it tasted the way it should: Like mom used to make. (K.L.L.) $$$. CC. RS. FF. FB. 262-242-0530

Remington’s River Inn

130 S. Main St. Remington’s fresh “made-to-order” comfort food is served in a friendly environment. The menu can be described as American classics: Buffalo wings, Cobb salad, pan-fried walleye, bone-in ribeye, chili, French onion soup and a patty melt. Remington’s menu also features neighborhood favorites including burgers, specialty salads, pizza and a Friday fish fry. Wash it all down with a rotating selection of eight draft beers, more than two dozen bottled beers and a dozen or so wine varieties. And when the weather cooperates, enjoy it all alfresco on this Thiensville restaurant’s back patio overlooking the Milwaukee River. (K.L.L.) $$-$$$. OD. FF. FB. Handicap access. 262-238-2697

Snack Boys

814 S. Second St. The only real theme across the food menu is nostalgia. Many of the couple dozen or so rotating small plates are clearly inspired from longtime favorites: potato chips and dip, deviled eggs, bologna sandwiches and chicken wings. There are plenty of meat-heavy snacks, a raw bar selection, and a section called “Veggie” which


is far from health food. When you go to Snack Boys, take your time and graze under the warm glow of neon signs and fish tank lights, taking in the random whiffs of burning incense. While it may help you forget about the world outside the restaurant, it’s what it will remind you of—spending time in grandma’s basement, bag lunches, Saturday morning cartoons—that’s the important part. (L.M.) $-$$. FB. 509-5975


2499 N. Bartlett Ave. Tess is the kind of place that plays jazz at a level so unobtrusive you may wonder if you’re hallucinating it and features upscale American fare. Upon entering the comfortable space, you’re greeted with a menu that offers up to three courses. Big eaters will be happy to know that one item from each of the course options will satiate. The crab cake is tough to beat—it’s served, weirdly and beautifully, with a housemade potato chip that’s longer than any potato chip you’ll ever see again in your life. (F.K.R.C.) $$-$$$. CC. FB. OD. FF. RS. GF. Handicap access. 964-8377

Tosa Bowl and Bun

7212 W. North Ave. Offering sandwiches, daily entrée and soup specials, salads and party trays, this family owned and operated deli celebrates homemade goodness. Entrées include scalloped potatoes and ham, meatloaf, lasagna and a Friday fish fry. Toasted potato soup, tomato zucchini soup, white bean chicken chili and Rueben soup are among the featured daily delights. Served on Sciortino Bakery rolls, Bowl and Bun’s sandwich selection includes chicken salad, roasted veggies and the recommended Italian—a classic combination of provolone, ham, salami and pepperoni. For lighter options, consider one of the salads served with homemade dressings and croutons. (E.P.) $-$$. FF. 210-2834


5513 W. North Ave. A new restaurant, named after the owner’s appreciation for elephants, has opened in Washington Heights. Tusk is run by Christine McRoberts, who also owns McBob’s just a few blocks away. The restaurant will be collaborating with the new Vennture Brew Co. next door to incorporate their beer, coffee and brewing byproducts into the menu, as well as several items for customers with special diets. A makeyour-own board item includes meats, cheeses and accoutrements for sharing, along with apps like tempura green beans and chicken wings. Beef ramen made with stout, sandwiches like grilled cheese and pulled pork and entrées such as blackened salmon round out the menu. (L.M.) $$. 763-2095


6807 W. Becher St. A new American restaurant has opened in the former Ka-Bob’s Bistro space in West Allis. Wild Roots is a partnership between chef Thi Cao (formerly of Buckley’s) and Bryan DeStefanis (owner of Big City Greens). The restaurant’s menu will change frequently and features seasonal ingredients from DeStefanis’ farm as well as foraged items. Inspiration for some dishes comes from Cao’s Vietnamese heritage through dishes like a bitter melon soup ($5), while others feature wild game and offal. For brunch and lunch, dishes include a salmon sandwich and green beans with crispy onions, fried egg and anchovy. (L.M.) $-$$ 231-9081

ASIAN FUSION Bee’s Cuisine

2336 N. Farwell Ave. Bee’s Southeast Asian offerings have quickly become a go-to for East Siders grown tired of the nondescript Chinese dine-in and delivery options. Bee’s got its start in 2006 as a family run outdoor booth at the Fondy Farmer’s Market, selling eggrolls, fried rice, crab Rangoon and their signature stuffed chicken wings. With the move to Farwell Avenue, they expanded to a full menu. The location is quiet and homey, a great place to dine and talk without the interferences of bar chatter or television. The menu offers unique items, including coconut flake-fried bananas and homemade pork and ginger sausages. (M.J.P.) $-$$. CC. RS. NA. 551-2166

Easy Tyger

1230 E. Brady Easy Tyger started out life differently than what it is today. When it opened a few years ago, it was serving small plates with flavors from all over: Latin America, Norway, Portugal and more. It was well reviewed, but the menu lacked cohesion. Now, Easy Tyger’s menu is much more focused. The small-plates-only concept is essentially gone, replaced by menu sections of Bao Buns, Appetizers and Ramen. And if you couldn’t tell from those headers, they’ve settled on one continent: Asia and Asian fusion. (L.M.) $$. FB. SB. OD. 226-6640


408 E. Chicago St. The elaborate wood sushi bar is an attraction in itself. So is the sushi. The signature rolls are elaborate presentations. Try the buri toro nigiri sushi, the belly of hamachi or yellowtail. This is a sister restaurant to Brookfield’s Wasabi, and the menu follows the Japanese fusion theme, although it is not identical and includes innovative small plates. Grilled sea scallops are served over orzo pasta and jalapeño poppers are stuffed with wagyu beef. Expect to be frequently surprised. (J.B.) $$$. CC. RS. FB. Handicap access. 220-1155

Lucky Ginger

221 N. Water St. Lucky Ginger’s menu is a unique Southeast Asian fusion of flavors and a great stop for lunch hour, a break from shopping or a fun evening out for dinner. The atmosphere is inviting and has a funky up-beat vibe. Lucky Ginger’s atmosphere may be contemporary, but with the first few bites you can taste the authentic flavors true to Southeast Asian cuisine. (A.M.) $$. CC. FB. Handicap access. 269-8699

Mekong Café

5930 W. North Ave. The varied cuisines of Thailand, Vietnam and Laos meet on one menu. Begin with bánh xèo— Vietnamese crepes with a golden color from turmeric and the sweetness of coconut milk; then perhaps a Thai curry or the red curry roast duck. The more adventurous will want to try the grama chanta with homemade Laotian sausages with a fiery kick of hot pepper. Finish with a dessert of purple sticky rice pudding with mango. This kitchen cooks with the confidence that ranks this café with the very best purveyors of Southeast Asian food. (J.B.) $$. LB. CC. 257-2228

Momo Mee

110 E. Greenfield Ave. An Asian restaurant specializing in dumplings and noodle dishes, the menu features dishes from all over Asian, including Indian, China and Korea. On the dumpling side are xiao long bao, also known as Shanghai soup dumplings, filled with rich broth, pork potstickers and Sichuan wontons. Homemade noodles appear in various types of ramen, yakisoba with pork belly, beef, chicken or shrimp, and dan dan noodles. Nonnoodle entrées like Japanese garlic eggplant and a selection of sakes are also available. (L.M.) $$. 316-9003

Nana Asian Fusion & Sushi Bar

4511 N. Oakland Ave. The front room has a sushi bar, but sushi is not the only attraction. Many fusion entrées are listed by the sauce (Japanese eggplant garlic, Szechuan peppercorn, Malaysian curry, etc.), and you choose a meat or tofu for it. Vegetables are also added. You might be surprised with asparagus or jicama. Everything is fresh. The sushi selection is good and includes toro. For variety, order the sunomono, which includes six different sashimis for a modest price. The décor is warm and serene. (J.B.) $$-$$$. CC. Handicap access. 967-8888

Rice n Roll

1952 N. Farwell Ave. The Asian fusion of sushi and Thai is a great combination with many choices. Rice n Roll offers lunch specials of both sushi and Thai and a sushi happy hour. The sushi is as amazing as the chefs behind the bar, who seem to really have a good time together and enjoy what they do. The rice is

cooked and seasoned well, rolled with perfection in a lovely presentation or a wonderful base for the donburi, sashimi and nigiri of fresh fish that drape over it with that pure, marine-like quality. Rice n Roll serves 15 different sakes, including a dry house variety available chilled or hot. (A.M.) $-$$. Handicap access. 220-9944


1721 W. Canal St. Casino restaurants are not usually notable. It’s no secret that casinos only want to provide a serviceable food option to keep people from leaving instead of plugging coins into a slot machine. But Potawatomi has always had a higher dining standard than most casinos. One such standout is RuYi. The restaurant and sushi bar serves a variety of Asian cuisines with varying degrees of Americanization. It’s a restaurant designed to please the masses of folks who walk through the casino’s doors, and traditional recipes or not, it’s doing a good job with well-prepared dishes and friendly service. Whole fish is a standout on the menu. (L.M.) $$. CC. LT. Handicap access. 847-7335

Sake Tumi

714 N. Milwaukee St. Situated within Milwaukee Street’s thriving scene of bars and restaurants, Sake Tumi’s centerpiece is a long sushi bar that dominates the dining area. Sake Tumi’s original menu was a pioneer in Asian fusion, offering a few Korean items along with Japanese cuisine. That tradition continues, as today’s menu expands its options for Korean food and adds some Chinese dishes as well. (J.B.) $$$-$$$$. CC. FB. RS. Handicap access. 224-7253

BAR FOOD/ BEER PUBS Barnacle Bud’s

1955 S. Hilbert St. No list of patios in Milwaukee is complete without the classic Barnacle Bud’s. There aren’t too many tropical-themed spots around, so this is the only place where you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to Key West. The river isn’t exactly Caribbean blue, but the hidden location, bright colors and ramshackle design go a long way in making you forget Milwaukee. Seating is either at the bar/oyster bar combo, or at one of the many sun-bleached picnic tables. Dumpster Punch served in a mason jar will always be a Milwaukee favorite. (L.M.) $-$$. FF. FB. SB. OD. 481-9974

Benno’s Genuine Bar & Grill

7413 W. Greenfield Ave. In addition to a fantastic beer selection, Benno’s offers an impressive assortment of typical pub fare, ranging from burgers and chicken wings to classic Reuben sandwiches and deep-fried appetizers. Burgers, including turkey and veggie


selections, are served with fresh cut fries—plain or with garlic-Romano seasoning. (E.P.) $-$$. FB. 453-9094

Buck Bradley’s

1019 N. Old World Third St. This classy take on a sports food bar offers a variety of lunch and dinner foods as well as breakfast on Saturday and Sunday. Here you’ll find everyone’s favorite bar food classics as well as some of their own unique creations such as Gold Fever wings. Topped off with friendly faces and a welcoming atmosphere, Buck Bradley’s is the perfect place to grab a drink after work or to catch the game with friends. (A.V.) $$. CC. OD. RS. FF. FB. 224-8500


434 S. Second St. Camino specializes in elevated bar food and American craft beers, with 20 rotating selections on tap. You can find customary bar fare such as burgers and wings, but the Camino staff hold these dishes to the highest standard. The beef for the burgers is brought in fresh four times a week and is ground in house. They also took their time in creating interesting menu items like the Beet Reuben that comes with everything you would find on a traditional Reuben, except the meat is replaced with roasted beets. (R.H.) $-$$. FB. 800-5641

Cloud Red

4488 N. Oakland Ave. Cloud Red’s menu is set up for easy sharing. Try their Munch Mix with peanuts, popcorn, Chex and pretzels with a bourbon glaze that coats each morsel. The spinach and artichoke dip was loaded with cheese on top and the right amount of flatbread to smear every bit of the dip without having to ask for more. Carnivores can’t go wrong with the Ney’s Big Sky Burger, a juicy halfpound burger that was perfectly cooked with cheese, bacon and fried crispy onions. The menu changes frequently. (F.K.R.C.) $-$$. CC. FB. OD. LT. Handicap access. 231-9660


722 N. Milwaukee St. The entrance is discrete—a bit like a speakeasy. The interior is dark, and the bar is long. Distil is the place to order carefully prepared craft cocktails. The menu isn’t large but offers suitable ballast, with sliders made from Nueske’s bacon, hormone-free beef or barbecue chicken. There are flatbreads, fries with garlic aioli and a pork belly starter. (J.B.) $$. FB. 220-9411

Erv’s Mug

130 W. Ryan Road Though it may send you a bit further south than usual, Erv’s Mug is worth the trip. Are 32 beers on tap (typically featuring at least a couple of hardto-find and/or interesting brews), a great liquor list and archaic beer advertisements galore not

DININGGUIDE enough? Come for all that; stay for the intimate service and wonderful menu. The prime rib sandwich is great, but their French onion soup is the star of the show. (F.K.R.C.) $$. CC. SB. FF. FB. Handicap access. 762-5010

The Explorium Brewpub

5300 S. 76th St. The beers brewed on site all are named for famous explorers, like Livingstone’s Porter and Captain Kidd’s Lost IPA. Quotes from explorers or about exploring appear on the walls of the large space that’s kept cozy with a brick fireplace and warm wood furniture. Even the patio has a fireplace, though the weather needs to warm up a little before it gets any use. You can explore various parts of the globe through the menu as well: Belgian-style mussels are available in three flavors, Cantonese calamari is tossed in a sweet chili sauce, and a Wisconsin rarebit soup is a local take on the Welsh favorite. Burgers, pizzas, steaks and chops round out the rest of the menu of this Southridge Mall-ensconced restaurant. (L.M.) $$. FB. OD. 423-1365

The Harp Irish Pub

113 E. Juneau Ave. The dark woody interior opens to a deck overlooking the Milwaukee River. The Irish tricolor is proudly displayed but the menu is virtually allAmerican with reasonably priced, modestly sized burgers on brioche buns served with choice of fries, onion rings or crispy Harp chips. There is a nod to Wisconsin in the excellent lightly battered fried cheese curds and to Eire in the corned beef served as Reuben roll appetizers or the hearty Reuben sandwich. (D.L.) $-$$. CC. OD. FF. FB. Handicap access. 289-0700

Harry’s On Brady

1234 E. Brady St. This new sister venue to Shorewood Harry’s Bar and Grill has an appealing menu with an exciting range of dishes that stand high on the list for healthy eating: salmon, shrimp, eggs, plentiful veggies, fruits, nuts and good oils as well as high-quality steaks and burgers. The Happy Hour on Monday-Friday from 3-6 p.m. offers great deals on drinks, including featured craft beers, and small dishes from wings or sliders to humus or an edamame falafel platter with beautiful sauces. Showcase windows across the front open completely while outdoor tables under a broad awning put you right in the middle of the sidewalk at the heart of Brady Street. (J.S.) $$$. CC. RS. FB. FF. LT. SB. OD. Handicap access. 273-6000

Hooligan’s Super Bar

2017 E. North Ave. Hooligan’s Super Bar stands out among the sea of other establishments situated along North Avenue. A beer selection that boasts 99 different canned brews and premium bar food, including the super spicy Beelzaburger, have kept this East

Side bar a favorite since 1936. Make sure to stop in on your birthday for a complimentary boot of beer. (R.H.) $-$$. CC. FB. OD. FF. 273-5230

version instead. Skip the fries and go straight for the potato pancakes or German potato salad on the side. (L.M.) $-$$. FB. FF. Handicap access. 372-8800

Milwaukee Beer Bistro

2311 N. Murray Ave. A pub and sports bar that specializes in craft beer and bourbon, Izzy Hops features 30 beer taps and 30 bourbons, plus a bourbon club for enthusiasts. The space features cream city brick behind the bar, warm lighting and a wood bar top, making it cozier than the average sports bar. A small menu of the usual bar favorites is served, like a dozen chicken wings, nachos with beef or pork, a jalapeño popper burger and the Murray Avenue meat pie with homemade sausage, pulled pork, meatballs, mushrooms and onions. (L.M.) $-$$. FB. 249-4489

Leff’s Lucky Town

7208 W. State St. Leff’s Lucky Town puts to rest the notion that neighborhood bars have to be dark and dingy. A wall of windows, including a garage door-style window that opens to warm-weather patio seating, achieves a bright, airy feel. Lunch and happy hour specials draw patrons daily. Hometown products add to the neighborly feel of Leff’s, including offerings from Lakefront Brewery, Great Lakes Distillery, Palermo’s Pizza and Bunzel’s meats. (S.H.G.) $-$$. CC. FF. OD. Handicap access. 258-9886

2730 N. Humboldt Blvd. If there’s one thing most every Milwaukeean can agree on, it’s that beer is good. Add beer to food, and it makes the food even better. That’s the philosophy behind Milwaukee Beer Bistro, a pub incorporating beer into every dish on the menu. Some items, like a light ale-battered cod, are rather obvious, but others are more creative. How about chunks of bratwurst and carrot in a thick, creamy Point Special Lager chowder? This is a great destination for brunch, when Sprecher Root Beer makes an appearance in root beer pancakes and heffe weiss waffles are topped with “beerberry” syrup. Pair your meal with one of 16-plus taps and dozens of bottles available. (L.M.) $-$$. FF. SB. 562-5540

Jackson’s Blue Ribbon Pub

LuLuCafe & Bar

Mr. J’s

Izzy Hops

1203 N. 10th St. Jackson’s Pub attracts a lively crowd for lunch, dinner and drinks. Housed in a former Pabst brewery warehouse, the Pub’s inventive bar menu includes a variety of soups and attractively served salads, appetizers, sandwiches and wraps. The portions can be described as “old Milwaukee,” geared toward a city with a big appetite. Appetizers include a giant hot pretzel served warm with horseradish and hot cheese dipping sauces and dusted with salt. It’s large enough to feed a family. Not surprisingly, the Pub sells Pabst Blue Ribbon in cans, bottles and on tap. But they also serve other tap beers plus an enviable list of 60 bottled craft beers. (D.L.) $$. CC. FB. OD. SB. 276-7271

2261 and 2265 S. Howell Ave. The sandwich selection at this longtime Bay View favorite (formerly “Café LuLu”) is eclectic and worldly. From the East, there’s a Mediterranean steak pita, an Indian chicken pita and a falafel pita. From the South, there’s a chipotle chicken pita, with black bean salsa and a cumin-lime sauce, and a loaded Santa Fe cheddar melt. From France, there is a croque monsieur with capicola ham and Swiss on a baguette. You get the picture. Vegetarian options abound, and all sandwiches include a choice of LuLu’s signature Asian slaw, thick-cut potato chips or both. Always opt for both. (E.R.) $-$$. CC. FB. OD. SB. Handicap access. 294-5858

McBob’s Pub & Grill

4610 W. Fond Du Lac Ave. Mr. J’s features an excellent menu and great music spun by DJs Thursdays through Saturdays. The Okra is evenly breaded to create two different and appreciable kinds of crunches—the batter and the vegetable. The Soul Roll is one of Milwaukee’s most unique dishes: collard greens and bacon wrapped in an egg roll wrapper and deep fried, making a juicy and outstanding appetizer. Their wings come three ways: breaded, seasoned, or buffalo. I recommend the seasoned, which takes their immaculately breaded wings and adds a savory/salty seasoning. (F.K.R.C.) $. CC. FB. FF. GF. Handicap accessible. 455-8779

Oscar’s Pub & Grill

4840 S. Whitnall Ave. Prime rib and the Friday fish fry are the main draws. Barbecue ribs are also worthy of a visit. Look for daily specials like the half-rack with shrimp that is nearly half that price. Lunch offers a smaller prime rib cut that most would consider a big dinner. The Friday fish fry offers cod, perch and walleye. Orange roughy also appears as a special. Many sandwich choices also make this a good place for families. (J.B.) $$. CC. FB. FF. Handicap access. 481-1775

4919 W. North Ave. Corned beef fans in Milwaukee have staunchly declared their support for Jake’s or Benji’s but may find a new favorite in McBob’s. The corned beef is melt-in-your-mouth tender, and sandwiches are enhanced by a horseradish-mustard spread. Fish fry offerings on Wednesday and Friday are also a pleasure when McBob’s serves up fried perch, walleye and grouper. Pizzas are featured on other days, and breakfast is available daily. (S.H.G.) $-$$. CC. Handicap access. 871-5050

1712 W. Pierce St. Although inconspicuously tucked into an industrial district between the 16th Street Viaduct and National Avenue, Oscar’s has attracted a large lunch crowd for its deliciously prepared Angus burgers (seven varieties on the menu), served on a superb bun with fries sprinkled in grated cheese. With friendly service and the look and feel of a neighborhood bar, Oscar’s is appealing any time of day. Stop in for some conversation, and select from the two-dozen beers offered, including imports on tap. (D.L.) $-$$. FB. 8101820

Lakefront Brewery

Milwaukee Ale House

Point’s East Pub

Joe’s K Ranch

1872 N. Commerce St. Friday night is the busiest time at the Lakefront Brewery Beer Hall, with good reason: The fish fry is one of the best in Milwaukee. While you can get Eastside dark-battered cod, panko-breaded perch or shrimp and baked walleye, the real draw is the fried smelt. You don’t often find these tiny whole fish on menus, except maybe at some old-school taverns up north. The batter is extremely light, like tempura, so that it doesn’t overwhelm the delicate texture of the fish. Smelt comes with cocktail sauce, but if you’re a tartar fan, ask to substitute their very tasty homemade

233 N. Water St., 276-2337 1208 13th Ave., Grafton, 262-375-2337 At its original Third Ward location, Milwaukee Ale House is certainly one of the most visible options along the waterway and offers a menu and beer selection that will not disappoint. Located in the red brick Saddlery Building (built 1894), the Ale House opened in 1997, making it an elder statesman among restaurants in the reborn Third Ward. Their outdoor seating offers a good view of both the trains using the Menomonee River Railroad Bridge and the passing tour and party boats. (M.J.P.) $$. FB. OD. FF. Handicap access.


1501 N. Jackson St. There is an entire page of the Point’s East website devoted to the various awards and honors given to their chicken wings over the years. Plump, spicy, and grilled-to-order, Point’s East wings are a meal in themselves and have become one of Milwaukee’s most famous signature bar foods. A basket of these is more than enough reason to make your way to this corner bar, hidden between bustling Brady Street and the mania of Water Street. (M.J. P.) FB. 277-0122

DININGGUIDE Punch Bowl Social

1122 N. Vel R. Phillips Ave. A restaurant and bar chain has opened on Fiserv Forum’s entertainment block. Punch Bowl Social is a multistory “adult playground” featuring numerous bowling alleys, arcade areas, board games, bars and a full menu to keep you energized while you play. Shareable appetizers and snacks make up the bulk of the menu, including green chorizo and cheese-topped fries ($12), potted pork belly ($11) and shrimp ceviche ($11). Tacos ($12-$14), burgers and sandwiches ($11-$14) and a few mains like chicken and waffles ($16) round it out. Brunch includes favorites like fried chicken ($14) and monkey bread French toast ($14). $$ (L.M.) 204-7544


2245 E. St. Francis Ave. Redbar is a good-value local bar where a fun, eclectic atmosphere mixes well with great food, and beverages that won’t make your checkbook see red. The daily menu includes six different types of jumbo chicken wings. Ten sandwiches are available. Try the Redbar burger with breaded onion, the shaved Philly beef with braised onions or, on the lighter side, the grilled chicken sandwich. All are served with hand-cut fries. Redbar has tater tots served 10 different ways. Look for daily specials. (A.M.) $-$$. FB. 212-8470

Riverwest Filling Station

701 E. Keefe Ave. Riverwest Filling Station offers up 30 taps that run the gamut across styles and breweries. Along with a wide variety of beer and spirits, Filling Station has some really fantastic food. Owner Bryan Atinsky spent more than a decade in Israel, and the influence of their cuisine is all over the menu. Try the trio of humus, babaganouj and tahina served with plenty of pita. Of course, any good corner bar that serves food should have a dope hamburger, and Filling Station meets that requirement with ease. (F.K.R.C.) $$. CC. FB. Handicap access. 906-9000

Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery

740 N. Plankinton Ave. Rock Bottom’s prime location along the river makes it one of the more attractive chain restaurants in downtown (they have 30 locations nation-wide). Housed in the handsome white stone River Bank Plaza building (built in 1912), Rock Bottom features a spacious Riverwalk dining area adjacent to public docking space. The menu is heavy on pub food but includes a wide selection of entrées. Rock Bottom also brews beer on-site and offers a long list of specialty cocktails. Their location offers a great spot to watch both people and boat-watch or to check out the artists’ entrance at the nearby Riverside Theater. (M.J.P.) $$. FB. OD. 276-3030

Safe House

779 N. Front St. The name is House—Safe House. Whether you prefer your martini shaken or stirred, Safe House offers the perfect venue for your inner spy. Featuring a secret password-required entrance, a giant wall puzzle and a bevy of vintage 007 memorabilia, this restaurant has everything a secret agent, or hungry guest, could want. Additionally, the shadowy ambiance makes Safe House the perfect place for a party—or supervillain meeting. (J.C.) $$. CC. RS. FF. FB. Handicap access. 271-2007

St. Francis Brewery & Restaurant

3825 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. The brewery produces seven of its own beers, focusing on ales and named for the Seven Deadly Sins. The menu has all the appetizers necessary for beer drinkers, from spinach and artichoke dip to chicken wings and nachos. Sandwiches include burgers, pulled pork and a Reuben. Among the entrées are chicken pot pie, baby back ribs and beer-braised beef. (J.B.) $$-$$$. FB. FF. Handicap access. 744-4448


750 N. Jefferson St. The fully renovated space boasts a long bar, stadium seating area, a concession stand window, shuffleboard and plenty of TVs in a vintage sports theme. The menu is brief and inspired by international street foods. Filipino-style pork egg rolls are served with Thai chili dipping sauce, and a large sharable mezze platter is made up of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern salads, dips and snacks. A breakfast menu is served for those early morning soccer matches, along with 30 tap beers. (L.M.) $$. FB. 808-1588

Steny’s Tavern & Grill

800 S. Second St. When folks think of the food at Steny’s, they often think of the wings—which are absolutely outstanding—but there’s an impressive menu of bar food. Case in point: the Steny Mac hamburger with lettuce, red onion, cheddar cheese and Steny sauce (sort of like a kicked up Thousand Island). The Steny sauce, in particular, has a nice pickle brightness that melds well with the meaty oomph of the half-pound patty. The Cajun Brat Burger has an Andouille sausage atop the patty, along with green and red bell peppers, caramelized onions, cheddar, and a schmear of tomato bacon jam. For sides: Steny’s has some of my favorite fries in town, but the Jamaican potato salad, with jerk seasoning, is outstanding as well. (F.K.R.C.) $-$$. CC. OD. FB. FF. Handicap access. 672-7139

Stubby’s Gastrogrub & Beer Bar

2060 N. Humboldt Blvd. There’s no doubt that the owners of Stubby’s know and love beer. Past the obvious, a beer

menu featuring 53 constantly rotating taps, there’s hardly a shelf or wall that’s not adorned with a bottle of hard-to-find brew. Stubby’s food menu is fun and adventurous as well—take the Reuben, featuring shredded ham, sauerkraut and a poached egg on rye toast. The Riverwest skillet is served in a cast-iron pan and features their special tater tots scrambled with peppers, onions, pepperjack cheese and eggs. (F.K.R.C.) $$$. RS. CC. FB. OD. Handicap access. 763-6324

Swingin’ Door Exchange

change, Tracks Tavern & Grill is a fun and weird bar that accommodates both avid sports fans and folks just looking to grab a drink and dinner. Food wise, the Iggy Pop will fill you for days with its hefty mix of roast beef, fried onions and horseradish. Less hungry folks should go for the soft pretzel bites, served with queso, which are the perfect late-night treat. (F.K.R.C.) $. CC. FF. OD. 562-2020

Valley Inn

219 E. Michigan St. How does a Downtown bar have enough staying power to last since Prohibition? By serving up some really solid food. Swingin’ Door’s menu ranges from gumbo to barbecue ribs, and everything is quite tasty. Cod and perch are the standard here, both tossed in an irregular breadcrumb coating that creates lots of crunch when fried. When it comes to sides, stick with the homemade potato chips or the unique spicy vermouth carrots. (In fact, make sure you order a side of those carrots, no matter what.) Grab the combo fry with two pieces of cod and perch plus three pieces of shrimp if you’re really hungry. (L.M.) $$. CC. FB. FF. SB. Handicap access. 276-8150

4000 W. Clybourn St. A favorite among Brewers fans for its proximity to Miller Park, the Valley Inn features comfortable seating, fair prices, a reasonable beer selection and homemade pizzas. But what caught our attention was the Valley Inn’s serious selection of sandwiches. Served on a half loaf of garlic French bread, the Valley Bomber is a delightful combination of caramelized onions, green peppers, melted mozzarella cheese and shredded beef, while the D-3 Italian chicken sandwich is a delicious take on an old favorite. Burger options are plentiful. And for those in search of something even more substantial, the Valley Inn offers chicken, shrimp and lake perch dinners served with coleslaw, rye bread and choice of potato. (E.P.) $-$$. FB. 344-1158

Tavern at Turner Hall

The Vanguard

Thistle and Shamrock

Water Street Brewery

1034 N. Vel R. Philips Ave. The restaurant inside Turner Hall downtown has reopened. The Tavern at Turner Hall is operated by Mike Eitel and his Caravan Hospitality group. The décor is vintage social club with some Cuban influences. The food menu is an eclectic mix of bar favorites, sandwiches, trendy bowls and substantial entrees. Four types of wings—from piri piri to lemon parmesan garlic—are offered. Burgers are third-pound and come with toppings like caramelized onions, pepperjack, chipotle aioli and avocado. Cubanos and brats span the sandwiches. (L.M.) $$. CC. FB. 346-0800 3430 N. 84th St. Like every good bar, this one has a standard menu of snacks, apps and sandwiches, plus lots of daily specials, which neighborhood residents seem to take most advantage of. Tuesdays are (surprise!) taco night, with your standard bar tacos of shredded chicken, iceberg lettuce, cheese and a side of salsa. Wednesdays and Saturdays feature smoked barbecue ribs and fried chicken dinners, and Thursdays are Italian night, with rotating specials like meat or vegetarian lasagna and garlic bread. Friday nights, though, are when the kitchen really shines. They go all out for fish fry, cooking up 21 different types of fish. (L.M.) $$ FB. FF. 871-3977

The Tracks Tavern & Grill

1020 E. Locust St. Just east of the Humboldt and Locust inter-


2659 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. In past years, you could get a taste of The Vanguard’s sausages at Bay View Bash, and it left people hungry for more. Once the permanent location opened in November 2014, there was already a hefty following of fans, salivating for sausages. There’s a lot to choose from: The menu lists 15 sausages plus an ever-rotating list of specials offered daily. All are homemade, with smoked sausages made by Madison’s Underground Meats (since they have proper smoking equipment) to The Vanguard’s recipe. (L.M.) $. FB. 539-3593 1101 N. Water St., 272-1195 3191 Golf Road, Delafield, 262-646-7878 2615 Washington St., Grafton, 262-375-2222 Milwaukee’s first brew pub opened on Water Street in 1987 and has expanded in the years since to Delafield and Grafton. The crowds still come for the hearty sandwiches, salads, pretzels and sausage platters. The walls are lined with Wisconsin beer memorabilia. Entrées start with salads and move upscale to barbecue ribs and rib-eye steaks. (J.B.) $$. CC. GF. FF. RS. FB. OD. LT.

The Wicked Hop

345 N. Broadway One of the noisy hubs of the Third Ward, The Wicked Hop is a comfortable corner bar making good use of its historic Cream City brick shell. Usually crowded at lunch and after work, the Hop serves quality bar food—chicken wings

DININGGUIDE and wraps, burgers and melts, a pretzel platter and excellent nachos smothered in cheddar and jalapeños. On tap is a good selection of Wisconsin and imported beers. (D.L.) $. CC. FB. OD. FF. Handicap access. 223-0345

BARBECUE Ashley’s Bar-B-Que

1501 W. Center St. At Ashley’s Bar-B-Que, takeout is the only option. But with specialties not found at bigger chain restaurants, and with a family ownership history that extends back to the 1960s, it’s an option worth taking. Ribs and barbecued goat are among the favorites. The sauce is so good it should be sold in bottles. (J.L.R.) $-$$. Cash Only. NA. Handicap access. 372-7666

Big Daddy’s Brew & Que

5800 N. Bayshore Drive A shopping mall is an unlikely setting for a barbecue joint, but this one works. They serve wood-smoked meats properly—usually dry with no sauce. Choose your sauce at the tables. Among the options are St. Louis ribs, pulled pork and chicken and beef brisket. The Pig Trough includes samples of all the meats and serves at least five diners. The bar is a fine shopping mall refuge and a place to enjoy a few beers. (J.B.) $$. CC. FB. Handicap access. 203-0404


301 W. Juneau Ave. This is a new outpost of a venerated Chicago classic. Barbecue ribs and aged steaks are the specialty. The ribs are properly smoked and the meat sticks to the bone. The steaks are succulent, though red meat is not the only thing worth ordering. Grilled salmon is a fine choice, and the roasted Greek chicken qualifies as inexpensive. Do try the big crab cake, loaded with meat, not binder. Lunch is served daily. (J.B.) $$$. CC. RS. FB. V. Handicap access. 223-3311

thrown in the smoker for an hour. The smoke practically wafts from the plate to your nose. The menu is simple, with platters, sandwiches and burgers, plus a few appetizers. A half rack of ribs paired with a half smoked chicken is truly a carnivorous meal. Sauce your meat with four homemade versions: a mustard-based Carolina, a sweet and tangy Texas, a rich Kansas City and an XXX hot. (L.M.) $$. FB. 257-9150


Famous Dave’s

Rodizio Grill

5077 S. 27th St., 727-1940 Even when they’re big cuts of meat in the smoke pit and on the grill, little things can mean a lot when it comes to barbecue. The awards case stacked in the Greenfield location of Haywardbased chain attests to the quality of the pork spareribs, beef brisket, chopped (not pulled) pork, chicken and other animal proteins served up with a smoky tang. A variety of four sauces on every table cover much of the gamut of taste and heat preferences throughout the U.S. But those littler things, the sides, set Dave’s apart. Mac ‘n’ cheese receives a Southwestern spin by the addition of corn and jalapeños amid the creamy pasta. Coleslaw is made spicy and sweet with both horseradish and pineapple juice. (J.L.R.) $$. CC. FB.

Silver Spur Texas Smokehouse Barbecue

13275 Watertown Plank Road The setting is country charm in the heart of Elm Grove, and the wood smoker produces some fine barbecue. Everything from the beef brisket to the St. Louis ribs has a great, woodsmoked flavor. The menu also features entrée salads, sandwiches and Tex-Mex entrées such as Southwest tacos and chicken-fried steak. Modest prices and a comfortable setting make this a very popular spot. (J.B.) $$. OD. FF. Handicap access. 262-821-1511

Smoke Shack

754 Vel R. Phillips Ave. Smoke. Spice. Time. Those are the three musthave ingredients to meat preparation—at least according to Brent Brashier, founder of the Doc’s Smokehouse restaurants, a growing presence in the Midwest. “We never sauce meat in the kitchen,” Brashier continues. “And while we have some great regional sauces on the table, we hope you will try the meat on its own—to taste the love and care with which it has been prepared.” (J.J.) $$. CC. FB. Handicap access. 935-2029

332 N. Milwaukee St. Simply walking into the small, rustically designed restaurant and breathing in deeply, catching the smoky, oaky smell of slow-cooked meats, is enough to make one’s mouth water in anticipation. So much of great barbecue is about texture, and both the pulled pork and the sirloin had it in spades. The pulled pork had a wonderful melt-in-your-mouth softness and a yielding quality that is exactly what you’d expect from meat that spent over half a day in a smoker. Like any good barbecue spot, Smoke Shack offers a variety of house-made sauces. (F.K.R.C.) $$-$$$. CC. OD. FB. GF. Handicap access. 431-1119

Double B’s Barbecue & Burgers

Speed Queen Bar-B-Q

Doc’s Commerce Smokehouse

7420 W. Greenfield Ave No matter what barbecue you order here, it’s going to be bursting with deep smoked flavor. This is not barbecue that’s braised first and then

1130 W. Walnut St. Speed Queen is a longtime Milwaukee institution. Various beef, pork and turkey cuts come in sandwiches and full dinners—all with sides

of coleslaw to cool off the tanginess (even the mild sauce packs a little wallop). For light eaters, portions are often hearty enough to suffice for two meals. Fried fish, baked beans and a few pie varieties are among the other options. (J.L.R.) $-$$. NA. Cash Only. 265-2900

777 N. Water St. Rodizio is one of only two spots to get your fix of Brazilian style churrascaria, a feast of roasted meats. The setting remains luxurious with spacious dining areas. The full dining experience begins with it delicious cheese bread and a massive salad bar that also includes a few hot items. Then, servers dressed as gauchos bring skewers of assorted grilled meats to be carved at the table. You will find pork, sausage, beef and poultry among the many options. Bring your appetite as the fixed price is all-you-can-eat. (L.M.) $$-$$$. CC. RS. FB. V. LB. Handicap access. 431-3106

Texas de Brazil

2550 N. Mayfair Road A carnivore’s Disneyland of woodfire grilled meat with Brazilian flair is what you will find at Texas de Brazil. The array of meat at the former location of McCormick & Schmick at Mayfair offers a unique dining experience starting before you enter the building. The savory aroma of meat cooking whets your appetite for what’s in store—an extravagant feast for your eyes and palate. Be advised: Prepare yourself for a marathon, not a sprint! The Brazilian style steak house is a one price for all you can eat and yet it is fine dining experience. Start off with one of their signature cocktails—the traditional Brazilian Caipirinha is as refreshing as the breeze off the water in the summer heat—or order by the glass from their list of premium wine. The lush salad bar overflows with fresh and original items. You could easily make a meal from the salad bar alone. (A.M.) $$$$. CC. FB. RS. GF. Handicap access. 501-7100


317 N. 76th St. The menu is expansive, well portioned and crafted with fine ingredients. When you arrive, enjoy a cup of delicious Valentine coffee and check out the glorious pastry case (think specialty items like Linzer torte and maple-bacon sugar cookies). The regular menu features something for everyone. Calorie conscious? Try the exquisite Florentine “skinny browns” with spinach, pesto


and tomato. Gluten-free? The moist, hearty house-made bread is delicious alongside eggs or as French toast. Love tender meats? The 12-hour slow cooked ham and corned beef may be the best in town. (S.M.) $-SS. CC. FB. SB. OD. Handicap access. 299-3180

Café 1505

1505 W. Mequon Road Mequon’s Café 1505 (in East Towne Square Mall) wears many hats, serving up many solutions for satisfying hunger and thirst: a sit-down, full-service café (open weekdays for breakfast and lunch and weekend brunch), an expansive deli and bakery and even a bar serving bottled beer and wines on tap. Café 1505 partners with high-quality Milwaukee businesses by offering Simma’s cakes, Fiddleheads bread, City Market pies and scones, Troubadour cookies, Valentine coffee and Rishi tea. (K.L.L.) $-$$. CC. SB. Handicap access. 262-241-7076

Café at the Plaza

1007 N. Cass St. Café at the Plaza (inside the Plaza Hotel) is a well-preserved architectural gem—a compact diner nestled between leaded glass doors and a courtyard open during the warm months. The floor is Spanish tile and the Grecian plaster friezes add to the Old World elegance. The menu, however, is contemporary with items such as a breakfast burrito, chicken baguette, salmon BLT, a vegan quinoa salad and poutine—the Canadian staple belatedly becoming popular in Wisconsin but dressed up with avocado cream and chorizo sausage gravy. Old standards remain, including burgers, corned beef, club sandwiches and grilled cheese. Many ingredients are locally sourced. (D.L.) $. FB. OD. 276-2101

Cudahy Pancake House

4753 S. Packard Ave. South Shore residents have a new option for made-to-order pancakes, waffles and (despite the restaurant’s name) a full savory menu in a casual, family-friendly setting that’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Generous stacks of pancakes are available in multi-grain, buckwheat and gluten-free. Customers can choose from a variety of waffles, including the popular banana split, served with strawberries, bananas and ice cream. Omelets also vary from basic to elaborate and include vegetarian options. Soups are made fresh daily. (S.J.) $. Handicap access. 509-5048.

First Watch Café

11032 N. Port Washington Road First Watch (in Mequon Pavilions Shopping Center) serves breakfast, lunch and brunch. Among the delightful offerings are fresh organic fruit crepes with house-made granola, wellseasoned and cheesy market hash, a pesto chicken quinoa bowl and many other healthful, innovative dishes with high-protein and low-fat

DININGGUIDE options. Fear not, creatures of habit. First Watch plays the hits as well. Classics like the Reuben sandwich, fluffy Belgian waffle and virtual buildyour-own eggs Benedict are also on tap. (K.L.L.) $. Handicap access. 262-518-0028

MidTown Grill

8913 W. North Ave. A breakfast and lunch spot opened in the former John’s Sandwich Shop. The menu focuses on breakfast, including crème brûlée, French toast with macerated berries and crème anglaise, Southern turkey sliders with deep fried turkey, over easy eggs and cranberry sage relish on biscuits, and a chorizo and avocado skillet. For lunch, there’s an ahi tuna salad, burgers and a yardbird sandwich with fried chicken, Korean sweet chili gochujang and pickles. For dessert, try a milkshake, like the s’mores made with graham crackers, chocolate sauce and marshmallow whip. (L.M.) $$. 837-6400


9405 S. 27th St. Mimosa is Franklin’s new neighborhood brunch spot and a favorite for breakfast and lunch. The menu includes international influences as well as American classics like biscuits and gravy. Greek flavors in particular permeate the menu due to owner Apostoli Evreniadis’ childhood in Greece. A Hellene omelette is folded with sautéed baby kale, imported feta cheese, and roasted red pepper sauce for a vegetarian option. The simply named shrimp omelette boasts least a half dozen large shrimp are cooked with lemon, garlic, fresh tomato and onion, then tucked in a cage-free egg omelette with cheese and topped with fresh avocado slices. (L.M.) $$. 574-5132

Miss Molly’s Café & Pastry Shop

9201 W. Center St. Fine dining pastry chef Molly Sullivan chose the location because it’s only a few blocks from where she grew up. The counter service café serves locally sourced breakfast and lunch dishes as well as pastries homemade every day. A number of savory and sweet scones, muffins, cookies, cakes and various desserts are available in the pastry case. For breakfast, there’s an egg and avocado panini with arugula and smoked cheddar and a daily quiche. At lunch, there’s a slightly larger menu, with white beans and chicken sausage, a vegan roasted carrot and farro salad and smoked trout toast with tzatziki, radish and vinaigrette. Wine and beer are served. (L.M.) $-$$. 249-5665

Original Pancake House

2621 N. Downer Ave. OPH started as a family business built on generations of hard work and has maintained its high standards and ingredients since 1953. The Original Pancake House on Downer is no exception and is one of the city’s gems for breakfast—

no matter what time of day. It’s open 7 a.m.-3 p.m., seven days a week. (A.M.) $$. Handicap access. 431-5055

Sabrosa Café & Gallery

3216 S. Howell Ave. Chef and owner Frank Sanchez returns to Bay View for Sabrosa Café & Gallery. He previously owned Taqueria Azteca, just a few blocks from his new spot. Sabrosa serves breakfast, lunch and brunch, and doubles as an art gallery for local artists. The menu features breakfast and brunch classics with some Italian and Mexican influences. Instead of biscuits, sausage gravy is served over jalapeño cornbread. The Italiano scramble riffs on caprese salad with mozzarella, arugula and heirloom tomatoes with eggs over vegetable hash. Come lunch, options include Sanchez’s popular sopa azteca, sandwiches, enchiladas and tacos. (L.M.) $-$$. 834-1929



Simple Café

2124 N. Farwell Ave. This is the Milwaukee outpost of a popular Lake Geneva café that’s open for breakfast and lunch. The menu offers mostly light and healthy fare but does include a half-pound burger. Breakfast standards like buttermilk pancakes and novelties like spicy Korean pancakes are served. With lunch come sandwiches and a dreamy smoked trout salad with roasted beets and baby spinach. All ingredients are very fresh. (J.B.) $-$$. CC. RS. SB. NA. 271-2124

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231 S. Second St. The breakfast, brunch and lunch spot is a whimsical, playful space with bright orange accent walls and colorful plates and coffee mugs. The menu includes starters, griddled items, tacos, breakfast sandwiches and benedicts. The maple bacon cinnamon pull apart bread smothered with a maple bacon glaze is an early favorite. Benedicts come in three styles: classic, poblano steak, and crab meat. Pancake sliders use pancakes as the bread in sandwiches filled with eggs, bacon, beer cheese, hash browns and strawberry jam. A donut special is available daily, with flavors like Butterfinger and strawberry mango. (L.M.) $$. CC. FB. Handicap access. 539-4179

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13425 Watertown Plank Road, Elm Grove The space has been remodeled into a modern, industrial atmosphere with sleek tables and garage doors that open in summer. The menu is divided into sweet and savory brunch sections, along with omelettes, apps, salads, sandwiches and flatbreads. Eggs benedict come three ways: traditional, salmon and Florentine, and you can try all three in a flight. On the sweet side, pancakes can be topped with mixed berries and ricotta, bacon, or bananas and walnuts. For lunch, chicken panini, blackened salmon sand-

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DININGGUIDE wich and a steak wrap are all served with fries, salad or fruit. (L.M.) $$. FB. SB. Handicap access. 262-794-3924

BRITISH Red Lion Pub

1850 N. Water St. If some Saturday morning a soccer match is broadcast internationally on the telly, Red Lion’s doors are open by 6:45 a.m., drinking is underway by 7 a.m., and the chef is fixing bangers and eggs for an early morning Match Day Menu. At 9 a.m., the full, glorious brunch menu becomes available—as it does until 3 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday. Dinner appetizers include Welsh rarebit, clam strips, mussels and a ploughman’s platter of British cheeses, Nueske’s smoked pork loin, brown bread and condiments. Fish and chips, bangers and mash, shepherd’s pie, cottage pie, chicken pot pie, Cornish pastry, salmon, pot roast and Indian veggie curry are among the classic entrées. (J.S.) $-$$. FB. SB. OD. 431-9009

Three Lions Pub

4515 N. Oakland Ave. If the accents of many of the servers and the huge British flag hanging on the wall don’t tip you to the allegiances of this welcoming pub, Three Lions’ menu will. In addition to burgers, wings and sandwiches, it’s filled with British comfort food staples like shepherd’s pie, Scotch eggs, fish and chips and, for a rich dessert, sticky toffee pudding. Soccer fans gather here for all major games (the pub opens early for big ones), and there’s entertainment many nights of the week, including trivia, live music and karaoke. (E.R.) $$-$$$. CC. FB. 763-6992


6343 N. Glendale Ave. A charming gem in Glendale, The Brick offers up a variety of takes on the hamburger. As a strong believer in ordering the dish named after the restaurant (or vice versa), I suggest The Brick Burger—sporting a hand-pattied Angus beef burger, pepper jack cheese, avocado, housemade southwest ranch sauce, and a tall pile of haystack onion rings that are really satisfying to smoosh down before you unhinge your jaw to take the first bite. I was impressed by how well the burger held together given the slipperiness of avocado. A bit messier was The Hickory Burger, topped with cheese and house-made hickory sauce—sweet and smoky. Burgers come with sides aplenty, but really, I’ve never met a tater tot I didn’t like. (F.K.R.C.) $-$$. CC. OD. FB. FF. Handicap access. 797-0710


1001 N. Old World Third St. A chain restaurant specializing in mini burgers has opened in the former Cousins Subs location on Old World Third Street. Burgerim serves up three-ounce halal beef burgers in a fast, casual setting. Burgers are served in duos ($6.99) and trios ($9.99) in any combination of toppings or proteins you like. Patty options include 28-daydry-aged beef, chicken breast, salmon and falafel, among seven others. Topping combos can be set, like the “Classic” with house sauce, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles and American cheese, or you can choose from a variety of options, like sautéed mushrooms and habanero mustard. French fries, onion rings, shakes and chicken wings are also available. (L.M.) $-$$ 800-7010

Crafty Cow

2675 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. 808-0481 153 E. Wisconsin Ave, Oconomowoc 262-354-8070 There are now two Crafty Cows southeast (Bay View) and west (Oconomowoc) of Brew City. Both restaurants are owned and operated by the same team of owners. Crafty Cow specializes in Twin Cities-style cheese-stuffed burgers called Jucy Lucys. The original Lucy is stuffed with American cheese, or you can choose from any number of variations, like the Twice Baked stuffed with white cheddar and bacon, then topped with ranch chips, bacon sour cream and caramelized onions. A portion of the menu dubbed The Great Milwaukee Project features collaboration burgers between local businesses and restaurants with proceeds going to local charities. (L.M.) $-$$.

Crave Café

3592 N. Oakland Ave. Crave Café, a small takeout spot focusing on international burgers with influences from around the globe. A Korean barbecue burger is glazed in a sweet barbecue sauce and topped with American cheese, kimchi and cabbage slaw, while the signature Crave burger comes with Swiss, arugula, caramelized onions and truffle aioli. As with all burger restaurants, fries are important here, and you can get them with your choice of four different seasonings including Cajun and cheddar. (L.M.) $. 204-8778

Cudahy Burger Joint

4905 S. Packard Ave. At Cudahy Burger Joint, one can savor burgers made from hormone-free ground chuck with fun names like Blues Man, topped with bleu cheese, bacon, an onion ring and whiskey barbecue sauce; or Macho Nacho, featuring a blend of Swiss and cheddar, tortilla strips, jalapeños, tomato, onion and chipotle mayonnaise. Burgers are served with a generous portion of lightly seasoned fries. For $2 extra, vegetarians can substitute a house-made black bean patty. Chicago

style hot dogs, fish and chicken sandwiches, salads, tater tots, poutine, cheese curds, malts and shakes round out the broad menu. (S.J.) $. 585-0066

Fatty Patty

222 E. Juneau Ave. One of the many food trucks to pop up in Milwaukee recently, Fatty Patty distinguishes itself from the pack by offering some of the most fresh-tasting, excellent hamburgers one can find in the city. Their Ring of Fire, which features a house-made beef patty, jalapenos, Swiss cheese, sriracha mayo, an onion ring and lettuce, has just enough piquancy to give it some zip, but is grounded by the beefiness of the patty, the crunch and vibrancy of the lettuce (no, really—the lettuce made the burger better and was thoughtfully incorporated, not just treated as an afterthought!), and the sweetness of the bun. The Fatty Patty burger has too many ingredients to list in the space but trust me that it’s an incredibly filling and tasty sandwich that’s worthy of naming a truck after. Fatty Patty also offers some excellent gyros and has two vegan veggie burgers, one of which—The Fryer Buyer is piled high with fried veggies. (F.K.R.C.) $. CC. Handicap access. 522-1133

Jake’s Burger

18905 W. Capitol Drive Jake’s occupies the former site of Haute Taco in Brookfield. Burgers now rule the joint but are not limited to beef. Try the tuna Niçoise, crispy cod or portabella mushroom burgers. The house specialty combines short ribs, brisket and sirloin. Burger making is taken seriously here. (J.B.) $$. CC. FB. OD. RS. Handicap access. 262-781-1110


and guacamole—runs you under $9. And these burgers are huge half pounders, too. Prices on appetizers and sandwiches are equally inexpensive, so a meal for a full group will set you back a surprisingly small amount. (L.M.) $-$$. FB. 810-1820

Oscar’s Winner’s Circle

3800 W. Burnham St. The owners of Oscar’s Pub & Grill have opened a sister restaurant. The building has been completely remodeled in a modern vintage style with large windows, long bar and side patio. Though burgers are still the focus, the menu is different from the original location, with more Mexican and international influences. The gordo burger tops the half-pound burger patty with chicharron in salsa verde, bacon, cheese and avocado, while the MKE burger is topped with bacon, fried cheese curds, fried pickles, smoked cheddar and a fried egg. Sandwiches, salads, appetizers are also available. (L.M.) $-$$. FB. 249-5701

The Ruckus

4144 N. Oakland Ave. The owners of Colectivo Coffee are branching out: They’ve opened The Ruckus, a burger, ice cream and churro spot in Shorewood. Burgers are quarter-pound and come with a variety of toppings, from the signature Ruckus burger with pork chorizo mixed right into the patty and topped with bacon, grilled pineapple and salsa, to the tamer Classic burger with cheddar, veggies, ketchup and mustard. Besides burgers, a couple of hot dogs and sides round out the menu. For dessert, freshly fried churros and various ice cream creations, like shakes and “Saturdaes” (their name for sundaes) are a sweet ending to a meal. (L.M.) $-$$. OD. 210-3408

3146 S. 27th St. In business since 1934, Mazos has the look of an old school big city lunch spot with its counter, tables and walls covered with pictures of oldtime show biz celebrities. Although they serve a good Ruben, a BLT and a grilled cheese sandwich, Mazos is chiefly known for its selection of some 10 burgers made from meat ground daily. Ample and flavorful, the burgers are served with American or crinkle-cut French fries and a choice of one other side. How many trendy restaurants offer baked beans, applesauce, cottage cheese or chicken soup along with their burgers? Mazos beats any trendy newcomer hands down. (D.L.) $. CC. 671-2118

Shake Shack

Oscar’s Pub & Grill

1900 W. St. Paul Ave., 931-1919 1601 W. Wells St., 933-1601 10352 N. Port Washington Road, 262-236-9899 Sobelmans serves some of the best burgers in town, at least in part on account of a good bakery. The one-third pounder, cooked on an open grill is a fine accessory for a beer, a shot or

1712 W. Pierce St. Not to be confused with the custard stands, Oscar’s is a full service bar known for its burgers, beer selection, and cheap prices. You can get a burger here, with homemade fries, for about $6. A specialty burger—topped with all kinds of things like bacon, cheeses, chorizo, pineapple


220 E. Buffalo St. The signature ShackBurger is pretty as a picture, with a thin burger patty served seared-side up, a generous slice of yellow American cheese melted over it, exactly two slices (always two) of Roma tomato, a light smear of tangy mayo-based ShackSauce, and a single green lettuce leaf, frilly side out, all photogenically bursting from the waxed paper pouch it’s served in. The brat burger, the chain’s Milwaukee-only offering, tops a beef patty with a Usinger’s jalapeño cheddar brat that’s been butterflied and griddled. (L.M.) CC. $-$$. 509-1080


DININGGUIDE even a cocktail. The original Sobelmans is a great place to get lost on the way to Potawatomi. The Marquette venue is popular with students, and Sobelmans continues to expand, having now opened a new place in Mequon. (D.L.) $. CC. FF. FB. OD.

Solly’s Grille

4629 N. Port Washington Road There are a few local spots that are famed for their hamburgers. One of the oldest is Solly’s Grille, in business since 1936. The interior is a classic lunch counter in the shape of a double horseshoe. The burgers are 100% sirloin, but that is not the only key to a Solly’s burger. They are prepared with a lot of butter. Try the Double Solly, which is a bit bigger with a one-thirdpound patty. These burgers have a buttery richness that Paula Deen would surely love. (J.B.) $. CC. FF. Handicap access. 332-8808

Stack’d Burger Bar

170 S. First St. Stack’d bills itself as a burger bar, but the feel is more like a lounge in a setting of Rust Belt chic. Burgers are the specialty; a decent mac ‘n’ cheese is another option. Some appetizers arrive in tall stacks, like the loaded fries and the great, thickcut onion rings. This is a nice setting for a glass of wine or one of the well-chosen beers. There are also milkshakes available. Try a chocolate truffle—alcohol-free or spiked. (J.B.) $-$$. CC. OD. GF. FB. Handicap access. 273-7800

CARIBBEAN Jewels Caribbean Restaurant

2230 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive The space is full of tropical color, including a blue bar top inlaid with seashells. Cuisine from St. Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica is served for lunch, dinner and brunch. Curried goat is served with rice and peas (aka kidney beans) and ground provisions (root vegetables), as is chicken that can be stewed, curried or jerked. Specialty cocktails include rum punch, mojitos and a banana cabana. (L.M.) $$-$$$. 585-0678

CAJUN Maxie’s

6732 W. Fairview Ave. Most people think of Maxie’s as a Cajun restaurant, but they consider themselves a Southern restaurant and have expanded their BBQ offerings. Unlike most barbecue spots, you can get various different regional styles of barbecue here, from eastern North Carolina to Kansas City. Pulled pork is my favorite here, with its tangy, vinegar-based NC sauce and baked beans. Ribs come in Memphis and St. Louis style and brisket comes with Kansas City-style sauce. They’ve

got some of the best BBQ sides here, like corn and arugula salad with buttermilk dressing, red beans and rice and maple braised collard greens. The cornbread is of the sweet variety, so while it may make Southerners squirm, it’s amazing spread with the accompanying orange honey butter. (L.M.) $$-$$$. CC. RS. FB. FF. Handicap access. 292-3969

Located in the building that once housed Tulip, it has a fun new vibe with a dragon on the wall, a pergola along the hallway and the illuminated DanDan sign (in Chinese) that makes the red walls glow like warm embers. It’s all reminiscent of walking down a street in Chinatown. (A.M.) 488-8036

On the Bayou

3600 N. Oakland Ave. Dark and old-fashioned, East Garden’s dining room is a bit of an afterthought since so many patrons of this Shorewood institution opt for delivery or takeout, though those who do dine in will be greeted by fast, friendly service. Whether you eat it there or take it to go, the food is fresher and less greasy than most Chinese American restaurants, and the menu hides some truly unexpected vegetarian options, including a meaty, sesame chicken-style tofu dish like little else found at other area Chinese restaurants. (E.R.) $$. CC. RS. FB. 962-7460

2053 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive A new Southern and Cajun restaurant is open in the Bronzeville neighborhood just north of Downtown. On the Bayou specializes in Cajun and Creole seafood and other Southern favorites in a festive, New Orleans-themed atmosphere. Entrees include blackened catfish with garlic butter, andouille grits and sautéed kale, fried chicken marinated in garlic and rosemary, and seafood gumbo with crab meat, shrimp, chicken and andouille. Brunch is available on Sundays with entrées like deep fried Cajun fish and shrimp and grits, and all come with salad and dessert bar. (L.M.) $$-$$$. SB. 509-8932

CHINESE China Gourmet

117 E. Wells St. China Gourmet is a Downtown mainstay and go-to place for those with theater plans. They’re right across the street from The Rep and the Pabst Theater, only one block south of the Marcus Center and abutting Off the Wall Theatre. What’s more, they offer a “Show-Goer Special” if you present them with your evening’s tickets. In addition to a lunch buffet and Sunday brunch— and unlike many Chinese restaurants—China Gourmet also has dinner buffets on all Friday and Saturday evenings. (J.J.) $$. CC. FB. LB. SB. Handicap access. 272-1688

Chinese Pagoda

7200 W. North Ave. For more than 50 years, the Chinese Pagoda has been serving up solid Cantonese fare. Bright green booths and dark paneled walls are what you’d expect to see in such a long-standing, traditional operation. A full menu is available, but the lunch or dinner buffet is popular with the clientele and one of the best deals in town. The broccoli and beef, General Tso’s chicken and fresh, crispy, Canton fried chicken are standouts. Service is pleasant and attentive. (S.H.G.) $-$$. CC. FB. FF. RS. Handicap access. 774-8400


360 E. Erie St. DanDan is named after not only a Chinese noodle dish but the two extraordinary chefs, Dan Jacobs and Dan Van Rite, who have poured their heart and soul (along with an homage to food from childhood memories) into an exciting menu.

East Garden

Emperor of China

1010 E. Brady St. A perennial favorite in Shepherd Express readers’ polls, Emperor of China has been a standout since the day it opened. The interior resembles an Oriental Deco grotto with textured walls, low ceiling and an elegant arrangement of Oriental artifacts. Soft Chinese music plays in the background. Service is prompt and friendly, and the food is freshened with good ingredients. Portions are generous and modestly priced. (D.L.) $$. CC. RS. FB. Handicap access. 271-8889

Fortune Chinese Restaurant

2945 and 5512 S. 108th St., 328-9890 and 529-9988 Fortune Chinese Restaurant is a rare bird: A Chinese restaurant with real Chinese dishes, not just those ubiquitous and ultimately uninteresting Chinese-American staples to be found elsewhere. Indeed, they have a totally separate menu dedicated to the real McCoy, and I can’t emphasize it strongly enough that this is the menu to choose for your repast. Here you’ll find such as jellyfish, essence of fish soup with diced chicken, deep-fried pork intestines, sautéed and sliced squid, preserved mustard pickles and pork noodle soup and a Buddhist-style vegetable stew. (J.J.) $$-$$$. CC.

Huan Xi

2428 N. Murray Ave. Those with especially hearty appetite opt for the hot pot, available a la carte or buffet style. That steamy, piping receptacle can come filled with any of 25 different vegetables, nine varieties of soup, 12 sorts of meat (six of them pork) and multiple types of meatballs, tofu, mushrooms, seafood and noodles. Entrées explore flavors, textures and ingredients few Asian eateries in Milwaukee offer. Diners can also find many


familiar soups, sweet & sour offerings, shrimp, beef, chicken, roast pork and vegetarian main courses. (J.L.R.) $-$$. NA. 906-8888


207 E. Buffalo St. A busy Downtown spot for carryout and sit-down lunches, Jing’s features a Chinese American buffet with few surprises in its selection of pork-fried rice, egg drop soup and crab Rangoon—think Asian comfort food. The flavors are distinct and ordering from the menu has gained in popularity. The setting is modern and elegant with an exposed brick outer wall and pastel plaster minimally adorned with framed calligraphy. Jing’s also has a Special Menu with traditional Shanghai fare. (D.L.) $$. CC. LB. Handicap access. 271-7788

Lucky Liu’s

1664 N. Van Buren St. Are you torn between an order of Kung Pao shrimp and a California roll? Then Lucky Liu’s is the place for you—the menu’s half Japanese and half Chinese. They also offer delivery of the entire menu (have their fire dragon maki roll at home). The Japanese side is mainly sushi and sashimi. The Chinese is more extensive, with a fine ma po tofu and bacon pan-fried shrimp made with a skillful dark sauce. Prices are on the low end, especially for lunch. Everything is prepared to order. (J.B.) $-$$ CC. Handicap access. 223-1699

Peking Chef

8673 N. Port Washington Road Judge a book by its cover, and you might miss out on some of the best dishes at Peking Chef. If you stick to the Chinese-American food that the restaurant’s name implies, you’ll eschew the best section of the menu: Indonesian cuisine. , this small family-run spot in Fox Point is the only restaurant specializing in Indonesian cooking in the area. It’s well worth the trip up I-43 to experience food you’ve never had before, plus high quality versions of some of your favorite Thai and Chinese-American dishes. (L.M.) $$. 228-8222


11120 W. Bluemound Road Peony is the place for good, old-fashioned Chinese American food in Wauwatosa, offering a wide variety of dishes and dim sum seven days a week. They offer online ordering and delivery within a five-mile radius; Peony offers traditional Cantonese, Szechwan, Hunan and Mandarin entrées, appetizers, salads and seafood. Their dim sum is a specialty here and is not to be missed— sticky rice and chicken ensconced in lotus leaves, ha gao, char sui bao, stuffed eggplant and sui mai are stand-outs. (J.J.) $-$$. CC. OD. FB. Handicap access. 443-6455

DININGGUIDE P.F. Chang’s China Bistro

2500 N. Mayfair Road Yes, it’s a chain, and yes, it’s in a shopping mall (Mayfair), but P.F. Chang is a really good restaurant for Chinese and Asian fusion cuisine in a gorgeous, high-energy setting and with a modern, inventive twist. Here you’ll find lettuce wraps and street tacos; of the latter, there’s Jicama—either with wild-caught lobster, shrimp, red onion and Fresno peppers or Kung Pao chicken, crushed peanuts and cool cucumber slices. Virtually every menu item excites the eye and palate, and all are generously portioned and nicely presented. Hunan dragon wings, cauliflower tempura, edamame, banana spring rolls... great place for something a tad different. Look for the big stone horses! (J.J.) $$. CC. FB. Handicap access. 607-1029

Sze Chuan

11102 W. National Ave. Owners Sun Yin and Luo Shungui are both from China’s Sichuan. The full service restaurant joins a strip mall that also houses a Chinese grocer and bakery, making it a destination for Chinese in the city. The menu is large and spans from ChineseAmerican favorites like crab rangoon to more traditional dishes like map tofu with ground pork. Dry pot and stone pot dishes, which encompass stews and stir fries, include duck wing dry pot and squid dry pot. Cumin pork knuckle and fish in chili bean sauce can be found on the Sichuan special section of the menu. A full menu of meats such as homemade beef meatballs, seafood and vegetables can be ordered to cook in the boiling broth at the table. The flavor of the broth changes throughout the meal as diners add more items. (L.M.) $$. 885-0856

William Ho’s

3524 N. Oakland Ave. This longstanding Shorewood restaurant serves quintessential Chinese-American food but stands out for its specialties: a bargain lunch buffet, inspired vegetarian options (which include orange-chicken-style tofu and a tofu casserole) and particularly its seafood menu. Fresh lobster and crab are served steamed or stir-fried (and at generous prices), and the shrimp is plump and well-prepared. Even with its colorful Chinese decorations, William Ho’s dining room is a little dark and dusty, so many regulars opt for takeout or delivery. (E.R.) $. CC. LB. RS. FB. 963-9781


3329 W. Lisbon Ave. Amaranth Bakery is everything that a bakery should be, with the charming feel of an old

friend who happens to be an exceptional baker. Amaranth has been around since 2006, has built up a word-of-mouth buzz, created some loyal brand-ambassadors and is more focused on producing high-quality bakery items with organic and fair-trade ingredients than establishing market ubiquity. It’s a gem waiting to be discovered. (E.E.) $. CC. 934-0587

Anodyne Coffee Roasters

2920 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., 489-0765 224 W. Bruce St., 276-8081 Big, sunny windows bring light into the cleanly designed interior of this coffeemaker-cum-coffee shop. A wide variety of tea is also on tap along with bagels and other bakery. The low hum of the coffee grinders doesn’t disturb the relaxed, conversational ambience. (D.L.) $. CC. Handicap access.

Avenue Coffee House

911 Milwaukee Ave., South Milwaukee The main seating area is a warm, stylish mix of mid-century modern furniture, fun baubles and artwork. Chalkboards above an intimate serving counter display the array of coffee drinks available, and the friendly staff answers any questions about the items. Avenue serves Anodyne coffee, Rishi tea and bakery from Troubadour. In addition to straight up coffee, espresso, lattes, mocha or cold drinks, customers can choose from a specialty drinks board.. (S.J.) $. OD. 608285-2069

Bella Caffe

189 N. Milwaukee St., 273-5620 3815 N. Brookfield Road, 262-781-4521 Coffee of all kinds, tea and cider, bakery and sundaes, sandwiches and salads: Bella Caffe has many of the usual coffeehouse flavors. It’s also one of Milwaukee’s (and Brookfield’s) most attractive coffee shops. Bella’s high-fashion tables, chairs and comfortable seating areas, and its futuristic lighting fixtures are retro futurism at its finest; a gem of urban design. (D.L.) $. CC.

Brewed Café

1208 E. Brady St. This Historic Brady Street attraction’s bright purple façade is hard to miss. The interior—also vibrant, furnished with comfortable recycled chairs and festooned with tinsel, stained glass, beads and local artists’ work—is hardly less eye-catching. As for the menu, expect hearty, healthy fare, including sandwiches, wraps, burritos, flatbread pizza, soups and salads. The coffee run-down is respectable with tasty seasonal selections. Hip and centrally located, Brewed Café is the perfect place to study, socialize or simply take in the appetizing sights and smells. (S.M.) $. CC (Visa, Mastercard). OD. 276-2739

City Market

2205 E. Capitol Drive, 962-0100 8700 W. Watertown Plank Road, 479-0479 527 E. Silver Spring Drive, 332-0300 City Market’s locations are bustling places humming with conversation. The coffee-sandwich shops serve Stone Creek along with a variety of tastefully composed breakfast and lunch specials, salads and pasta dishes. An array of delectable baked goods and desserts are on display. (J.B.) $. CC. NA. Handicap access.

City.Net Café

306 E. Wisconsin Ave. With a mirrored wall, portraits of jazz greats and a wide gamut of jazzy sounds coursing through its cozy confines, City.Net Café has a cosmopolitan, yet comfy take on a breakfast-lunch nook and coffee house. City.Net relies on a unique menu and the ability to prepare their several single-source and blended bean java varieties via their own in-house Abyssinia Coffee Roasters. Among their samiche (not sandwich) creations is a satisfying salmon and egg Panini, its fillings dusted with dried basil and served with a side of sweet syrup for dipping. Swap tomato for the egg, and it becomes a lunch item. Daily soups selections and specials such as rice and beans also figure into the midday fare. (J.L.R.) $. 336-1723

Colectivo Coffee Roasters

170 S. First St., 765-9873 223 E. St. Paul Ave., 220-8330 777 E. Wisconsin Ave., U.S. Bank Building, 225-8970 1211 Washington St., Grafton, 262-377-5183 1701 N. Lincoln Memorial Drive, 223-4551 2211 N. Prospect Ave., 273-3753 2301 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., 744-6117 2999 N. Humboldt Blvd., 292-3320 4500 N. Oakland Ave., 312-8295 5735 N. Bayshore Drive, Bayshore Town Center, 967-5754 6745 W. Wells St., 453-4800 9125 W. North Ave., Suite 101, 259-7948 11205 Cedarburg Road, Mequon, 262-302-4051 Formerly known as Alterra, Colectivo has become a local empire rivaling Starbucks in our area. Their brands of coffee are sold in stores and served in restaurants with success following wherever they open an outlet. Serving coffees, smoothies and signature drinks, Colectivo’s rustic-meets-industrial interiors make it a perfect place to curl up with a paper or a laptop. A mix of herbal teas completes Colectivo’s drink list; bakery and sandwiches are served. (D.L.) $. CC. OD. Handicap access.


Cranky Al’s

6901 W. North Ave. The “cranky” in Cranky Al’s doesn’t refer to the customers that find the place closed during normal business hours—not only is Al shut down on Monday, it’s closed from noon-4 p.m. TuesdaySunday—but to the “hand-cranked” donuts that are the coffeehouse’s signature. The donuts have a deliciously lighter texture than the factoryproduced competition, and they aren’t the only good thing on the menu of bakery, sandwiches and salads. Wednesday-Saturday from 4-8 p.m., Al cranks out homemade pizza with an array of toppings—everything from pineapple to anchovies. (D.L.) $-$$. 258-5282

Dream Lab

327 W. National Ave. The inconspicuous occupant on the block across from Bradley Tech is a hybrid coffee shop/craft beer bar/gallery space. Dream Lab serves Counter Culture Coffee and East Side Bakery along with brews by Third Space Brewing, Milwaukee Brewing Company and Eagle Park Brewing (plus that old Milwaukee fave, PBR). Work by local painters and muralists cover the wall. It’s a comfortable space where you can pull out your paints, create and have an inspiring conversation along with a muffin, an espresso or a beer. (D.L.) $. 210-4104

Fuel Café

818 E. Center St. 374-3835 630 S. Fifth St. 847-9580 For hellacious menu spice, try the homemade vegan chili, or maybe the Garden of Eatin’ sandwich slathered with jalapeño cream cheese. The bottom line and the starting line at the Center Street location is motorcycle racing. Trippy motorcycle cartoons adorn the booth seats, and magazines on a rack range from Maximum Rock ’n’ Roll to Classic Bike; dirt bike racing photos cover the walls. At Fuel’s South Side spot, however, the somewhat grimy ambiance of the Riverwest location is replaced by a spacious bar and restaurant with an ultra-modern design akin to Fuel’s sister restaurants, the Bel Air Cantinas. Its menu is generally fresher and greener than most comfort food in its price range. A wall lists 15 craft beers on tap and a selection of wines. (K.L.; E.R.) $-$$. CC. Handicap access.

Hi-Fi Café

2640 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. Brightly decorated and inviting, this decidedly retro coffee shop in the Bay View neighborhood serves up hefty sandwiches in addition to organic, fair-trade coffee drinks, malts and baked goods. Vegetarians are particularly well served by a menu that offers veggie chili, falafel pitas, garden burgers and several other cheese and vegetable sandwiches (including a humus pita and a provolone muffalata with olive pepper salad). Breakfast options, such as omelets, eggs

DININGGUIDE Benedict and a loaded breakfast burrito, are served until noon on weekdays and 1 p.m. on weekends. (E.R.) $. Cash Only. SB. OD. 486-0504

The Hudson

310 E. Buffalo St. It’s airy and pleasant place: The tall windows at Hudson reach 15 feet toward the ceiling, filling the “coffee wine bar” with more than enough light to sustain the potted plants on every table. But there’s more to be had than coffee and wine at the industrial chic corner in the Third Ward. Hudson also serves breakfast, sandwiches, salads and from-scratch soups. The Wake-n-Bake exemplifies the café’s approach to food: a nicely presented vegetarian omelet served with fruit and hearty Italian toast. Sandwiches and salads are ample and full of fresh and often interesting pairings of ingredients. Hudson is unique in the neighborhood for its attractively designed business lounge with work stations and office space. (D.L.) CC. FB. OD. 220-9460

Java Train

4825 N. 132nd St., Butler Java Train is a comfortable community hangout as well as a coffee and sandwich shop. The home cooking is reason to drive a little out of your way, especially the delicious daily soup specials and sandwiches like the ones mom made. (D.L.) $. CC. OD. 262-781-9555

La Finca Coffee House

3558 E. Sivyer Ave., St. Francis La Finca serves a Mexican-inspired menu of coffee drinks, hot food and bakery. The building is just off of Lake Drive and faces Lake Michigan, providing an aesthetic view. Inside, the cocoa-toned walls, wood tables and soothing world sounds from the stereo give a warm yet sophisticated ambiance. (S.J.) $-$$. CC. Handicap access. 394-0722

The National

839 W. National Ave. The National has gained a cult following based on Chef Nell Benton’s innovative and inspired culinary style. The menu is an eclectic mix as it’s one of the few places where you can order inventive breakfast dishes, tonkotsu ramen (Benton actually had a ramen cookbook published in 2015), or delectable hot and cold sandwiches with high-quality proteins paired with complementary flavors that pop. Keep in mind that seating at The National is limited, and it tends to attract a crowd of culinary connoisseurs during brunch time on weekends. (E.E.) $. CC. 431-6551

Rochambo Coffee & Tea House

1317 E. Brady St. With its funky bohemian atmosphere, secondstory mezzanine and unique collection of art posters from the 1960s and ’70s, Rochambo’s ambiance stands out among local coffee shops. Wine and a small sandwich menu round out the

list of coffee and tea. Recent additions include a specialty drinks such as a latte made with raw local honey and an iced coffee-rumchata combo. (D.L.) $. CC. 291-0095

offered and available snackage includes freshly made pastries, yogurt and fruit. (S.M.) $. CC. NA. Handicap access.

Rocket Baby Bakery

2699 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. Sven’s has done Herculean work to make the interior of the Bay View venue resemble an Amsterdam café, complete with long benches, wooden furniture and a nook with fireplace. Along with an array of tea and coffee drinks and scrumptious bakery, Sven’s offers a hearty sandwich-salad menu with such Euro-inspired options as the Bastille (turkey sandwich), the Autobahn (ham), the Parthenon (Greek salad) and the Coliseum (Caesar). Opens early for breakfast. (D.L.) $. CC. OD. 483-2233

6822 W. North Ave. The interior has the classic feel of an early 20thcentury bakery with tile floors, marble counters and wooden ceilings. The front window includes a display of European-style bread baked on-site. The bakery also serves as a café and offers locally roasted Anodyne coffee. Choose from croissants, scones or a cookie for a snack. (J.B.) $. 502-7323

Sherman Perk Coffee Shop

4924 W. Roosevelt Drive Sherman Perk Coffee Shop would make a great setting for a sitcom. There’s always unique activity in the quirky little community hub, whether it be live music, their Saturday specialty omelets, or (during the season) Sunday Packer parties. Though it’s a bit off the beaten path, it has a unique charm that makes it worth a trip. (E.E.) $. CC. OD. 875-7375

600 East Café

600 E. Wisconsin Ave. 600 East Café is an attractively rehabbed space. It has wooden floors, exposed brick outer walls, an open-beamed ceiling and a short list of sandwiches, salads and wraps along with daily specials and a changing contingent of soups. The cheese melt ($6.79) is a classic on toast updated with mozzarella and provolone along with oldschool cheddar. Twists on such favorites include a Caprese melt with mozzarella, Roma tomatoes and basil on a ciabatta roll. Bakery and coffee from various local vendors is served. 600 East Café is open weekdays 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eat in or carry out. (D.L.) $. 224-6594

Stone Creek Coffee

158 S. Barclay St., Radio Milwaukee, 270-0028 275 W. Wisconsin Ave., Grand Avenue Skywalk, 298-9965 422 N. Fifth St., 270-1008 601 E. Silver Spring Drive, 332-2285 1043 E. Summit Ave., Oconomowoc, 262-569-7375 2266 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., 481-4215 2744 Hillside Drive, Delafield, 262-646-2241 4106 N. Oakland Ave., 964-1608 6969 N. Port Washington Road, 228-8699 8340 W. Bluemound Road, 443-1302 One of several area locations, Stone Creek’s remodeled Factory Store is perfect for a studious nosh or coffee with friends. This spacious, Cream City-brick establishment boasts two levels, a fireplace and a rentable conference room. Approximately 20 blend and single-origin coffees are available. The Milwaukee Blend is a smooth standard with great body. A respectable array of barista drinks and Rishi teas are

Sven’s European Café


1751 N. Farwell Ave. Ardent works like this: a tasting menu is set for each seating. What you get varies based on what’s available seasonally and from local farms. When you roll into Ardent, all you know is you’re going to get full-on tasty food. I suggest, when you eat there, that you go for it and choose the pairing menu, in which a beverage (beer, wine, or champagne in my experience) is tied with each dish. Although the food is killer, the pairings, which were heavily skewed French and were all tasty, did complement and converse with the dishes in ways that gave them an extra dimension. (F.K.R.C.) $$$. CC. FB. 897-7022


925 E. Wells St. Bacchus is an expensive place that has it all: a setting overlooking Lake Park, a spacious and luxurious interior, an innovative contemporary American menu and fine service to match. The small touches, like flatware being replaced at every course, justify the expense. Dinner entrées include a selection of steaks, other meats and seafood. This is a very worthy restaurant in a setting it deserves. (J.B.) $$$$. CC. FB. RS. Handicap access. 765-1166


1716 N. Arlington Place Kind women run this place with grace and good humor. If you don’t know wines, enjoy a word with the knowing staff; they’ll bring you something you’ll love and can afford. The chef is also excellent. The small plate menu offers unique treats beautifully presented, made with healthful, scrumptious ingredients. Many quiet and often romantic happy hour conversations are held here. Seating arrangements, lighting and acoustics help us focus and communicate. As do drinks. (J.S.) $$-$$$. CC. FB. OD. Handicap access. 755-0099


Beerline Café

2076 N. Commerce St. If you’re looking for a café with integrity where the food is good, the price reasonable and the atmosphere simple, relaxed and relaxing, the Beerline Café is entirely worth the hunt. This all-vegetarian restaurant, open mornings through evenings seven days a week, is named for its neighborhood where a railroad spur called the Beerline B once carried supplies along the Milwaukee River to the city’s historic breweries. Crepes, savory or sweet, are the specialty; and the café’s unique crepe variant, the cromelette, an omelet made on the crepe maker with a variety of carefully prepared and creative fillings. (J.S.) $-$$. OD. GF. 265-5644

Birch + Butcher

459 E. Pleasant St. Birch + Butcher has managed to perfectly marry contemporary and primitive styles in both décor and food. It is “live fire” cooking at its finest; bringing classic dishes to the forefront with modern translation, using many techniques combined with the wood fire cooking. The dinner menu has many shareable items and is designed for family style dining and tasting. One would expect Birch + Butcher to be heavy on the meat, but we found so many items under the side dish category with vegetables, grains and seeds that Birch + Butcher could be considered a destination where vegetarians can enjoy a hearty and creative meal. (A.M.) $$-$$$. CC. FB. SB. RS. GF. Handicap access. 323-7372


207 W. Freshwater Way The aptly named Bowls, a fast-casual restaurant in Walker’s Point, has an entire menu dedicated to smoothie bowls, grain and green bowls and even soup. Cuisines of the world are represented among 10 different grain bowls. Other creative grain bowl choices include the Mediterranean Tuna Bowl, with seared Ahi tuna, tomatoes, olives, fingerling potatoes, greens and goat cheese, topped with cilantro lime dressing; the Teriyaki Bowl, featuring rice, marinated tofu, pineapple, broccoli, red peppers, mushrooms, scallions and cilantro. (S.J.) $-$$. CC. GF. Handicap access. 800-5667


1101 S. Second St. Braise combines a cooking school with a restaurant. The chef-owner—active in the locally sourced ingredient movement—has put together a frequently changing menu with exceptional results. The restaurant has a rustic front bar and a dining room dominated with two communal tables constructed from the wood of bowling alleys formerly housed in the building. The menu changes daily due to the availability of the freshest ingredients. (J.B.) $$-$$$. CC. FB. Handicap access. 212-8843

DININGGUIDE Café Calatrava

700 N. Art Museum Drive Café Calatrava is a hidden gem located on the ground floor of the Milwaukee Art Museum with modern lines and floor to ceiling windows that give a stunning view of lake Michigan. The menu offers a variety of options from light bites like the beetroot salad with soft egg to the heartier shrimp fettuccine or the grass fed burger. The menu isn’t massive but includes many vegetarian and gluten free items. If you need a break in between taking in the artwork, try one of the house prepared desserts as a delightful little pick me up or enjoy their Sunday brunch while taking in the breathtaking view and people watching. The menu changes often and is seasonal, using many locally sourced ingredients. (A.M.) $$. SB. Handicap access. 224-3200

Company Brewing

735 E. Center St. The new kid in Riverwest has come out of the gate swinging, featuring excellent food and a wide variety of beer, wine and tap cocktails. Company offers appetizers and around 15 dishes in vegetable, meat, fish and sandwich categories. Try the Company Burger topped with Le Cabrie cheese and caramelized onions and served on an English muffin. Their best beer is Riverwest Backyard Hops Pale Ale, brewed exclusively with hops grown in the backyards of Riverwesters. Look for its return in summer 2016. (F.K.R.C.) $-$$. FB. Handicap access. 930-0909

Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants

15 S. Moorland Road Entered from the Brookfield Square parking lot, Cooper’s Hawk is both a compact wine shop and an expansive restaurant whose interior suggests a winery in the San Fernando Valley. The menu hits all major food groups, with burgers and sandwiches, soups and salads, and entrées of chicken, fish and beef. Contemporary touches, such as garlic mayo and braised tuna tacos, abound. Service is friendly and efficient at this local venue of a growing national chain. Wine, of course, is the recommended beverage. (D.L.) $$-$$$. CC. OD. RS. Handicap access. 262-7859463

Elsa’s on the Park

833 N. Jefferson St. After more than 30 years in the same downtown spot, Elsa’s classic, never-out-of-fashion look has endured. Patrons are met with a warm ambiance despite the cold hard surfaces of terrazzo floors and marble-topped tables. The menu is simple yet delicious. Tempting deserts are displayed on the menu’s first page, with the bold declaration: “Life is short. Order desert first.” What follows are unique takes on American comfort food, such as the Greek maiden burger marinated in white wine and topped with feta cheese and black

olives. (D.L.) $$. CC. FB. FF. LT. Handicap access. 765-0615

Firefly Urban Bar & Grill

7754 Harwood Ave. The plates range from small to large. Start with crab cakes, calamari or mushroom risotto lollipops and move on to black truffle flatbread, grilled tenderloin or something spicy like jalapeño and parmesan pork chops. The Firefly is a great setting for a relaxing evening. (J.B.) $$-$$$. CC. FB. OD. Handicap access. 431-1444

Glass + Griddle

1130 N. Ninth St. What I love about Glass + Griddle’s menu is that it taps into bar food, but with a modern twist. It’s food that we all love to eat during a game and comfort food for a casual lunch or dinner. You can have oysters from the raw bar, served with cocktail, mignonette and fresh horseradish. Burgers + Sandwiches range from a beef patty burger or the fancy half- pound burger with the addition of beer cheese, onions and sun dried tomato ketchup. The Lamb Merguez with feta cheese and pickled veggies and a fried egg was worth the trip. (A.M.) $$. CC. FB. OD. SB. FF. RS. GF. Handicap Access. 988-1551

Hi Hat Lounge/The Garage

1701 N. Arlington Place Alike in originality, contrasting in atmosphere, the conjoined pubs offer affordable, high-quality comfort food daily until midnight. Classic and innovative craft cocktails made with fresh ingredients and a good selection of beers are served in both rooms. The low-key elegance of the architecturally stunning Lounge facilitates conversation, and the handmade conservationist décor of The Garage is a pleasant conversation topic. Every demographic is welcome at this popular Brady Street landmark with occasional live jazz and The Garage’s big screen TV. (J.S.) $$. CC. FB. FF. OD. SB. LT. 225-9330


2643 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. Honeypie offers daytime, nighttime, and brunch menus, and as their name suggests, baked goods are winning items. If you go for dinner, consider the chicken and biscuit pie. The rich, delicate biscuit is enveloped by a tangy stew in harmonized proportion. Another popular entre, the cornish pasty features seasonal fillings in a buttery, flaky pie crust. The beverage menu includes several signature drinks and a beer and wine list. Honeypie takes pride in sourcing their menu from local farmers and making eco-friendly choices, such as serving their drinks without straws. The key lime pie’s creamy filling is light, and the brightness of the citrus packs a full flavor profile alongside the salt and butter of the crumble crust. (S.J.) $$. CC. FB. SB. 489-7437


1600 N. Jackson St. A café by day and restaurant by night has opened in the former Pleasant Kafe space. Interval is operated by the guys behind Pilcrow Coffee and aims to be a casual meeting space for the neighborhood all day long. Breakfast includes homemade biscuits, served with or without sausage, banana bread, and nitro, pour-over, espresso and Brazilian drinks. At dinner, the atmosphere will remain relaxed and comfortable in the minimalist space, while the menu will serve upscale small plates, pastas and larger plates for sharing. Dishes will change frequently, but expect items like pork belly with popped sorghum, vegetable salads with black garlic, pork fat madelines with cheese foam, and steak tartare, all around $10. (L.M.) $-$$$


139 E. Kilbourn Ave. With its serene, uncluttered décor, Kil@wat is the star of the InterContinental Hotel. The menu wanders from homey fair to trendy items such as seared scallops, polenta cakes and beet salad. Remember the classic Big Boy double-decker burger? It’s on the menu! (J.B.) $$$-$$$$. CC. Handicap access. 291-4793


2535 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. Kindred is a warm space to get together for innovative cocktails and modern twists on classic food. The chef’s natural approach to food and locally sourced ingredients shine through in each creative and flavorful dish. The menu is broken down into three sections starting with the many options under the heading Gather. These not-sosmall plates are perfect for sharing. In the Dine section of larger plates the black angus burger ($13) tops the list of musts. The last section is called Indulge—and you must! The cinnamon sugar crullers ($7) with a coffee crème anglaise finish the meal on a sugary high note. (A.M.) $$. CC. FB. SB. GF. V. handicap access. 446-3640

The Knick

1030 E. Juneau Ave. The floors and metal-edged tables are retro dinette, but the colors are bright and contemporary, with rich burnished gold, ruby red and azure blue. Sinuous wood partitions provide privacy for diners. The menu includes sumptuous appetizers, salads, sandwiches and entrées. The bar is well stocked and martini friendly. (J.B.) $$-$$$. CC. FB. OD. 272-0011

Lazy Susan MKE

2378 S. Howell Ave. Lazy Susan, the cozy restaurant in Bay View, is aptly named with its atmosphere of hospitality and shared family meals. The cuisine, however, is modern. The menu changes constantly, sometimes on a daily basis, depending on what’s


available and fresh. It’s divided into sections of starters and “mains” (entrées). All dishes are meant for sharing. (L.M.) CC. FB. SB. RS (telephone only). 988-7086

Merriment Social

240 E. Pittsburgh Ave. Entering the expansive space gives you the feeling of walking into a hosted party where you are the guest of honor. The bright lights and artwork on the wall add to the soft industrial feel. The craft cocktails are creative libations that are a generous pour and have fun signature names. There is an Americanized dim sum cart, several vegan and fish entrées, a superb hamburger and wonderful desserts. (A.M.) $$. FB. Handicap access. 645-0240

Pastiche at the Metro

411 E. Mason St. Located in one of Milwaukee’s top hotels, Metro is open from breakfast to dinner. The décor has Art Deco touches and the menu is more classic than trendy, mixing seared duck breast, short ribs, Chilean sea bass and baked French onion gratin. Prime rib is served on Saturday—a retro classic that seems scarce nowadays. The cool barlounge has its own menu. (J.B.) $$$-$$$$. CC. RS. OD. GF. SB. FB. 272-1937

Milwaukee Sail Loft

649 E. Erie St. With its deck overlooking the river, Milwaukee Sail Loft is a perfect spot for watching the boats sail by. From name and location you might peg the Loft as a seafood place, but while it offers swordfish steak, Maine lobster-stuffed ravioli, seafood Diablo and grilled mahi tacos, the menu is eclectic with all food groups and most of the world’s continents represented. The Loft serves everything from meatloaf to chicken Rangoon and humus. (D.L.) $$-$$$$. CC. FB. OD. Handicap access. 223-0100


2473 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. The Avalon Theater in Bay View has transformed its bar area into a casual high-end restaurant. Mistral focuses on Mediterranean cuisine and hopes to attract diners who otherwise would not be at the theater with a separate restaurant entrance. Chef Joe Schreiter has experience at Sheridan’s in Cudahy and the Bartolotta Restaurants previously. His menu is concise, with about half a dozen starters, entrees, and one desserts. A chicken confit appetizer is flavored with Moroccan spices. A Tunisian pastry called brik is filled with sweet potato hash and comes with seared ahi tuna. Wines are available by the glass and bottle, with most selections coming from Italy, Spain and France. (L.M.) $$-$$$. CC. FB. 539-6469


430 S. Second St. The atmosphere is laid back with a European farmhouse feel and a bonus area where you can see what is happening in the kitchen. It’s a great spot to enjoy a craft cocktail and engage with the very friendly staff. The menu changes almost daily, but don’t worry if you are like me and get your mouth set on something you had the first go around; Chef Jonathan Manyo keeps some of the popular favorites like the homemade ricotta cavetelli or varies slightly from the original in other inventive and delicious preparations sure not to disappoint. (A.M.) $$$. FB. Handicap access. 897-0747

The Original

2498 N. Bartlett Ave. The Original’s concept of pairings is both thoughtful and creative. If you are one of those diners that think about what they will drink based on what they eat and visa-versa, you will love how effortlessly this menu comes together and helps make those sometimes difficult decisions a dream. The menu alone had me enamored with this restaurant, but the atmosphere is a plus. The historic 1800s building has warm lighting from the sparkle of the chandeliers over our booth, an art deco bar and a casual neighborhood vibe. And yes, that menu: it can rival any “upscale “ restaurant in the city. The Original’s contemporary take on American cuisine would appeal to the timid or most sophisticated palates. (A.M.) $$$. CC. FB. SB. RS. GF. Handicap access. 763-4811

Parkside 23

2300 Pilgrim Square Drive, Brookfield Local foods are the focus. This means that the meats and cheeses are from Wisconsin and summertime will feature the bounty of an on-site garden. The interior has earthy tones and a fusion of country charm and urbanity. The bar is a relaxing spot for a craft beer, preferably from Wisconsin. The menu is organized into three price categories. Nearly half of the items fall into the lowest. A huge, stuffed pepper and vegetable risotto are among these. Braised short ribs are up a bracket and worth every penny. This is a very popular place, but even when the tables are filled the kitchen keeps pace. (J.B.) $$-$$$. CC. GF. Handicap access. 262-784-7275

Public Table

5835 W. National Ave. Public Table is named after the restaurant’s main, communal table, which—along with the bar and other tables—is made from cypress reclaimed from brewery’s mash. The food menu is small, and changes often based on what’s fresh and in season. Salads, sandwiches, flat breads and sliders make regular appearances. A Wisconsin cheese and cured meat board is designed for sharing, while an open-faced flank

steak sandwich with garlic aioli is meant for a single diner. Flat breads come with ingredients like roasted brie and mushroom ($12) or three cheese and tomato ($9). According to the menu, each meal served results in a donation to the Hunger Task Force. (L.M.) $$. FB. 488-2948

Rumpus Room

1030 N. Water St. The Bartolotta group’s idea of a gastropub is a casual place that hints at Baroque elegance. The beer list is stronger than the wine and the back bar has depth in whiskeys. Evenings offer a fine list of Wisconsin cheeses and smoked meats. The entrées merge comfort food with more ambitious fare. Try the soothing lamb Bolognese stew. (J.B.) $$-$$$. CC. FB. RS. Handicap access. 292-0100


2424 N. Mayfair Road When Nordstrom’s opened at Mayfair Mall in 2015, visitors were surprised to discover a sleek, modern restaurant within the store. Ruscello’s contemporary dining room offers a clear view of the bustling kitchen, though it’s separated by glass so there’s no extra noise. The stylish, fully stocked bar is a great place for a signature cocktail. The menu works just as well for a light lunch or a satisfying dinner. There are several appetizers. To eat on the lighter side, you may want to try one the many salads. All of the sandwiches served include remarkable light and crispy, house-made, smoked, sea salt frites so airy they practically float up off the plate. Hearty entrées and outstanding desserts top the menu. (S.H.G.) $$. CC. FB. FF. OD. Handicap access. 203-6910


1547 N. Jackson St. Sanford is in good hands after the long reign of Sanford and Angie D’Amato. Owner-chef Justin Aprahamian was recently named a James Beard finalist for Best Chef in the Midwest. Weekdays offer four- and seven-course menus that wander around the world—the chef’s tour. Otherwise, the main menu still has the grilled tuna with cumin wafers that defined the early days of Sanford. Expect an exceptional experience. (J.B.) $$$$. CC. RS. FB. 276-9608


2504 E. Oklahoma Ave. The owner of Honeypie and Palomino has opened a pie shop in a former commercial garage in Bay View. SmallPie serves a variety of sweet and savory pies and other baked goods for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Pies are individual servings and include a rotating mix of fillings. On the savory side are Wisconsin cheeseburger pies, Cuban pork with shredded pork, ham and pickles, and curry vegetable. Sweet pies come in hand-pie varieties or mini pies in flavors like chocolate cream, peach and apple. Side salads, a few sandwiches and bagels are also available. (L.M.) $-$$. 763-7067

Snack Boys

814 S. Second St. A Toronto-style snack bar. Snack Boys is an irreverent, fun-loving restaurant serving up a menu of snacks at all hours of the day. The centerpiece of the remodeled space is a mural of a naked Burt Reynolds reclining on a bearskin rug, showing customers immediately that this is a place that doesn’t take itself too seriously. The menu consists of a dozen small snacks that will allow diners to order a couple or many to make a full meal. A full bar includes draft cocktails, stir drinks, a wine menu with a focus on rose, and a frozen alcoholic slushie complete with sparkles. (L.M.) $-$$. FB. 509-5975

Story Hill BKC

5100 W. Bluemound Road The latest venue from the owners of Maxie’s serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The dinner menu is divided into “Taste,” “Share” and “Pass” sections inviting you to commune on small to large plates. The inventive dishes consisting of prime grass-fed beef with masa pudding and avocado cream, roasted pumpkin agnolotti (fresh pasta pillows) with crimini mushrooms and maple brown butter and lake trout with tomato jam and sumac vinaigrette. The menu at times is nostalgic with a modern sense. (J.R.) FB. RS. CC. $$. Handicap access. 539-4424


The Tandem

1848 W. Fond du Lac Ave. Owner Caitlin Cullen, who previously cooked at Bavette la Boucherie, offers a full service lunch and dinner restaurant. The menu reflects the diversity of the neighborhood with an emphasis on soul food, plus vegetarian options, Thai, Latin American and even a Detroit twist thanks to Cullen’s upbringing near there. A family style dining special is offered each night, including udon noodle soup, lamb tagine and a whole chicken that can be prepared roasted in Dominican style, Georgia fried or spicy Memphis fried, plus fixings. Lunch options skew towards sandwiches like hot dogs three ways, Cubano and a beet Reuben. (L.M.) $-$$. 885-1919


2499 N. Bartlett Ave. Upon entering the comfortable space, you’re greeted with a menu that offers up three courses. Big eaters will be happy to know that one item from each the course options will satiate; those of us with smaller stomachs can rest easy knowing no course is absolute. The crab cake and cider-brined grilled pork tenderloin are hard to beat. Beer aficionados take note: Their 14 taps, including one nitro, encompass all styles, from IPAs to sours to stouts to pilsners, and if you still don’t find something you like, there’s a comprehensive bottle list (F.K.R.C.) $$-$$$. CC. FB. OD. FF. RS. GF. Handicap access. 964-8377


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124 N. Water St. The name Tied House is an homage to the building’s history as a Pabst tied house when it was built in 1904. The space has been updated with modern touches and includes a large, secluded patio surrounded by greenery. The menu includes upscale bar food appetizers like a charcuterie and cheese board, grilled smoked chicken wings and maple BBQ pork belly. Creative flatbreads like fried chicken and jam with onion jam and smoked blue cheese, and sandwiches including a Texas burger with onion rings and smoked cheddar make up the rest of the menu. (L.M.) $$. FB. OD.

Tre Rivali

200 N. Broadway The Mediterranean inspired menu features virtually all-from-scratch foods including pastas, pizza dough and cheeses. Also vital to the menu’s identity is the use of a wood-fired grill and oven, responsible for developing the charred textures and robust, rustic flavors for which the cuisine is known. The food is, without question, the hero of Tre Rivali, but the décor deserves special mention as it also leaves a lasting impression— or should I say makes a positive first impression. Oversized Spanish tile flooring provides a colorful mosaic that complements the friendly welcome received upon entry. (K.L.L.) $$-$$$. CC. FB. OD. Handicap access. 291-3971


1801 S. Third St. Triskele’s menu is fluid and changes frequently, sometimes to reflect the season, other times because the chef just wants to. Often, you’ll find dishes with soft shell crab, Prince Edward Island mussels, or other seafood delicacies as featured specials. Yet, the core of the menu maintains a balanced trio of choices between seafood, meat and vegetarian dishes. One of the best things about Triskele’s is their amazing special deals. Happy hour (4-6 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday) boasts all sort of ways to save a little money with wallet-friendly appetizers and drink specials. (S.H.G.) $$. CC. FF. RS (5+). 837-5950

Uncle Wolfie’s Breakfast Tavern

234 E. Vine St. Uncle Wolfie’s is open for breakfast and lunch only, but sports a tavern style, feel and “beer goes with breakfast” slogan. About half the food menu is dedicated to breakfast items, and half to lunch. Steak and eggs come with a 10-ounce dry-aged New York strip steak while a breakfast burrito is filled with coffee-rubbed pork, sweet potatoes, eggs and salsa verde. Entrée salads include BLT and steak versions, and burgers are stuffed with American cheese. Other sandwiches include a Millee cheese steak with beer cheese sauce and chicken salad with tarragon and cherries. (L.M.) $$. FB. 763-3021

Koppa’s Fulbeli Deli

View MKE

1818 N. Hubbard St. Modern global inspirations pair locally sourced ingredients with spices from all over the world. Shareable plates are the focus. The house chips, perfect for snacking while mulling over the next course, were crisp, salty, perfectly complement a before-dinner cocktail. View MKE offers “Milwaukee Style” pizzas whose crust has a delightful chewier texture with a crisp snap to it. The rest of the menu is divided into categories. First: Boards & Snacks. View MKE’s brunch and dinner menu offers a diverse melting pot of cultures and flavors that celebrate our city and makes it shine right along with that breath taking view. (A.M.) $$-$$$. CC. FB. OD. SB. RS. GF. Handicap access. 763-0003

CUBAN Cubanitas

728 N. Milwaukee St., 225-1760 7973 S. Main St., Oak Creek, 574-5260 Milwaukee’s first and only entirely Cuban restaurant, Cubanitas is part of a group of restaurants owned by Marc and Marta Bianchini. They also operate Indulge wine bar’s two locations and this fall they launched Cubanitas’ second location in Drexel Town Square in Oak Creek. The original Downtown location, with its cheery ambiance and attentive servers, is the perfect spot for an elegant meal to start off a night on the town. Look for multiple preparations of plantains and cassava, as well as a respectable array of seafood, ropa vieja (national dish of Cuba) and knockyour-socks-off cocktails like caipirinhas and pisco sours. (S.M.) $$. CC. FB. OD. LT. V.

DELI Gouda’s Italian Deli

218 N. Water St. Gouda’s Italian Deli is a piece of Little Italy in the Third Ward. With sausages hanging from the rafters, a deli case full of cheese and olives and dark wood shelves stocked with an array of packaged and canned goods, Gouda’s is a great place to stock up on all things Italian—and to have a sandwich. You can order them to go but what’s the hurry? Gouda’s has half-a-dozen tables for two crowded onto its vintage tiled floor. Prepared fresh and served on hefty submarine-style Italian rolls, the filling choices include the Greta Garbo (veggie), the Luciano (tuna), the Bugsy Moran (ham and Swiss) and the Tommy Gun (salami), most served with olive spread, mozzarella or some other Italian accent. (D.L.) $. OD. Handicap access. 221-6565

1940 N. Farwell Ave. Koppa’s is a much-esteemed holdover from Milwaukee’s past as a locally owned neighborhood corner grocery. The old place has changed hands over the years but has retained its character, including the Fulbeli Deli, popular for carryouts but with a few tables and chairs for eating in. The menu is as huge as the size of the sandwiches and includes just about anything you would want between sliced bread: ham, turkey, chicken, summer sausage, tuna, corned beef, roast beef, bologna and Wisconsin cheeses galore, often fortified by diced peppers, sliced onions or mounds of sprouts. (D.L.) $. CC. OD. 273-1273

Milwaukee Waterfront Deli

nada. Local ingredients come into play. Delicious standbys remain, including a chose-your-options omelet. (D.L.) $. CC. OD. SB. 276-2101

Maxfield’s Pancake House

333 W. Brown Deer Road, 247-4994 2727 N. Mayfair Road, 453-6000 The menu travels across the globe with delicious ease. Omelets and skillet dishes with Greek and Mexican themes are on tap along with more common but no-less-tempting items. Salads, sandwiches and soup round out the lunch options, but breakfast, as the Pancake House name suggests, is a crowning achievement. (J.L.R.) $. FF.

MidTown Grill

761 N. Water St. Waterfront Deli offers a variety of sandwiches, soups, salads, pizzas and sushi, as well as bottled wines and artisan cheese. Daily specials are even posted on its website and social media. Deceptively roomy, the deli features second-floor seating, where food is delivered via a quirky conveyor belt system. There, beautiful artwork and giant chandeliers illuminate this novel eatery. (J.C.) $. CC. OD. NA. Handicap access. 220-9300

8913 W. North Ave. The storefront space has a long diner counter with stools opposite a row of booths (though these are larger to easily seat six) and an open kitchen in the back. The menu focuses on classic diner fare with an emphasis on breakfast, since MidTown is only open for breakfast and lunch. It’s quaint, neighborly and much loved. Milkshakes are over-the-top creations with ingredients like marshmallow whip, Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal, and crushed pretzels. (L.M.) $$. 837-6400

Rochester Deli

Miss Katie’s Diner

143 W. Broadway, Waukesha Rochester Deli’s crafts high quality sandwiches, salads and soups in a casual atmosphere with comfortable seating. Perfectly grilled and surprisingly light, the chicken Parmigiana sandwich combines egg breaded chicken breasts, mozzarella and parmesan and a fresh, mild marinara, while the Devonshire panini contains cheddar cheese, Tavern ham, tomato, asparagus and honey mustard. Other featured sandwiches include the Wellington panini (Swiss cheese, Angus roast beef, mushroom duxelle), the classic grilled cheese (American and cheddar cheese), the tuna melt and the turkey cheddar panini prepared with homemade cranberry relish. Additionally, the Cobb salad, raspberry chicken salad, chicken Cesar salad and California salad round out Rochester’s selection salads, while the soups are made daily. (E.P.) $. CC. OD. 262522-9611

DINER Café at the Plaza

1007 N. Cass St. Part Art Deco diner, part European-style café, the Café at the Plaza is a charming spot tucked inside the Plaza Hotel. Recently, the menu has been given a remake. Breakfast options include spiced pumpkin pancakes and a raft of interesting items, including house-made falafel and poutine. A distinct Mexican accent can be heard in the breakfast burrito and a beef brisket empa-


1900 W. Clybourn St. Miss Katie’s is in the mold of a classic 1950s diner. It opens for breakfast and makes a reliable omelet. Lunch and dinner offer more substantial fare. The Blue Plate Specials include diner classics like meat loaf and roast turkey. Dinner gets a bit fancier with barbecue ribs and Sicilian filet. The thin-cut onion rings are always good. Save room for a milkshake or malt. (J.B.) $. FF. SB. RS. Handicap access. 344-0044

Sweet Diner

239 E. Chicago St. The eatery is housed in a gorgeous soft industrial space whose exposed cream city brick has a black weathered look. The gray, cream and white interior tones set the stage for a new concept for upscale modern diners. The menu has many options including gluten free and vegetarian. There are four omelets to choose from including the Wisconsin with sausage and cheese curds. You can also build your own. The omelets were fluffy and cooked well and didn’t skimp on the fillings. Sweet serves classic eggs benedict as well as some fun variations like the Southern, a variation on biscuits and gravy. (S.J.) $-$$. CC. RS. SB. GF. Handicap access. 488-9600

Ted’s Ice Cream & Restaurant

6204 W. North Ave. A Wauwatosa institution, Ted’s has stood the test of time by keeping things simple. Seating is close quarters with a few tables and two counters, while the food is classic, no frills diner fare.

DININGGUIDE Serving breakfast and lunch daily, Ted’s options range from the traditional breakfast and malts and sundaes to specialty sandwiches. Breakfast items include a build your own omelet option, pancakes, thickly or thinly cut French toast, Ted’s eggs benedict, and a Belgian waffle topped with homemade ice cream. Specialty sandwiches include French dip, Philly cheesesteak and the Ted’s grilled cheese. Offering the classic cheeseburger and the classic hamburger, Ted’s also prepares the Boss Burger, a 1/3 charbroiled patty on a garlic roll with French fries and choice of salad or delicious soup. (E.P.) $. 258-5610

DUTCH Café Benelux

346 N. Broadway Boasting a rooftop patio in the Third Ward, Café Benelux is for beer lovers. The list is dozens of pages long, with many of the selections coming from Belgium and Luxembourg. During the summer, the patio is the perfect spot to grab a flight and find some new favorites. They also have several different types of bloody Marys and great frites for snacking, too. The menu, not surprisingly, has a few Dutch and Belgian items. The star item is the frites, which are thin and crisp, served with a variety of sauces. Opt for the roasted garlic aioli, which never disappoints. The rest of the menu wanders around casual fare with a sound selection of burgers, sandwiches and a few entrées. (L.M.) $$. FB. OD. SB. LT. CC. Handicap access. 501-2500

Café Hollander

2608 N. Downer Ave., 963-6366 7677 W. State St., 475-6771 701 Hilldale Way, Madison 608-237-3168 5900 W. Mequon Road, Mequon 262-236-0107 20150 Union St., Brookfield 262-785-4490 Café Hollander offers casual Dutch-BelgianEuro-American fare in a setting to match. Beer, especially Belgian varieties, has always been at the heart of the endeavor. Thirteen new taps were recently added, mostly for Belgian brews but with a couple of American craft beers made in the Belgian manner. At Café Hollander, beer is given the attention wine receives in French bistros. While contemplating the universe of Belgian beer, you might want to try a new addition to the starters corner of the menu: the Belgian cheese snack, with cubes of Gouda served with Dijon mustard and a shaker of celery salt. Dip the cheese into the mustard, sprinkle and imagine yourself in a bar in Bruges. (D.L.) $$-$$$. CC. FB. OD. LT. SB. Handicap access.

Centraal Grand Café and Tappery

2306 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. Centraal Café’s eclectic menu is not Dutch; rather, culinary director Thomas Hauck, inspired by the

international options in the Centraal Train Station in Amsterdam, Holland, created quite an international selection of items. Sandwiches run from Carolina fried chicken ($14.95) to falafel ($10.95) with baba ganoush. Red curry trout ($17.95) and a short rib noodle bowl ($17.95) are some of the mains. If you’re dining with a group, check out the “Shaarables” section of the menu with platters of kebabs, pork mole and red snapper ($36.95-$38.95) for two or more people. Brunch includes everything from braised pork arepas ($12.95) with sweet pepper relish to a Bay View au gratin skillet ($11.95)—not to mention the signature bloody Marys. (L.M.; J.J.) $$$ 755-0378

FOOD HALLS Crossroads Collective

2238 N. Farwell Ave. Located at the spot where Oriental Pharmacy once stood, Crossroads Collective’s vendors include Heaven’s Table (barbeque), Frida (soup and sandwiches), Laughing Taco (tacos), Beerline Café (vegetarian and vegan) Scratch Ice Cream (scoop shop) and Falafel Guys (Middle Eastern). (L.M.) $-$$.


Le Rêve Pâtisserie and Café

Kopp’s Frozen Custard

3133 E. Newberry Blvd. Open seven days a week, Bartolotta’s Lake Park Bistro offers the perfect spot year-round for a romantic dining experience. Not only is the très français menu full of delectable dishes that can’t be found anywhere else in the Greater Milwaukee Area, but the inner décor is warm and inviting. And the view! It’s perched on a bluff overlooking an elegant old stairway wending its way down to the Lakefront. And what could be more romantic than a stroll through Lake Park, in which the bistro is ensconced, after your meal? (J.J.) $$$$. CC. RS. FF. FB. SB. Handicap access. 962-6300 7610 Harwood Ave. A pâtisserie and café of distinction, Le Rêve boasts desserts that look like works of art. Expect French classics like steak au poivre, bouillabaisse and steamed mussels. Daily specials include delicious rainbow trout and grilled, bone marrowcrusted beef tenderloin. The bar has a full range of cocktails plus wine and beer. Open from breakfast through dinner. (J.B.) $-$$. CC. FB. OD. SB. Handicap access. 778-3333

Pastiche Bistro & Wine Bar

FRENCH Café Grace

11200 W. Burleigh St. Café Grace is just one component of a larger footprint of newer eateries at The Mayfair Collection in Wauwatosa. The Gougères are little bites of baked pâte à choux pastry filled with grand cru fondue. The Cassolette d’Escargots is a successful combination of two classic French preparations. The Soupe à l’Oignon arrives at your table in perfect photo shoot-ready form. I can imagine that dining alfresco at Café Grace on a nice day might transport you to a sidewalk café in Paris where you’re surrounded by some of the choicest shopping destinations available. (K.L.L.) $$-$$$. CC. FB. OD. RS. 837-6310


Lake Park Bistro

316 N. Milwaukee St. French cuisine and its paradigm of techniques have long set a high standard against which other cuisines are measured. Fauntleroy takes it to new levels. The genius of Fauntleroy includes offering great French food in an approachable and playful atmosphere. The décor is as vibrant and fun as the menu, with big colorful murals depicting everything from pop culture, the Eiffel tower and rock ‘n’ roll, but retains a splash of French fine dining with chandeliers and other accents. The well-crafted menu shows off the classically trained chefs techniques and embraces French traditions. All the food was thoughtfully put together with imaginative yet well-balanced flavors. (A.M.) CC. FB. RS. Handicap access. 269-9908.

4313 W. River Lane, Brown Deer, 354-1995 411 E. Mason St., Hotel Metro, 214-3624 Recently, Pastiche expanded to Downtown Milwaukee, having now closed their Bay View location. Regardless, it’s a great place to order some wine, enjoy some onion soup, and then perhaps, for an entrée, try coq au vin, trout amandine or steak frites. The interior has understated Gallic charm. The lunch and dinner menus do differ. Entrées are fewer at lunch but considerably cheaper. The wine list is not large but is thoughtful. In general the prices seem about right. This is a delightful restaurant in an unlikely setting. (J.B.) $$-$$$. CC. RS.

7515 W. Bluemound Road Gilles Frozen Custard has been going strong since 1938, so you know they must be doing something right. Of course, how can you go wrong with fried cheddar cheese curds and a juicy Big Daddy Burger with onions, lettuce, tomatoes, ketchup and Miracle Whip? But the frozen custard is the star of the show. Be sure to try the novelty items like one of “those things,” vanilla custard on a peanut butter cookie covered in a chocolate shell and on a stick. While some of the food may be a little rich, Gilles spreads its wealth around the community by supporting a different charity every month. (J.F.) $. NA. 453-4875 7631 W. Layton Ave., 282-4312 5373 N. Port Washington Road, 961-3288 18880 W. Bluemound Road, 262-789-9490 Have you ever ordered a chicken sandwich at Kopp’s? They’re actually quite remarkable, and worth seeking out in their own right, but it’s hard to visit here and order anything other than a burger. Kissed with a pad of butter, their Frisbee-sized burgers are the most delectable in the city, and worth every single calorie. The same can be said of Kopp’s custard, which is creamy and decadent even by custard standards. Kopp’s creative flavors of the day, which include pricey ingredients like macadamia nuts and chocolate truffles, provide that much more of an excuse to treat yourself. (E.R.) $. NA. OD. Handicap access.

Leon’s Frozen Custard

3131 S. 27th St. Leon’s is the Milwaukee stereotype for “Happy Days.” The business began in 1942 and the current structure was built during the ‘50s. It is the real thing, not a Sonic clone. Come here for the frozen custard, made daily. Otherwise, there are burgers (which are more like sloppy joes) or hot dogs. (J.B.) $. NA. 383-1784



Fred’s Frozen Custard & Grill

700 W. Lexington Blvd. As the former site of the Bavarian Inn, the Bierhaus has quite a history to live up. Fortunately, they do German food, beer and atmosphere right. The Bierhaus works within the German purity law, which demands a beer’s ingredients consist solely of hops, yeast, malt and water. In addition to house-brewed beer, they also offer a solid variety of German classics on tap. A good rule for visiting the Bierhaus is to come hungry; portions are huge, including schnitzel and sausages served with mashed potatoes, sauerkraut and fried cabbage (F.K.R.C.) $$-$$$. CC. FB. OD. RS. FF. SB. Handicap access. 236-7000

4726 W. Vliet St. The neighborhood drive-in is nearly extinct, fallen victim to fast food chains. A rare exception is Fred’s, located in Washington Heights. It’s a small place with standing room only. But there are reasons Fred’s has been in business since 1967. Their roast beef sandwich is a specialty and the burgers are made of fresh beef. Save room for dessert in the form of Fred’s frozen custard sundaes. (J.B.) $. NA. 771-6270


Bavarian Bierhaus


7700 Harwood Ave. This is the Lowlands Group’s vision of Germany, complete with a proper casual décor, a decent beer list and a menu with expected items like Wiener schnitzel and lots of wurst. But it also lightens up with sandwiches, salads and even a Bavarian take on the Vietnamese phở. This is a sociable place with big communal tables. (J.B.) $$. CC. FB. Handicap access. 271-7700

plenty of TVs in the bar area for sports. Unlike downtown, though, the Shorewood location is bright and airy thanks to large storefront windows. The focus of the menu is on sausages, plus plenty of shareable appetizers, sandwiches and burgers. A fully loaded brat ($9.95) is topped with kraut, onions, red peppers, mushrooms and giardiniera. Or try four different kinds of sausages and sides on the brat house sampler. (L.M.) $$. FB. OD.

Jack Pandl’s Whitefish Bay Inn

Wegner’s St. Martins Inn

1319 E. Henry Clay St. Pandl’s has served German and American fare since 1915. In addition to Wiener schnitzel, roast duck and beef rouladen, the house specialty is a massive German pancake. The dining rooms are filled with memorabilia from Whitefish Bay’s long-gone resort days. (J.B.) $$$-$$$$. CC. SB. FF. FB. RS. 964-3800

Kegel’s Inn

5901 W. National Ave. From the Bavarian-style trimmings of its stone façade building to rich décor of the dark, wooden-paneled dining room surrounded by lush wall murals and Old-World wrought iron fixtures, Kegel’s places a diner in the mindset for a hearty meal. Entrees include a good variety of steaks and chops, but the heart of the menu is in the German house specialties, which includes a half boneless roasted duck, marinated rabbit over noodles, known in the old country as hasenpfeffer; and beef rouladen, a butterfly steak stuffed with bacon, onion, and pickles. German beer is on tap. (M.J.P.) $-$$. CC. FB. FF. 257-9999


1041 N. Old World Third St. In 1902, an ambitious young man from Germany, Charles Mader, poured every penny he had into a restaurant in Milwaukee. Though it moved (once) since, Mader’s has not only been a Milwaukee landmark and cultural cornerstone but can boast a national reputation as one of the finest German restaurants in the U.S. In addition to the restaurant itself, there’s the Knight’s Bar and famous second-floor gift shop filled with imported beer steins and collectable Hummel figurines. The menu includes favorites like Wienerschnitzel, Kasseler rippchen, sauerbraten, duck strudel, rouladen, sausages galore and much more. (J.J.) $$$-$$$$. CC. FB. FF. SB. RS. Handicap access. 271-3377

Milwaukee Brat House

1013 N. Old World Third Street, 273-8709 4022 N. Oakland Ave., 539-5826 The Milwaukee Brat House, a bar and restaurant on Old World Third Street, has opened a second location in Shorewood. The new restaurant is in the former Oakcrest Tavern space and will follow the same format as its downtown location, with

11318 W. St. Martins Road, Franklin Though it’s primarily a German restaurant, Wegner’s reputation has been built on their Friday fish fry. The standard fry here is beer battered haddock, though breaded perch is available, too. If you can’t decide between them, get them both on a combo plate. Potato pancakes here are a bit different than most: They’re practically deep fried, lending a hash brown patty crunch and solid golden crust that all other potato pancakes lack. German potato salad is also an option if you can resist the calling of the pancakes. (L.M.) $-$$. CC. RS. OD. FF. FB. 425-9971

GREEK Apollo Café

1310 E. Brady St. With its ancient-modern interior, translating Greek motifs into contemporary design, Apollo Café is a neighborhood favorite for spinach pie in flaky philo dough, a pair of grape leaves stuffed with rice and a plate of warm pita bread. The menu also has plenty of meat including Athenian chicken, beef and tuna souflaki and the Apollo burger, the latter a fast-bite of Eastern Mediterranean food. The veggie plate is a good place to start exploring. Wine and beer are served. (D.L.) $. CC. OD. LT. Handicap access. 272-2233

Cosmos Café

7203 W. North Ave. A crowded place with counter service, Cosmos offers a full chalkboard of menu items. Aside from jerk chicken, burgers and those Hellenic American hybrids, the Greek burger and fries, the menu is all-Mediterranean with gyros, pita sandwiches, salads, humus, spanakopita (spinach pie) and falafel. Among the dinner items is the chicken plate with lemony chicken kabobs, rice topped with eggplant, salad and pita bread. Daily soup and other specials are also available. (D.L.) $. CC. FF. OD. 257-2005

Golden Gyros

7233 W. Lincoln Ave. Gyros and custard aren’t quite the dynamic duo that burgers and fries have become, but at Golden Gyros they make this odd couple work

well together. You also have the option of choosing the old standby of burgers and fries if you’re so inclined, along with a legion of other menu items. The West Allis mainstay features large portions at a reasonable price. Make sure to bring cash, as they do not accept credit cards. (R.H.) $. 541-7580


602 S. Second St., 298-9622 5336 N. Port Washington Road, 332-2210 Gyro Palace is well worth a visit, offering a surprisingly extensive menu beyond gyros, including chicken shish-kebob marinated with olive oil, garlic and oregano served atop a pita with onions and tomatoes, and dolmades, grape leaves stuffed with meat and rice topped with a mild lemon rice sauce. Your order is taken at the counter. Delivery is also available. (D.L.) $. CC. FF. Handicap access.

711 W. Historic Mitchell St. You don’t go to Anmol for atmosphere. It’s tucked into a small storefront and, since it’s Pakistani and not Indian, even the usual Kama Sutra kitsch is absent from the walls. Although the ambience is austere, the food is excellent. The beef and lamb is Zabiha halal, slaughtered according to Muslim tradition, and Amish farmers feed the chickens. The large-portioned entrées also include fish and vegetarian options. Sit back and watch the soccer scores on the Pakistani or Indian satellite channels beamed through the big TV and top off your meal with creamy mango lassi. (D.L.) $-$$. CC. NA. 672-7878

Oakland Gyros

Bollywood Grill

Gyro Palace

2867 N. Oakland Ave., 963-1393 530 W. Layton Ave., 744-2555 One of Milwaukee’s favorite counter-service restaurants offers gyros and shish-kebob sandwiches, spinach pie, Greek salads and even plain old cheeseburgers. The lamb shank features a large piece of tender, flavorful meat in a brown sauce, served with warm pita, black olives, feta and choice of fries or salad. (D.L.) $. CC. LT.

Ouzo Café

776 N. Milwaukee St. The order-at-the-counter restaurant offers a full menu of Greek specialties, freshly prepared in the kitchen and served at your table. Sure, you can order gyros, but why not sample the spanakopita (spinach pie), dolmades (stuffed grape leaves), feta-laced salads, lamb chops or grilled octopus. Many different combo platters are available. The Athenian chicken is lemony and tender, a big portion served with roasted potatoes. Open late, Ouzo’s bar options include a selection of imported beer; domestic, Greek and other foreign wine; martinis and specialty cocktails including the Greek Kiss made with cherry vodka and white crème de cacao. And yes, the Café’s namesake, the anise-flavored liquor called ouzo, is available. (D.L.) $-$$. FB. OD. Handicap access. 272-6896

The PeachTree Restaurant

15419 W. National Ave. The PeachTree exceeds expectations by serving affordable Greek and American cuisine in a comfortable, welcoming atmosphere. The mammoth menu features senior specials, lunch specials, dinner specials and weekly specials. Fortunately, the Greek side of the menu doesn’t begin and end with gyros, but it offers traditional favorites including chicken shish-kabob, moussaka, pasticcio and spanakopita. (E.P.) $-$$. CC. FB. FF. Handicap access. 262-787-2911


1038 N. Jackson St. It’s a nice touch in keeping with its name: Colorful Indian musicals fill the dining room screen at Bollywood Grill. The daily lunch buffet includes many items seldom seen in these parts, including spinach pakora, chicken chili and bhutara, along with the expected biryani and tandoori dishes. The chicken is tender, there are many vegetarian options, and the cooks aren’t afraid of spices. (D.L.) $$. CC. FB. LB. Handicap access. 271-8200

Bombay Sweets

3401 S. 13th St. Bombay Sweets doesn’t stint on spice. The counter-service all-vegetarian restaurant, located in an inconspicuous South Side strip mall, doesn’t dial back the hot flavor for American tastes. Everything is under $8, including a wide array of rice and vegetable-based dishes, eight choices of breads plus samosa and other appetizers. The glass display cases are filled with snacks and desserts sold by the pound. (D.L.) $. CC. OD. NA. 383-3553

India Garden

2930 N. 117th St. As all good Indian restaurants should, India Garden offers a multitude of curries. Lamb curry, beef, chicken, goat and fish curries are a solid starting point. Well-known classics like chicken tikka masala and chicken Madras are pleasantly spiced and well prepared. The tandoori chicken, chicken marinated in spiced yogurt sauce, then baked in the charcoal clay tandoori oven, is delectable. If you prefer to go meatless, you’ll have a lot to choose from at India Garden. Try the aloo gobhi—cauliflower, potatoes and tomatoes cooked together with flavorful spices. The vegetable Manchurian carrot, green bean and cabbage fritters tossed in a spicy sauce, are also quite good. (S.H.G.) $$. FB. LB. 235-9220


5254 S. 27th St. A well-kept secret for local foodies and a reliable quick fix for South Asian ex-pats, the dining area is at the back of this unassuming Indian grocery. Order at the little window from a surprisingly extensive menu. Selections span the subcontinent’s cuisine from southern to the Indo-Chinese fusion found along its northeastern border. All vegetarian, you’ll get soups, delicate dosas, fresh breads, savory samosas, chat, uthappam, fiery curries, kormas and koftas, classic lassi and other beverages, and pan-regional desserts. Eat in picnic style (plastic cutlery and paper plates) or take home. (P.M.) $. 325-6480


1550 N. Farwell Ave. Maharajah’s interior has undergone a welcome facelift and the menu has been tweaked, but Milwaukee’s longest running Indian restaurant continues to draw crowds on the strength of its food. The lavish lunch buffet, with many meat and vegetarian dishes, has been a perennial favorite for flavor and variety. Not only will you not leave hungry, but most of us would be unable to find room to taste every item. The dinner menu goes beyond the norm for local Indian restaurants. (D.L.) $$. CC. FB. RS. LB. 276-2250

Royal India

3400 S. 27th St. Royal India’s specialties are from the clay tandoor oven, whether flatbreads or a sizzling platter of jumbo shrimp. Meats tend to be lamb and chicken and vegetarians will find the menu a pleasure. The levels of spicing make the dishes accessible yet flavorful. When Royal India opened it was one of Milwaukee’s best restaurants. That still holds true today. (J.B.) $-$$. CC. FB. LB. Handicap access. 647-9600

Shah Jee’s

3118 N. Downer Ave. The popular downtown lunch spot Shah Jee’s has opened a second location on the East Side in the former Dog Haus space. The menu at the new location will be the same as the Jefferson Street location, and the food will be prepared in that location as well. The largely vegetarian menu includes chana masala, aalu palak with spinach and potatoes, saag paneer and chicken masala. Unlike the original location, Downer is open for lunch and dinner. There is a small seating area, but the owners expect to do a lot of takeout for UWM students and employees. (L.M.) $. 800-6053

Taj Mahal

5114 S. 108th St. Walk in and be surrounded by the aroma of Indian spices in a part of town better known for fast food. The menu has all the expected standards but manages to pack a few surprises, like the duck and lobster dishes. The tandoor oven offers a few unique items not usual to Indian restaurant fare. (J.B.) $-$$. CC. RS. SB. FF. Handicap access. 206-6707

Tandoor Restaurant

1117 S. 108th St. In recent years, Indian restaurants have opened on every end of town. Out west on busy Highway 100, Tandoor was the pioneer. Like most Indian restaurants, Tandoor features a lunch buffet (Tuesday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m.) whose origin story involves exposing Midwesterners to unfamiliar Eastern cuisines but whose persistence is all about tasty all-you-can-eat food at a good price. A recent visit found the buffet tables stocked with a variety of dishes including fish, savory mushrooms in gravy, vegetable pakora, biryani, potato-stuffed samosa, naan, lamb kebab and the restaurant’s namesake, chicken baked in a tandoori oven. The spices are toned down at lunchtime but some of the condiments carry a kick. (D.L.) $-$$. CC. FB. LB. 777-1600


8933 S. 27th St. The hybrid Irish pub and sports bar in Franklin, boasts 16 taps mixing craft beer, macro mainstays and the usual Irish suspects—Guinness, Harp, Magners, and Smithwick’s. The menu is wide-ranging, from a savory Jameson whiskey glazed salmon to Irish classics like shepherd’s pie and bangers & mash served with a killer Guinness-based gravy to pub pizzas. Their housemade corned beef pops up on several dishes, like a classic corned beef sandwich. The adventurous should seek out the Reuben pizza. (F.K.R.C.) $-$$. CC. FB. OD. FF. RS. GF. Handicap access. 304-0300

1234 N. Astor St. County Clare provides its customers a taste of Ireland through its music, food and drink. Here you will find Gaelic specialties like Irish stew and shepherd’s pie. Even the architecture itself is Irish inspired with several elegant, stained glass windows. Come for a pint of Guinness or enjoy the live music they provide several nights a week. (A.V.) $$-$$$. CC. OD. FB. Handicap access. 272-5273 142 W. Wisconsin Ave., 272-0721 10842 W. Bluemound Road, 774-9782 Whether you’re catching a game with a local brew, listening to live music, competing in trivia night (Tuesdays at the Tosa location) or just enjoying the wide selection of classic Irish pub fare and more, Mo’s Irish Pub has you covered. We recommend the lunch combo of a half of Mo’s Reuben Sandwich with a cup of chicken dumpling soup. The slow-cooked corned beef with sauerkraut, Thousand Island dressing and Swiss cheese on grilled marble rye is nothing short of heavenly and pairs well with the soup. It’s also worth checking out the onion rings, which are so big that you could fit them around your hand like a bangle. (J.F.) $$. CC. FB. Handicap access.


O’Donoghue’s Irish Pub

13225 Watertown Plank Road O’Donoghue’s has an excellent bar menu, some of it with Irish roots. Of course, you’ll find a sandwich stacked high with tender chunks of corned beef on marbled rye, anchoring a brimming basket of French fries with a pickle spear and a dish of good coleslaw. The burgers are tasty and prepared to order. The Irish chips are baked to golden brown and accompanied by a mild-tasting dip. Not sure if breaded pickles or battered mushrooms are considered an Irish specialty, but they are a unique addition to the appetizer menu. Wisconsin is well-represented by a Friday fish fry. (D.L.) OD. FB. FF. Handicap access. 262-641-2730

O’Lydia’s Bar & Grill

County Clare

Mo’s Irish Pub

Mulligans Irish Pub & Grill

338 S. First St. The structure was built in the late 19th century as a Pabst tavern, but these days there are 16 tap beers, including a wide array of micro brews from local breweries, as well as a full bar and tasty bloody Mary with piquant garnishes. Pub fare is hearty and affordable. The Irish nachos are a good choice for gluten-free diners and the sliders (burger, Irish beef and meatloaf varieties) are deservedly popular, as is the shepherd’s pie. (S.M.) $-$$. CC. FB. OD. FF. SB. Handicap access. 271-7546

Trinity Three Irish Pubs

125 E. Juneau Ave. Made up of three different bars, Trinity is the perfect place to come for lunch and dinner. Each pub offers a different vibe: a cozy bar, a dining area and a space for live music. Also enjoy the lively and gorgeous outdoor patio. Come in the day to enjoy a delicious variety of plates and specialties such as their shepherd’s pie. Stop by in the evening for the perfect place to celebrate and enjoy a night out. (A.V.) $$. CC. LT. FF. SB. FB. OD. Handicap access. 278-7033


1820 S. 1st St. Mke, WI 53204 414-763-1304


ITALIAN Balistreri’s Bluemound Inn

6501 W. Bluemound Road It’s a hit on the West Side, seldom less than crowded during peak hours, and the formula for its success is simple: great pizza, an array of Italian and Sicilian specialties, plus steak and fish. Come in a suit, come in a baseball cap on your way to Miller Park or come as you are. (D.L.) $$-$$$. CC. FB. FF. LT. Handicap access. 258-9881

Barbiere’s Italian Inn

5844 W. Bluemound Road, 453-3800 1021 Milwaukee Ave., 764-1234 Barbiere’s dimly lit interior looks and feels vintage and its menu offers home-style Italian comfort food. Barbiere’s classic pizzas (available in many sizes) feature mildly spiced sauce, quality mozzarella cheese and crispy, medium-thick crust and can be customized with additional toppings, such as homemade Italian sausage, fresh sliced tomatoes, pepperoncini, green olives, minced garlic and anchovies. (E.P.) $-$$. FB. RS. Handicap access.

Bella Italiana

1721 W. Canal St. At Potawatomi Casino’s Bella Italiana, everything is homemade, portions are generous, options are plentiful, and prices are reasonable. Bella Italiana (in the former space of the Wild Earth Cucina Italiana) is, indeed, a beautiful and comfortable dining venue. Its menu is extensive—numerous options for appetizers, flatbreads, pastas, soups, sandwiches, salads, entrées, desserts and beverages. Of the latter, Bella Italiana provides imbibers with about 40 different red and white wines, plus—thanks largely to an attached full bar—many mixed drinks, cocktails, Italian sodas and beers. (J.J.) CC. FB. GF. RS. Handicap access. 847-7626

Café La Scala

631 E. Chicago St. Café La Scala has been quietly turning out Italian favorites at budget-friendly prices for years. Although located inside the Italian Community Center, Café La Scala has its own street entrance. The restaurant is conveniently situated close to Downtown and provides a quiet spot for a quick breakfast, an unpretentious business lunch or a relaxed evening meal without having to contend with a crowd flocking to the newest, flashy place. (S.H.G.) $-$$ FB. OD. Handicap access. 223-2185

Calderone Club

842 N. Old World Third St. One of Downtown Milwaukee’s most reliable Italian dining options, Calderone Club serves thoughtfully plated Italian cuisine with a keen attention to details. The mixed greens in the

house salad are crisp, the bread served before meals is warm and fragrant and the red sauce at the heart of most entrées is thin, silky and heavenly. Served on a simple crust that’s not too thick and not too thin, the pizzas let the fresh ingredients carry most of the flavor. Calderone Club’s full bar, large wine selection, snappy service and upscale but not too formal environment make this a smart date destination. (E.R.) $$$ CC. RS. FB. Handicap access. 273-3236

Capri di Nuovo

8340 W. Beloit Road A restaurant called Capri has sat on the corner of 84th and Beloit for decades. The restaurant was sold a few years ago and has become one of West Allis’ best places for dinner. Capri di Nuovo has been completely remodeled (though the old sign was kept for history’s sake) and it’s a breath of fresh air for anyone who remembers the old place. Pizzas come in Milwaukee, Chicago or pan styles, with hand-tossed crust in a wide variety of sizes and toppings. You can even pick up a take-and-bake pizza to go. Lasagna is also a house specialty, made with meat sauce and then baked in individual dishes with a blanket of mozzarella on top. The brick-surrounded patio is a nice spot in summer. (L.M.) CC. OD. 543-5510

Carini’s Southern Italian Restaurant

3468 N. Oakland Ave. Carini’s boasts a relatively new wood-fired pizza oven. The 12-inch pizzas are Neapolitan style; the crust is slightly crisp at the edges but soft as pastry inside, neither thin nor thick, with a touch of smoky flavor to the toppings. Other dinner entrées, most served with soup and salad as well as choice of potato or pasta, are Italian accented. Seafood is prevalent, but steak is represented along with a dozen pasta dishes. (D.L.) $$$. CC. OD. FB. LB. Handicap access. 963-9623

Caterina’s Ristorante

9104 W. Oklahoma Ave. With Mediterranean plastered walls and booths under wooden trellises, the romantic ambiance of Caterina’s Ristorante is hard to beat. The traditional Italian menu is full of favorites in the major food groups, served with choice of potatoes or pasta, soup or salad, and a loaf of warm Italian bread with a dish of olive oil. Ingredients are Grade A, the preparation is superb and the presentation appealing (without the drizzled pretense of many newer restaurants). The wine list is long, Italian accented and affordable. In business for three decades, Caterina’s has outlived trendier competitors on the strength of food, atmosphere and service. (D.L.) $$$. CC. FF. RS. Handicap access. 541-4200

Centro Café

808 E. Center St. A little storefront-turned-restaurant, Centro Café is a beacon of Italian food made with locally

produced ingredients. You will feel immediate warmth as soon as you walk into the cozy space. The menu’s focus is pasta. Dishes range from traditional walnut basil pesto to modern spaghetti with chorizo and shrimp in a spicy tequila lime sauce. Gnudi ($16), ricotta dumplings similar to gnocchi, are homemade and not too heavy. The menu also includes a long list of starters and salads. Ten-inch pizzas can be ordered as shared appetizers or as a meal for one, and, unusually, are all made with gluten-free crusts. (L.M.) $-$$. CC. SB. GF. FB. 455-3751

Dino’s Riverwest

808 E. Chambers St. Into its third generation as a tavern-restaurant, Dino’s offers an unpretentiously homey decor in which to dine on hearty Italian. The pesto gnocchi are firm pasta dumplings bathed in a pesto of arugula and basil baste joined by flecks of sun dried tomato to add a piquant tang; meat, such as Dino’s individual meatballs, can be added at an additional charge. Sandwiches, salads, soups and desserts such as tiramisu also beckon, but Dino’s Sunday brunch selections have me especially anticipating a return visit. The prospect of polenta and eggs with sides of sautéed kale and roasted mushrooms looks particularly enticing. (J.L.R.) $$. FB. FF. SB. 562-9171

Divino Wine & Dine

2315 N. Murray Ave. This is the former Palermo Villa, an East Side institution for pizza. The new owners have kept the pizza recipes, but now their starter courses and entrées have been expanded in this Sicilian American menu. Starter courses vary from mozzarella marinara and fried eggplant to things like arancini (filled rice balls) and rapini (grilled broccoli rabe). The nice Palermo salad has conch and tender octopus. Most pasta and a few entrées are sold in smaller portions. This means that you can order both the beef tenderloin spiedini and the fettuccine puttanesca without spending a fortune. (J.B.) $$. FB. LT. Handicap access. 212-2222


1301-1307 E. Brady St. A new Italian spot named after a fictional restaurant in the movie American Psycho has opened in the former Mimma’s space on Brady. Dorsia is owned by Geno Cataldo, whose family owns Jo-Cat’s lounge next door. The space was completely remodeled with a modern aesthetic, including dark gray walls in the bar and bright pop art posters. The focus of the menu is antipasti meant for sharing, along with homemade pastas. Pasta dishes can be ordered as an entree or as a flight of three or more. Bucatini is dressed in tomatoes, guanciale, Parmesan and basil. Crudo is an app meant for sharing with raw scallop, hamachi, peppers and cucumbers. Brunch, cocktails and an extensive wine list are also available. (L.M.) $$. CC. FB. RS. 539-6826


Il Mito Trattoria e Enoteca

6913 W. North Ave. Il Mito combines a pleasant Italian-inspired setting with a menu to match. While not purely Italian, the flavors are still there. The establishment has much to offer, including small plates, thoughtful pastas and mighty tasty pizzas in casual yet upscale settings at prices that won’t break the bank. (J.B.) $$-$$$. CC. FB. GF. SB. RS. Handicap access. 443-1414

Maggiano’s Little Italy

2500 N. Mayfair Road It’s a national chain with a sense of style, a restaurant in Mayfair Mall that Frank, Dino and the boys would have enjoyed. Their parents would have loved the big portions of traditional Italian food. Think we’re kidding? In the tradition of family style cooking, Maggiano’s doesn’t skimp when it comes to sausage or spaghetti. The dark interior is reminiscent of Italian American restaurants of yesteryear. (D.L.) $$-$$$. CC. FB. OD. RS. Handicap access. 978-1000

Nessun Dorma

2778 N. Weil St. Everybody likes a good deal at a restaurant, especially when the food proves as good as the prices. One such place is Nessun Dorma, named for a Giacomo Puccini aria (from Turnadot) and housed in a former corner tavern. The menu is focused on lighter fare with an Italian touch, including bruschetta, antipasti and panini. The daily specials are worth a trip to Riverwest. (J.B.) $-$$. CC. FB. LT. 264-8466


221 N. Broadway Milwaukee’s Third Ward has a new place for great Italian food. Onesto, which means “honest” in Italian, opened in 2014 and has been putting out honestly good food ever since. Fresh and tasty food is the name of the game here. Housemade ricotta cheese, daily baked bread, fresh hand-made pasta and locally sourced foods are the backbone of Onesto. (S.H.G.) $$. RS. FB. OD. Handicap access. 308-1600

Ristorante Bartolotta

7616 W. State St. Bartolotta’s flagship continues to serve classic Italian dishes in a refurbished setting including a new Hestan oven, adding dimension to staple dishes. Ristorante Bartolotta remains an upscale trattoria with Antipasti, I Primi, I Secondi and Dolci e Formaggi (dessert and cheese) courses. The restaurant offers all four courses in a chef selection but also you can order these selections ala carte. (A.M.) $$-$$$$. CC. FB. OD. RS. GF. Handicap access. 771-7910


2611 E. Hampshire Ave. Sala has long been popular college lunch spot or an unpretentious place for grabbing an Italian dinner on the way home. Sala has become known beyond the campus environs for its attractively served panini sandwiches, salads and brimming bowls of pasta, with or without the meatballs. There is an extensive wine list, including rarely seen vintages from Sicily and Sardinia; a beer list with domestic, craft brews and imports (Peroni, naturally); and a happy hour from 3-6 p.m. with custom cocktails such as the Milwaukee Mule, prepared from Rehorst vodka, ginger beer and lime. (D.L.) $$. CC. FB. OD. Handicap access. 964-2611

Santino’s Little Italy

353 E. Stewart St. The long bar-dining room is dark and comfortable as a womb but also suggests something theatrical—the perfect setting for a restaurant that refines Italian-American classics to a high level. Owners Santo Galati, Greg Huber and Nick Anton gutted an old corner bar and installed an Italian-made hybrid gas-wood pizza oven capable of baking five pies simultaneously over fragrant cherry wood. That the results are delicious is no surprise. Pizza occupies a big slice of the menu, but there is more, including many antipasti, salads and pasta-based entrees plus homemade desserts. (D.L.) $$-$$$. CC. RS. FB OD. 897-7367

Stella Van Buren

550 N. Van Buren St. The best of all worlds can be found on the third floor of the Weston Hotel. Stella Van Buren, the hotel’s Italian-American steak house, is warm and cozy, yet trendy and sleek. It has the kind of Italian American comfort food you would find at a red and white checkered table cloth restaurant, but also a small plates and outstanding steaks menu found at an upscale, big city steak house. Large windows that reach to the ceiling give a panoramic view of the city to complete the ambiance. The bar area alone is worth the destination, whether it’s the extensive bourbon selection (that the bartender has to shimmy up the library ladder to obtain) or the craft cocktails, some with an Italian flare, but all made with fresh ingredients. (A.M.) $$-$$$. CC. FB. RS. GF. Handicap access. 847.5622

Tenuta’s Italian Restaurant

2995 S. Clement Ave. Tenuta’s traditional Southern Italian food is well prepared, as if made in a kitchen that hasn’t changed in a century. The presentation, however, is very contemporary. Quality starts with freshness, which brings not only the best flavors from the familiar ingredients but the richest colors as well. Emphasis is on pasta dishes and pizza (great crust!). An extensive wine list is available.

(D.L.) $$-$$$. CC. FB. OD. SB. Handicap access. 431-1014


741 N. Milwaukee St. Zarletti is an Italian place that’s simply excellent. The panini served at lunch are the best. At dinner the pastas are compelling but do try the dreamy (if pricey) ossobucco. It rarely gets any better. (J.B.) $$$-$$$$. CC. FB. RS. Handicap access. 225-0000

Zarletti Mequon

1515 W. Mequon Road The location is in a small luxury mall in a space formerly occupied by Laacke & Joys. It makes for a charming setting with wood floors, high ceilings, two levels and large windows. Salads are taken seriously here, and flavors are on target. At lunch the heartier choices are pizzas and pastas. The dinner menu adds entrées and a few more starter courses. How good are the pizzas? These have a thin crust with a thicker rim and are cooked in a wood-fired oven. They are chewy to the bite, not especially crispy. (J.B.) $$-$$$. OD. FB. Handicap access. 262-241-5990


7237 W. North Ave. Irie Zulu’s seamless blend of African and Jamaican cuisine makes for a vibrant dining experience unique to Milwaukee. Meals are thoughtfully prepared, made with local ingredients and gloriously spiced using products from Afro Fusion Cuisine, owner Yollande Tchouapi Deacon’s line of spices and marinades available in store or online. Enjoy hard-to-find African dishes including Beef Suya and delicious seafood pepper soup made with sustainably raised cod. Try a house-made hibiscus juice to offset the spicier dishes. Irie Zulu’s ambiance is warm, inviting and familial. Be prepared to wait if the restaurant is busy but, as our server pointed out, this only allows for more bonding time. (S.M.) $$. FB. 509-6014

Pepper Pot Catering

4120 W. Capitol Drive Pepper Pot Catering is mostly takeout-only. The eatery isn’t skimpy when filling an order. A recent order of green curried goat and jerk chicken (including one wing) with sides of beans and rice, steamed vegetables and lengthwise-sliced fried plantains could have fed three people with reasonably hearty appetites. The plantains can work as a dessert, or as a pleasant way to cut the lingeringly mellow heat of the curried goat and the peppery coating on the chicken. For patrons who may want to eat on premises, there are a few seats at the counter facing a window looking out at Capitol Drive. (J.L.R.) $$. 628-7032

Uppa Yard

4925 W. Fond du Lac Ave. A combination dinner of curried goat and oxtails with beans and rice makes a fine embarkation point, with tender meats running a gamut of spiciness with a generous portion of smokytasting grains and legumes that could be a meal unto themselves. Sides include steamed cabbage flecked with strands of red and green bell pepper, as well as fried-lengthwise cuts of plantain. Chicken is the menu’s most plentiful meat; curry and jerk seasoning for the fowl may be the bestknown Jamaican preparations, but brown stew is worth a try as well. Tropical Rhythms juice drinks and kola champagne—like a cream soda with a hint of ginger beer bite—number among the tastier Jamaican ways to wash down Uppa fare. (J.L.R.) $-$$. 871-7138

JAPANESE Artisan Ramen

563 E. Mason St. Downtown has its first dedicated ramen shop, Artisan Ramen. The restaurant’s ambiance is modern and dark, with navy walls and bright art with everything from Star Wars characters to traditional Japanese prints. The menu is small, with a focus on appetizers, ramen and drinks like matcha, espresso and cheese tea, a Chinese drink of green tea with a layer of soft cheese on top. Ramen noodles are made fresh daily, and ramen broth comes in three varieties: pork, chicken and vegetable. On the less traditional side of things is the crunchy ramen cheese sticks, an appetizer made by wrapping ramen noodles around cheddar cheese, then deep frying it. (L.M.) $-$$. 888-8800


850 N. Plankinton Ave. This nationwide chain offers Japanese tableside cooking by acrobatic chefs. Those not in the mood for a performance will find tempura appetizers and a sushi bar with modest prices. Steaks, from the raw sashimi appetizer to the tenderloins, are well-marbled and tender. Dinners are comprehensive, including everything from an appetizer to dessert. (J.B.) $$-$$$. CC. FB. RS. Handicap access. 270-0890

Fushinami Seafood & Sushi Buffet

2116 N. Farwell Ave. For one price you get a seafood buffet and all the sushi you can eat. The sushi is freshly prepared to order. The setting is nice with tile floors, stonewalls and elegant furnishings. The sushi menu is much larger at dinner when sashimi is also offered. Friday and Saturday dinners charge a few dollars more as crab legs are added to the buffet. For the quality of the setting and the sushi the price can’t be beat. (J.B.) $$. CC. LB. RS. FB. Handicap access. 270-1918


Ginza Japanese Restaurant

2727 N. Mayfair Road Most of the menu can be described as traditional. Ginza offers the usual suspects you’d find at most sushi restaurants—maki (rolls), temaki (hand rolls), nigiri, sashimi and what seems to be an ever-expanding category of “Special Rolls,” including a daily preparation not listed on the menu. But there are some surprises. Hits include Yuzu Salmon, sliced avocado layered under pieces of fatty salmon delicately coated with a miso-yuzu sauce. The yuzu (Japanese citrus) provides just the right amount of acidity to balance the richness of the fish and avocado. Also impressive was the a la carte nigiri and sashimi—a sushi purist’s must-haves. (K.L.L.) $-$$. Handicap access. 771-3333

Hungry Sumo Sushi Bar

2663 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. Hungry Sumo has a small sushi bar and seating for around 40 in a warm, industrial setting. While you can get entrees like pad Thai, the focus of the menu is on fresh sushi and other Japanese dishes. Starters include edamame and gyoza, plus more unusual options like potato egg rolls. Maki comes in classic and contemporary versions, like the lady marmalade with spicy salmon, masago, avocado and mayo. Teriyaki bowls, donburi (sushi bowls), soup, dessert and beer are also served. (L.M.) $$. 595-9656


4918 S. 74th St. Greenfield’s spacious and gracefully ornamented Japanica makes for a traditional ethnic dining experience and a truly memorable outing. Enjoy a wide variety of sushi, rice and noodle dishes or the establishment’s signature hibachi, served straight off the grill mere inches away. This menu offers dinner and a show like nothing else; deft chopping and knife tossing are the norm, but your chef might just offer to squirt sake directly into your mouth as well! All hibachi entrées are served with generous appetizers of soup, salad, fried rice and shrimp. You may count on going home stuffed, satisfied and even astounded. (S.M.) $$-$$$. CC. RS. FB. Handicap access. 281-9868


408 E. Chicago St., 220-1155 2150 N. Prospect Ave., 885-2524 The elaborate wood sushi bar is an attraction in itself. So is the sushi. The signature rolls are elaborate presentations. Try the belly of hamachi or yellowtail. This is a sister restaurant to Brookfield’s Wasabi and the menu follows the Japanese-fusion theme, although it is not identical and includes innovative small plates. The Wagyu jalapeño poppers filled with Wagyu beef, cheddar and cream cheeses, wasabi aioli and teriyaki sauce is a good starter. Expect to be frequently surprised. (J.B.) $$$. CC. RS. FB. Handicap access.

DININGGUIDE Kawa Ramen & Sushi

2321 N. Murray Ave. The owners of Kawa Japanese Restaurant in Whitefish Bay have opened a second location on the East Side. Kawa Ramen & Sushi will have a similar menu focused on various types of sushi, Japanese entrees, udon and lunch specials, plus a selection of ramen. The ramen broth and noodles are made in house and come in four varieties. Traditional tonkotsu ramen is the most common version, made with pork broth and topped with pork belly. Garlic miso ramen, seafood ramen, and a hell fire ramen with a pork broth of varying spice levels are also available. (L.M.) $$. 800-7979

Kawa Japanese Restaurant

325 W. Silver Spring Drive Kawa can seat about 40 patrons tops but features a menu of Japanese kitchen and sushi bar items much larger in size and variety than one would think such a cozy restaurant could support. Appetizers offer good value, including abbreviated versions of entrée-sized portions found elsewhere on the menu. Special rolls are undoubtedly another highlight; certain combinations are unique and set Kawa apart from other sushi restaurants. (K.L.L.) $$. Handicap access. 249-5750


7453 W. Layton Ave. Kyoto offers good Japanese food and has expanded over the years to include items from China and Thailand. The tempura rarely gets better, especially the shrimp. Lunch specials offer exceptional value on rolls, bento boxes, chef specials and noodles. (J.B.) $$. CC. RS. Handicap access. 325-1000

Meiji Cuisine

2503 Plaza Court, Waukesha Meiji is actually two restaurants in one. The first is Japanese and the second Sichuan Chinese. The Japanese has the usual sushi, tempura and some hibachi tables for the Benihana-type experience. But the real attraction is the Sichuan fare. Items are prepared with uncommon authenticity from the thin slices of barely cooked pork belly to more familiar items like Chongqing chili beef. The menu is extensive and about half of the dishes are mild in spicing but dare to be different and order that fish fillet with pickled vegetable soup. (J.B.) $-$$$. FB. CC. Handicap access. 262717-9858

Screaming Tuna

106 W. Seeboth St. Screaming Tuna is an excellent option for those interested in either sushi or moving bridges. For sushi, Screaming Tuna has won a number of local dining awards and is the only Wisconsin sushi restaurant to be a Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch partner, insuring that their offer-

ings are farmed and fished in environmentally friendly ways. For bridges, you get a prime view of both lift-style and bascule-style crossings, both of which can be seen in motion on summer afternoons. With a little luck (and a short walk to the end of the Riverwalk), diners can also catch the Menomonee River swing bridge allowing passage to the valley. (M.J.P.) $$-$$$$. CC. OD. FB. RS. Handicap access. 763-1637

Spicy Tuna

4823 W. National Ave. A Japanese restaurant has opened in the former 4823 Grill & Pub building in West Milwaukee. Spicy Tuna offers ramen, sushi, teriyaki and noodle dishes in a sushi-bar-meets-tavern atmosphere. Nigiri and sashimi ($5-$7 for 2 pieces), vegetable maki ($4.50-$10), sushi entrees ($15$28) and signature maki with elaborate decorations like the Miller Park ($14) with soft-shell crab, avocado, seared tuna and fried shallots are available. Six types of ramen are offered, including a beef version ($14) with barbecue beef. Other Japanese classics include tempura shrimp and vegetables ($6.50), seaweed salad ($4) and salmon teriyaki ($16). $$-$$$ (L.M.) 671-4823

Wasabi Sushi & Sake Lounge

15455 W. Bluemound Road, Brookfield The menu and setting set Wasabi apart among suburban restaurants. It’s very Japanese and luxuriant. The menu offers occasional Asian fusion surprises and entrées feature a bit of everything. The star here is the special maki sushi rolls, which are wildly creative and extravagant. (J.B.) $-$$$. RS. Handicap access. 262-780-0011

JEWISH/ KOSHER Benji’s Deli & Restaurant

4156 N. Oakland Ave., 332-7777 8683 N. Port Washington Road, 228-5130 While Benji’s might serve less kishka and gefilte fish than they did a generation ago, the menu is still heavy on the Jewish favorites. In addition to chili and mushroom barley soups, they offer a chicken broth soup with your choice of matzo ball, kreplach, or kasha. They also serve both beet and cabbage borscht. The cabbage borscht, with a creamy and sweet tomato base, was a nice warm-up on a near-autumn day. The “Benji’s Favorites” include fried matzo, potato pancakes, and their signature Chicken in the Pot: a halfchicken served in homemade chicken broth with carrots, noodles and a matzo ball. Benji’s all-day breakfast includes the standards, as well as their very popular Hoppel-Poppel: scrambled eggs with potatoes and fried salami, as well as bagels and lox. (M.J.P.) $-$$. CC. NA.

Jake’s Deli

1634 W. North Ave. Jake’s Deli is an old-school Jewish delicatessen known for its corned beef, Reubens and pastrami. The meat is hand-carved, cooked in its own juices, piled high on pretzel rolls and embellished with zesty dressings. Jake’s also carries Polish sausage, hot dogs, matzo ball soup, potato salad, kraut and a few other items. This no-frills, always-busy joint has that mid-20th-century urban vibe. Jake’s closes early, serving mostly to the lunch crowd. (D.S.) $. CC. NA. Handicap access. 562-1272

The Rubenstein Family Kosher Oasis

which is known for its extreme crispness and sweet and spicy sauce. Cocktails with homemade syrups and weekend brunch will be available. The interior of the space is sleek and playful, and includes custom murals inspired by Black Cat Alley next door. (L.M.) $$-$$$. CC. FB. 226-5160

Seoul Korean Restaurant

2178 N. Prospect Ave. This is one of the only area restaurant devoted to Korean food. All of the basics are here, such as beef bulgogi, kalbi and spicy grilled pork. The house specialties are large enough to serve a few diners and are heated with a butane burner at the table. (J.B.) $. CC. Handicap access. 289-8208

1414 N. Prospect Ave. The Rubenstein Family Kosher Oasis, located off the lobby of the Jewish Home and Care Center, is open to the public. While bagels and cream cheese are on hand, most of the items are contemporary American with a rabbinical imprimatur. Think a quesadilla filled with cheese and a thick layer of tuna salad or seafood rolls made with buttered hot dog buns. Though only open from late morning to early afternoon on most days, the Kosher Oasis serves a Wednesday evening fish fry of tender white filets in dark breading (made with shards of various kinds of torn bread) with French fries, a slightly creamy coleslaw and marbled rye bread. (J.L.R.) $. CC. FF. SB. Handicap access. 277-8813

Stone Bowl Grill




222 E. Erie St. A new restaurant has moved into the former Hinterland space in the Third Ward. Char’d is an upscale modern Korean restaurant run by executive chef Yosub Yoon, who has worked all over the globe, including in Seoul. For lunch, the sleek restaurant will operate as a casual café with an abbreviated menu along with coffee, tea and smoothies. At night, a full menu and bar will be offered with a focus on the grill and ssam portion of the menu. Meats, like beef bulgogi, are served on sizzling lava stones along with vegetables and dipping sauces, plus a basket of leafy greens for assembling wraps. There are also small plates and other entrees, including Korean fried chicken wings, short ribs and bone marrow with potatoes, pickles and sweet potato puree, and steamed pork dumplings (L.M.). $$$. 885-2611


1932 E. Kenilworth Place A modern bar and restaurant serving Koreanstyle fried chicken wings has opened in the former Yokohama space. The fusion menu will include bar snacks and appetizers like Koreaninfluenced loaded fries, tacos and burgers. The signature item will be Korean fried chicken,


1958 N. Farwell Ave. Korean food doesn’t yet have the cultural foothold of Chinese food in the American culinary landscape; but with enticing and mysterious dishes like “hot pots” and “bibimbap” and the fortifying fermentation of kimchi, it has the potential. Stone Bowl Grill – located right next to the Best Sushi winning Rice N Roll Bistro – offers a variety of authentic fare in a modern environment suitable for date nights, celebrations or good old gustatory experimentation. (Tyler Friedman) $$. CC. FB. RS. Handicap access. 220-9111

LAOTIAN 3427 W. National Ave. This Laotian-Thai restaurant offers that complex and spicy Laotian salad, larb. The mixture of beef, pork or chicken minced with roasted rice powder is mixed with green onion, cilantro, mint and chili peppers. Some of the stickiest rice in the city, Napa basil, iceberg lettuce and white cabbage are served on the side. Unique to the neighborhood, and perhaps all of Milwaukee, are the appetizers of four small quails and beef jerky and a Thai frog legs entree with string beans, basil and lime leaf paste. (J.L.R.) $. 316-9023

Vientiane Noodle Shop

3422 W. National Ave. Serving traditional Laotian fare (along with other Southeast Asian options), Vientiane’s food is generously portioned and affordably priced. The menu features a reasonable selection of appetizers, pan-fried noodle and rice dishes, such as fresh spring rolls, mee krob (crispy yellow noodles topped with stir fry), and sae goong (spicy shrimp). Other Laotian dishes include larb, a traditional Laotian salad, joom seen (hot pot) and the phan khao poun wrap. Prepared for two or four people, the joom seen contains beef, clear noodles, seafood, eggs, green onions, mushrooms and napa cabbage and is accompanied by beef broth and a side of peanut sauce, while the

DININGGUIDE phan khao poun wrap is large enough for two people, requires self-assembly and features vermicelli noodles, beef, sweet and sour sauce and a platter of vegetables. (E.P.) $. 672-8440

LATIN AMERICAN Antigua Mexican and Latin Restaurant

6207 W. National Ave Recently moved to a larger location, Latin American, Mexican and Spanish staples make up Antigua’s large menu. You will find pupusas from El Salvador, empanadas from Argentina, lomo saltado from Peru and that Spanish classic, paella. Though the menu covers a lot of territory the preparations are traditional, and everything is worth a try. Bring out the sangria. (E.R.) $$$. CC. FB. RS. SB. Handicap access. 321-5775

Boone & Crockett/Taco Moto

818 S. Water St. The tacos and side boast bold flavors. The original Dr. Pepper-braised pork with pickled cabbage, jalapeno and radish was amazing, but my favorite was the seasonal crispy oyster mushroom. This taco was filled with crisp tempura-battered fried oyster mushrooms from Mushroom Mike with just the right amount of batter and topped with buttermilk salad, roasted pumpkin seeds, radish and Cojita cheese. My other favorite was a creation of Taco Moto’s new truck manager Ben, who, Derrik says, ““brings new ideas to the truck and fresh enthusiasm.” And he was right. The Plantaco with a fried ripe plantain, braised pork (they also do a vegetarian version), aioli, radish and sliced roasted almonds was a delicious. (A.M.) CC. FB.OD. Handicap access. 763.4935


2165 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. C-Viche serves Peruvian, Argentinian, Mexican and Ecuadorian food. Vegetarians will be pleasantly surprised at the quality of the grilled veggie panini. There are several appetizers to choose from, but the most outstanding are the yucca frites. The namesake civiche is beautifully plated. Served with corn two ways—a pile of choclo, or hard boiled kernels off a huge Peruvian corn stalk, and a handful of canche, fried kernels reminiscent of corn nuts—atop a boiled-thencooled sweet potato which is itself atop a leaf of romaine lettuce, the civiche features an attractively assembled mound of flounder covered in ahi amarillo, a spicy and brightly acidic sauce. (F.K.R.C.) FB. $$. 800-7329

El Salvador Restaurant

2316 S. Sixth St. A classic Salvadoran item is pupusas, corn cakes with a choice of fillings that are grilled. Delicious!

Salpicon is seasoned minced beef that is served at room temperature with excellent homemade tortillas. Yuca con chicharron is chunks of pork meat that have been fried to a crisp served over yucca, a root tuber much like a potato. (J.B.) $. CC. 645-1768

La Caribeña

1704 S. Pearl St. The menu of Puerto Rican, Columbian and Dominican food is served in an atmosphere resembling a Central American village reimagined as a nightclub. Latin rhythms fill the air, but the food is even more enticing than the music. Beef, chicken pork, shrimp and fish can had at most any type of ethnic eatery, but goat? The chivo guisado is especially inviting. The Dominican stew features bone-in morsels of goat meat, some cut thin as fine brisket, simmering in their own slightly thickened, mildly spiced juices. Deliciously complementing the veggie-free concoction is a generous side of steamed cassava possessing a subtle, distinct flavor somewhere between white potato and turnip. (J.L.R.) $. 239-8788

La Masa

1300 E. Brady St. La Masa offers over a dozen different types of baked empanadas. You can make them a meal with a side or two, or you can pick them up as a late night snack while you’re barhopping. Some fillings change seasonally, rotating between things like meatball and provolone in winter and blackened chicken and pineapple in the summer. Other empanadas are menu staples and for good reason. Argentine beef is one of the more classic recipes, based on picadillo. Ground beef is seasoned aggressively and combined with green olives for tang, raisins for sweetness, chiles and chopped hardboiled egg. The flavors are bold and it’s a treat when you find a large olive or chunk of egg. (L.M.) $-$$. CC. FB. SB. Handicap access. 855-1866.

Mara’s Grill

3441 N. 84th St. Four Guatemalan entrees are on a menu that contains a few Mexican specialties. Most distinctive is chicken pipianm whose roasted tomatoes, peppers and onions give this mole variation a softly reddish hue and underlying spicy heat that complements the tender, well-marinated meat. Mara’s Guatemalan variation of chile rellenos, featuring a chipotle sauce between roasted poblano pepper and its fried egg batter coating with additional options of chicken or spinach, beckons for a visit, too. (J.L.R.) $-$$. 810-0031

Sabor Tropical

2258 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. A Caribbean and Latin American-inspired restaurant, Sabor Tropical serves dishes from Puerto Rico, Argentina, Mexico, and Cuba, among others.

Plantains play a big role on the menu, in items like tostones rellenos stuffed with your choice of meat, mofongo rellenos, an entree made of mashed plantains with chicharrónes and topped with shrimp, lobster, or fish, and the el jibarito, a sandwich with smashed plantains taking the place of bread. Other options include Cuban ropa vieja with shredded flank steak and olives, pechuga con mole, and gazpacho with shrimp, cucumbers and onion served with chicharrónes. Tropical drinks like mojitos, caipirinhas and piña coladas are a specialty. (L.M.) $$. CC. FB. 988-8030

Snifters Tapas & Spirits

606 S. Fifth St. An upscale lounge and restaurant focused on dark spirits like whiskey has opened in Walker’s Point in the former Café La Paloma space. The food will be a fusion of Latin and soul food cuisine, with tapas, rice bowls and a few entrees available. Menu items include fried jumbo shrimp called los camarones, Spanish-inspired shrimp and grits, an empanada called the Manchester filled with mac ‘n’ cheese, and fried chicken and waffles. Cocktails will be made from high-end spirits, or customers can order from a large selection of beer and wine. The walls are lined with brick and worn wood, giving the space a cozy warmth in the dim lighting. Cigar boxes act as wall art, and cigars will be available for purchase and can be smoked on the restaurant’s patio. (L.M.) $$. 395-5121

Tavo’s Latin Fusion

5814 W. Bluemound Road The Mexican and Latin American restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Appetizers include three types of guacamole and sincronizadas, a popular Mexican ham and cheese quesadilla. Gorditas, sopes, enchiladas and tacos are available with meat choices like steak, shrimp, and cactus. Kitchen specialties include the pineapple pastor express, a half pineapple filled with pastor meat, and ribeye steak tacos. (L.M.) $$. 239-8888


6200 W. Burnham St. Takeout is the main focus, with only a few small tables and counter seats in the dining room. The specialty is dishes from Mexico City, including alambre, a plate made with chopped steak, bacon, pork chops, chorizo, grilled vegetables and pineapple, all topped with melted cheese and served with tortillas. Tacos, tortas, enchiladas and burritos are also available, with meat choices of asada, chicken, chorizo, ground beef, lengua and the restaurant’s namesake, pork al pastor. (L.M.) $. 210-5714




MAY 19 JUNE 30 AUG. 11 SEPT. 29 Walworth County Fairgrounds - Hwy 11 (45 min. SW of Milw.) $5 Admission Free Parking Open 7AM • Rain or Shine Over 500 Dealers 414-525-0820


Botanas II


Buenavista Banquets & Restaurant

753 N. Water St. Angry Taco is a counter-service restaurant that focuses on tacos and has a lucha libre theme. Corn tortillas are made daily in-restaurant. You can choose to fill them with asada, al pastor, chicken, ground beef, or a vegetarian option with chipotle chickpea and buffalo cauliflower. On Fridays, shrimp and tilapia options are added. Nachos, burritos or bowls, quesadillas and tamales are also available. (L.M.) $-$$. FB. 800-7785 901 Milwaukee Ave. Located on South Milwaukee’s main drag in the spot that once housed a beloved Serbian restaurant, Balkanian New Star, Azteca has been serving good Mexican dishes for the past decade. The friendly and affordable eatery has a nothingfancy interior but boasts a menu with all the familiar staples along with a few surprises. The weekday lunch buffet is a good place to start. You can build your own meal from ground meat, refried beans and Spanish rice, piling the fixings into flour tortillas and crunchy taco shells. The expected steak fajitas, cheese enchiladas and chicken chimichangas are on the buffet table next to unusual items such as cochinita pibil, tender pork slow roasted in orange juice, garlic and spices. There are also salads and desserts. Margaritas and Mexican beer are on hand, but why not try horchata, a milky non-alcoholic drink made from rice and ground almonds. (D.L.) $. CC. FB. SB. Handicap access. 766-0450

BelAir Cantina

1935 N. Water St., 226-2245 6817 North Ave., 988-8533 2625 N. Downer Ave., 964-1190 250 High St., Brookfield, (262) 784-4938 410 W. Town Square Way, Oak Creek, 215-7995 The popular locally owned chain of Tex-Mex style restaurants keeps expanding with plans to branch out across the state. All locations serve up burritos, margaritas, fajitas and tacos in a variety of Mexican and international flavors. Stop in and try out the Korean beef tacos or hotdog taquitos. (L.M) $$. CC. FB. SB. OD. Handicap access.

Botanas Restaurant

816 S. Fifth St. With authentic Guadalajaran cuisine and more than 100 brands of tequila, you’ll never be at a loss for options. The rich, dark moles and wide array of seafood are of particular interest. Service is exceedingly fast and friendly, and patrons enjoy ample private lot parking. The atmosphere is surprisingly calm for the amount of traffic the place gets, thanks in part to low lighting and exquisite jungle murals that engulf the entire restaurant (bathrooms included) in an air of tropical wonder. (S.M.) $$. CC. RS. FB. OD. Handicap access. 672-3755

1421 E. Howard Ave. Botanas II boasts a spacious bar, a great place to watch a game while enjoying a delicious margarita or any of more than a dozen tequilas. Owner Martha Navejar brought the same recipes and menu from the original Botanas. Service is friendly, the food is flavorful and traditional, and the prices are a good value for the portions. (A.M.) $$. OD. FB. Handicap access. 489-0529

7507 W. Oklahoma Ave. Buenavista Restaurant is part of the Taqueria Buenavista group that includes the original restaurant as well as several food trucks. The building houses a banquet hall as well as a full service restaurant. Traditional Mexican fare is served, including tacos, sopes, tamales and quesadillas, along with some new additions. The parrillada platter includes steak, chicken, pork and vegetables. Steak also appears in the new tampiquena, a classic combo with grilled steak and a cheese enchilada, and mar y tierra, a steak and shrimp combo. (L.M.) $$. FB. 573-2918

Café Corazón

3129 N. Bremen St., 810-3941 2394 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., 544-2774 Corazón means heart, and that word describes the food, service and atmosphere at both Café Corazón locations. All the food is fresh, and they are proud to work with many local farmers. And it’s not Milwaukee restaurant Mexican food— don’t expect to have chips and salsa delivered to your table once you sit down, but feel free to order them and guacamole as a starter. They have a spicy green sauce with just the right amount of heat and the traditional salsa. The menu offers something for everyone. Besides more traditional dishes they offer a burger, stuffed pepper and bourbon salmon and many vegan options with Simply Soyman’s herbed tofu and soy chorizo. (A.M.) $-$$. CC. SB.

Café El Sol

1028 S. Ninth St. Located deep inside the United Community Center, El Sol’s visibility is relatively low, even though it has its own plainly marked entrance. But anyone who loves Mexican and Puerto Rican food shouldn’t overlook it. El Sol is notable for its daily Puerto Rican specials, but also serves up a fine selection of enchiladas, tacos, guacamole and tostadas. Try a breakfast of huevos rancheros or good ol’ Yankee eggs, toast and bacon. The Friday fish fry buffet features live Latin music. (D.L.) $. CC. FF. RS. 384-3100 ext. 275


1110 N. Old World Third St. The short-lived Matador Taco + Tequila Bar space has been purchased by The Who’s on Third Group

and re-opened as Cantina. The concept is essentially the same, with a Tex-Mex menu of tacos, burritos, and tequila-based drinks. Tacos are sold a la carte and include rice and beans when you order any three. They range from slightly more traditional carne cantina with steak, chihuahua cheese, onion, cilantro and lime, to modern, like the jerk taco with jerk chicken and banana pepper slaw. Fajitas are available in chicken or steak, and burritos come smothered in queso sauce. A variety of margaritas are offered, along with a paloma, michelada and tequila old fashioned. (L.M.) $$. FB. 897-8137

Chilango Express

7030 W. Lincoln Ave. This Mexican restaurant has moved down the street from its old gas station location. The building, formerly Sofia’s, is larger and offers full service as well as a bar. The space has been renovated, including an upgraded kitchen, new booths, removed carpeting in the dining area and a new, bright exterior paint job. All the old favorites are still on the menu, including tacos ($2), quesadillas ($6.50) and huaraches ($6.50) made with homemade tortillas and daily specials like menudo. New to the menu are nachos and fajitas, along with margaritas and micheladas. $ (L.M.) 807-7948

Chipotle Mexican Grill

600 E. Ogden Ave. 223-4710 3232 S. 27th St., 389-1380 15375 Bluemound Road, Brookfield, 262-796-0463 2711 N. Mayfair Road, 258-6649 Chipotle’s mission is to change the direction of America’s favorite ethnic food and set an example for the food service industry. The menu retains the tastiness of familiar Mexican American dishes while jettisoning anything unhealthy. The meat and dairy products come from animals that roam freely. Most everything is made from fresh ingredients, down to the lime in the margaritas. Guacamole is prepared several times daily and the fresh-baked chips are among the best anywhere. (D.L.) $. CC. OD.

Cielito Lindo

739 S. Second St. The dining room is a colorful Mexican fantasy with tropical Mexican murals on orange walls and a ceiling with a vivid blue sky and a giant eagle. Nobody will ever fall asleep in this room! The menu includes reasonably priced Mexican standards with decent chiles rellenos. Items with salsa verde and salsa rojo are also worth a try. There are two dining areas, both with bars, and a patio. Though there are few items that are unique here, the cooking is sound and the prices reasonable. (J.B.) $-$$. CC. FB. OD. Handicap access. 649-0401


Cocina 1022

1022 S. First St. Cocina 1022 is owned by the current operators of Jalisco’s on North Avenue. The menu includes Mexican staples, like various tortas ($7-$8) at lunch, tacos ($2.50-$3) with fillings like pork al pastor, shrimp with garlic and tequila, and lengua. At dinner, the molcajete with various meats and vegetables is a centerpiece, along with a richly colored chicken mole. Side choices go beyond rice and refried beans, including frijoles charros, papas con chorizo, and esquite, a creamy corn street food. (L.M.) $$. CC. FB. Handicap access. 810-1022

El Beso Mexican Restaurante & Cantina

5030 S. 74th St. Step inside El Beso Mexican Restaurant in Greenfield and you will almost feel as if you’ve been transported to Old Mexico. The ambiance at this place is hard to beat. From the soaring ceiling in the courtyard inspired lobby to the brightly colored walls, beautiful artwork and memorabilia displayed throughout the restaurant, diners will feel cheerful shortly after arriving —even before they’ve had a margarita. It’s not just about the ambiance though. El Beso is owned and operated by the same family behind other Milwaukee area restaurants, El Fuego and Mad Rooster, so they’ve got some serious cooking chops to back up the delicious food they serve. (S.H.G.) $$. CC. GF. OD. Handicap access. 817-0362

El Chivolin

4171 S. 76th St. El Chivolin’s focus is on ceviche and other seafood dishes. Ceviche is available with various types of seafood including fish, shrimp and octopus. Cooked dishes include whole fried fish, beef or chicken milenesa, platters of head-on shrimp served with bottles of beer for sharing, and fish Verzcruzana. The bar serves up numerous types of micheladas, the beer and spicy tomato juice beverage, including versions with seafood right in the drink, including shrimp, octopus and oysters. (L.M.) $$. FB. 544-3132

El Fuego Mexican Restaurant

909 W. Layton Ave. El Fuego is a jumbo-sized Mexican establishment, but the amenities are nice with an inviting bar plus an outdoor patio complete with palm trees and a cascading waterfall. The food ranges from above average to quite good. Guacamole is made on the spot and the shrimp cocktails are large and a bit spicy. Do try the enchiladas de mole. This kitchen has an excellent recipe for this chocolate-based sauce. Prices are affordable, except for the premium tequilas, of course. (J.B.) $$. CC. FB. OD. Handicap access. 455-3534


1801 S. 11th St. El Local’s reputation rises from authentic Mexican tacos and other simple items, including exceptional tacos al pastor and carnitas. The birria, a goat meat soup, is as hearty as a stew. Seafood varies from the jumbo Mexican cocktails to a mixed seafood soup and whole red snappers in a classic preparation. (J.B.) $-$$. Handicap access. 672-6746

El Patron

2423 S. Sixth St. Cesar Lopez, the son of Rodrigo Lopez from Cielito Lindo, one of Walker’s Point’s early success stories, opened a Mexican restaurant of his own. El Patron. The interior is vibrant with aquatic and avian murals, Mexican television on the big screen and music from a Mexican station. The menu offers hearty, familiar dishes in generous portions along with a few specialties from Jalisco, the state where the Lopez family originated. Among them are molcajete, which combines steak, chicken and shrimp with avocado, tomato, onion, pepper and melted cheese. Another El Patrón specialty, birria, is a stew made from lamb and served Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. (D.L.) $$. FB. 204-8901

homemade pizzas, filling appetizers and heaping plates of Mexican American staples like chimichangas, quesadillas and enchiladas. With its free shuttle and generous drink specials, Valdy’s invites budget-minded Brewers fans to head to the stadium on a full stomach. (L.M.) $$. CC. FB. OD. 443-0287

Fiesta Café

1407 S. First St. The menu is made up of both breakfast and lunch dishes available all day. Breakfast includes traditional items like pancakes, waffles and French toast as well as savory Mexican dishes. The pancakes are fluffy and light and some of the best in the city and come with different fruit choices, chocolate chip and multi grain. Same goes for waffles—there is even a dessert option with the addition of a scoop of ice cream. You have choices of French toast too; original to Cinacrunch and Churros, a must for the sweet tooth breakfast lover. Crepes range from the savory Florentine topped with a lemony Hollandaise, fruit or Nutella for the chocolate lover in the crowd. They are thin and delicate with just the right amount of filling. (A.M.) SS. CC. FB. SB. RS. GF. Handicap access. 914-9569

Seasonal specials make this one of the most distinctive local Mexican restaurants. (J.B.) $$. CC. OD. FB. Handicap access. 483-8300

José’s Blue Sombrero

8617 N. Port Washington Road, 351-9280 20371 W. Bluemound Road, Brookfield, 262-432-6667 6430 Washington Ave., Racine, 262-886-5600 7615 W. State St., 453-2300 Yes, the usual suspects are present at Jose’s Blue Sombrero—those items with which we’ve come to associate or define Mexican food (in the U.S.) such as burritos, enchiladas and tostadas. But look past the category names alone and you’ll find fresh renditions of old favorites as well as authentic Mexican classics not commonly found here. (K.L.L.) $$. FB. GF

Kompali Taqueria

1901 S. 31st St. The menu includes standard Mexican fare, but the selection is broad, the quality consistent and seafood dishes abundant. Try chorizo tacos with a spicy punch or a big platter of shrimp fajitas. The house specialty is parillada, a tabletop grill with an assortment of meats. Start the meal with a good ceviche and finish with vanilla flan. (J.B.) $-$$. CC. FB. Handicap access. 385-9506

821 W. Lincoln Ave. This small, colorfully adorned Mexican restaurant across the street from Kosciuszko Park in the Lincoln Village prides itself on its seafood, with specialties including paella, calamari, oysters, ceviches and caldo de mariscos (a seafood soup). Most entrées are served with heaps of rice and beans on plates that look every bit as colorful and festive as the restaurant itself. (E.R.) $$. CC. FB. OD. Handicap access. 645-4552

1205 E. Brady St. The menu includes appetizers, Mexican sandwiches and salads, sides and desserts. Try the esquite (Mexican street corn) dripping in butter with a sprinkle of feta cheese for a nice balance with the sweet corn. The nopales (cactus) fries were crispy and delicious served with a chipotle cream. The prelude to our tacos, chips and guacamole, was a must. To our delight the chips were warm and crisp—the perfect vessel for the creamy avocado concoction. Tacos are broken into two categories: include authentically Mexican fillings on a house-made tortilla and others that had us stamping our flavor passport from Vietnam to Peru with a few stops in between. (A.M.) $-$$. CC. FB. RS. GF. Handicap access. 210-3010

El Tlaxcalteca Restaurant

Habanero’s Mexican Kitchen

La Canoa

El Senorial

1300 W. Burnham St. This Mexican restaurant offers closer-to-heritage offerings, but not without its own proprietary delicacies and items rarely found elsewhere in the city. A take on the breakfast staple of chilquiles places steak, onions, eggs and sour cream amid tortilla chips, red sauce or green sauce and cheese. A complex palette of beefy, tangy and citrusy flavors emerges when skirt steak and onions are combined with cactus for a traditional plate lunch. Soups include beef and chicken varieties chock-full of corn, multiple squashes, carrot, potato and cabbage. Of its desserts, the one most worth the splurge may be fried plantain slices daubed with strawberry preserves. (J.L.R.) $$ 312-8436

Fat Valdy’s

5108 W. Bluemound Road The festive sports bar and Mexican restaurant makes the most of its proximity to Miller Park. Valdy’s offers a selection of hearty sandwiches,

Fiesta Garibaldi

869 N. Mayfair Road, 607-9025 7700 W. Layton Ave., 282-5000 With hearty greetings of “Amigos!” the Habanero’s servers gladly bring second baskets of their tasty complimentary chips and are always keen on fast service from a sprawling menu encompassing generous portions of familiar Mexican dishes. There are even vegetarian options and not all items are dialed down spicewise. Lovers of tequila will find abundant variety along with a lengthy margarita list. (D.L.) $$. CC. FB. OD. Handicap access.

Jalapeño Loco

5067 S. Howell Ave. Jalapeño Loco has a menu for everyone. If steak tacos and chicken enchiladas are your thing, you’ll be just as satisfied as the person who orders chiles en nogada or the mole Oaxaqueno. Try the pork ribs in salsa verde, a tart sauce with a spicy kick. The setting is casual with a large fireplace and a bar serving fine gold margaritas.

1520 W. Lincoln Ave. La Canoa prides itself on mariscos, or seafood. From a smelt appetizer to a regional variation of Spanish paella featuring octopus, mussels, shrimp, calamari, crab and clams, most any aquatic creature worth eating makes the extensive menu. Amphibians aren’t left behind, ether, as four frog legs preparations are on offer. As good a place to start among over 100 menu entrees is one of La Canoa’s catfish platters. (J.L.R.) $$. CC. FB. Handicap access. 645-1140

La Costeña Café

5823 W. Burnham St. A Mexican restaurant has opened in West Allis in the former home of Antigua, which recently moved. La Costeña Café serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and offers a full bar. Breakfast items include Mexican specialties like chilaquiles ($8.99) and huevos con chorizo ($9.99), as well as American dishes like fresh berry waffles ($9.99). At lunch and dinner, diners can enjoy


everything from a turkey melt ($8.49) on rye to a taco dinner ($10.99) made with cabesa or barbacoa. Parrillada for one or two ($17.99-$32.99), burgers ($7.99+) and seafood ($13.99) are also available. (L.M.) 837-6685

La Fuente

9155 W. Bluemound Road, 771-9900 Although closed now, the original Walker’s Point location became a magnet for Milwaukeeans looking for decent tacos, burritos and enchiladas at lunch and dinner. The Margaritas offered another reason for the wait-in-line crowds. The new location in Wauwatosa has picked up the slack, maintaining La Fuente’s menu of Mexican staples. (D.L.) $-$$. CC. FB. OD. LT. Handicap access.

La Salsa

119 E. Oklahoma Ave. A colorfully painted and decorated nest of rooms, La Salsa covers the timeline from breakfast through dinner. The menu begins with a half dozen egg dishes and rises from there to explore all the Mexican-American staples in beef, chicken and pork. Five combo plates offer easy ways to sample the dishes. A few unusual items are available, including beef tongue and pork smothered in green salsa. (D.L.) $-$$. CC. FB. OD. Handicap access. 483-0522

Lala’s Place

3470 E. Layton Ave. Cudahy is an unlikely spot for a Mexican restaurant, but this former diner does the trick. Alicia “Lala” Guerra is the owner and manages to visit every table when she is here. The kitchen makes a fine chicken mole and decent pork al pastor. The décor is modest, but this is a friendly place with even friendlier prices. (J.B.) $. CC. Handicap access. 744-4417

Las 7 Estrellas

112 E. Dakota St. The owners of a taco truck have opened a brickand-mortar location on the south side. Las 7 Estrellas serves a full menu of breakfast, lunch and dinner items seven days a week. The storefront restaurant is sparse but inviting, with about a dozen tables and a small bar for dining. The menu includes plenty of Mexican favorites like a taco dinner with your choice of filling, along with some more unusual items. Lengua enchiladas are filled with diced tongue and topped with salsa roja. Steak and pork meatballs called albondigas enchipotadas are served in a chipotle sauce with rice and beans. Instead of the usual chips and salsa, customers receive complimentary fresh French fries when they dine in. (L.M.) $$. 231-9519

DININGGUIDE The Laughing Taco

1033 S. First St. The Walker’s Point taqueria serves up a small menu of Mexican street-style tacos. The Laughing Taco is headed by the husband and wife team of Justin Carlisle, of Ardent, and Lucia Muñoz. Muñoz grew up in northern Mexico, and it’s that region’s taquerias that inspired this small counter service spot. The menu includes seven different kinds of tacos. Four are served on corn tortillas: seasoned pork on a spit called trompo, bistec, papas in tomato sauce, and nopalitos in chile sauce. Three types of tacos are larger and served in flour tortillas, like the pirata with steak, cheese, avocado, cilantro and onion. Like Carlisle’s Red Light Ramen, The Laughing Taco serves up alcohol-filled slushies, including a grapefruit and tequila paloma. (L.M.) $. 210-3086

Los Paisa

600 W. Brown Deer Road Los Paisa takes the idea of home-style Mexican food fairly literally. The building it operates in is, after all, a home. If not for the neon open signs in the window, you might think you entered someone’s home for lunch or dinner. The menu is traditional: fajitas, enchiladas and tacos come with seasoned rice and refried beans. Portions are large. Los Paisa offers a variety of proteins to customize your order, including steak, chicken, ground beef, carnitas, chili verde pork or chunky beef, plus a dozen seafood and vegetarian menu items. (K.L.L.) 540-2125

Margarita City

8201 S. Howell Ave. Oak Creek’s Margarita City offers all the standard Mexican favorites, like tacos, enchiladas, burritos and fajitas. For something unique, try the pozole verde, a green version of pozole made with tomatillos and garnished with radishes and cabbage. Seafood fans might enjoy the chiles rellenos, served two to an order: one stuffed with shrimp and cheese, and the other with spinach and cheese. And of course there are a number of margaritas on the drink menu, including a version made with tamarind and one that incorporates watermelon liqueur. (L.M.) $$. FB. 574-5144

Mr. Señor’s

2335 N. Murray Ave. Mr. Señor’s is take-out window just north of the six-way intersection of Cramer, Farwell, and North. (If you pass the sign with “You just passed good Mexican food” scrawled on it, well, you just passed good Mexican food). With everything on the menu made from scratch from generationsold recipes, Mr. Señor’s reflects and respects the tradition from whence it came with a menu consisting of nachos, tacos, burritos, and a “Plate of Food” that consists of the customer’s choice of meat (ground beef, chicken, pork, steak, or house-made chorizo), rice, beans, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, pico de

gallo, sour cream and a tortilla. (F.K.R.C.) $-$$. Handicap access. 550-TACO

Restaurante Juquilita

2344 S. 27th St. The menu is fairly expansive, featuring everything from tacos and enchiladas to traditional Mexican seafood dishes and hearty soups. To start, consider one of Restaurant Juquilita’s ceviches or a plate of oyster charros or oyster gratin. For entrees, there are dozens of options including garlic snapper, tamales, carne asada and camarones a la tinga. Served with rice, beans and potato salad, the camarones a la tinga are tender and moderately seasoned with onion and pepper. Robust soups are also available from the Seven Seas Soup and shrimp and rice, to fish soup and a large, enjoyable bowl of posole. (E.P.) $-$$. CC. RS. 226-6967

Riviera Maya

2327 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. With its sleek bar and Mayan-style murals, Riviera Maya brings contemporary casual elegance to Mexican dining. The menu is also unique, with Oaxacan items, sandwiches and moles along with more familiar Mexican dishes. Entrées include a cup of the excellent sopa de tortilla, an inspired version of a traditional Mexican soup. (D.L.) $$. CC. FB. OD. SB. Handicap access. 294-4848

Sabrosa Café & Gallery

3216 S Howell Ave. Try their craft cocktails menu. The Oaxacan old fashioned puts a Mexican spin on this Wisconsin favorite, with Cazadores tequila. The Spanish Sangria Press, with brandy, triple sec, gin, red wine, muddled fruit and a house-made sweet & sour paired well with my enchiladas entomatadas. The grilled corn tortillas were stuffed with a flavorful spinach Sabrosa cheese blend and topped with a warming roasted tomato marinara, served with a side of black beans and Sabrosa’s seasoned rice. Echoing the avocado toast trend, the avocado mash-Up consisted of Tuscan bread topped with mashed avocado, arugula, radishes, cherry tomatoes and poached eggs. Pancakes, scramblers and choices such as challa French toast complete the breakfast menu. (S.J.) $ - $$. CC. FB. RS. 312-834-1929


3431 E. Plankinton Ave., Cudahy. The full bar has over 30 types of tequila to build your own margarita. Mexican beers are plentiful. Appetizers include habanero or cranberry salsa, guacamole and a variety or bean dips and quesadillas. The menu has all the south-of-the border standards you’d expect. Most items can be made vegetarian, and meat filings include ground or shredded beef, chili verde (seasoned simmered pork), steak, chorizo or chicken. (S.J.) $-$$. CC. FB. Handicap access. 481-3664.

Señor Sol

8129 W. Greenfield Ave. Señor Sol serves traditional Mexican cuisine with decently sized portions. Enjoy all the regular Mexican restaurant staples, like fresh homemade guacamole, complimentary chips and salsa, nachos, combos, enchiladas, burritos and tostadas—Señor Sol is known to be tastily above the average fare. Wash all this down with fresh margaritas, horchata and Corona. (J.B.) $-$$. CC. OD. Handicap access. 456-9955

Taco Bar

782 N. Jefferson St. The modern taco shop is an upscale space. About 18 types of tacos are offered, which you have to order at the counter or bar. Inspiration for the tacos come from all over the globs: the Mongolian beef includes grilled steak, scallions, cucumber, and sesame; tika taco has spicy tikka chicken, jalapenos, cilantro and raita sauce; and the falafel is topped with hummus, Jerusalem salad, tahini and mint; and the three-legged pig contains herb-roasted pork, bacon, chicharrónes and apple vinaigrette. (L.M.) $-$$. FB.

Taqueria El Cabrito

1100 S. 11th St. The Cabrito name has been popularized around town by two vans serving lunch tacos. The mothership restaurant offers a wider range of food including tacos, burritos and tostadas. A wide variety of meats are used but there are also vegetarian options. The tacos al pastor is among the best in Milwaukee. (J.B.) $. CC. 385-9000

Taqueria Los Gallos

1800 S. 13th St. Los Gallos dips into the cultural melting pot. Traditional offerings such as tacos share a menu with fusion dishes such as a carne al pastor burger of ground beef and pork in a bun, plus American items like chicken wings and a bacon-wrapped hot dog. Los Gallos’ pinnacle of uniqueness may be its carne asada fries. Over enough shoestring fried potatoes for two or three diners to easily share are slathered a combination of grilled, marinated and shredded beef, white cheese, chopped tomato and shredded lettuce. Consider it a Hispanic poutine, perhaps. The grilled mushroom quesadilla, resembling a loosely assembled burrito and spiced with red chilis, is arguably even more fulsomely delicious. (J.L.R.) $-$$ 645-1900

Tres Hermanos

1332 W. Lincoln Ave. One of Milwaukee’s enduring Mexican restaurants, Tres Hermanos is family owned and operated. Modestly sized and brightly decorated, a mural-covered wall separates the comfortable dining area from the slightly nosier full bar. The swordfish replicas suspended from the center of the ceiling are a seemingly unintentional representation of the great role of seafood on


Tres Hermanos’ traditional menu. (E.P.) $-$$. FB. 384-9050

Tu Casa

3710 W. Lincoln Ave. Formerly Casa Noble, Tu Casa is a welcome addition to Milwaukee’s roster of Mexican restaurants. Featuring affordable takes on classic Mexican dishes and a welcoming atmosphere, it’s definitely worth a visit. They serve breakfast all day, menudo on weekends and excellent combo plates at all times. Once food stops being served at 10 p.m., they frequently offer DJs and clear space for a dance floor. (F.K.R.C.) $. FB. Handicap access. 383-4666


4110 W. Martin Drive The chef and owner of Il Mito Trattoria en Enoteca has opened a Mexican restaurant near the Harley-Davidson headquarters. 2Mesa has a modern Mexican menu that spans breakfast to dinner. Jalisco style steak salad, available at lunch, includes grilled steak, chorizo potatoes, pinto beans and panela cheese on mixed greens. Tacos are served with rice, beans and mixed greens and include braised lamb with mint pico de gallo. Mexican style chicken schnitzel combines German and Mexican heritage with a creamy lime and serrano sauce, rice, beans and wilted spinach. (L.M.) $$. 808-1594

Uncle Julio’s

245 S. Moorland Road The chain restaurant at Brookfield Square Mall features Tex-Mex with an emphasis on fajitas, including filet mignon, lobster and salmon versions, all served with homemade flour tortillas. Tacos and combination platters make up the bulk of the rest of the menu, including seared ahi tuna tacos with mango jicama slaw. For dessert, the chocolate pinata is quite a show, since you have to crack open the hanging chocolate ball filled with fruit and churros. The margarita and tequila list is extensive with frozen and rocks options. (L.M.) $$$. CC. FB. (262) 307-2700

Villa’s Restaurant

2522 W. Greenfield Ave. This small eatery has a big menu and even larger servings, plus some interesting Oaxacan specialties. The only mole is a mole negro, delicious with chicken or pork. The gorditas are delicious with handmade corn cakes and several choices of filling. More unusual is the tlayuda, a folded tortilla the size of a small pizza with abundant filling. While the décor is basic, the quantity and quality of the food more than compensate. Simple margaritas are available as are a few Mexican beers. (J.B.) $-$$. CC. Handicap access. 672-1943



728 E. Brady St., 271-6000 17800 W. Bluemound Road, (262) 261-6000 Casablanca just kept growing ever since they moved to Milwaukee’s East Side. A few years ago the already attractively designed restaurant added a colonnaded upper level with a veranda. Now they have expanded to Brookfield. On a more subtle level, they continue to enhance their already outstanding lunch buffet with new delights. Old favorites remain, allowing diners to sample menu items including spinach pies stuffed with sharp feta cheese, crunchy falafel balls, tabbouleh, humus, babaganouj and a selection of desserts. The weekday buffet is vegetarian (you can order meat with an upcharge), but the Sunday version includes succulent lamb, chicken and more. (D.L.) $$. CC. FB. LB. OD. RS. SB. Handicap access.

Damascus Gate

807 W. Mitchell St. Damascus Gate is operated by a husbandand-wife team who immigrated to the U.S. as refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war. The menu includes well-known appetizer favorites like hummus, falafel, tabbouleh and fried beef kibbeh. The stuffed grape leaves have a vegetarian filling, as do fatayer, a savory pie with spinach or cheese filling. Entrees include platters with marinated grilled chicken, ground lamb and beef kefta kebabs, or a combination of the two along with spiced rice with grilled onion and tomato. (L.M.) $-$$. CC. 810-3561

Kabob Hub

2713 N. Bremen St. This mostly to-go Middle Eastern place shares a kitchen with the neighboring Shi Chai Restaurant & Hookah Lounge. Open until 2 or 3 a.m. each night, it dutifully checks all the boxes for good late-night dining: It’s fast and reasonable, with a menu big enough to accommodate the tastes and dietary restrictions of nearly anyone. Falafel and Schwarma wraps are the default orders here; each is generously packed with fresh vegetables. For the truly hungry there are dinner plates of lemon chicken and lamb shank (served with humus and pita as well as fries or rice), but for those just looking to line their stomach with some quick drunk food the menu also offers a selection of burgers, nachos and wings. (E.R.) $. 702-1420

Pita Palace

789 W. Layton Ave. If you’re unsure of what you might like, the Pita Palace mix grill is a logical place to start. The entree comes with yellow rice tinged with



warm spices, a dollop of hummus, warm pita, and a simple salad of diced tomatoes, cucumber, lemon juice and olive oil. On top the rice are three meats: shish kabob of beef, chicken shish tawook, and kafta kabob made with minced beef. The chicken chunks, which were tender and heavily seasoned, were the standout. Some pieces of beef were tough and bland, and the ground beef kefta kabob was a little too sausage-like in texture. Lovers of shawarma will be right at home here.(L.M.) $$. 988-8100







391 E. State St. By day, Sababa is a café serving breakfast and lunch for the Downtown office crowd, but in the evening it takes on another character. The area away from the office atrium has a bar and a small lounge. And the menu offers Middle Eastern mezza, or small plates. It is appealing lighter fare with many items for the vegetarian. Meat eaters will enjoy kifta sliders and the beef tenderloin shawarma wrap. This is a delightful bar-lounge in a very unlikely location. (J.B.) $-$$. FB. CC. OD. Handicap access. 224-9507

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2847 N. Oakland Ave. Arabian nights (and lunches) are a pleasure to behold at this popular East Side spot for Middle Eastern cuisine. Vegetarians delight in the many meat-free appetizers; fans of chargrilled lamb, chicken and beef will find kebob plates filled past the brim. The dinner menu also offers Persian specialties, mainly kabobs. Freshly baked desserts include the highly recommended warbat, an Arabic cheese custard-filled pastry. (J.B.) $$. CC. FB. RS. Handicap access. 964-5475

Shawarma House

2921 N. Oakland Ave., 967-1000 17385 W. Bluemound Road, Brookfield, 262-938-9300 The all-in platter makes for a generous introduction to many of Shawarma House’s best dishes. Small hills of aromatically spiced beef and chicken shawarma top tender basmati rice with a touch of saffron. To the side lies a mildly garlicky humus or saltier babaganouj with falafel. Jerusalem salad is given a fibrous, crunchy base with the unusual additions of red cabbage. For dipping and topping, a warm pita rounds out a filling meal. Vegetarians will enjoy the go green plate with an assortment of salads and falafel. Sandwiches in pitas and wraps and a novel Arabic-style cheeseburger on a bun are also available. (J.L.R.) $-$$.

MONGOLIAN Genghis Khan

725 N. Mayfair Road Chinese food is on the menu, but the main attraction is the Mongolian grill, where you can

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DININGGUIDE build your own meal—from a salad-bar selection of vegetables, meats and condiments—and watch it all sizzle. (D.L.) $-$$. CC. FB. RS. LB. Handicap access. 774-5540


9039 W. National Ave. On a cool autumn day in Wisconsin, few things are nicer than a piping hot plate of delicious food in an inviting atmosphere. A delightful gem nestled in the heart of West Allis, Chef Paz will fill you up and warm your heart. What was once a classic corner diner has been transformed into a little slice of Peru. Colorful walls, simple tables with chairs or molded booths, soothing music and mouthwatering aromas from the kitchen set the tone, but the friendly service will make you feel right at home. (S.H.G.) $-$$. CC. OD. 327-1600

PIZZA 9th Slice Pizza Co.

5620 S. 108th St. A new pizza and Italian restaurant has moved into the strip mall that will be home to the new Festival Foods in Hales Corners. Owned by former Jake’s Deli owners, 9th Slice is part fast casual and part sit-down restaurant. Pizzas from the Italian conveyor over can be had anytime, whereas a menu of pastas and grilled meats will be available for dinner. Individual 10-inch pizzas are $8 for unlimited toppings or specialty option, like the “ya der eh” with five cheeses. Appetizers include boneless and bone-in wings, toasted ravioli and cheesy garlic bread. Lasagna is stuffed with beef and ricotta and topped with pasta sauce. (L.M.) $-$$. FB. 930-5505

Anodyne Coffee Roasting Co. and Wood Fired Pizza

2920 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. Anodyne is well-known in Milwaukee for its highquality coffee, and it should be no surprise that when they added pizza to the menu that it met the same high standard. Their Bay View location features a wood burning oven with southern Italian style pizza, with Italian inspired menu options, as well as numerous vegetarian choices. The café also offers wine for pairing and boasts the perfect ambiance to enjoy a relaxed dinner with friends. (E.E.) $$. Handicap access. 489-0765

Balistreri’s Italian-American Ristorante

812 N. 68th St. Older folks who dine at Balistreri’s on 68th and Wells may find themselves reminiscing about pizzas from days long past when eating here. The cozy, old-fashioned dining room doesn’t seem

to have changed much since it opened in 1968 and neither has the pizza. Which is a good thing when you are talking about a Balistreri’s pizza! Thin crust pizzas topped with simple, traditional toppings like cheese, sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, olives, onions, and the special Balistreri’s pizza sauce is what they do best here. (S.H.G.) $$-$$$. CC. FF. 475-1414

Capri di Nuovo

8340 W. Beloit Road A restaurant called Capri has sat on the corner of 84th and Beloit for decades but the new Capri, under new owners, has been completely remodeled (though the old sign was kept for history’s sake. It’s a breath of fresh air for anyone who remembers the old place. Lasagna is the house specialty, made with meat sauce and then baked in individual dishes with a blanket of mozzarella on top. Pizzas come in Milwaukee, Chicago or pan styles and you can even pick up a take-and-bake pizza to go. The brick-surrounded patio is a nice spot in summer. (L.M.) $$-$$$. FB. OD. 543-5510

Classic Slice

2797 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. Classic Slice offers salad, appetizers and pizza (by the slice and in pie form) that is a cut above the competition. Kind to those with special dietary needs, Classic Slice offers a delicious house-made gluten-free crust sans upcharge as well as tasty GF appetizers like cheesy mashed potatoes. Salads are full of hearty, top-end ingredients like kale, arugula, humus and pistachios—miles from the incidental role greens play at most pizzerias. Vegans and vegetarians are treated to tofu toppings and vegan sausage. Truly an establishment with heart, Classic Slice proudly serves local vendors’ products (Simple Soyman, Yuppie Hill Eggs and Growing Power being just a few examples). (S.M.) $$. GF. 238-2406

DiModa Pizza & Hot Spot

1758 N. Water St. The old Trocadero building now houses DiModa Pizza & Hot Spot (1758 N. Water St.), offering some truly excellent Roman-style pizza. At 13”, the wood-fired pizzas are ideally split between two hungryish people. A standout is the Spicy Pep, which features pepperoni dry-cured with ghost peppers from Madison’s Underground Meats, caramelized cipollini onions, mozzarella, and an arrabiata-type tomato sauce. While ghost peppers may conjure up images of red-faced folks gasping for air and begging for milk, the spice is pleasantly manageable—just enough to have kick but quelled by the salty mozzarella and the sweet onions. The crust is awesome: thick but not overly chewy. If you’re not in the mood for pizza, DiModa’s Tannery Row Wings are listed as an appetizer but will easily fill you up. Oven roasted and marinated in a chili-lemon sauce, they’re pleasantly different from your run-of-

the-mill wings, especially when they’re dipped in their house-made caper parmesan ranch. (F.K.R.C.) $-$$$. CC. OD. FB. SB. GF. RS. Handicap access. 331-0020

Divino Wine & Dine

2315 N. Murray Ave. This is the former Palermo Villa, an East Side institution for pizza. The new owners have kept the pizza recipes, but now their starter courses and entrées have been expanded in this Sicilian American menu. Starter courses vary from mozzarella marinara and fried eggplant to things like arancini (filled rice balls) and rapini (grilled broccoli rabe). The nice Palermo salad has conch and tender octopus. Most pasta and a few entrées are sold in smaller portions. This means that you can order both the beef tenderloin spiedini and the fettuccine puttanesca without spending a fortune. (J.B.) $$. FB. Handicap access. 212-2222

Dom & Phil’s DeMarinis

1211 E. Conway St. One of Bay View’s longest-running restaurantbars, Dom & Phil’s DeMarinis has been a pizza destination for generations. Eschewing trends, DeMarinis sticks to Italian American tradition. Pizzas come in three sizes and can be topped with cheese, sausage, pepperoni, anchovies, onions, mushrooms, black olives and green peppers. For vegetarians, they offer an “Italian Garden Pesto Pizza” with broccoli and artichoke hearts; confirmed carnivores will opt instead for the “Steak Compobasa” with tenderloin and red peppers. DeMarinis’ pizza is unique for its paper-thin crust. Appetizers come in generous servings. Also on the menu are pasta dishes and sandwiches. (D.L.) $$. CC. FB. OD. 481-2348

Grimaldi’s Pizzeria

20119 N. Lord St., J-101, Brookfield A popular New York City-based pizzeria has opened in The Corners of Brookfield. Grimaldi’s serves New York-style pizza from a 25-ton coalburning brick oven, which gives the crust its famous char and crispness. Pizzas are available in 12- to 18-inch sizes with build your own or specialty pizza options. The Don is a meat-lovers favorite, topped with Italian sausage, meatballs and pepperoni. Fans of white pizza will appreciate the quattro formaggi, with mozzarella, asiago, parmesan, Pecorino Romano and gorgonzola cheeses and no red sauce. Italian-American salads, bruschetta and desserts are also available, as is a full bar. (L.M.) $$. 262-785-1115

Ian’s Pizza

2035 E North Ave. 146 E. Juneau Ave. Ian’s great contribution to college cuisine was popularizing mac ‘n’ cheese pizza, a slice that’s worth each and every one of its considerable calories. Many of Ian’s specialty pizzas are even more daring, including the smoked brisket (with


mozzarella, house-made barbecue sauce and tater tots) and chipotle sweet potato (topped with pickled onions, Portobello and feta). It’s not just the novelty that draws people in, though. All those imaginative ingredients sit atop a textbook-perfect crust: crispy on the bottom, but tender and toothsome around the edges. (E.R.) $$. 727-9200 (either location)

Lisa’s Pizzeria

2961 N. Oakland Ave. Lisa’s Pizza has been an Eastside staple since they opened in 1962. Sharing a two-block strip of Oakland Avenue with both the newly-opened, late-night friendly, New York-style pizza shop Sal’s and the ever-convenient, equally late-night friendly, fast food favorite Domino’s is no easy feat, but Lisa’s more than holds their own by specializing in high-quality no nonsense pies, and a cozy atmosphere that is equally suited for a Sunday family dinner or a casual date night. (R.H.) $$. CC. FB. 332-6360

Little DeMarinis

2860 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. The original Mama DeMarinis closed in 2012, but much to the relief of those who’d been craving a slice of their favorite pizza, Little DeMarinis is now open. Leading the new venture is the granddaughter of Lucille and Vincent DeMarinis. Veronica Cieslak and her husband, Joe, have the original handwritten recipes, so the crust, sauce and sausage all taste just the way long-time patrons remember. For those new to DeMarinis pizza, that means a 1950s-style thin-crust pizza, loaded with fresh homemade sausage. (S.H.G.) $$. FB. FF. Handicap access. 763-5272

Mama Mia Italian Cuisine

8533 W. Greenfield Ave. The go-to local chain for pizza back in the ‘70s, Mama Mia continues in a location just blocks from the Wisconsin State Fair Grounds. Mama Mia features delectable thin-crust pizzas. Their tomato sauce is a bit on the sweeter side, and it gels nicely with the slim, bready crust and plentiful, salty cheese. Their E.B.A. pizza Everything But Anchovies—is stacked to the ceiling with topics and is superlative. Their lunch buffet includes five different types of pizza, meat lasagna with what seems like infinite cheese, and a killer hearty, well-seasoned minestrone soup. (F.K.R.C.) $$. 475-0400

Maria’s Pizzeria

5025 W. Forest Home Ave. Visit Maria’s Pizza, its three generations of family owners and its loyal clientele for a glimpse of 1950s dedication and charm. Established more than half a century ago, Maria’s is decked out in festive Christmas lights, paint-by-number religious pictures and Tiffany-style lamps. You’ll smell the delicious sesame seed garlic bread from a block away and the tasty breaded appe-

DININGGUIDE tizers will have your mouth watering in seconds. Classics such as spaghetti and lasagna are available, and the enormous signature thin-crust pizzas are made to satisfy any appetite. (S.M.) $-$$. Cash Only. Handicap access. 543-4606

Marty’s Pizza

16630 W. Bluemound Road, Brookfield, 262-782-5830 2580 Sun Valley Drive, Delafield, 262-646-3327 Since 1957, Marty’s Pizza transitioned from celebrated pizza place to beloved institution by serving up traditional Italian American comfort food in a casual atmosphere at affordable prices. Nearly 60 years later, Marty’s Pizza boasts locations in Delafield and Brookfield and a successful catering business that includes hosting special events and offering online ordering. And while Marty’s has clearly embraced the changing times, recent visits to the Brookfield location revealed that the local favorite retained much of its oldfashioned charm without being outdated with a menu of subs, burgers and Italian entrées along with pizza. (E.P.) $-$$. CC. RS. Handicap access.

On the Edge Bar & Grill

6815 W. Edgerton Ave. The biggest draw here is the pizza. It’s Milwaukee style: thin, cracker-like crust, a slightly sweet sauce, and served cut into squares. The edge crust is lightly charred, like it should be, and the middle pieces slump under the weight of all the toppings, which are not skimped on here, especially cheese. Carnivores should opt for the meat lovers pizza topped with sausage, pepperoni and bacon. I’m not one to eschew vegetables on my pizza, but this is one of the best meatatarian versions around. Fennel-heavy Italian sausage is pinched into various shapes and scattered about along with thin pepperoni slices. But the real surprise is the bacon. It’s precooked and crumbled, and every few bites you’ll get a burst of strong smoky flavor, but it doesn’t overpower the other toppings or even worse, get lost. (L.M.) FB. $-$$. 421-6244

Papa Luigi’s

3475 E. Layton Ave. A large bustling place occupying a full corner on Cudahy’s main street, Papa Luigi’s contemporary setting is aurally accented by the melodrama of Italian pop music. Known for thin crispy curst, Papa’s pizza comes in 8, 12, 14 and 16-inch sizes and covers the full flavor spectrum with a few surprises. On one extreme, you can order a veggie pizza with cheese, mushrooms, onions, green peppers and black olives; on the other, a “meat lovers pizza” topped with pepperoni, sausage, ground beef and Canadian bacon. The chicken Alfredo, chicken Parmigiana, Sicilian and Margherita form a Team Italy of tasty options. The Sicilian combines fine Italian cheese with spicy Italian sausage and a pleasant hint of olive oil. (D.L.) $-$$. FB. 483-6111

Pizza Man

2597 N. Downer Ave., 272-1745 7974 S. Main Street, Oak Creek, 856-1000 11500 W. Burleigh St., 249-2000 Pizza Man’s Downer Avenue location puts them in the direct company of fellow trendy Milwaukee-based chains such as BelAir Cantina and Café Hollander. The pizza menu boasts 16 specialty pies, ranging from the fairly conventional Pizza Man Special to the vegetarian friendly pesto pizza, as well as a build your own menu if none of the specialties fit your palette. Pizza Man also has an extensive wine menu to wash down whichever pie you choose. (R.H.) $$. CC. FB. GF. LT.

Pizza Shuttle

Pizzeria Piccola

7606 W. State St. 5300 S. Howell Ave., Mitchell International Airport, Concourse C Extra thin, crispy crusts and personal sized pizzas are the specialty of Pizzeria Piccola. As a Bartolotta-owned restaurant, it shouldn’t be a surprise to find delicious gourmet ingredients topping some very creative pizza options. For example, try the Chicken Sausage pizza topped with perfectly seasoned ground chicken sausage, provolone, gorgonzola, shaved celery, and toasted pine nuts. So good! Enjoy in the rustic self-service, second-floor dining room or charming patio, in season. (S.H.G.) $$. CC. OD. GF. Handicap access. 443-0800

1827 N. Farwell Ave. Pizza, wings, burgers, hot dogs, ribs, chicken, pasta, seafood, gyros, shawarma, pita, subs, wraps, calzone, Stromboli… every sort of greasy appetizer, garlic bread, bread sticks, homemade soups, salads, sundaes, shakes, malts, floats, cheesecake, funnel cake, cookies, soda and beer are on the vast menu. “Best Of” awards—for Delivery/Take-Out Menu, Late Night and Cheap Eats—fill a wall. The retro dine-in area has a front wall of windows, a classic photo booth and a Pac-Man video game. (J.S.) $-$$. CC. LT. Handicap access. 289-9993

Riverfront Pizzeria Bar & Grill

Pizano’s Pizza and Pasta

Riverwest Pizza

1154 N. Water St. A Chicago pizza chain decorated its Milwaukee venue with Wisconsin-themed sports memorabilia. Pizza, both deep dish and thin crust, are the focus, but the menu is lengthy and includes all types of Italian-American dishes. Fried calamari is the highlight of the appetizer menu, while Chicago-area favorite chicken vesuvio with wine, garlic, oregano and potatoes is something you won’t find anywhere else in MKE. A long list of pastas, including homemade lobster ravioli and sandwiches, burgers and desserts round out the menu. (L.M.) CC. FB. 277-1777

Pizza di Famiglia

2442 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. A New York-style pizza spot has moved into a former Jimmy John’s in Bay View. Pizza di Famiglia is owned by Besart Bajrami who is originally from Brooklyn. The shop serves pizza by the slice as well as whole pies, salads and calzones for takeout or dining in. Pizzas come in 14- and 18-inch sizes. Grandma’s is based on a family recipe and includes multiple cheeses, basil, garlic and tomato sauce. Chicken bacon ranch and macaroni and cheese are less traditional options. Stromboli are 15 inches long. (L.M.) $-$$. 988-0001

509 E. Erie St. Pizza and a view. Most people would call that a perfect combination, and the Third Ward’s Riverfront Pizzeria delivers this experience like no other pizza shop in town. While it is perfectly acceptable to dine in specifically for the lakefront view, the real star of the show is of course the delicious, cheesy, doughy pizza, which comes in all types and varied varieties, including Thai Chicken, BLT, Taco and Cheeseburger, among many more. (R.H.) $$. CC. FB. OD. Handicap access. 277-1800 932 E. Wright St. Everything about this cozy, relatively new addition to Riverwest’s pizza scene is tasteful, and the ingredients must be some of the freshest in the city—it all tastes like it just came from the farmer’s market. Each pizza is named after a neighborhood street. The clear standout here is the Fratney, a savory pie topped with duck, goat cheese and arugula, though the elegant Bremen, with its constellation of kale, mushrooms, tomato and mozzarella, is a wonderful lighter alternative. Either way, start your meal off with an appetizer of fried Brussels sprouts. (E.R.) $-$$. 269-9703

Sal’s Pizza

2974 N. Oakland Ave., 967-8040 2040 W. Wisconsin Ave., 344-9931 Sal’s Pizza is famous for its hand-tossed, foldable, flavorful New York-style pizza. The menu doesn’t end there though—Sal’s also offers classic Italian staples like ravioli, chicken parmesan, calzones, and meatball parmesan sandwiches. If you’re at Sal’s, make a note to try their handmade garlic knots, which, for the initiated, are incentive enough to choose Sal’s over the other pizza places in town. Gluten free crust is available. (E.E.) $-$$. GF.

San Giorgio Pizzeria Napoletana 838 N. Old World Third St. The downtown Calderone Club opened a SHEPHERD EXPRESS CITY GUIDE ’19! " ! # $

Neapolitan-style pizzeria next door in the former Thai Palace space and obtained VPN certification by the Naples-based Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana. To get certified, pizzerias must adhere to strict standards in ingredients, methods and equipment in order to faithfully recreate Naples-style pizza. The wood-burning oven, imported from Italy, will cook pizzas in about a minute and a half at blistering temperature, resulting in the leopard spot-like char on the crust called cornicione. Ten varieties of pizza are offered. Margherita has tomatoes from San Marzano, Italy, fresh mozzarella, basil and extra virgin olive oil. The restaurant’s namesake pizza forgoes tomatoes for a splash of olive oil along with braised fennel, pancetta, mozzarella and an egg cracked in the middle. Appetizers, soup, panini, meatballs and rotisserie meats are also on the menu. (L.M.) $$. 276-2876

Santino’s Little Italy

352 E. Stewart St. Santino’s focuses on pizzas baked in a woodfired oven imported from Italy. The crust of the Neapolitan-style pizzas is made with Caputo flour, an Italian brand of finely ground wheat favored by the best pizza restaurants in Naples. The Margherita pizza, topped with tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, basil and olive oil, is a traditional favorite. Other options include Melanzana with grilled eggplant and oregano, Diavolo with salami, cayenne and red bell peppers, and an Italian beef and giardiniera-topped pie. Antipasti, salads and a few pasta dishes are also available, including pasta with a giant, 10-ounce meatball. (L.M.) $$. FB. 897-7367

Transfer Pizzeria Café

101 W. Mitchell St. A rehabbed jewel of a building with tile floors, multiple levels and much sunlight through big windows, Transfer features hand-tossed pizza in three dozen varieties from ordinary cheese and sausage to extraordinary creations such as Thai chicken with peanut sauce and the DaVinci with pesto, feta and asiago. If that’s not enough, Transfer offers 44 additional toppings, including pan-fried potatoes, smoked gouda and vegan cheese. Transfer supports local artists; the walls are hung with local photography and painting and jazz combos hold forth on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. (D.L.) $-$$. FB. GF. RS (6+). Handicap access. 763-0438

Trouble and Sons

133 E. Silver Spring Drive A new pizzeria has opened in the location of the former Roman Candle pizzeria in Whitefish Bay. Trouble and Sons is owned by Anne Marie Arroyo and Temela Greene, who also own Moxie just down the street. The new space has similar quirky, shabby chic décor with emphasis on artwork and accommodating families. Pizzas have

DININGGUIDE a medium-thickness, doughy crust, described as “homestyle.” At opening, the focus is on pizzas, soups and salads, but there are plans to add pastas to the menu in the future. (L.M.) $$. FB. Handicap access. 800-5015

Uncle Paulie’s Brick Oven Pizzeria

4395 S. 76th St. A pizzeria has opened in the former Mad Dog Saloon in Greenfield. Uncle Paulie’s owners installed a huge, rotating brick pizza oven imported from Italy that can hold up to 14 pizzas at a time. It turns out 12-inch pizzas on a thin, yeasted crust with some charring. The My Cousin Vinny includes ricotta, sausage, meatballs, roasted red peppers and basil, while the bianco is a white pie with garlic sauce, fresh mozzarella, mushrooms, olive oil and shaved parmesan. There are also appetizers with cured meats, cheeses and garnishes plus pasta entrees. (L.M.) $$. FB. FF. 246-2236

Up-Down Milwaukee

615 E. Brady St. A new arcade bar and pizza joint has opened in the former Comedy Café space on Brady. This is the fourth location for Up-Down, with the others in Des Moines, Kansas City and Minneapolis. The arcade bar concept plays on nostalgia with more than 60 arcade games, plus skee-ball, pinball machines and patio games on the expansive double patio. A simple menu of pizza is sold by the slice or whole and includes options like mac ‘n’ cheese with bacon, Mona Lisa, a vegetarian pizza with spinach and artichokes, and a Philly beef. A few salads are also available. There are two bars, one on each floor, that serve up almost 60 tap beers along with a full bar. (L.M.) $-$$. FB. 585-0880

Upper Crust Pizza

249 E. Hampton Ave. Some takeout rules are nonnegotiable, one being that on a lazy Saturday night or at the end of the hectic workday, everyone needs a good pizza place in their carryout roster. Upper Crust Pizza is one such place. Upper Crust Pizza offers every item one could expect from a pizza place, from pasta and hoagies to burgers and fried appetizers. And while Upper Crust Pizza serves up its share of Buffalo wings and garlic bread, its draw remains its popular pizza. Offering handtossed or thin-crust, Upper Crust Pizza provides a variety of special pies including the Hawaiian, the Mediterranean, the Garden Harvest, and the Upper Crust Special. Covered in a mild sauce and plenty of sausage, the Upper Crust Special is one of Upper Crust Pizza’s better pizzas to consider. $-$$. (E.P.) 332-6820

Vinchi’s Pizza

3158 S. Howell Ave. It’s alright if you’re a little confused. Vinchi’s Pizza shares a location with The Bubbler, a

popular, refreshingly unpretentious Bay View neighborhood tap, but it’s a completely separate business from the bar. That setup may not inspire confidence, but Vinchi’s is the real deal. The crust is thin and dusted with cornmeal, the sauce is rich and zesty, and the toppings are generous. All bars should be so lucky to have a pizzeria this good crashing in their back room. $-$$. FB. (E.R.) 384-8040

Wy’east Pizza

5601 W. Vliet St. Crisp and slightly charred, Wy’east Pizza’s artisan crust provides a welcoming base for its savory tomato sauce. Covered in melted mozzarella and pecorino cheese, the red pies include the likes of the Hogsback, a pleasing arrangement of sausage and red onion, and the enthusiastically recommended Hot Marmot, a delicious combination of fresh garlic, pepperoni, and sweet hot peppers. (E.P.) OD. 943-3278

Zaffiro’s Pizza

1724 N. Farwell Ave. Eating at Zaffiro’s Pizza’s first location on Farwell Ave. is a rite of passage for anyone who’s recently migrated to the East Side of Milwaukee. Zaffiro’s is exceptionally conducive to camaraderie, with its atmosphere steeped in Milwaukee history. The restaurant features traditional Italian comfort food, including their unmistakable and patented pizza pies, a phenomenal meatball sandwich, spaghetti, ravioli, tortellini, and spumoni for dessert. Zaffiro’s also boasts a full bar, so if you’re looking to kick back with friends at the end of a long day, it doesn’t get much better. (E.E.) $-$$. CC. RS (10+). FF. FB. LT. Handicap access. 289-8776

POK… Aloha Poké

220 E. Buffalo St. The Chicago chain recently opened its first Milwaukee venue in the Third Ward. The counter service operation, with tables outside and in, taps the “do-it-yourself” trend by offering a menu of customizable options. Pick from Ahi tuna, salmon or tofu, served in a bowl of white or brown rice, mixed greens or seaweed salad. You can also choose from a variety of accent ingredients—from pineapple to jalapeños—and fill bowls in three sizes according to your appetite. Regardless of size, the selections offer spicy kick and lots of crunch, a mix of flavors and texture that can serve as a snack in the smaller iterations or a meal in itself in the largest bowl. (D.L.) $-$$. 585-0000

FreshFin Poké

a growing food trend around the country. It officially made its way to Milwaukee with the opening of the city’s first poké-centric restaurant, FreshFin Poké. Newbies to pokē may want to order a signature bowl, like the Mango Tango with salmon, mango, edamame, avocado, sweet shoyu sauce and crispy onion. If you already know what you like, you can also build your own poké bowl by choosing a protein, base of rice or greens, sauces, and toppings. A vegan bowl and cilantro chicken are also available for the fishaverse. $-$$. (L.M.)

Fusion Poke

1813 E. Kenilworth Place Fusion Poke is the second location of a Chicago chain capitalizing on the trend of Hawaiian seafood. And though the focus is on poké, ramen, Thai rolled ice cream, bubble tea and shaved ice are also available. Poké is available in six signature bowls in two sizes or customers can choose to make their own with options like tuna, salmon, octopus and five different sauces and unlimited toppings included in the price. There are a number of styles of ramen, including ever popular tonkotsu. Shaved ice is made with a Taiwanese machine that makes ribbons of ice and is available in flavors like mango and matcha. (L.M.) $-$$. 763-4525

R&R Poke

1460 Underwood Ave. The poké, sushi and smoothie restaurant’s storefront counter service restaurant allows diners to see their poké being made behind the counter. Signature poké bowls include the seafood harvest with tuna, salmon, shrimp, avocado, mango, spicy mayo and eel sauce, or the seafood-less chicken gone wild with chicken and sweet teriyaki. Diners can also build their own poké in rice bowl, sushi burrito or salad format. The restaurant also offers a large selection of herbal teas and fresh juices. (L.M.) $-$$. 585-0882

POLISH Polonez Restaurant

4016 S. Packard Ave. Polonez remains a favorite place for pierogi, Polish sausage, borscht and dill pickle soup, but the restaurant’s stick-to-the-ribs Polish comfort food menu has been augmented in recent years with new items that pivot toward lighter and vegetarian, including poached salmon and chicken breast served in white butter and wine sauce. An array of Polish beer remains a draw. Try the Saturday night and Sunday afternoon allyou-can-eat polka buffet. (D.L.) $$. CC. GF. FB. FF. RS. SB. Handicap access. 482-0080

1806 E. North Ave., 239-8677 316 N. Milwaukee St., 763-0473 Poké, a Hawaiian salad of fresh raw fish, is ! " # $ # SHEPHERD EXPRESS CITY GUIDE ’19

POLYNESIAN Ono Kine Grindz

7215 W North Ave. Starting as a specialty Hawaiian grocery, Ono Kine Grindz added dining and take-out. The combo plate includes Kalua pig (smoked pulled pork) and char siu chicken (slightly sweet and spicy boneless bird about as red on the outside as an East Indian tandoori preparation). All full meals include rice; macaroni potato salad, a recipe adapted from one brought by Christian missionaries and tasting lightly of yellow mustard and mayo; and a carrot-pineapple slaw flavored with a native dried plum powder. Seafood diners can choose grilled salmon served with ginger garlic or mango sauce, or Ahi tuna poké (cold salad) mixed with a smidgen of Hawaiian soy sauce and green and sweet onions. (J.L.R.) $$. 778-0727


1028 S. Ninth St. Located deep inside the United Community Center, El Sol’s visibility is relatively low, even though it has its own plainly marked entrance. But anyone who loves Mexican and Puerto Rican food shouldn’t overlook it. El Sol is notable for its daily Puerto Rican specials, but also serves up a fine selection of enchiladas, tacos, guacamole and tostadas. Try a breakfast of huevos rancheros or good old Yankee eggs, toast and bacon. The Friday fish fry buffet features live Latin music. Open Monday-Thursday 7:30 a.m.-8 p.m. and Friday 7:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m. (D.L.) $. CC. FF. RS. 384-3100 ext. 275

La Isla

3500 W. National Ave. La Isla offers homey Puerto Rican fare in a casual setting. The specialty is mofongo, mashed plantains with garlic in the shape of a ball and served with a choice of meat. The mofongo can also be filled with shrimp in a garlicky Creole sauce. Pork and fried chicken are also prominent in this menu. Daily specials tend to be slow-cooked stews varying from chicken and beef to pork tripe with green bananas. This is honest Puerto Rican fare. Most items include rice and beans or a simple salad. (J.B.) $-$$. CC. NA. 882-7003

El Rincon Criollo

1408 W. Windlake Ave. A good a place to start on the menu is the roast pork dinner. A whopping portion of juicy loin takes up at least a quarter of the Styrofoam box in which orders arrive from behind the counter. Two huge fried chips of mashed plantain rest atop a range of yellow rice liberally dotted with pigeon peas and bits of smoky pork alongside

DININGGUIDE a cup of beans and potatoes made. Comforting as El Ricon Criollo’s soulful meals and appetizers are, you’re on your own as to washing it down, as no beverages are currently listed on its premises’ menu. Still, going elsewhere for something to drink is a small inconvenience to partake of food so enchanting as that of El Rincon Criollo. (J.L.R.) 383-2437

SEAFOOD American Serb Hall

5101 W. Oklahoma Ave. The Friday fish fry at American Serb Hall is more than a meal—it’s an event. Whether you’re chowing down on deep-fried cod, baked cod, perch, pollock, shrimp, chicken or Serb Hall’s specialty, spicy Serbian-style baked fish, you’ll take home memories as well as a doggie bag. For those pressed for time, use the convenient drivethrough. (L.K.) $$. CC. FB. FF. 545-6030

The Anchorage Restaurant

4700 N. Port Washington Road The address and name are all that remains of the old restaurant. Now the resident eatery of the Holiday Inn Milwaukee Riverfront Hotel (formerly The Hilton), The Anchorage received a modern facelift but hangs on to its namesake and a reputation of more than 35 years of good food. The Anchorage’s menu is mostly traditional, a common format for most hotel restaurants, offering a well-rounded range of items to satisfy travelers as well as locals. Many seafood preparations are considered signature items, such as pecancrusted walleye and bacon-wrapped scallops. The restaurant also features some upscale culinary surprises such as prime steaks. (K.L.L.) $$-$$$$. CC. FB. RS. Handicap access. 962-6040

Devon Seafood & Steak

5715 N. Bayshore Drive (in Bayshore Town Center) Among the first restaurants to open in the revamped Bayshore Town Center, Devon is part of a chain, but its luxuriant seating and tranquil setting will make you feel otherwise. Of special note are jumbo crab cakes that are all about the meat. Dinners lean somewhat toward the upper end of the price spectrum, but lunch deals are affordable. Try one of the Power Lunch Combos for $10. The combos include items like lobster tamale, smoked salmon flatbread and half of a crab melt, among others, and come with a side salad or a bowl of soup. The tasty soups include lobster bisque. (D.L.) $$$-$$$$. CC. FB. RS. Handicap access. 967-9790

Fish Cheeks

6818 W. North Ave. The sushi and seafood restaurant focuses on sushi rolls are the focus of the menu, ranging from simple vegetarian rolls to specialty rolls, like the lobster roll. Appetizers like pork gyoza

($7) and seafood entrees like black cod with miso join beef tenderloin, chicken, shrimp and scallop hibachi dinners (prepared in the kitchen) on the dinner menu. (L.M.) $$-$$$, FB. RS. 262-269-9955

Harbor House

550 N. Harbor Drive The only lakefront restaurant in the city, Harbor House’s prime location skirts the state constitution by existing on city-owned former bed land. A deal with the city and harbor board allows them to use the area, however, and they use it well, offering an extensive seafood menu with a remarkable view of the shoreline and lake. Fine dining has been a fixture at this site since Pieces of Eight opened there in 1969. (M.J.P.) $$$-$$$$. CC. OD. RS. SB. Handicap access. 395-4900

Pier 106 Seafood Tavern

106 W. Wells St. With a cozy patio just north of the Wells Street Bridge on the west bank of the river, Pier 106 doesn’t offer the same kind of whooping party atmosphere as other outdoor dining spots along the Riverwalk. But with a higher-end seafood menu including seared scallops, baked sea bass, and a terrific lobster mac ‘n’ cheese, the dining experience here is best taken with a bit of subtlety and reserve. Downtown Milwaukee’s crooked streets give the patio a head-on view of East Wells Street, including the Pabst Theater, City Hall, and old Electric Railway & Light building (now the Milwaukee Rep’s Powerhouse Theater). (M.J.P.) $$. FB. OD. 273-7678

St. Paul Fish Company

400 N. Water St. Located inside the Milwaukee Public Market, St. Paul Fish offers a wide range of seafood for the home cook. It also has full-service dining. Oysters on the half shell are served over shaved ice and the steamed lobsters and fried clams bring back fond memories of New England. There are many sandwiches as well as grilled seafood entrées. (J.B.) $$. CC. FF. Handicap access. 220-8383

Third Coast Provisions

724 N. Milwaukee St. Seafood is the focus of the menu, which includes selections from a raw bar on the lower level of the restaurant. Diners looking for a special night out will enjoy the posh, glittering interior full of gold leaf-flecked mirrors, silver wall patterns and white marble tables. Chargrilled oysters are a house specialty and can be prepared classic Rockefeller style with spinach, pernod, parmesan and bacon; Milwaukee style with pastrami, garlic, shallot and beer; or simply with roasted garlic butter. Lobster potholes, and appetizer similar to escargots, bathes chunks of lobster and crab in garlic herb butter with brioche for dipping. A number of fin fish are available, from Lake Superior whitefish to Atlantic monkfish. (L.M.) $$$. FB. 323-7434

Twisted Fisherman Crab Shack

1200 W. Canal St. Barnacle Bud’s has long been Milwaukee’s go-to destination for beachy ambiance and riverside food and drinks, but the Menomonee Valley’s too-easily-overlooked Twisted Fisherman deserves a spot in the city’s heart, too. The food is a touch more upscale than Buds’ plastic-basket fare, with a solid fish fry and a surf-and-turf option for big spenders, and the drinks are unabashedly sweet and boozy. After a couple of them on the bar’s sunny patio you’ll feel like you’re on vacation, even if you have to report to work a half mile away the next morning. (E.R.) $$. CC. OD. FB. Handicap access. 384-2722

SERBIAN Fritz’s Pub

3086 S. 20th St. This corner bar offers bureks, pork shish kabob, tasty Serbian sausage and a Fritzburger of veal and beef. The fish fry includes homemade rye bread and choice of beer battered cod or haddock, served alongside seasoned potato wedges, onion-filled coleslaw, tangy tartar sauce and that freshly baked rye. The batter is thin and crisp and is what keeps the phone ringing off the hook with takeout orders. (L.M.) $. CC. FF. Handicap access. 643-6995

Moonshine Pub & Grill

3300 S. 27th St. A corner bar on a busy business strip, Moonshine has a distinction: in addition to the standard pub and grill fare, a Serbian menu is served from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Dishes include such favorites as chicken paprikash, cevapi and a Serbian burger ground from veal, beef and pork. Carnivores will devour the mesano meso, a grilled meat combo with sausages, shish-kabob and more. Vegetarians have several options including appetizers such as the delicious red peppers in oil and garlic and the Serbian salad, a chunky mélange of cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers and feta cheese served with a hot loaf of bread accompanied by ajvar (made from eggplant and red peppers) and kajmak (a cheese-butter spread). Phone ahead for the big-enough-for-two spinach burek, requiring an hour to bake. (D.L.) $-$$. FB. 231-9168

Old Town Serbian Gourmet House 522 W. Lincoln Ave. 2018 is the year when Old Town, now in its second generation as a family business, will undergo a gradual process of renovation and repair for its historic 1912 building. The lunch and dinner menus will continue to focus on Serbian favorites such as burek and chicken paprikash and fusion dishes such as the tasty Beograd burger served on pita bread. Be sure to try the brimming Serbian salad composed


of diced tomatoes, onions and feta cheese. On Friday the Serbian baked fish is a treat. (D.L.) $$-$$$. CC. FB. FF. RS. 672-0206

Three Brothers Restaurant

2414 S. St. Clair St. This former Schlitz corner tavern, a Bay View landmark, deserves a visit. Tables are crowded, and the kitchen is slow, but the Serbian food is mostly worth the wait. Bureks are huge and sarma (stuffed cabbage) always pleases. (J.B.) $$-$$$. Cash Only. FB. Handicap access. 481-7530


1716 N. Arlington Place The preferred beverage at Balzac is wine, although the beer list is also extensive. The experience is enhanced with international small plates, flatbread pizzas and cheese plates. The wine list is thicker than the menu. Coq au vin chicken wings and lamb croquettes are among the many delights. The outdoor tables are a quiet refuge in summertime. (J.B.) $$-$$$. CC. FB. LT. OD. RS. Handicap access. 755-0099

Blue Bat Kitchen

249 N. Water St. A global street food restaurant and tequilaria has opened in the former Water Buffalo in the Third Ward. Blue Bat Kitchen is run by Hospitality Democracy, the same restaurant group that ran Water Buffalo. The space has been refreshed with new flooring, furniture and décor with warm wood, exposed brick and agave plant motifs. The menu consists of appetizers, bowls, salads and tacos. Flavors are eclectic, with options like sweet corn hush puppies, a Moroccan cauliflower bowl with golden raisins and harissa, and tacos with fillings from smoked brisket with Alabama white barbecue sauce to Baja with fried fish and cilantro slaw. The tequila menu includes over 150 varieties, including flights and a variety of cocktails. $$. FB/. 431-1133

East End Wine Bar

700 N. Art Museum Drive As part of its extensive renovation, the Milwaukee Art Museum opened the East End Wine Bar with a spectacular view of Lake Michigan. The menu is small plates topped with desserts from Rocket Baby. Also on hand is a fine list of imported and craft beer and wine and gourmet tea from Rare Tea Cellar. As part of the museum’s efforts to open itself to the community, there is even a happy hour every Friday from 4-6 p.m. (A.M.) $-$$. OD. 224-3200


708 N. Milwaukee St. The choices here are charcuterie, wine or chocolate. Indulge in a wine selected from more than 300 vintages and a charcuterie menu that ranges from duck prosciutto to speck and Serrano ham. The chocolate is merely the icing on the cake. Indulge! (J.B.) $$$$. CC. LT. OD. RS. Handicap access. 390-9463

La Merenda

125 E. National Ave. When La Merenda opened in 2007, small plate dining was unfamiliar to most Milwaukeeans, but the cozy Walker’s Point restaurant soon took the lead in exposing the city to the delights of tapas. The menu evolves seasonally, draws from a host of Wisconsin ingredients and includes vegetarian, seafood, poultry and red meat selections. With its colorfully mismatched tables and chairs and friendly but unobtrusive service, La Merenda is the perfect place for an unhurried meal among friends. (D.L.) $$-$$$. CC. FB. GF. OD. RS. Handicap access. 389-0125

Odd Duck

2352 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. Odd Duck offers hints of Asia, Europe and the Mediterranean in its daily changing menu of small plate items, as well as a selection of local charcuterie and cheeses. For the lightest of appetites, try a sample of the house-made dilly beans or even a pickled egg. The menu of the day might offer squash empanadas, seared scallops and gouda-stuffed dates. Whatever is offered will be worth ordering. (J.B.) $$-$$$. CC. FB. OD. RS. Handicap access. 763-5881

Wauwatiki Bar & Grill

6502 W. North Ave. The colorfully illustrated beverage menu is clearly the central focus and surely Wauwatiki’s raison d’être. This menu is divided into Classics, Bowls and Signature drinks. Among the Classics are such tiki bar calling cards as Mai Tai and Singapore Sling. The dinner menu offers a selection of small plates including pork dumplings, steamed edamame pods, tuna poké (served raw, island-style with wasabi teriyaki and others. There are also sandwiches and skillet entrees including steak, jerk chicken, cilantro-lime shrimp and a garlic-balsamic marinated grilled vegetable ensemble. (J.J.) $$. FB. GF. Handicap access. 323-7555

SOUP Soup Bros

209 W. Florida St. On some days the soup line runs from the kitchen, where you order, to the entrance, filling the shop. And then a smiling woman might give

up her seat at an eight-seater table and say, “Isn’t this amazing? I think they seat you with strangers on purpose!” Soup Bros is a perfect to congregate over a substantial bowl of luscious soup. (J.S.) 270-1040

The Soup House

324 E. Michigan St. High-ceilinged, open and welcoming, The Soup House’s interior is painted sky blue and decked out in eclectic, artsy furnishings, with potted plants along the ample windows. Attractive partitions make the dining area cozy and somewhat private, but leave its spaciousness unchecked. Six delicious rotating soups are the principal cause for this inspired establishment, but simple sandwiches, cookies and salads are also available. Enjoy a conversation with friends or peruse one of the many interesting books lying around, while you take in the rich and varied flavors of The Soup House. (S.M.) $. Cash only. OD. NA. GF. 277-7687

The Soup Market

440 N. Water St., Milwaukee Public Market, 276-4444 2211 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., 727-8462 5301 S. 108th St., 529-8534 5330 W. Vliet St., 727-0699 111 Kilbourn Ave., 727-0700 The Soup Market (called The Soup & Stock Market at its Water Street location) offers tasty homestyle selections. Pick up one of the seven or eight daily soups, a baked potato, sweet potato or a hearty slice of quiche at the Public Market branch and dine upstairs where ample seating is available with an attractive view of the Milwaukee River and Third Ward. Bulk ingredients are also for sale and Haley & Annabelle’s Vanilla Root Beer makes a smooth and unique beverage complement to any dish, with proceeds going to the namesakes’ college funds! (S.M.) $. CC. NA.


1433 N. Jefferson St. The Michigan-based Zoup! Recently opened its first Milwaukee location. Zoup!’s menu boasts hundreds of soups, including standouts like lobster bisque, collard green chicken barley and “Blazin’ Bison Chili,” with 12 varieties rotating on a daily basis. If you don’t find your match with any of soups d’jour, salads and sandwiches provide a tasty alternative. Offerings such as the quinoa veggie wrap, and the smoked and cheesy maple ham & bacon set Zoup! Apart from other soup and sandwich chains. (R.H.) $. 944-7500.

SOUTHERN/ SOUL FOOD Belli’s Bistro & Spirits

3001 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. Belli’s relies partially on family recipes of owner

Charmice Dodson, who previously ran a catering business. The menu includes appetizers like whole chicken wings in one of five flavors and loaded fries with cheese, bacon and sour cream. Shrimp and grits are topped with poblano cream sauce and blackened, or fried catfish is served with sides like mac ‘n’ cheese, roasted fingerling potatoes, and asparagus. Weekly steak and seafood specials are also offered. (L.M.) $$. FB. 210-3665

Hot Head Fried Chicken

2671 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. Bumstead Provisions changed format and rebranded itself as Hot Head Fried Chicken. The space has been redecorated with refinished wood tables, antique farm tools, and Edison bulb and wooden pallet chandeliers. Fried chicken is the focus, and it can be made three ways: Southern fried; Carolina gold with a mustard-based sauce; or Nashville hot, with a bright red cayenne glaze. Buy it by the piece and add Southerninspired sides like creamy cheese grits or salted watermelon. Cheddar and smoked gouda mac ‘n’ cheese can be topped with little bits like fried chicken or Cajun shrimp for an addition charge. (L.M.) $$. 808-04181


6732 W. Fairview Ave. Most people think of Maxie’s as a Cajun restaurant, but they consider themselves a Southern restaurant and have expanded their BBQ offerings. Unlike most barbecue spots, you can get various different regional styles of barbecue here, from eastern North Carolina to Kansas City. Pulled pork is my favorite here, with its tangy, vinegar-based NC sauce and baked beans. Ribs come in Memphis and St. Louis style and brisket comes with Kansas City-style sauce. They’ve got some of the best BBQ sides here, like corn and arugula salad with buttermilk dressing, red beans and rice and maple braised collard greens. The cornbread is of the sweet variety, so while it may make Southerners squirm, it’s amazing spread with the accompanying orange honey butter. (L.M.) $$-$$$. CC. RS. FB. FF. Handicap access. 292-3969

Mr. Perkins’ Family Restaurant

2001 W. Atkinson Ave. Established in 1969, the restaurant adheres to an old-school aesthetic and approach that works: fantastic food, excellent service, and an incredibly friendly ambiance. Everything is made from scratch; each entrée comes with two sides, of which there are nearly a dozen from which to choose. Mr. Perkins’ only operates in the morning and afternoon. Business rarely lulls. (F.K.R.C.) $-$$. CC. FF. Handicap access. 447-6660

Monterrey Smoke House

551 W. Becher St. Soul food connotes hominess and comfort. But it


can be presented with a more formally elegant approach. Such is the case with Restaurant Monterrey. Chef-owner Dion Jefferson, known for his previous eatery, Something Smells Good, has established an oasis of urban cool on the near South Side. The steamed, non-fatty way collard greens served here gives Monterrey a high mark. The Monterey Burger, perhaps so named at least in part for the slice of jack cheese on its thick patty, is impressive. In a recent daily gumbo special, pieces of firm Andouille sausage and tender chicken fight for taste buds’ attention amid mildly spiced broth. That isn’t where Jefferson’s appreciation for Cajun eating ends, either, as jambalaya over pasta numbers among Monterrey’s array of entrees. Desserts also maintain Monterrey’s Southernness. (J.L.R.) 467-4943


2491 S. Superior St. A great place for sitting outside in summer with a dark cozy interior perfect for winter, Palomino’s menu despite changes still sounds Southern at heart, offering po’ boy sandwiches and smoked brisket. Offerings include homemade biscuits, fried pickles, brisket, and fried chicken with gravy. Sides complete the entrees with tater tots, mac ‘n’ cheese, mashed potatoes and Brussels sprouts. A Wisconsin accent can he heard in the fried cheese curds. (D.L.) $-$$. CC. FB. OD. FF. SB. 747-1007

Pass Da Peas

7870 W. Appleton Ave. One might expect an eatery named for a hit by James Brown to excel at soul food. Pass Da Peas lives up to expectations. Steak and chicken smothered in gravy, meat loaf, fried catfish and tilapia—and less pricy lunches such as a wings meal—comprise much of the menu. The salmon croquettes make for a fine supper; a side of greens can come as collards or a lip-smacking combo of turnip and mustard, lightly speckled with pork but none the greasier for the meaty addition. Black-eyed peas (a natural choice considering the place’s name) aren’t as smoky as they can be elsewhere in the city but are flavorful with only a hint of soupiness. (J.L.R.) $-$$. 393-0992

Shake N Bake American Soul Kitchen

3432 W. Silver Spring Dr. Shake N Bake is a takeout only restaurant located inside Hibo Foods on Silver Spring Drive. Owners Danicha Brown and Vishalla Davis learned to cook from family members and had hoped to open their own restaurant for years. The daily menu features Soul food and American favorites. Appetizers include mozzarella sticks, cheese fries and whole chicken wings. Catfish and porkchop dinners, burgers and breakfast items like chicken and waffles are available. On Sundays a Soul food buffet is offered with a rotating menu of items

DININGGUIDE like smothered pork chops, collard greens and yams for $10.99, including one meat, two sides and cornbread. (J.L.R.) $-$$. 323-4900

SPANISH Amilinda

315 E. Wisconsin Ave. Amilinda’s Spanish-Portuguese inspired menu is drawn from tradition and the travels of chef/ co-owner Gregory León. Bravo to Chef León for doing fewer menu items, doing them well and changing them often. León works with local farmers, taking what is in season and creating an abbreviated menu that doesn’t have so many choices it makes your head spin. There are five to six items in each of the two categories, almost everything is made in house (the bread comes from Rocket Baby, another plus in my book) and although you may see Yukon potatoes on three of the five dishes, each dish has their own inspiration of ingredients. Amilinda is a great place to make friends, meet friends and enjoy a fantastic meal that changes daily, keeping you wanting more. (A.M.) $$-$$$. CC. RS. Handicap access. 369-3683


600 S. Sixth St. The sister restaurant to Movida, Bodegon is a Spanish fine dining spot in Walker’s Point. The word bodegon means home cooking restaurant and implies a rustic touch on the menu. Steaks, mostly from Ney’s Big Sky, are the dinner focus, like the 32-ounce, bone-in ribeye that’s dry-aged in house. An octopus appetizer features balsamic vinegar, orange and fennel for a light starter. Bodegon also features a chef’s table to watch the open kitchen in action and a wine cellar underground. Expect a well-curated wine list, cocktails that feature homemade ingredients and molecular gastronomy components, and sangria and vermouth on tap. (L.M.) $$$$. FB. 488-9146


524 S. Second Street The menu embodies the heart and soul of Spain. Most dishes are small portions encouraging diners to sample and share. Start with assorted tapas including olives and peppers, clams with artichoke, white wine and butter, or a tartare of beef tenderloin with truffle oil, quail yolk and shallot. Tablas feature Spanish cheeses including manchego, a hard sheep’s milk cheese, and Mahon, a salty cow’s milk cheese. In the Cena category you’ll find pork cheek, octopus, braised short ribs or scallops. (J.R.) $$-$$$$. FB. RS. 224-5300


Five O’Clock Steakhouse

310 W. Wisconsin Ave. This high-end chain sets the standard for dryaged steaks and fresh seafood. Maine lobsters run as large as five pounds. The Milwaukee branch also has a fine setting with dark woodwork and attentive service. Steaks rank with the best locally. No detail is too small, from the heirloom tomatoes on the fresh mozzarella salad to the Courvoisier cognac cream on the steak au poivre. The place seems made for expense accounts. (J.B.) $$$-$$$$. CC. FB. RS. GF. Handicap access. 223-0600

2416 W. State St. Between its retro décor and quirky ordering system, the Five O’Clock Steakhouse offers a unique dining experience. Diners order at the bar while enjoying a pre-meal drink. When they arrive at their table, their salad will be waiting for them, along with fresh sourdough bread and a full relish tray. Though the menu offers seafood, lamb and pork, the steaks are the obvious no-brainer here. They’re cooked on high heat so even the rarest orders develop a phenomenal char that seals in the juices, then topped with butter sautéed mushrooms. The décor may be outdated, but these steaks are timeless. (E.R.) $$$$. CC. RS. FB. 342-3553


Jackson Grill

Capital Grille

718 N. Milwaukee St. If you love a good steak, Carnevor ranks with the best steak in the city of Milwaukee. It all starts with the great quality of beef from Allen Brothers Prime Steaks as well as SURG Restaurant Group’s Hidden Creek Farm. But Carnevor’s mission to serve the finest meat in the city doesn’t stop at beef, they also serve mangalitsa pork, known for being exceptionally, juicy, tender and marbled. If beef isn’t enough, why not top it with foie gras, truffle butter or a fried organic egg. Don’t forget about one of the many steak house sides, large enough for sharing, including truffle mashed, risotto and the popular Carnevor steak fries with garlic aioli. (A.M.) $$$$. CC. FB. RS. Handicap access. 223-2200

Dream Dance Steak

1712 W. Canal St. Dream Dance is the showcase restaurant of Potawatomi Hotel and Casino. There are champagne and cognac carts as well as a tremendous wine list. The approach is contemporary with a focus on American ingredients. Whether you choose seared scallops or a rack of venison, everything will be prepared with respect and skill. The décor is of contemporary luxury, the cutlery ultra-pricey and everything from the amuse-bouche to dessert, an exercise in good taste. The prices rank with the most expensive, but this is a worthy splurge. (J.B.) $$$$. CC. FB. Handicap access. 847-7883

Eddie Martini’s

8612 Watertown Plank Road Frank and Dino could have used Eddie Martini’s bar as their watering hole. The drinks are potent enough to power the happy hour neon and the atmosphere is always dark and cool behind impenetrable Venetian blinds. The Rat Pack would have dug the swinging music, not to mention the steaks and chops and the escargot and seafood. Everything’s A-OK. (D.L.) $$$$. CC. FB. RS. OD. Handicap access. 771-6680

3736 W. Mitchell St. A cozy establishment, Jackson Grill resembles a 1940s supper club. Start with an appetizer of Cajun barbecue shrimp, more than enough for two. French cognac salad dressing has a retro steakhouse feel. The Black Angus filet is one of the best steaks found locally, seared on the outside and perfect medium rare in the middle. This is the place for serious red meat eaters. (J.B.) $$-$$$. CC. FB. FF. OD. RS. 384-7384

Mason Street Grill

425 E. Mason St. A wood-fired grill, sounds of light, live jazz music, an outdoor patio, gorgeous inner décor and friendly and attentive service all combine to make the Mason Street Grill ensconced in the Pfister Hotel a great place for lunch or dinner. Open seven days a week, it’s also a great place for a late-evening snack or imbibition (the kitchen’s open ’til 9 p.m. Sunday and 10 p.m. Monday-Saturday). Seating at the Chef’s Counter enables diners to view up close and person hustle and bustle of kitchen staff. The eclectic menu is highlighted by the house specialties, including oysters on the half-shell or Rockefellerstyle and dinners like Strauss Veal Striploin Oscar. (J.J.) $$-$$$$. CC. FB. RS. OD. Handicap access. 298-3131

Milwaukee ChopHouse

633 N. Fifth St., Milwaukee Hilton Hotel The upscale steakhouse has the meat to match the prices, from the veal chop to the bone-in ribeye steak. The range of items includes seafood and chicken. But appetizers and side items also shine from ahi tuna crudo to grilled asparagus. (J.B.) $$$-$$$$. CC. FB. RS. V. Handicap access. 226-2467

Milwaukee Steakhouse

6024 W. Bluemound Road Bring on the big steaks, thick pork chops and jumbo shrimp. The king of steaks is a 28-ounce porterhouse. Good luck finishing it. Entrées all


include mushrooms, a relish tray, soup or salad, sourdough bread and a choice of potato. Order a baked potato and slather it with sour cream. Steaks and the Thursday and Saturday prime rib special are the best to order here. If your focus is on succulent beef and abundant quantity, this is your steakhouse. (J.B.) $$$$. CC. FB. OD. RS. Handicap access. 312-7891

Mr. B’s Steakhouse

18380 W. Capitol Drive In a time when we are enamored with small plates for sharing and the newest trends, it’s good to step back and remember the places that give us time honored dining tradition with style and delivered on all the expectations of a good steak house. Mr. B’s has outstanding service from the of knowledgeable staff on menu and wine, a warm and casual interior of dark wood, low lighting and hint of the Italian heritage from the green and white checkered tablecloths. It’s a welcome throwback. The menu has the classic steakhouse fare and a variety of offerings in every category. (A.M.) $$$$. CC. FB. OD. RS. GF. Handicap access. (262) 790-7005

Mo’s: A Place for Steaks

720 N. Plankinton Ave. This is the original Mo’s, which now has outposts in Indianapolis and Houston. The prices and setting all say upscale. Start with a retro wedge of salad, then move to bacon-wrapped sea scallops and a “McAlpine” rib-eye for an entrée. Sides are extra. (J.B.) $$$$. CC. RS. FB. Handicap access. 272-0720


833 E. Michigan St. It was immediately apparent that customer service is as important at Rare as the food in providing an ultra-fine dining experience. Rare’s atmosphere has an elegant and sophisticated look. The wine list is as impressive as the service. The menu is vast with selections in each category from starters to other meat and seafood options, but the stars at Rare are the steaks. Rare only uses USDA Prime, specific hand cuts and dry aged in their aging locker right on site. The steaks are seared in an 1800-degree infrared broiler to get a nice crust on the outside and served with au jus. (A.M.) $$$$. CC. FB. RS. GF. Handicap access. 273-7273

Steakhouse 100

7246 W. Greenfield Ave. True to its name, Steakhouse 100 features steaks in a supper-club ambiance with table linen and a basket of hot bread to start. However, the choices are wide-ranging and global: appetizers include chicken shish-kabob, brie and deep-fried jalapenos along with mozzarella sticks. Alongside 10 steak selections, the menu includes an array of seafood, dinner salads and a “beef ‘n’ reef” heading and offers pilaf as a side dish along with

DININGGUIDE choice of soup and salad. (D.L.) $$-$$$$. CC. FB. FF. RS. Handicap access. 727-2222

Ward’s House of Prime

540 E. Mason St. The bar room of this downtown destination has a soaring ceiling, a great wine selection and a select list of scotch and cognac. Prime rib is the specialty although chicken, lamb and seafood are served too. The bar has its own menu with lighter fare and some servings the size of tapas. The setting is pleasant, the seating spacious and the service good. (J.B.) $$$-$$$$. CC. FB. RS. OD. V. Handicap access. 223-0135

SUBS AND SANDWICHES Boo Boo’s Sandwich Shop

405 S. Second St. Richard Regner, owner of Soup Bros., has opened Boo Boo’s, a sandwich shop. Located right around the corner from Soup Bros. in the former Philly Way space, Boo Boo’s serves up a variety of hot and cold sandwiches for lunch and dinner. Regner will be baking the various breads used for the sandwiches, along with sourcing some from local bakeries. Sandwiches include homemade fries. Classics like deli turkey, tuna salad with capers, and grilled liverwurst with onions and mustard are on the menu, plus griddled items like a cheesesteak. The tiny space including the enclosed patio has been remodeled, but with limited seating, takeout is a good bet. (L.M.) $. 885-1532

Chubby’s Cheesesteaks

2232 N. Oakland Ave., 287-9999 2147 Miller Park Way, 672-1111 Everything about this sandwich is near perfect. It starts with the Sciortino roll, always so fresh and soft, and extends to the ribeye, which is diced into tiny soft bits like the man at the grill is vehemently working out deep-rooted issues with his barbecue spatula. And then there’s the pleasantly harsh brace of raw onion, the tomatoes swimming through for brightness, the Whiz, cascading about, free to run so many courses due to minimal resistance from such bitty chunks of steak. (T.L.) $. CC. NA. LT.

Cousins Subs

Multiple locations Cousins was among the earliest venues to introduce the submarine sandwich to Milwaukee. The chain (which has since expanded to other Midwest states and even Arizona) features tuna, turkey breast, chicken breast, meatball, four varieties of cheese steaks and many other options all served on fresh Italian bread for a filling and flavorful meal on the run. Cousins also offers gargantuan party subs to take home and services many local delis and coffee shops with its sandwiches. (D.L.) $. CC. NA.

Dr. Dawg

6969 N. Port Washington Road Diners with dietary restrictions are surprisingly well accommodated at this popular fast-food chain, which offers not one but two kinds of vegan sausages (apple wood sage or spicy Mexican chipotle) and a gluten-free version of nearly everything on the menu. Along with the expected chilidogs and Chicago dogs, the menu offers a Wisconsin brat, a Kobe beef dog, hearty chicken sandwiches and Italian beef sandwiches. (E.R.) $. CC. OD. Handicap access. 540-0400

Erbert & Gerbert’s Sandwich Shop

2338 N. Farwell Ave. The best thing about this sandwich and soup shop is the food. The French bread is fresh and tasty, the veggies crisp, the meats plentiful, the sauces well-seasoned and the soup thick and hearty. In a mini-mall just north of east North Avenue and open after hours on weekends, you can carry out or grab a table. On the walls you’ll find original fairy tales with charming illustrations by the franchise’s Eau Claire founder that explain the whimsical names of his delectable concoctions. (J.S.) $. CC. OD. NA. Handicap access. 273-3727

Georgie Porgie’s Burger & Custard Treefort

9555 S. Howell Ave., 571-9889 5502 Washington Ave., Mount Pleasant, 262-635-5030 Founded in 1991 by George P. Laipis (1939-2014) and now run by his two sons, this family friendly lunch and dinner spot is dedicated to bringing smiles to all faces with its tree fort decorations, delicious burgers, gyros, chicken sandwiches, salads and freshly made frozen custards. Unique daily custard flavors—such as cherry streusel, Boston creme pie, Mocha Pecan Madness and salted brownie—as well as monthly burger and sundae specials are sure to leave your taste buds singing. The establishment also hosts car shows and supports local nonprofit organizations and community groups. (A.S.) $. CC. OD. Handicap access.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Deli

6125 W. Greenfield Ave. A sandwich shop specializing in all things peanut butter and jelly grinds all their peanut and nut butters daily and sources their dozens of jams and jellies locally. Sandwiches range from simple to gourmet, and diners can choose to have their sandwiches toasted or grilled on 9 types of bread, including a gluten free option. The strawberry lovers incorporate crunch honey roasted peanut butter with strawberry jam and sliced strawberries for a classic combo. Grill cheese and jelly includes your choice of jam or jelly grilled with sharp cheddar. (L.M.) $. 897-7987

Sammy’s Taste of Chicago

1234 S. 108th St. “High-quality hot dog” is not an oxymoron at Sammy’s Taste of Chicago. The establishment has a nostalgic feel, as it aptly encapsulates the vibe of a ‘90s-era Chicago hotdog stand. Sammy’s runs the whole gamut of savory meats served in buns, including traditional hot dogs, bratwurst, polish sausage, sub sandwiches and Italian beef. If you want to round out your meal and don’t plan on working out for five or six hours after eating, they also offer frosty chocolate milkshakes and golden, well-seasoned French fries. (E.E.) $. CC. OD. 774-0466

Tosa Bowl and Bun

7212 W. North Ave. Offering sandwiches, salads daily entrée and soup specials, this family owned deli celebrates homemade goodness. Entrees include scalloped potatoes and ham, meatloaf, lasagna and a Friday fish fry, while toasted potato soup, tomato zucchini soup, white bean chicken chili and Rueben soup are among the featured daily delights. Hearty and flavorful, the Rueben soup is satisfying without the accompaniment of a sandwich. Served on Sciortino Bakery rolls Tosa Bowl and Bun’s selection of sandwiches contains chicken salad, roasted veggies and the recommended Italian, a classic combination of provolone, ham, salami, pepperoni. For lighter options consider one of the establishment’s seven salads, which are served with homemade dressings and croutons. (E.P.) $. FF. 210-2834

Twisted Bistro

1126 S. 70th St. Jason Joyner and Amber Atlee, owners of the Culinary Twists food cart, opened the Twisted Bistro in 2014. The Culinary Twists cart, seen at farmers’ markets all around town in 2013, was known for creative hot dogs and fresh, madefrom-scratch foods. The Twisted Bistro keeps the hot dogs and the freshness but expands the food offerings to include breakfast, sandwiches, burgers, soups and wraps. Open weekdays. (S.H.G.) $. CC. Handicap access. 316-3000

West Allis Cheese & Sausage Shoppe

6832 W. Becher St., 543-4230 400 N. Water St., Milwaukee Public Market, 289-8333 The “Shoppe” specializes in its namesakes and right next door to its West Allis location sits its café serving a long list of breakfast items all day long and daily sandwich specials on weekdays. It’s a pleasant, spacious place for sipping a strong cup of coffee or a Bloody Mary, having a conversation or enjoying a meal. The regular lunch menu features stick-to-the-ribs Wisconsin comfort food, including a Reuben, a meatloaf sandwich and Nueske’s liver sausage. The café is one of the few places in town serving that


Canadian favorite, poutine, a hearty mix of French fries, cheese curds and gravy fit for any Packers party. (J.L.R.) $. OD.


3041 N. Mayfair Road White linen tablecloths and tent-folded claretcolored linen napkins set the supper club ambiance. While the lazy susans have disappeared, a basket of sliced Italian bread and a jar of breadsticks appear on each table. The menu is American comfort food with a distinct Italian accent. Go elsewhere if you’re looking for a la carte (rough translation: “little food, big price”). Dinners come with a choice of soup or salad and in some cases, soup and salad plus dessert. For lighter appetites, sandwiches, including a delicious hamburger, are available. (D.L.) $$. CC. FB. FF. GF. RS. Handicap access. 476-6900

Bass Bay Brewhouse

S79 W15851 Aud Mar Drive, Muskego Bass Bay Brewhouse is the quintessential supper club that makes you feel as though you stepped back in time to a much simpler life. Its bar and two-room banquet hall has plenty of seating for all the locals and people from the city that want a more casual dining experience with good, fresh food. It has a simple décor of mason jars filled with fresh flowers on the table, low ceilings with wood beams and an attached patio that is enjoyable in warmer weather for sitting out on the bay. Although casual, the service is still top notch and accommodating. (A.M.) $$-$$$. FB. SB. OD. 377-9449

Clifford’s Supper Club

10418 W. Forest Home Ave. At Clifford’s you’ll experience that winning combination of comfort food and nostalgia. The dark wood paneling, wallpaper and a Formicatopped bar surrounded by bucket seated stools will appeal to patrons who long for days gone by. Clifford’s offers a full complement of classic comfort food with steak, chicken and calves’ liver with onions or bacon. Entrées include soup, salad, relish tray and breadbasket. (S.H.G.) $$. FF. FB. Handicap access. 425-6226

Five O’Clock Steakhouse

2416 W. State St. The 5 O’Clock Steakhouse, formerly Coerper’s Five O’ Clock Club, recently passed 70 years as one of Wisconsin’s quintessential supper clubs featuring relish trays, family style salad, charred steaks and great service. In an ever-changing culinary world of small plates, foams, deconstructions, stacks and other trends that come and go, it’s refreshing that you can still find a place for an outstanding steak served up with the same traditions and rec-

DININGGUIDE ipes from decades ago. The décor of multicolored lights, dark wood and Rat Pack music gets you in the mood for the large platters of food pushed on metal carts by impeccably dressed servers. (A.M.) $$$$. CC. RS. FB. 342-3553

Joey Gerard’s

5601 Broad St., Greendale The Bartolotta Restaurants’ supper club concept has two suburban locations. Start with a lazy susan featuring goodies like cheese, sausage and smoked fish. Beef it up with a cheddar cheese ball, suggesting Wisconsin dining in the 1950s. Steaks and their side dishes dominate the menu, but there are also supper club classics. Both locations are popular, making reservations a must. (J.B.) $$$-$$$$. CC. RS. FB. FF. OD. 858-1900

The Packing House

900 E. Layton Ave. The Packing House is one of those classic Milwaukee restaurants with top-notch food, pop and jazz in the cocktail lounge, a robust Sunday brunch and a drive-through Friday fish fry option. Service is always professional and even large dinner parties will be served with ease. Steak, rib and seafood lovers will leave satisfied and the famous onion shreds are not to be missed. (L.K.) $$$-$$$$. CC. FB. RS. FF. LT. 483-5054

Sandra’s on the Park

10049 W. Forest Home Ave. Open since May 2015, customers have already discovered many reasons to return to this modern version of a supper club. The cozy, comfortable dining room is an inviting space to enjoy a meal. Start with delicious appetizers or salads. If you are dining with others, at least one person should try Sandra’s house specialty barbecue ribs. Slow-cooked for five hours to just the right amount of tenderness, the meat practically falls off the bone. (S.H.G.) $$-$$$. FB. FF. OD. Handicap access. 235-8889


1230 N. Van Buren St. It looks like a blast from the ‘70s, complete with a disco ball, and while the name continues to conjure up the Average White Band and liaisons from long ago, Victor’s has always had an excellent kitchen. The menu is focused on supper club fare with steak, shrimp de jonghe and chops. Portions are generous, including the Friday fish fry; prime rib smothered with mushrooms is served every day. After 9 p.m., the kitchen closes, and the action begins. (D.L.) $$-$$$. CC. FF. FB. 272-2522

THAI AppeThai

3900 W. Brown Deer Road It’s this thoughtfulness that makes eating at AppeThai such a treat, especially when coupled with superbly balanced flavors, something Thai

cuisine is well known for, but few restaurants actually happen to achieve. Ever popular pad Thai ($9-$14), which is often served in a sickly sweet, bland sauce, is a joy here: tangy from tamarind, savory from pungent fish sauce, and only just enough sweetness from palm sugar. Chiles add a depth of flavor and yes, heat too. This is one of the few Thai restaurants where ordering a dish “hot” will actually leave you sweating. (L.M.) $$. 362-4264

Bangkok House Restaurant

4698 S. Whitnall Ave. This is the spot for Thai purists. Flavors are less spicy, a bit sweeter and oh so right. The squid is cooked to perfection and the shrimp curry has a sauce made in house. The beef-with-beansprouts soup is superbly seasoned. Bangkok House is tops for Thai in the area. (J.B.) $$. CC. RS. LB. Handicap access. 482-9838


1806 N. Farwell Ave. The main menu is an extensive list of Thai items with noteworthy options such as the fresh spring rolls and curries with more character than usual. But the more interesting menu focuses on Lao specialties. There are green papaya salads (not vegetarian) and meat salads with names such as larb sok lak, numtok and koi beef. Dishes are spiced on a scale of one to 10. Few dare to venture above seven. (J.B.) $-$$. CC. RS. Handicap access. 224-8284

Elephant Café

1505 N. Farwell Ave. In Thailand, the elephant with trunk lifted is a symbol of good fortune. So it is with Elephant Café, with a good variety of traditional Thai favorites. The café is a sister restaurant to EE-Sane and has an extensive menu using fresh ingredients including many dishes with ginger and Thai basil. Elephant Café serves pork, steak, chicken and duck, but is a great place for vegetarians. (A.M.) $-$$. CC. FB. RS. 220-9322

The King & I

830 N. Old World Third St. One of the first Milwaukee Thai restaurants, The King & I remains a good deal more upscale and a touch more expensive than the more casualminded Thai eateries that have joined its company. The chic, open layout leaves the kitchen visible from the dining room. The more than 60 menu items include most Thai staples, including noodle dishes and curries as well as some interesting entrées like a yellow curry and mango chicken dish prepared with bell peppers, summer squash and cherry tomatoes. The default flavor of most dishes is mild, making this restaurant a good starter for diners new to Thai cuisine. (E.R.) $$$. CC. RS. FB. LB. OD. 276-4181

Singha Thai

2237 S. 108th St. Tables are covered in rich, royal purple linens; entrées are served on blue-and-white handpainted plates. Singha is the only Thai restaurant in the city that serves hou mok pla: fish filets layered over a bed of Thai basil leaves and cabbage, wrapped and steamed in a fragrant coconut milk curry with undertones of hot pepper. It’s quite unlike anything else on this extensive menu. (J.B.) $$$. CC. LB. RS. Handicap access. 541-1234

Thai Bangkok Express

9201 W. Capitol Dr. Thai Bangkok Express is primarily for carryout. Customers order at the counter, and it takes about 15 minutes for the food to be prepared and bagged to go. There are also eight tables if one chooses to eat in. There’s a poster near the counter that pictures the restaurant’s more popular dishes. The menu of Thai entrees and dishes is extensive; every option is numbered, which helps when ordering. The helpful employees behind the counter will make recommendations for customers who are not familiar with Thai or Hmong cuisine. (S.J.) $. CC. Handicap access. 585-9993

Thai Bar-B-Que

3417 W. National Ave. A photo-intensive menu makes ordering easy at Thai Bar-B-Que, a clean and cozy dining room nestled near several other Asian restaurants on National Avenue. Curry dishes are exceptional here. The traditional red and green curries, served with choice of meat or tofu, are loaded with fresh, colorful vegetables and the aroma of fresh herbs. For something more exotic, try the Thai roasted duck with eggplant, tomatoes and pineapple in a spicy red curry sauce. Service is attentive and refreshingly unrushed, with a loquacious wait staff that chats at length with regulars and newcomers alike. (E.R.) $$. CC. RS. 647-0812

Thai Kitchen

2851 N. Oakland Ave. This quiet, homey restaurant with a dozen tables isn’t much to look at but the food is plentiful and inexpensive. Service is quick and friendly. Curries are the house specialty with red the most popular and massaman a close second, my server said, while the hot jungle curry, free of tempering coconut milk, separates the natives from the tourists. There are seafood and duck entrees, all the expected appetizers and lots of choices for vegetarians. Try the heaping plate of thick veggie pad see-eew—like most of the dishes it also comes with chicken, beef or pork – and a pot brimful of creamy, sweet-spicy ginger tea. (J.S.) $-$$. CC. Handicap access. 962-8851



932 E. Brady St., 837-6280 8725 W. North Ave., 837-6281 The focus is on Thai curries, stir frys and fresh sushi. Thai-namite curry is massaman-style with chunks of beef, potatoes and carrots braised in a rich coconut milk-based curry. Thai-American favorite volcano chicken features a crispy deep fried chicken breast sliced atop a bed of vegetables and served on a hot skillet. The sushi portion of the menu includes nigiri, sashimi and maki, along with sushi bar entrees that come with miso soup and a various assortment of sushi. (L.M.) $-$$. CC. FB. OD. RS. Handicap access.


1901 E. North Ave. OK, they are not strictly vegetarian, serving chicken and fish, too. But Beans & Barley has long been Milwaukee’s stalwart for alternative dining and a great place to people watch. The dining room is a striking example of contemporary design. On the way out, stop at the organic deli and grocery. (D.L.) $-$$. CC. OD. SB. Handicap access. 278-7878

Beerline Café

2076 N. Commerce St. Beerline Café is a friendly, cosmopolitan, casual, inexpensive, all-vegetarian restaurant specializing in sweet and savory crepes, panini sandwiches, salads, soups and creative specialties, with a full range of coffee and espresso drinks, hot and cold teas, smoothies, juices, wines from the bottle or on tap and an excellent selection of Milwaukee craft beers. At least half of the menu is also available in vegan or gluten-free versions. I can heartily recommend the delicate spring roll crepe with spicy Asian peanut sauce. This is the first Milwaukee café to earn a Green Restaurant Association three-star rating for low environmental impact. (J.S.) $-$$. CC. 265-5644

Bombay Sweets

3401 S. 13th St. The setting is spare with white Formica tables and plastic forks and cutlery. But this allvegetarian East Indian menu is filled with rare and unusual delights. Lemon rice, pakoras, pooris and malai kofta are all recommended. There is also a bakery counter filled with an array of Indian sweets and snacks. (J.B.) $. CC. OD. NA. RS. 383-3553


207 W. Freshwater Way A healthy-food-focused restaurant has opened headed by Nell Benton of The National and Andy

DININGGUIDE Larson of Float. Bowls features an entire menu of dishes in bowls, in categories of smoothies, oats, pudding, grains and greens. The smoothie section takes what is essentially a smoothie, puts it in a bowl, and tops it with fruit, nuts, and grains for a sweet breakfast. Most of the menu is dedicated to grains and greens. The Thai green curry bowl includes brown rice, a mixture of vegetables and spicy green curry sauce. A steak and rice bowl utilizes Korean flavors with kimchi and bibimbop sauce. Chopped raw salad is vegan and gluten free with greens, jicama, avocado, veggies and ginger miso dressing. Online ordering is available for faster service at the counter. (L.M.) $-$$. CC. GFT. Handicap access. 800-5667

Café Manna

3815 N. Brookfield Road, Sendik’s Towne Centre While going through the strip malls and big-box stores of Brookfield’s commercial districts, it might be easy to miss Café Manna, a 100-percent vegetarian eatery located in the Sendik’s Towne Centre. But vegetarians, or anyone with an appreciation for healthful food, should make a point of seeking this place out. Some of the restaurant’s ingredients are part of the patio aesthetics, such as potted tomato plants and a small garden. Each menu section offers a few varied options that weave influences of world cuisines into scratch-made, raw, vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options. (S.J.) $$. CC. OD. RS. GF. 262-790-2340


1978 N. Farwell Celesta is run by Melanie Manuel, who also owns a vegan pop-up and catering company, Beatrix Foods. Like Beatrix, Celesta’s food is inspired by a variety of global cuisines and flavors. Arancini are made with lemon risotto and cauliflower is roasted with tahini, golden raisins, mint and dill. For mains, choose between a lasagna with vegan bechemel and rosemary sage sausage, a “turkey” club with seitan and tempeh, or ramen with sunflower seed broth, among other options. There are grab-and-go items, including house-made meat substitutes. (L.M.) $$. FB. 231-3030

Harvest Café

2205 Silvernail Road, Pewaukee Located inside the Good Harvest Market natural food store, the café isn’t strictly vegetarian but is a fine place to take in a healthful meal. The menu reads a bit like an Allen Ginsberg poem in its repetition of the word “organic,” but the café’s dedication to clean and healthful ingredients is immediately clear upon your first bite—the food does taste fresher. In addition to a hot bar with daily rotating items and a salad bar, the Harvest Café features local beers on tap. (F.K.R.C.) $-$$. CC. OD. SB. GF. Handicap access. 262-544-9380

On the Bus

400 N. Water St. In addition to offering scratch-made vegan food, On the Bus literally lives up to its name; the serving counter is fashioned from owner Emily Ware’s own 1971 Volkswagen Bus, which was her very first auto. On the Bus features Ware’s own recipes, including fresh almond milk made daily. The almond milk is used in smoothies, ice cream, cheese and their trendy açaí bowls. On the Bus’ arrival shows that the term “vegan” is no longer a scary word. (S.J.) $$. 204-8585

On the Way Café

6005 W. Mequon Road On The Way Café, an upscale establishment that’s counter service, but classy. Customers dining in or ordering carryout can choose from a broad menu featuring organic, non-GMO and antibiotic-free breakfast items, soups, salads, sandwiches, burgers, bowls, desserts, smoothies and juices, and organic beer, wine and cider. While On The Way Café is vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free friendly, it’s not an exclusive vegetarian restaurant. Meat lovers will find grass-fed and free-range beef, lamb or turkey burgers, served on flavorful sprouted grain buns. (S.J.) $-$$. Handicap access. (262) 302-4492

Outpost Natural Foods

100 E. Capitol Drive, 961-2597 7000 W. State St., 778-2012 2826 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., 755-3202 7590 W. Mequon Road, Mequon, 262-242-0426 945 N. 12th St., Aurora Sinai Hospital, 220-9166 1617 W. North Ave., Wellness Commons, 210-4577 Milwaukee’s long-running natural foods co-op (they helped introduce the city to the concept of healthy eating!) has deli and table arrangements at all locations. (D.L.) $. CC. Handicap access.

Riverwest Co-op Grocery & Café

733 E. Clarke St. Choose your favorite of the varied coffee cups and fill it from the pot yourself. The coffee’s Anodyne, a local roaster. Everything here’s as local as possible, 100% vegetarian and 98% organic. This is quintessential Riverwest, friendly, laid back, inexpensive; local artwork fills the walls and patrons discuss it. Open all day; just four tables and 11 chairs with sidewalk seating in good weather. Try the creative smoothies, luscious vegan pancakes, “Phamous Philly” and Notorious Barbecue. (J.S.) $. CC. OD. NA. 264-7933

Strange Town

2101 N. Prospect Ave. Step inside, and you’ll find a charmingly cozy space teeming with string lights and house plants, tied together by an eclectic soundtrack, courtesy of owner Andy Noble’s personal vinyl record collection. Strange Town’s seasonal menu boasts a panoply of snacks and small plates as vibrant as its music selection. It dodges tired vegan/vegetarian staples like tofu and meat substitutes and instead draws from cuisines around the world—from fragrant Thai green curry and creamy mojo de ajo potatoes to jumuk bap: crispy Korean rice balls stuffed with a medley of mushrooms and served with kimchi. The sea vegetable salad, which features a unique assortment of crunchy “ocean ribbons” and kelp noodles tossed in a refreshing ginger crema, is certainly quite an inventive dish. (E.J.) $$-$$$ 885-0404

Urban Beets

hot and sour soup. A major draw is actually the beverage menu: more than 30 export varieties of beer are offered—all from Vietnam. (J.J.) $-$$. CC. 384-4522

Phở Hải Tuyết I

204 W. Layton Ave. Phở Hải Tuyết I is one of the most authentically Vietnamese restaurants in the Milwaukee area with one of the biggest menus. Dine-in, order online or by phone and take-out or have your food delivered (if you’re in their neck of the woods). Their service is fast and friendly. The menu is helpfully divided into appetizer, noodle, beef noodle (phở), rice and seafood dish subsections—all the better to quickly zero-in on exactly what your palette desires. In addition to wine and beer, there are lots of Vietnamese sodas, coffees, teas and juices—and several flavors of that delicious Vietnamese thirst-quencher, bubble tea. (J.J.) $-$$. CC. Handicap access. 231-3201

1401 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive The cozy shop seats a dozen people and has a warm, inviting vibe. The menu is at once inviting and imposing; scrawled with excellent penmanship and suspended above the counter, it contains multitudes; breakfast items, entrees, smoothies and juices are all available and made with healthy and, whenever possible, organic ingredients. (F.K.R.C.) $-$$. CC. OD. GF. Handicap access. 800-6265

Phở Việt


Vietnamese Noodles


2691 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., 294-0483 6519 W. North Ave., 585-0577 A sure sign of success in the restaurant business is expansion, especially in terms of new locations being added. Such is the case for Hué, now ensconced in both Bay View and Wauwatosa. Both locations offer a full menu of Vietnamese favorites and you’ll find what you want here served with color and pizzazz. Spring rolls, lemongrass and garlic-marinated beef skewers, chicken, seafood and vegetable curries and, of course, Pho. Hué’s menus are especially eaterfriendly, explaining each dish thoroughly. (J.J.) $$. CC. FB. FF. RS (six or less—Bay View; 12 or less—Wauwatosa). OD (Wauwatosa only).

Phan’s Garden

1923 W. National Ave. Phan’s Garden is one of the city’s original Vietnamese restaurants, located on Milwaukee’s near South Side—pretty much ground zero for our burgeoning Asian populace. The menu assembles all the typical Vietnamese favorites— shrimp balls, hot pots, spring rolls and phở. It also has better-known Chinese items for the less adventurous patrons, such as egg rolls and


5475 S. 27th St. By all means start with an appetizer, from which there are 20 to choose. And true to the restaurant’s name, it offers 19 versions of Vietnam’s signature soup, phở. Entrée items include scrumptious crispy crepes, tracing their roots to French colonial days. The combo platter includes a host of meats on a bed of sticky rice. Phở Việt’s smoothies come in 14 flavors. (J.J.) $-$$. RS. 282-8852 1380 W. Mequon Rd., Mequon Vietnamese Noodles is a casual restaurant serving mostly traditional Vietnamese cuisine for dining in and carrying out in Mequon’s Concord Court Plaza. Phở, the beef noodle soup and national dish of Vietnam, is clearly the focal point of the menu. The egg and spring rolls are excellent. Entrées include crispy fried egg noodles with chicken, beef or vegetables. Vietnamese Noodles dabbles in other Southeast Asian favorites including curry chicken, Korean barbecue beef short ribs and pad Thai There are many vegetarian options as well, some of which feature tofu. (K.L.L.) $-$$. CC. Handicap Access. 262-241-1999


222 W. Wells St. Xankia serves delectable Vietnamese sandwiches to please most palates. Offered are tofu, chicken and beef sandwiches/meals, soups, noodle dishes, as well as desserts (lotus cookies and Hmong-style tapioca made fresh daily). Try the vegetarian egg rolls or shrimp spring rolls and roast chicken sandwich for lunch. Equally popular are the beef and meatball phở, shrimp phở and pork steam buns (as a side). Xankia is perfect for exploring the taste of Vietnam with friends for casual meetings. (Y.O.) $-$$. CC. 817-0241

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Print Edition: City Guide 2019  

Print Edition: City Guide 2019