Metro Milwaukee Dining Guide
5101 W. Oklahoma Ave.
Friday fish fry at 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 baked fish,
you’ll take home memories as well as a doggie bag. For those pressed
for time, use the convenient drive-through. (L.K.) $. CC: VS, MC. FB.
924 E. Juneau Ave.
Street’s contemporary American menu features a mix of chicken, seafood,
pasta and certified Angus steaks. Their numerous specials include the
Chicken Astor, a sautéed breast with sun-dried tomatoes and garlic
fresh basil. Open six days a week, Astor Street offers a semi-formal
dining experience for couples, business professionals and families.
(J.D.) $$$. CC: All major. RS, SB, FF, FB. Handicap access. 278-8660
2737 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., 747-9746
2974 N. Oakland Ave., 431-8480
pleasant contemporary spin on 1950s-era diners, Bella’s serves burgers
with a profusion of toppings, fries, creamy malts and shakes (plus
contemporary options such as turkey and veggie burgers) in a bright,
airy atmosphere of linoleum, chrome and naugahyde. It’s a fun place for
families and for catching a quick bite. (D.L.) $. CC: All major.
1019 N. Old World Third St.
A saloon with 1890s charm, the dining room serves sandwiches, salads and dinner entrees. Steaks are exceptional—especially the Sicilian tenderloin. Other choices include pastas and seafood. (J.B.) $$. CC: MC, VS, AmEx. OD, DS, FF, FB. 224-8500
Cafe at the Plaza
1007 N. Cass St.
wonderful art deco diner, tucked inside the Plaza Hotel, serves
breakfast all day, along with a menu of soup, salads, burgers and
sandwiches. The courtyard in the back provides the ultimate in outdoor,
urban dining during the summer. (D.L.) $. CC: MC, VS. FF, OD. 272-0515
2232 N. Oakland Ave.
restaurants claim to serve Philly cheesesteaks yet few prepare them as
they should. The rules are simple. Begin with a soft roll, not a
baguette. The beef is not sliced but chopped and heated on a grill.
Onions and green peppers are optional, and the preferred cheese is
Cheez Whiz, although provolone and American are common substitutes.
Chubby’s uses a soft roll from Sciortino’s with fried onions and a
gooey mesh of cheese. (J.B.) $. 287-9999
1947 N. Farwell Ave.
coffee shop turned bar/restaurant now serves much more than caffeinated
drinks, including breakfast until 3 p.m., sandwiches and standard fare
such as meatloaf with mashed potatoes. Field Roast Grain Meats, a vegan
meat substitute, can be exchanged for almost anything for $1 extra.
Daily dinner specials include pasta and meatballs, chicken fried steak,
and pot roast. (K.N.) $-$$ CC: VS, MC, AmEx, DS. FF, SB, FB, OD.
Handicap access. 273-7677
8612 Watertown Plank Road
before the renaissance in Milwaukee dining began in the late ’90s,
Eddie’s opened a swanky retro steak and chop place with great food,
four-star service and a snazzy, well-stocked bar. Many restaurants have
come and gone since it was established in 1995, but Eddie Martini’s
remains as busy as the day it opened. (D.L.) $$$-$$$$. CC: All major.
FB, RS. Handicap access. 771-6680
130 W. Ryan Road
mirrored beer signs and antique newspapers surrounding guests from the
walls and above, Erv’s Mug is a great place to sit at the bar for a
drink or to dine with a friend for a quick bite. If you dare, try the
buffalo wrap, which is offered in three levels of hotness that is sure
set anyone’s taste buds on fire. Specials ranging from fish fries to
Mexican food are also offered throughout the week. (H.Y.) $$. CC: MC,
VS, AmEX. SB. FF. FB. Handicap access. 762-5010.
113 E. Juneau Ave.
Harp is a classic Milwaukee hangout, city cool and brashly Irish. It
excels at beer and burgers, not to mention reasonable prices. And it
has one of the city’s best patios, overlooking the Milwaukee River.
(S.R.) $. CC: MC, VS, DS. OD, FF, FB. Handicap access. 289-0700
3549 N. Oakland Ave.
a casual but attractive setting, Harry’s moderately priced Sunday
brunch includes three-egg omelets, crab cakes, eggs Benedict and ginger
pancakes. Quesadillas and sandwiches are available for patrons more in
the mood for lunch. Brunch aside, Harry’s offers a full menu for dinner
as well. (J.B.) $-$$. CC: MC, VS, AmEx. SB, FF, FB. Handicap access.
1034 N. Fourth St.
many this is still the place for a Friday fish fry with flaky cod and
potato pancakes. The 1880s landmark building is comfortable and
charming. Sandwiches, salads and light entrees are also available.
Turner provides a nice, casual atmosphere. (J.B.) $$. CC: All major.
FF, FB. 276-4844
2643 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.
menu is mainly sandwiches plus a few appetizers, entrees and salads.
The theme is home-style Midwest cooking. Expect plenty of pork,
chicken, turkey and bacon. The pork fries features Honeypie’s fine
French fries smothered with pulled pork, bacon and cheese sauce. The
davenport is the ultimate open-faced roast turkey sandwich, a mountain
of food with horseradish-mashed potatoes. This is true slow cooking, no
shortcuts at all. (J.B.) $-$$. CC: All major. Handicap access. 489-7437
2017 E. North Ave.
is an East Side institution with an impressive array of tap beers, from
local microbrews to imported treats such as Pilsner Urquell. The
kitchen does a great job with the burger selection, including two
vegetarian picks and one of lean, healthy ostrich meat. (J.B.) $. CC:
MC, VS. FB, OD, FF. 273-5230
3565 N. Morris Blvd.
The walk along a wooded, winding path is almost worth the trip alone.
7631 W. Layton Ave., 282-4080
5373 N. Port Washington Road, 961-2006
18880 W. Bluemound Road, (262) 789-1393
is a Milwaukee phenomenon worth noting, not just because of its
rotating selection of custard flavors or its burgers, but also for its
futuristic yet Norman Rockwell-like setting. Whether it’s a root beer
float, turtle sundae or chocolate thunder custard, Kopp’s makes an
impression for flavor and inventiveness. (C.G.) $. Handicap access.
2214 N. Farwell Ave.
East Side’s 24/7 Greek-American restaurant covers everything from
standard Greek fare such as gyros and moussaka, to American favorites
such as steaks, seafood, sandwiches and pastas. Sandwiches include a
bowl of soup, while full meals come with choice of potato and a
dessert. Breakfast served any time. (K.N.) $$ CC: Visa, MC. RS, FF, SB.
Handicap access. 271-7424
425 E. Mason St.
new venue at the Pfister Hotel replaces Celia with a more casual
setting, a bar room with fireplace, a dining room and a marble counter
where patrons are able to watch the chefs at work. The menu includes
excellent steaks, solid seafood and a fine onion soup, along with less
expensive options such as chicken pot pie, veal stroganoff and a Maine
lobster roll. The Mason Street Grill sets standards far above typical
hotel fare. (J.B.) $$-$$$$. CC: All major. Handicap access. 298-3131
400 W. Canal St.
Harley-Davidson Museum restaurant is as architecturally impressive as
the galleries. The dining room and the outdoor terrace boast serene
views of the Menomonee River. The menu focuses on Wisconsin and the
Midwest, including booyah, a soup thick as a stew and said to originate
in Green Bay. Reuben potato pancakes are a creative starter. Entrée are
homey fare like mac’n’cheese, meatloaf, pork chops, steak and BBQ ribs.
Portions tend to be large. While the museum is recommended, Motor has a
setting and food that are worthy of a visit too. (J.B.) $$-$$$. CC: All
major. RS parties of 8 or more. FB. OD. Handicap access. 287-2778
17700 W. Capitol Drive
B takes steak seriously. The servers bring expert knowledge about each
cut, whether the 28-ounce porterhouse, the Angus ribeye or, moving
beyond beef, the Australian lamb chops. Steaks are prepared over a
cherry and hickory fire under iron skillets. (D.L.) $$$$. CC: All
major. (262) 790-7005
4515 N. Oakland Ave.
menu includes crab cakes served over a bed of leaf lettuce with a
horseradish vinaigrette and spinach-and-fontina pizza with an abundance
of roasted garlic. The flat iron steak offers a good cut of meat at an
even better price, while the fine lamb is served in a red wine
reduction. (J.B.) $$-$$$. CC: MC, VS, AmEx, DS. SB. Handicap access.
5081 S. 108th St.
there is a martini menu, don’t expect anything trendy from the kitchen.
Go for all-American fare like plump roast chickens or sliced roast pork
with real mashed potatoes and gravy. The renovated interior of the
former Omega has a clubby feel with dark woodwork and a spacious
lounge. The priciest items are chargrilled steaks and chops, but even
here there are bargains. It’s a family-friendly place that just happens
to serve cocktails. (J.B.) $-$$. CC: All major. Handicap access.
2930 N. 117th St.
can I get a good prime rib?” The answer is the Open Hearth, where ribs
range from a juicy medium-rare to a crispy well done. The menu has the
supper-club standards of yore, from duck to pork chops and schnitzel.
Don’t miss the crispy onion rings. To be in business nearly 30 years,
you know they’re doing something right. (J.B.) $$$. CC: MC, VS, AmEx.
FB, FF. Handicap access. 475-0839
2491 S. Superior St.
of the comforts of a South Side corner bar are here, complete with pool
tables. The fare tends to be Southern, though vegetarians will find the
menu welcoming, too. The best items are chicken-fried steak, BBQ baby
back ribs and a definitive Southern-fried chicken. (J.B.) $-$$. CC: MC,
VS, AmEx. FB, OD, FF. 747-1007
9801 W. Dakota St.
a bit off the beaten path in a residential neighborhood, Pleasant
Valley is a favorite for its traditional American setting and menu.
Steaks are of high quality and the pork T-bone is a succulent cut. The
big rack of barbecue ribs is only for the most determined diner. Daily
specials and soups show creativity. (J.B.) $$$. CC: All major. FB. RS.
Handicap access. 321-4321
2635 W. Mequon Road
surrounded by subdivisions, this vintage 19th-century inn offers quiet,
countrified charm. The traditional American menu offers thick steaks,
chops and big racks of ribs. Don’t miss the homemade dinner rolls and
the fine onion rings. (J.B.) $$-$$$. CC: MC, VS, AmEx. FF, FB. (262)
779 N. Front St.
themed restaurants go, the Safehouse is bearable and even amusing. With
its “secret” location and password entry, the spy-themed bar and
restaurant has a reputation for lots of wacky spy antics. So you, too,
can demand “shaken not stirred” and wash down that martini with one of
the daily “spycials.” (S.R.) $$. CC: MC, VS, AmEx. RS, FF, FB. Handicap
338 S. First St.
McGinn’s is a classic corner tavern popular for its food. While the
beer taps are always busy, others are enjoying the homemade soups and
jumbo burgers. Much if the fare is Irish-American: corned beef
sandwiches and pot roast in Guinness gravy. The baby back ribs are
all-American with a Texas BBQ sauce. The setting is casual and there
are options. Daily dinner specials include inexpensive steaks and
pan-fried perch. (J.B.) $-$$. CC: All major. FB. OD. Handicap access.
1900 W. St. Paul Ave.
serves some of the best burgers in town, at least in part on account of
a good bakery. The one-third pounder, cooked on the open grill behind
the bar, is a fine accessory for a beer, a shot or even a cocktail.
Sobelman’s is a great place to get lost on the way to Potawatomi.
(D.L.) $. CC: All major. FF, FB, OD. 931-1919
1952 N. Farwell Ave.
original Sobelman’s Tallgrass is a destination point for its burgers.
The ones served at the Tallgrass Grill are even better. The difference?
Sobelman’s original hamburger comes from corn-fed beef. Problem? Cows
weren’t made to eat corn. Grass is their natural food. Grass-fed
remains a bit more expensive, but customers get more for their
money—literally. Meatier and bigger because they contain less fat and
shrink less, they sit on a perfect country butter roll, with an
egg-wash glaze, from Breadsmith. (D.L.) $. CC: All major. 273-4727
4629 N. Port Washington Road
for their humungous old-fashioned chocolate banana malts and “Olde
Wisconsin Fish Fry”, most of Solly’s menu items are served a la carte
and range from burgers (beef or veggie) to the cold chicken salad plate
to homemade pie. Save for one table, all seating is at the counter. The
most remarkable thing about this restaurant is the friendliness of the
staff and customers and the “homey” ambiance. (K.N.) CC: All major.
Handicap access. 332-8808
170 S. Water St.
bills itself as a burger bar but the feel is more like a lounge in a
setting of rustbelt chic. Burgers are the specialty. A decent mac’n
cheese is another option. Some appetizers arrive in tall stacks like
the loaded potatoes and the great thick-cut onion rings. This is a nice
setting for a glass of wine or one of the well-chosen beers. Plus there
are milkshakes. Try a chocolate truffle alcohol-free or spiked. Prices
are moderate. (J.B.) $-$$. CC: MC, VS, AmEx. OD. FB. Handicap access.
219 E. Michigan St.
in the historic Grain Exchange Building, the Door focuses on casual
lunches with decent homemade soups, sandwiches and a Saturday brunch.
Friday fish fry features battered cod, pan-fried lake perch and even
crab cakes—best with the potato pancakes. On the lighter side you’ll
find a good cheese quesadilla and entree-sized salads. This is a good
downtown hideout for a quick lunch, a beer and maybe a cigarette.
(J.B.) $$. CC: All major. FB, FF. Handicap access. 276-8150
1020 E. Locust St.
the summertime, 140 co-ed volleyball teams tear up an outdoor sand
court. But even if it’s not warm outside, the food served inside is
worth a visit. Fish specials are offered on Wednesday and Friday, and
daily lunch specials run the gamut from meat loaf to ribs. Always on
the menu are salads, burgers and sandwiches. (K.H.) $. CC: All major.
1230 N. Van Buren St.
Victor’s is better known as a singles spot, dinners are served before
9:30 p.m. The menu is typical supper-club fare with steaks, lobster,
chops and crab legs. Portions are generous, including the Friday fish
fry and weekend prime rib specials. The lights are bright and the
volume a bit high, but the food quality more than compensates. (J.B.)
$$-$$$. CC: All major. FF, FB. 272-2522
1101 N. Water St.
one of Milwaukee’s most successful brew pubs since opening in the ’80s,
but the crowds also come for hearty sandwiches and brimming platters of
nachos. Crowded at lunch. Packed on weekends. (D.L.) $$. CC: All major.
FF, RS, FB, OD. 272-1195
146 E. Juneau Ave.
in for a pastry and coffee on your way to work in Downtown Milwaukee or
run over during lunch hour for a freshly made sandwich. During the warm
season, What’s Fresh sets tables on the sidewalk for that Chicago Loop
dining experience. (D.L.) $. CC: Not accepted. OD. 273-5677
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 and wraps, burgers and melts, quesadillas and excellent nachos smothered in cheddar and jalapenos. On tap is a good selection of Wisconsin and imported beers. (D.L.) $. CC: All major. FB, OD, FF. Handicap access. 223-0345