Metro Milwaukee Dining Guide
925 E. Wells St.
is an expensive place that has it all: a setting overlooking Lake Park,
a spacious 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 entrees include a
selection of steaks, other meats and seafood. The wild barramundi,
imported from Australia, is exceptional. This is a very worthy
restaurant in a setting it deserves. (J.B.) $$$$. CC: All major.
Handicap access. FB, RS. 765-1166
1716 N. Arlington Place
preferred beverage at Balzac is wine, although the beer list also is
not bad. The menu enhances the wine drinking experience with thoughtful
cheese plates and a myriad of small plate courses. The pizzas have a
thin crust; consider white and sweet potato frites served with a trio
of dipping sauces. The vegan strudel will please any vegetarian. Meat
eaters might try duck leg confit or some lamb lollipops. The outdoor
tables are a quiet refuge in summertime. (J.B.) $$-$$$. CC: All major.
FB, OD. Handicap access. 755-0099
815 E. Brady St.
white linen establishment with a popular and trendy bar, the menu
focuses on seafood along with a few steaks. Many items have touches of
Key West. Grouper, though pricey, is always impeccably fresh. Try a
fancy fried green tomato, luxuriantly topped with lump crab meat and
shrimp. Pistachio crusted scallops also are the stuff of dreams. There
is a thoughtful wine list with 90-some choices. (J.B.) $$$. CC: All
major. OD. Handicap access. 727-7975
801 N. Cass St.
Buckley’s is small it has charm and style. The dining room is dominated
by a durable wooden bar with an ample stockpile of Guinness. Outside of
Irish stew the menu bypasses Eire completely with panini sandwiches, a
few Italian entrees, BBQ ribs and salads. An appetizer not to miss is a
plate of three Kobe beef burgers, tender and delicious. The menu may be
small but the warm service and quality of the food compensate. (J.B.)
$$-$$$. CC: All major. Handicap access. 277-1111
1505 W. Mequon Road
(behind M&I bank)
only breakfast and lunch, the café is a pleasant place to enjoy light
fare. Breakfasts center around omelets, French toast, baked goods and a
quiche of the day. Lunches offer salads, sandwiches plus a few entrees.
The salad ingredients are always very fresh and the daily soups all are
very well prepared. Salads include a parmesan portabella and balsamic
chicken. Sandwich examples are an eggplant pita and a jumbo half-pound
Angus burger. Service is efficient and pleasant making Café 1505 a
great mid-morning getaway. (J.B.) $-$$. CC: All major. Handicap access.
2102 N. Prospect Ave.
Café Brucke is a very European affair. The small bar specializes in imported
beers. The menu has an eclectic list of sandwiches and lighter fare.
There is a cheese and fruit plate and red pepper hummus for starters.
Sandwiches include a lighter chicken pesto and the more substantial
Deutschlande braunschweiger with limburger on rye. Opt for pretzels
with mustard at the bar. (J.B.) $-$$. CC: MC, VS. OD. 264-0477
2608 N. Downer Ave., 963-6366
7677 State St., 475-6771
Café Hollander offers casual European fare in a setting to match. The
menu focuses on things Dutch and Belgian. Think heaping bowls of
steamed mussels and fries with a side of mayonnaise. Dining is on two
levels; the large bar has a distinguished menu of Belgian beers. Though
the split pea soup is very Dutch the menu has considerable diversity,
adding burgers, pastas and a daily fish fry to this Low Country
mixture. (J.B.) $$-$$$. CC: All major. FB. OD. Handicap access.
2261-2265 S. Howell Ave.
original Café LuLu proved so popular that an addition with a bar was
added. The newer room features potted plants, hardwood floors and
vintage armchairs. The menu is casual and vegetarian friendly with
appetizers, salads and sandwiches. Try a baguette with grilled
portabella mushrooms and sweet red peppers. The meat eater would like
the half-pound heart attack, a half-pound burger topped with
Gorgonzola. Homemade potato chips or crunchy Asian slaw accompany
sandwiches. Pies are homemade. (J.B.) $-$$. CC: MC,VS. FB. Handicap
2205 E. Capitol Drive, 962-0100
8700 W. Watertown Plank Road, 479-0479
8725 W. North Ave., 453-0000
European-style café is a winning choice for sandwiches, coffee and a
picture-perfect bakery case. I love their ginger scones in the morning,
the baked basil chicken sandwich in the afternoon. And if I can’t take
the time to sit down and soak up the sunny ambiance, I order one of
their stellar box lunches to go (fresh-baked cookie included). Don’t
forget to sample a few of the malted milk balls at the
counter—chocolate heaven! (B.R.M.) $. CC: VS. MS. Handicap access.
839 S. Second St.
light entrees and appetizers are the forte of this small kitchen.
Sauces have hints of Louisiana and Asia from the crab cakes with
roasted red pepper coulis to five-spice duck breast salad. This adds a
much-needed touch of refinement to an area more known for taverns than
fine dining. (J.B.) $$. CC: MC, VS, AmEx. FB, OD. 645-2606
7225 W. North Ave.
Daymaker Café, food is homemade with fresh ingredients. Signature
dishes include the Reuben sandwich, made with slow-roasted corned beef
slathered with sour kraut and melted Swiss cheese, and a grilled tofu
Philly with provolone, served on French bread smeared with tangy
sun-dried tomato paste. Rotating lunch and dinner specials feature New
York strip steak with red wine mushroom sauce and hash brown crusted
chicken with fresh herb horseradish sauce. (H.Z.) $-$$. CC: VS, MC, DS.
1712 W. Canal St.
Dance is the showcase restaurant of the Potawatomi Casino. There are
champagne and cognac carts as well as a tremendous wine list. The
approach is contemporary with a focus on American ingredients. Whether
you try Maine diver scallops or venison, everything will be prepared
with respect and skill. The décor is of contemporary luxury, the
cutlery ultra pricey and everything from the amuse-bouche to dessert an
exercise in good taste. The prices rank with the most expensive but
this is a worthy splurge. (J.B.) $$$$. CC: All major. FB. Handicap
833 N. Jefferson St.
facade is Victorian brownstone; the interior is trendy. Fresh flowers
adorn every table and the crowd is well dressed. So why is everybody
eating burgers and pork-chop sandwiches with their martinis? Try one
and you’ll know why. (J.B.) $$. CC: MC, VS, AmEx, DS. FB. Handicap
2308 W. Wisconsin Ave.
is the jewel of the renovated Ambassador Hotel. The lobby is an Art
Deco masterpiece and the dining room illuminated by massive
chandeliers. The menu is contemporary with a fusion of international
ingredients. Rack of lamb is scented with Thai curry and the quail
appetizer is served over a bed of fennel and mushroom. (J.B.) $$-$$$.
CC: All major. FB. Handicap access. 345-5015
7754 Harwood Ave.
menu focuses on wood-smoked meats. Entrees include a choice of two
sides, mostly picnic fare like baked beans, coleslaw and potato salad.
The refreshing crunch salad is a legacy of the old Bjonda. For an
appetizer the samosa is a curry-flavored delight and the lamb sausage
pizza is worth a visit in itself. This is casual fare with high
ambitions. (J.B.) $$-$$$. CC: All major. Handicap access. 431-1444
890 Elm Grove Road
dark wooden bar with its deep booths is a popular after-work stop in
the western suburbs, but don’t ignore the casually elegant dining room,
where burgers and typical American food come shoulder to shoulder with
appetizers and entrees from the Mediterranean. The patio is a quiet
spot for drinking and dining in the summer. (D.L.) $$-$$$ CC: MC, VS,
AmEx, DS. FB, SB, FF, OD. Handicap access. (262) 814-1890
1340 W. Towne Square Road, Mequon
dining rooms, warm fireplaces and a continental menu make a warm
welcoming for customers. Located in the former Chip and Py’s, the North
Shore restaurant boasts a new menu. (J.D.) $$. CC: All major. RS, OD,
FB. Handicap access. 262-241-9589
1701 N. Arlington Place
an upscale twist on the standard bar fare, try the vodka, Parmesan and
olive-smothered martini burger or the fresh and healthy hummus platter
with warm pita bread. As if the food wasn’t enough, another draw is the
Brady Street people watching you can do on the summer patio. By scoring
a coveted outdoor table, you can also take in the music from the
attached Hi Hat Garage while you down your Hi Hat Sliders. (B.R.M.) $$.
CC: VS, MC, AmEx. FB, OD. 225-9330
222 E. Erie St.
is a gastropub where one can order a beer and enjoy fine dining at the
same time. It’s not a pint-drinking and dart-shooting kind of pub. This
is an elegant bar and restaurant with a small lounge located in a
classic renovated Third Ward building. Roasted oyster mushroom bisque
and fennel-dusted Japanese sea bass are far more gastro than pub. Where
else will you find Hawaiian opah and Tasmanian salmon? (J.B.) $$$-$$$$.
CC: All major. Handicap access. 727-9300
1813 E. Kenilworth Place
are the essence of Hotch-A-Do along with organic ingredients. Eggs
benedict can be ordered with tofu, bacon or ham at no extra cost. A
dozen sandwiches are offered, from homey snacks such as grilled cheese
or peanut butter and jelly to the heftier “Granma Franca’s Meatball
Hoogie.” Nibble on bread with olive oil or fill up on an enormous bowl
of spinach artichoke dip ringed with blue chips and flatbread. It’s not
fast food, frozen a week earlier and heated in the microwave, but
prepared freshly. Order at the counter but be prepared to wait a few
minutes before the waitress brings your meal to your table. (D.L.) $$.
CC: MC, VS, DS. Handicap access. 727-2122
4823 W. National Ave.
of The Jack as a sports bar that happens to serve decent food at low
prices. Chicken wing appetizers are beyond large, they are huge! Ditto
for the sandwiches. The “Rican” is actually a Cuban, filled with roast
pork and ham. The grilled salmon has a slice of fish larger than most
dinner entrees. The best items are the dinner entrees. Bacon-wrapped
shrimp have a tropical fruit marinade and there are ten of them. The
air-dried filet is the best steak value for miles around. Try it
crusted with black peppercorns and blue cheese. (J.B.) $-$$. CC: All
major. FB. Handicap access. 384-8111
3736 W. Mitchell St.
kitchen is tiny and the dining room, casual as a supper club from the
1940s, has only 10 tables. Chef/owner Jimmy Jackson works magic with
his menu of pastas, steaks and daily seafood specials. Start with an
appetizer of Cajun barbecue shrimp, more than enough for two. French
cognac salad dressing has a retro steakhouse feel. The Black Angus
filet mignon is one of the best to be found locally, seared on the
outside and a perfect medium-rare in the middle. This is the place for
serious red meat eaters. (J.B.) $$$-$$$$. CC: MC,VS. 384-7384
6030 W. North Ave.
61 has a casual contemporary setting and fare to match. Start with
tempura green beans and move on to salads or a lamb pita sandwich with
great homemade potato chips or Asian slaw. Heartier appetites will find
entrees like a fine chicken paprikash, pork tenderloin with juniper
berries and rib eye steak. The menu isn’t large but it is thoughtful.
Every neighborhood should have a restaurant like this. (J.B.) $$. CD:
MC,VS. Handicap access. 727-6161
725 N. Milwaukee St.
the nightlife of Milwaukee Street deserves a token sports bar. This one
comes glammed up in green lights, art pieces and leather chairs. Put
aside 20 minutes to take in Kenadee’s incredible beer list (they carry
more than 90 brands). Then take a moment to dip into dinner, which puts
a contemporary spin on classic comfort foods. Mac-n-cheese, burgers and
piles of flavorful “onion straws” entice the palate. Stay past 10 p.m.
and let the beautiful charms of cocktails and perfume entice further.
(J.D.) $-$$ CC: All major. FF, FB. Handicap access. 431-5556
139 E. Kilbourn Ave.
its décor of serene, uncluttered luxury, Kil@wat is the star of the
Wyndham Milwaukee Center. The menu is on the edge of current trends,
concentrating on top ingredients with hints of Europe and Asia. For a
starter try the trio of tuna tartare; for an entrée, the braised short
ribs. Or chart your course by choosing a meat and the sauce of your
choice. For the quality, wine list and setting the prices are fair,
though expect to spend at least $50 per person for a proper Kil@wat
experience. (J.B.) $$$-$$$$. CC: MC, VS, AX. Handicap access. 291-4793
1030 E. Juneau Ave.
floors and metal-edged tables are retro dinette but the colors are
bright and contemporary, with rich burnished gold, ruby red and azure
blue. Sinuous wood partitions provide privacy for diners. The menu
includes sumptuous appetizers, salads, sandwiches and entrees. The bar
is well stocked and martini friendly. (J.B.) $$-$$$. CC: VS, MC, AmEx.
FB, OD. 272-0011
125 E. National Ave.
Merenda features over 25 tapas; a few are Spanish but more are Asian,
South American and Mediterranean. Where else can you combine lobster
& crab arancini with lumpia Shanghai and Argentine style beef? The
beer list is good and the wines are moderate in price with several
choices under $20 per bottle. Portions might be small, order at least
two per person, but the quality is excellent and nothing is priced over
$10. (J.B.) $$-$$$. CC: All major. FB. RS. Handicap access. 389-0125
5921 W. Vliet St.
has the style of a bistro and a focus on wine and casual fare. This
theme is not uncommon locally. What is uncommon is the quality. Start
with lamb ribs in a Chinese BBQ sauce or possibly the leek and ricotta
tart. There are just 10 or so entrees but they are chosen with care.
The rib eye steak has a sauce made in house with red wine. Duck two
ways is a whole breast also with an Anaheim chile stuffed with duck
meat and goat cheese. The menu changes seasonally. (J.B.) $$-$$$. CC:
411 E. Mason St.
restaurant at one of Milwaukee’s favorite luxury hotels lives up to its
ambitions. The menu covers all price ranges from a 10 oz. Angus burger
to a 16 oz. New York strip steak. The dessert menu is substantial.
Breakfast and lunch are served daily. Considering the quality and
setting, prices are moderate. (J.B.) $$$-$$$$. CC: All major. RS, OD,
SB, FB. 272-1937
811 N. Jefferson St.
occupies a choice Cathedral Square location. In summer the front of the
restaurant is open-air with tables cascading to the sidewalk. The menu
is trendy, familiar foods with different twists. A burger may be of
ground chicken wrapped in bacon. Noteworthy items include the seafood
martini, an assortment of chilled fish and shellfish large enough to
serve two. Rosemary lamb chops are thin and served with a cabernet
glaze, reasonable for the price. (J.B.) $$-$$$. Credit cards; MC,VS,AX.
Handicap access. 273-5397
839 W. National Ave.
menu offers a variety of organic and local ingredients. Try the
Mediterranean veggie wrap, a Spinach tortilla filled with sun-dried
tomato cream cheese and flavorful vegetables that taste like they were
just picked from a backyard garden. On the side enjoy the crunch of
homemade chips with your choice of guacamole or salsa. The coffee and
juice options are endless, and everything is affordable. (H.Y.) $. CC:
8649 N. Port Washington Road
trendy, contemporary setting with a menu to match. Salads and light
appetizers rule. The uncomplicated Caesar salad excels, and the
shiitake mushroom white pizza is a rich treat. The half-pound burgers
are deservedly popular, too. (J.B.) $$. CC: MC, VS, AmEx, RS, FB.
4022 N. Oakland Ave.
Oakcrest is half bar/half restaurant. The warm tones of wood and a
stone fireplace add a cozy, inviting feel. The menu adds to the casual
theme with sandwiches, entrée-sized salads, appetizers and an
interesting group of entrees including tofu marinated with balsamic
vinegar, mussels steamed with mustard and sage and a great hangar steak
topped with Chimichurri, a condiment of parsley, herbs and olive oil.
(J.B.) $$. CC: All major. 967-0222
Bayshore Town Center
is part of the IPic complex boasting move theaters, the Sequel bar and
lounge and a bowling alley. While some food is served at the bar the
restaurant is quieter with windows overlooking the heart of Bayshore
Town Center. The menu is family-friendly. Daily specials tend toward
pot roast or a turkey pot pie. Appetizers such as asparagus with
Serrano ham add a contemporary twist. (J.B.) $$-$$$. CC: MC,VS.
Handicap access. 963-8779
221 N. Broadway
Palms offers Third Ward charm with exposed brick and woodwork and large
windows with views of the theater district. The bar is spacious and the
dining room intimate. The contemporary menu is filed with delights,
including tomato gnocchi with a sauce of blue cheese and walnuts.
(J.B.) $$-$$$ CC: All major. FB, OD. Handicap access. 298-3000
15040 W. Greenfield Ave.,
3200 Golf Road, Delafield,
N9240 Rivercrest Drive, Menomonee Falls, (262) 251-8559
600 E. Ogden Ave., 224-0200
690 Westfield Way, Pewaukee, (262) 691-7777
1300 W. Mequon Road, 112N, Mequon, (262) 834-9999
2095 N. Calhoun Road,
2500 N. Mayfair Road
(Mayfair Mall), 831-7777
5595 N. Port Washington Road, 962-4775
7840 W. Layton Ave., 281-9999
8907 S. Howell Ave., 764-8699
or cold, Panera satisfies a wide range of tastes with its rotating menu
of soup specials and sandwich pairings. The interior is bright, breezy
and modern, making it the perfect place to enjoy a light summer salad.
Helpful hint: The homemade lemonade is a true, icy treat. (J.D.) $. CC:
All major. OD. Handicap access.
1818 N. Hubbard St.
atop Brewer’s Hill, Roots offers panoramic views of the city. The
outdoor deck and patio are prime seats in the summer. Most of the
produce is organic and the kitchen seeks out quality sources for meat,
whether fresh scallops or Kobe beef. Chef John Raymond’s cuisine
proudly merits its description as California fusion. The Roots Cellar
on the lower level boasts a large bar and a menu focused on sandwiches
and appetizers. Vegetarians will love this place. (J.B.) $$$-$$$$. CC:
All major. FB, OD. Handicap access. 374-8480
1547 N. Jackson St.
a corner grocery store, Sanford has long been Milwaukee’s premier
contemporary restaurant. Chef/owner Sandy D’Amato has received national
awards and draws customers from a wide area. The menu, of course,
strives to use the freshest ingredients. (J.B.) $$$$. CC: All major. RS
(recommended). FB. 276-9608
3825 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.
brewery produces five of its own beers focusing on ales. Most popular
is the KK weiss, served in a proper glass. The menu has all the
appetizers necessary for beer drinkers from pretzels to chicken wings
and nachos. Sandwiches offer burgers and others like pulled pork and a
Reuben. Entrees include chicken pot pie, baby back ribs and a
noteworthy beer steak. The décor is comfortable and casual. A
children’s menu makes the place family-friendly. (J.B.) $$-$$$ Handicap
217 N. Broadway
front is open-air on warm days, with an intimate bar and a dinging room
with warm wood tones. The menu offers sandwiches for lunch as well as
salads, entrees and “small plates,” the international version of tapas.
Creativity is in flower here. Baked stuffed mushrooms are filled with
shrimp and pine nuts. A roasted poblano pepper is stuffed with cheese
and lobster in a pool of sweet red pepper sauce. (J.B.) $$-$$$. CC:
MC,VS,AX. Handicap access. 431-7944
1801 S. Third St.
Klopp, former head chef at the River Lane Inn, now has her own
restaurant in a former corner tavern. The menu is not large but is
innovative. Grilled andouille with fried okra adds a Cajun touch, the
ahi tuna hotpot a bit of Asia, and the mussels have flavors of Mexico.
Macaroni has a homespun feel with a choice of cheese—Gorgonzola, goat
or aged cheddar. The setting is not fancy but the reasonable prices
more than compensate. (J.B.) $$. Credit cards: MC,VS. No handicap
1758 N. Water St.
$-$$. CC: MC, VS. OD, SB, FB. 272-0205
2238 N. Farwell Ave.
in that historic corner of Farwell and North, long the location of
Oriental Drugs and snuggled alongside the Oriental Theatre, Twisted
Fork offers an eclectic menu of sandwiches, soups, salads and entrees
during the lunch hour and through the evening. It’s one of the crowded
hubs of East Side social life. (D.L.) $$. CC: MC, VS, AmEx, DS. OD, SB,
249 N. Water St.
Water Buffalo offers great river views as well as outdoor seating along the RiverWalk. The interior is dazzling with two levels, two bars and contemporary artwork. The menu is casual with appetizers, salads, sandwiches and entrees at moderate prices. Try lobster and fennel fritters or sautéed shrimp and mussels over pasta. Every table has a great view. (J.B.) $$-$$$. CC: MC,VS,AX. 431-1133