Top 10 Milwaukee Restaurants: A Local’s Guide

Contributors:
Olivia Medrow

First of all, I’d like to just acknowledge that we are absolutely blessed to have such a vast array of Milwaukee restaurants to choose from nowadays.  There is literally a choice for every craving you may have.  As I’ve been saying for years now, the foodie scene in this city has been and still is growing at an incredible rate!  There are over 1,300 restaurants in the MKE area right now.  What seems like every week, there is a new article announcing the opening of a hot new spot in a different part of town.  But just as amazing, we have the restaurants that have been around for years, even decades.  On this list, you’ll find a combination of Milwaukee restaurants old and new.

Everyone has their favorite, of course, but I am so excited to finally share mine!  Our favorite food and restaurants are a reflection of who we are.  Our choices are truly personal and often sources of heated debates.  If you took 100 Milwaukee area natives and asked them to each write a list of the best Milwaukee restaurants, you’d probably be left with 100 different lists.  There would probably be some overlap here and there, but what can I say?  We have a plethora of exceptional options we have to choose from, each deserving in their own regard.

If I were to send you out into the world with the goal of trying a ton of delicious types of cuisine at 10 magnificent Milwaukee restaurants, this is the list I’d give you.  Your taste buds will never get bored of the options on this list.  They are tried and true, and I hope you find as much enjoyment in their menus, atmospheres, servers, and staff as I do.

10. Hue Vietnamese Restaurant

Fantastic Vietnamese food is always right around the corner here in Milwaukee.  Hue is one of those spots where your craving phở and spicy crab rangoon will easily be satisfied.  It has a casual-yet-chic vibe, making it the perfect place for many different occasions –  a long-awaited first date or simply a relaxed lunch with friends!  My personal favorite on their menu is the Mì Xào Dòn or “Spicy Egg Noodle.”  Add chicken or shrimp!  I frequent the Bay View location, but you can also find them on North Ave and at various festivals throughout the summer.  Find my full review of Hue HERE.  Hue Vietnamese Restaurant (2691 S Kinnickinnic Ave, Milwaukee, WI // 414.294.0483)

9. LuLu Café

“LuLu” is how I usually answer the question, “Where should we meet up for lunch?”  I love their inviting atmosphere and menu filled with an option for everyone to enjoy.  One glimpse of their gigantic light up sign and my mouth is watering!  The LuLu Café menu is filled with an assortment of different types of cuisine, from ethnic offerings, to typical American fare.  I love the faux bahn mi flank steak sandwich and the Mid-East falafel pita.  Always, always, always choose their house-made chips and make sure you spring for the bleu cheese dipping sauce (even if the idea of bleu cheese scares you a little).  They also make vegetarian substitutions easy.  Find my full review of LuLu Café HERE.  LuLu Café (2265 S Howell Ave, Milwaukee // 414.295.5858)

SEE ALSO: TOP 15 VEGETARIAN SPOTS IN MILWAUKEE

8. Birch + Butcher

Birch + Butcher is a relatively new addition the list of Milwaukee restaurants and also home to the area’s only open-fire hearth.  They host a dinner service and Sunday brunch, both which have frequently changing menus.  They also have a butcher shop that opens every morning at 7:30am, where you can also grab a cup of coffee.  I have never ever been as crazy about a side as I am about their smoked lard potatoes with chili aioli. …And if the sides are that good, you know their main dishes are going to be showstoppers.  (Spoiler alert: they are.)  Birch + Butcher (459 E Pleasant St, Milwaukee, WI 53202)

7. Blue’s Egg

Blue’s Egg is every Milwaukeean’s favorite brunch spot.  No wonder they took #1 on my list of the Top 11 Brunch Spots in Milwaukee.  It’s a classic diner that is open 7am-2pm every single day.  And every single time I’ve been there, there has been a constant stream of loyal patrons flowing in and out.  Everything they serve is quality.  They brine the ham on their Eggs Benedict for 21 days and then slow roast it for 12 hours.  If that’s not an example of great craftsmanship, I don’t know what is!  And always upgrade to the stuffed browns, if possible.  Just a pro tip.  Find my full post on Blue’s Egg HERE.  Blue’s Egg (317 N 76th St, Milwaukee // 414.299.3180)

SEE ALSO: TOP 11 BRUNCH SPOTS IN MILWAUKEE

6. Merriment Social

 

 

 

 

There is such a vast array of Milwaukee restaurants nowadays! With over 1,300 options, there's a choice suited for every taste bud. Here are the Top 10! femalefoodie.com
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Best. Burgers. Ever. If you’ve been searching for a perfectly crafted burger made with the best of the best ingredients, look no further.  Aside from their regular menu, Merriment Social brings something new to the table (literally) every week with their burger series, offering social media followers a chance to win a month’s worth of Happy Hour Burgers!  The series always features a crazy new burger with a creative combination of toppings, which they always sell for $5 during Happy Hour.  Such a good deal for such insane flavor.  They also have a great brunch!  And if you’re looking for a great app, you should order the baked spicy ranch cheese curds (above).  Find my full post on Merriment Social HERE.  Merriment Social (240 E Pittsburgh Ave, Milwaukee, WI // 414.645.0240)

5. Cafè Manna

When one of my vegetarian friends asked me where she should go for a nice dinner, I immediately thought of Café Manna.  Not only do they have a chic upscale (yet totally comfortable) vibe, their restaurant is 100% vegetarian, made from scratch, and Certified Green in Wisconsin.  They have been on the receiving end of many a prestigious award, and are very deserving of every single one.  I love their peace bowl (vegan), raw Thai rolls, hummus, and so many other delicious options.  Their dishes consist of vibrant and colorful dishes that will satisfy vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.  Find them on my Top 15 Spots for Vegetarian Food in Milwaukee!  Café Manna (3815 N Brookfield Road, Brookfield, WI // 262.790.2340)

4. Dorsia

Dorsia, another trendy spot among Milwaukee restaurants which opened less than a year ago, is definitely a must-try on Brady Street!  Their menu is full of indulgent, reimagined Italian fare.  Pizza and pasta, as far as the eye can see!  My personal favorite option is to order a flight.  You heard that right, a PASTA FLIGHT.  My favorite one on there is the duck carbonara, it is divine. Also notable are the pesto and the picante.  They also just brought back their brunch!  If you’re a lover of chicken and waffles, that chicken and donut is calling your name.  Dorsia (1307 E Brady St., Milwaukee, WI 5320)

SEE ALSO: TOP 12 TACO SPOTS IN MILWAUKEE

3. Crawdaddy’s (Closed)

One of my family’s longtime favorites, Crawdaddy’s offers a menu full of tasty Creole and Cajun food.  It’s also a seafood lover’s dream come true.  I love everything on their menu, but my current go-to is the stuffed mirliton (that’s a Louisiana squash) stuffed with shrimp, andouille sausage, and crawfish and topped with a delicious Choron sauce.  I truly love this place, and waited patiently while they took some time off to switch locations a couple years back.  They came back better than ever!  Now, laissez les bon temps rouler! (Let the good times roll.)  Find my full review on Crawdaddy’s HERE.  Crawdaddy’s (9427 W Greenfield Ave, Milwaukee, WI // 414.778.2228)

2. Lake Park Bistro

My favorite fancy pick of Milwaukee restaurants for a special occasion: Lake Park Bistro.  This one is part of the fabulous Bartolotta’s repertoire.  Enjoy delicious French fare in a light and bright upscale atmosphere.  I love the steak frites du bistro (with the red wine shallot butter sauce) and their crème brulee is the perfect ending to any meal.  Also, I don’t know what on Earth they put on their fries, but I swear they are addictive.  Also a great pairing with your meal – the most perfect view of Milwaukee’s lakefront, where you will be perched atop a hill, within the treetops. Find my full review of Lake Park Bistro HERE.  Lake Park Bistro (3133 E Newberry Blvd // 414.9626300)

1. Movida

And that brings us to my final pick for this list, Movida.  This Spanish tapas spot in Walker’s Point is my go-to spot for Milwaukee restaurants.  I love recommending it because I know it will never disappoint!  You walk into their moody, dimly lit dining room  Their seasonal dinner menu is always full of the most delicious options for tapas, paella (the seafood is pictured above), cheese and charcuterie boards, and more.  For $35 you can have all-you-can-eat tapas (and I always eat them all!).  Each dish tastes amazing, but is also aesthetically astounding.  Check out the beauty of that octopus dish!  Grilled Spanish octopus, roasted cauliflower, gordal olives, rouille sauce, marcona almonds, and watercress.  Or that gorgeously colored squid ink pasta, with uni cream sauce, roasted cherry tomatoes, chili flake, arugula, and shaved manchego.  They clearly have a talented team in their kitchen.

Plus, I’m always raving about their sangria, which I frequently claim is the best I’ve ever had! I also took their Sangria Lab class, which they offer from time to time for you to learn the tricks of the trade. The rest of their cocktail menu is honestly genius as well, each drink reads like a story and tastes like one too (check out that beautiful Spanish gin and tonic).  It’s art, I tell ya.

Visit their website to find the great pairings and deals they have during the week (all night Happy Hour on Mondays, jamon and cava on Thursdays, etc).  And then just make yourself a reservation, because you need Movida in your life.

Movida (524 S 2nd Street, Milwaukee, WI // 53204)

SEE ALSO: BEST FROZEN CUSTARD SPOTS IN MILWAUKEE

Thank you for reading my list of the Top 10 Milwaukee Restaurants! I would love to hear your favorites too.  The amazing thing about this awesomely eclectic and interesting city is that there is certainly something suited for everyone’s tastes.  Now here’s the important part: No matter what your own “Top 10” would be, whether ours are the same or not, be sure to patronize your favorites.  I am willing to bet that there is nothing more satisfying to the owners and staff of these amazing establishments than to see every one of their tables filled with hungry diners.  And with that, I will send you out into Milwaukee to feast on all the delicacies that this city has to offer!

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  1. I am the worst Milwaukee resident! I haven’t been to half of these places but have had them on my list for forever! That pasta flight looks so amazing!!