Downtown dining guide 2019
It's time for Dining Month, presented by Deer District and its spooky Halloween-themed alter ego, Fear District. Throughout the month of October, we'll be serving up fun and fascinating content about all things food. The signature dish, however, is our 2019 Best of Dining poll, who's winners we will dish out all month long. Get hungry, Milwaukee!
If you're heading into Downtown Milwaukee for a Bucks game, a day of work or a night out with friends, you can find almost anything and everything to eat. You could enjoy some a plate of history – and tasty German food – from Mader's, eat a juicy burger at AJ Bombers, devour some unique slices at Ian's Pizza and much more.
So the next time you grab your squad and head into the city, here's a full list of places to check out for a meal on the town.
1247 N. Water St., (414) 221-9999
Come here to enjoy some of the most beloved burgers in the city – including one featured on an episode of Travel Channel's "Food Wars" – along with some shelled peanuts and beer. You can even write your name on the wall to leave your mark.
315 E Wisconsin Ave., (414) 369-3683
Amilinda offers cuisine from Spain and Portugal, using ingredients that are in season. In addition, Chef Gregory León creates specialty items from the Iberian Peninsula.
Avenue Bar and Grill
611 W. Wisconsin Ave., (414) 271-7327
Located inside the Hilton Double Tree, Avenue Bar and Grill offers some American eats along with several TVs for some mealtime entertainment.
925 E. Wells St., (414) 765-1166
Bacchus delivers an upscale restaurant experience, complete with an amazing view of Lake Michigan and an impressively long wine list to wash down one's tasty meal.
1114 N. Water St., (414) 296-8800
Bar Louie serves an assortment of foods including their signature sandwiches, appetizers, burgers and more on its menu. But you should really go there during its happy hour for cocktails, brews, martinis and more.
Birch + Butcher
459 E Pleasant St., (414) 323-7372
Voted best new restaurant, Birch + Butcher is a modern bistro with a midwestern inspired cuisine prepared on an open-fire hearth. Join them for dinner with shareable dishes or for weekend brunch. "The Shop" is also open daily offering a more casual grab and go style breakfast which includes their hand-rolled bagels.
333 W Kilbourn Ave., (414) 270-6130
Enjoy some Midwestern cuisine and thirst-quenching cocktails in the Hyatt Regency Hotel lounge area.
1038 N. Jackson St., (414) 271-8200
Get your Indian food fix by heading to Bollywood Grill, where the Jackson Street restaurant serves an extensive menu of Halal, curries, Tarkarian and more.
Brick 3 Pizza
1107 N. Old World 3rd St., (414) 224-6040
Serving authentic New York style pizza, Brick 3 has slices upon slices for Milwaukeeans to enjoy. You can get a classic pepperoni, cheese or one of their speciality slices.
1019 N. Old World 3rd St., (414) 224-8500
This saloon – just a couple hundred feet from Fiserv Forum for those heading to a game or concert – features classic American food, draft beers and cocktails, so stop in and enjoy.
801 N. Cass St., (414) 277-1111
Family owned and operated, Buckley's serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. No matter what time of day it is, you can expect to get some refined comfort food.
BB's (Build-a-Breakfast and Build-a-Burger)
633 W. Wisconsin Ave., (414) 270-1070
For those picky eaters out there, BB's might be your best option. After all, the dishes at BB's are all of your making, as you get to create your own breakfast plates or build your own delicious, juicy burgers – so really, the menu is up to you!
Cafe at the Plaza
1007 N. Cass St., (414) 276-2101
Cozy diners don't get much classier than Cafe at the Plaza, a vintage 1920s cafe – complete with a lovely outdoors courtyard space – serving breakfast and lunch from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m.
842 N. Old World 3rd St., (414) 273-3236
Serving authentic cuisine, including made-from-scratch pasta and award-winning Neapolitan thin-crust pizza, since 1983, Calderone Club is staple of Italian cooking in Milwaukee.
The Capital Grille
310 W. Wisconsin Ave., (414) 223-0600
This upscale Downtown restaurant, serving expertly cooked steak and seafood, is an ideal place to have an elegant meal with world-class wine.
718 N. Milwaukee St., (414) 223-2200
After their impressive remodeling, you must come to Carnevor to enjoy the restaurant's impeccably grilled steaks, succulent wine selection and more. And who knows; maybe you'll even see a Packer!
301 W. Juneau Ave., (414) 223-3311
Calling all barbecue connoisseurs: Come to Carson's Downtown to get baby back ribs, prime rib, steaks and whatever else your meat-eating heart could possibly want.
728 E. Brady St., (414) 271-6000
When it comes to Middle Eastern restaurants, Casablanca is king. The best Middle Eastern restaurant – according to OnMilwaukee's yearly best of dining polls – routinely defends its title with a menu of delicious authentic food, served along side a hookah bar and belly dancers.
117 E. Wells St., (414) 272-1688
China Gourmet is a low-key spot with the opposite of a low-key menu, serving more than 100 authentic traditional Chinese dishes and buffet meals. And if you don't feel like leaving your house, China Gourmet delivers too.
County Clare Irish Inn & Pub
1234 N. Astor St., (414) 272-5273
From the food to the atmosphere and the music, County Clare Irish Inn & Pub feels about as close as one can get to Ireland without having to leave the states. The defending best Irish pub in the city combines cozy ambiance with a menu of Irish classics, including Irish root soup, shepherd's pie, and corned beef and cabbage.
728 N. Milwaukee St., (414) 225-1760
For a taste of Cuba in the American Midwest, one needs to look no further than Cubanitas, serving an authentic menu of Cuban sandwiches and dishes – as well as some tasty mojitos and other mixed drinks to wash them all down.
1015 N 6th St., (414) 297-6697
To try a taste of the future, check out Cuisine, where student chefs from MATC come to serve what they've learned for your enjoyment. Its hours are limited, however; Cuisine only cooks lunch service Tuesdays through Thursdays during the semester.
777 E. Wisconsin Ave., (414) 287-0303
Located in the U.S. Bank Center, Downtown Kitchen makes for a nice lunchtime oasis in the middle of the hustle and bustle of a Downtown work day. The Bartolotta-operated restaurant serves a little of everything: soups and sandwiches, burgers from Northpoint Custard, pizza from Pizzeria Piccola, sushi and much more.
Fire on Water
518 N. Water St.
As both a bar and a music venue, Fire on Water is what the kids nowadays would call lit. The dual-level lounge features over 50 beers, HD televisions, free pool and live music every weekend, plus a menu of tasty flatbread pizzas and other bar fare.
812 N. Old World 3rd St., (414) 278-0225
A Milwaukee staple, George Webb may never win any culinary awards, but its 24/7 hours and wide menu of fast, cheap and satisfying diner eats will probably win over your heart – especially late at night when your stomach's rumbling and your wallet's light.
Glass + Griddle
1130 N. 9th St. (414) 988-1551
The Glass + Griddle is a fresh take on your classic bar and is perfect to grab some beers and burgers with buddies. But it isn't just your average greasy burger but a contemporary twist with tasty upgrades. And don't forget their rooftop bar!
Good City Brewing
2108 N. Farwell Ave., (414) 539-4343
Located next to the Fiserv Forum, this huge modern bar is the perfect spot to grab some drinks and dinner before a Bucks game or before a night on the town. With their local fresh brews, and classic bar menu, it's a "Deer District" staple.
Bartolotta's Harbor House brings a diverse selection of seafood fare to Milwaukee's lakefront. The menu features an array of soups, sandwiches, fish dinners and surf and turf, as well as a raw bar and "non-swimmer" entrees, that have combined to make Harbor House regularly voted as one of the best seafood spots in the city.
113 E. Juneau Ave., (414) 289-0700
Located on the Milwaukee River, The Harp's burgers, beer and benches make it the perfect after work location or Friday afternoon hideaway in the summer. There's nothing like a cool breeze, cool beverage and some tasty bar food at The Harp.
Ians Pizza-Cream City
146 E. Juneau Ave., (414) 727-9200 Ext. 2
You could grab a classic, traditional slice of pizza at Ian's – maybe a pepperoni or sausage to wrap up a night on Water Street. But wouldn't you rather try one of Ian's signature oddball slices – including its fan favorite mac 'n' cheese pizza? Basically, you win either way (but seriously, get the mac 'n' cheese slice).
708 N. Milwaukee St., (414) 390-9463
With more than 300 wines – 60 available by the glass – and a menu of artisan cheeses, charcuterie, chocolates and more to compliment them, Indulge makes for a perfect place for a vino lover to ... well, the name says it all.
1600 N. Jackson St.
This homie, yet elegant, restaurant takes pride in its locally sourced food and creates a space for cozy conversations over fresh locally roasted coffee.
The King and I
830 N. Old World 3rd St., (414) 276-4181
For those looking for an authentic taste of Thai food, The King and I delivers (quite literally, actually; the restaurant offers delivery, takeout and eat-in orders). Whether dining in or staying home, however, the noodle dishes and vibrantly flavored entrees provide a culinary trip for the taste buds.
1030 E. Juneau Ave., (414) 272-0011
Great food, a wonderful bar and super nice people make The Knick – located inside the Knickerbocker on the Lake Hotel – an excellent Downtown place to eat or drink after a theater show, a concert or a Bucks game. With fresh fish, excellent pastas and salads, and many other unique entrees, The Knick serves food that tastes as good as it looks. Bonus tip: Make sure to try the Stein-style wings!
The Loaded Slate
1137 N. Old World 3rd St., (414) 273-5700
The eatery makes for a perfect place to catch a game, whether it be Bucks, Badgers, Golden Eagles, Brewers and Packers (it is the self-proclaimed "home of Little Lambeau" after all). Even if it's a off-day for our hometown squads, however, it's more than worth still loading into The Loaded Slate for its lineup of taps, domestics and imports – not to mention its sandwiches and burgers.
801 N. Jefferson St., (414) 271-9506
Louise's may have started out as a chain, but now it's locally owned by the same folks who own Water Street Brewery, Turner Hall and a host of other establishments. The salads are unrivaled, and the minestrone is satisfying. The bread and accompanying oil and vinegar are addictive, and a wood-fired oven cooks some scrumptious pizzas and calzoni.
1041 N. Old World 3rd St., (414) 271-3377
For those wanting a taste of Milwaukee's German heritage, Mader's is a classic choice, serving plates of delicious, gut-busting German food on Old World Third Street since 1902. The menu has shifted to offer a few lighter items, but filling favorites like the German Sampler – featuring Wiener schnitzel, kasseler rippchen and Rheinischer sauerbraten along with potato dumplings, sauerkraut and red cabbage – are still a hit.
Mason Street Grill
425 E. Mason St., (414) 298-3131
With half-off seconds during its Friday fish fry, Mason Street Grill might just be your new favorite spot for that weekly Wisconsin tradition. Then again, the lounge makes for good eats the other six days of the week too, offering satisfying steakhouse dishes – often accompanied by some live jazz music.
1135 N. Water St., (414) 278-8888
A great place to get your whiskey fix, McGillycuddy's also offers excellent Irish beers on tap and a tasty weekend brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. Plus, if you're in need of some luck, head into the beer garden and kiss the Gilly Stone, which is said to bring good fortune to those in need.
The Mecca Sports Bar & Grill
1134 N. Vel R. Philips Ave., (414) 908-0401
Located in the "Deer District", is a mecca for sports lovers to come and enjoy a drink with dinner before a Bucks game or to watch your other favorite teams on the huge indoor jumbo screen. Enjoy your view of the "Beer Garden" and the Fiserv Forum with the outdoor balcony.
Miller Time Pub
509 W. Wisconsin Ave., (414) 271-2337
Located inside the Hilton Milwaukee City Center, Miller Time Pub serves their well-known, big, juicy burgers to those coming and going Downtown. And, of course, it would't be Miller Time without some tasty Miller beers on tap.
Milwaukee Brat House
1013 N. Old World 3rd St., (414) 273-8709
It shouldn't really come as a surprise that a venue called Milwaukee Brat House would become a hit – both amongst locals as well as amongst out-of-towners, like the USA Today, Food Network and Lonely Planet. As you'd expect from the name, Milwaukee Brat House serves up a scrumptious traditional Milwaukee-style brat, alongside plenty of other Milwaukee favorites, while also serving a great, comfortable place to watch a game.
633 N. 5th St., (414) 226-2467
For the classic chophouse experience – complete with the white table clothes, warm wooden decor and, of course, perfectly done steaks with a delicious wine to wash them down – Milwaukee ChopHouse makes a prime dinner destination.
Milwaukee Public Market
400 N. Water St., (414) 336-1111
One of the most iconic eateries in the city, the Milwaukee Public Market offers something for everyone – from tasty soups to succulent seafood, magnificent Mexican cuisine to delectable desserts and more. And when you're not eating there, you might want be taking a cooking class to learn how to make your own market-worthy eats.
Mo's A Place for Steaks
720 N. Plankinton Ave., (414) 272-0720
It says it right there in the name: Mo's, located in the heart of Downtown Milwaukee, is a place for steaks, done just the way you like. However, if you're feeling slightly less carnivorous, Mo's is also a place for seafood and sushi.
Mo's Irish Pub
142 W. Wisconsin Ave., (414) 272-0721
Mo's Irish Pub offers a variety of Irish and American staples in both food and drink. You can get a shepherd's pie and wash it down with a pint of Guinness, or have a cheeseburger and a Miller Lite instead; the choice is yours. Stick around on weekends as well for live music often playing well into the night.
763 N. Milwaukee St., (414) 276-9646
With a low-key throwback tavern atmosphere, tasty late night cocktails and drinks, and a solid breakfast, this Milwaukee Street bar is one of the few offices you won't mind having to make a commute.
137 E. Wells St., (414) 276-2582
A cozy watering hole for both those writing up the day's news and those simply consuming it, the Newsroom Pub offers a solid beer selection, some scrumptious food options (courtesy of the neighboring Safe House) and walls filled with the autographs of legendary newsmakers and news reporters from here and across the nation.
Oak Barrel Public House
1033 N. Old World 3rd St. (414) 897-8320
This hearty pub and diner has your classic "tough guy" bar food with tasty appetizers, wings, burgers, pizza, and plenty of beer. Oak Barrel Public House does have a soft side and it includes brunch!
Old German Beer Hall
1009 N. Old World 3rd St., (414) 226-2728
Old German Beer Hall is a quintessential Milwaukee bar thanks to its big, big tap beers from the world-renowned Hofbrau Brewery in Bavaria. You can also get the usual bottled favorites, but why pass up the chance to drink a liter of beer? Plus, the kitchen is open late with the standard menu of brats and giant Bavarian-style pretzels, along with usually a couple of delicious German specialties too.
221 N Broadway, (414) 308-1600
In Italian, Onesto means honest. This Third Ward eastern works to give you a modern twist on Italian with fresh, handmade and flavorful cuisine, complete with locally sourced ingredients and a wide-ranging wine and cocktail list.
776 N. Milwaukee St., (414) 272-6896
For those looking for a delicious gyro Downtown, Ouzo Cafe might be your number – though its menu goes far from the basic, obvious Greek cuisine picks. This authentic Greek bar and restaurant serves a wide range of traditional and modern dishes from the Mediterranean – plus, as you'd hope with its name, an impressive selection of ouzos. Opa indeed!
Pastiche at the Metro
411 E. Mason St., (414) 214-3624
Just opened in September last year inside Hotel Metro, the new Downtown Pastiche offers a dinner menu similar to its old Bay View location, as well as classic breakfast options and lunch offerings designed to be quick and easy.
The Pfister Cafe
424 E. Wisconsin Ave., (414) 273-8222
Located in The Pfister Hotel's lobby, this cafe serves Starbucks coffee, pastries and light lunch and dinner options. A perfect quick stop for locals and travelers alike.
Pier 106 Seafood Tavern
106 W. Wells St., (414) 273-7678
Located in the Cawker Building on the Milwaukee River, Pier 106 Seafood Tavern is home to a large 1,300-square foot patio, several boat cruises – including The Edelweiss – docking for a drink and delicious seafood right on the river.
The Pub Club
1103 N. Old World 3rd St., (414) 988-5000
Do you want to go out to a pub, or do you want to go out to a club? The Pub Club, formerly Suite, asks, "Why do you have to choose?" The Pub Club offers a bit of both: a locale where you can grab a crave-worthy bite and a tasty drink – either a brew or a specialty cocktail – in a comfortable atmosphere, along with a locale where you can dance the evening away.
Punch Bowl Social
1122 N. Vel R. Philips Ave., (414) 204-7544
Punch Bowl Social not only has tasty contemporary bar food and drinks but has an arcade, karaoke, and bowling, making it the perfect spot to hangout with friends or to kill some time before the Bucks game or concert at Fiserv Forum.
833 E. Michigan St., (414) 273-7273
Newly opened in June by the Milwaukee Art Museum and Discovery World, the mahogany-clad Rare Steakhouse serves prime steaks, over 900 bottles of international wine selections and some dramatic flair with salads and bananas foster made tableside – the former with a story to go with it.
419 E. Wells St., (414) 271-4042
A late night Milwaukee food landmark, Real Chili serves up tasty bowls of chili and spaghetti – with whatever fixins you may want, from beans to sour cream and cheese – to help soak up a night on the town with a little heated kick.
Red Rock Saloon
1227 N. Water St., (414) 431-0467
Yeehaw! As one of Milwaukee's major country bars, country fans are sure to catch some of their favorite local bands from the area playing some tunes on a Friday night. Red Rock also offers plenty of weekly specials, a happy hour, wings and amazing(ly huge) burgers. And after you've had your fill, take a ride on the mechanical bull. Or maybe do that before the burgers and beer.
Rock Bottom Brewery
740 N. Plankinton Ave., (414) 276-3030
The Rock Bottom chain of brewpubs has more than made its mark in Milwaukee. Perched upon the Riverwalk along one of its most scenic strips, Rock Bottom is a perfect stop for lunch, dinner or a quick handcrafted brew.
777 N. Water St., (414) 431-3106
Get a unique dining experience at this Brazilian steakhouse by watching a variety of succulent meats come to your table and get carved on a spit right in front of your hungry eyes and mouthwatering face. Oh, and then eating the freshly sliced results, obviously.
The Rumpus Room
1030 N. Water St., (414) 292-0100
Check out what's the rumpus at The Rumpus Room, a refined but relaxed gastropub serving up top-notch bar fare with an impressive beer selection – including craft beer on draft, beer flights and more – and extensive craft cocktails and liqueurs to choose from.
779 N. Front St., (414) 271-2007
Become a spy and make going out for dinner a mission at Safe House. Start off by gaining access with the secret password, then go on a scavenger hunt before grabbing something to eat and escaping out its secret passage. It's an essential Milwaukee dining experience.
1547 N. Jackson St., (414) 276-9608
Routinely appearing on best of lists across Milwaukee – as well as the nation – Sanford and award-winning chef Sandy D'Amato create incredible, elegant New American food dishes. Aside from the regular options, Sanford also serves two special menus for adventurous eaters: an exploration menu, an ever changing journey into a particular region's cuisine, as well as a seven-course surprise tasting menu.
San Giorgio Pizzeria Napoletana
838 N. Old World 3rd St. (414) 276-2876
This rustic pizzeria is cooking up Neapolitan pizza in a wood-fired stove. Come to Italy for the night and enjoy their tasty antipasto dishes like arancini and burrata, indulge in a piece of tiramisu or crunch into their fresh cannolis.
770 N. Jefferson St., (414) 271-5354
Shah Jee's, one of the few Pakistani restaurants in the city, is the definition of a hidden gem. Don't let its unassuming location, tucked away in what at first glance looks like a office building's basement food court area, fool you, as Shah Jee's delivers authentic, incredibly flavorful plates that are more than worth seeking out.
The Soup House
324 E. Michigan St., (414) 277-7687
Warm up with a nice bowl of soup as you face the often-harsh Wisconsin weather at The Soup House. The shop features a rotating menu of six soups daily – including veggie options. It is cash only, however, so be prepared for that when you come barreling in for a bowl.
St. Paul Fish Company
400 N. Water St., (414) 220-8383
St. Paul Fish Company is located in the Public Market and is a great spot to get a variety of seafood, with a menu including everything from shrimp to tuna salad sandwiches to Schlitz battered cod fish fry.
Swingin' Door Exchange
219 E. Michigan St., (414) 276-8150
Tucked away Downtown in one of the city's most recognizable historical landmarks, Swingin' Door Exchange is a friendly, neighborhood saloon serving filling American favorites and tasty spirits. And what kind of cozy Milwaukee pub would it be if it didn't have a Friday fish fry to offer.
Third Coast Provisions
724 N Milwaukee St., (414) 323-7434
This upscale seafood eatery brings you fresh oceanic flavors while you get to hangout here in the Midwest. From oysters to seafood paired dishes, Third Coast Provisions prepares tasty classic dishes with a contemporary twist.
1023 N. Old World 3rd St. (414) 800-6240
This versatile tri-level restaurant serves delicious gourmet burgers, wraps, tacos, and more crowd pleasers. The games and ping pong are located on the second floor which is the perfect place to unwind after a long week. And did I mention their stellar rooftop!
Uncle Wolfie's Breakfast Tavern
234 E Vine St., (414) 763-3021
Located near Brewer's Hill, this cosy breakfast and brunch tavern is the perfect place to have a cup of joe and to visit with friends or family. Where comfort meets creative, these dishes are just what you need to start off your day or night, with their dinner and cocktail choices.
1122 N. Edison St., (414) 223-1122
Located just off of Water Street, Vagabond provides a blast of retro Americana with its Airstream design, neon-lit exterior and wall of old school speakers. And that's all before you take a bite of its heightened street food menu of tacos, tortas and small plates.
1230 N. Van Buren St., (414) 272-2522
Love it or loathe it, Victor's is a Milwaukee legend – though more as a dance club than as a dining hotspot. However, the food deserves some of the spotlight, especially the fish fry, homemade bread, steaks and seafood bisque.
1818 N Hubbard St., (414)-763-0003
View is a new rooftop bar perched right over the city, featuring a menu of tasty small plates and, as one would hope with that name, quite a view.
Ward's House of Prime
540 E. Mason St., (414) 223-0135
For those craving steak but not at the typically outrageous steakhouse price, there's Ward's House of Prime, featuring an upscale experience will a reasonable final bill – and, of course, some dynamite meats.
Water Street Brewery
1101 N. Water St., (414) 272-1195
One of the first brewpubs in Milwaukee, Water Street Brewery features brewing on premises and a variety of seasonal and specialty beers, including seasonal fresh berry beers. Serving appetizers, sandwiches and nightly entrees, there's something here for everyone.
761 N Water St., (414) 220-9300
Looking for a perfect lunch break spot? Waterfront Deli might be the ticket, featuring delicious deli sandwiches, soups and brunch options. Plus, if you're dining in on the second floor, you get to have your meal brought to you by a impressive basket delivery system.
Who's on Third
1007 N. Old World Third St., (414) 897-8373
Who's On Third: That's who's on Old World Third. The pub isn't just for fans of wordplay, however. Who's On Third offers plenty of TVs to watch the games – not to mention proximity to the BMO Harris Bradley Center for the ones taking place across the street – local art of vintage Milwaukee sites decorating the walls and tasty pub grub, including wings that were amongst 2015's foodie picks for the best in the city.
The Wicked Hop
345 N. Broadway, (414) 223-0345
The Wicked Hop is open seven days a week, offering brunch, lunch dinner and dessert. If you stop by for brunch, make sure to check out their Bloody Mary, which has been routinely voted one of the best in Milwaukee.
222 W. Wells St., (414)-817-0241
Just opened in 2015, Xankia has already earned a strong following thanks to its eight different Vietnamese bahn mi sandwich options, along with several equally tasty pho and noodle dishes on its menu.
741 N. Milwaukee St., (414) 225-0000
Straddling fine dining and casual cuisine is no easy feat, but restaurateur Brian Zarletti appears to have hit on the right combination for their Italian Milwaukee Street eatery. Specializing in the country cooking of Northern Italy – the Piemonte, Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany regions – Zarletti also offers over 75 choices on its wine list.
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