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Milwaukee Restaurants

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1806 E. North Ave.; 316 N. Milwaukee St.

Counter-service joint specializing in rice bowls, with salmon, ahi tuna, shrimp, chicken or veggies.

 

Poke is the Hawaiian phenom that traditionally describes chunks of raw fish marinated in soy sauce and sesame oil. Until recently, this creation had marginal visibility on local menus. But if “healthy” and “sushi-grade ahi tuna” make your heart go pitter-patter, your poke “bowl” haven has arrived: Freshfin Poké.

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105 W. Freistadt Rd.

Featuring chicken shawarma, kefta kabob (ground beef), falafel, Israeli salad and more. Lots of vegetarian choices.

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4488 N. Oakland Ave.

A modern, plant-based take on bar food at the Shorewood’s former Village Pub. The seasonal menu is printed on the chalkboard and includes a Vietnamese po’boy, Thai grilled steak salad and grass-fed burger.

 

Shorewood bar Cloud Red (4488 N. Oakland Ave.) stops traffic with its chalkboard menu of casual, veggie-heavy plates. Some dishes are seasonally swapped out. But the Bhel Bowl has caught on so well that it’s never leaving the menu.

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308 N. Franklin St.

The menu at this restaurant located in a renovated 1855 building utilizes ingredients from Twisted Willow Farm. Plates range from “almost famous” meatloaf and baby-back ribs to Asian BBQ Atlantic salmon.

Mentioned in: Restaurants Worth a Drive

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415 Genesee St., Suite 1

This modern hotel restaurant serves a sophisticated yet approachable menu.

 

The 10-year-old Delafield Hotel’s sale to a new owner in 2015 preceded – and prompted – a complete aesthetic and culinary overhaul of the restaurant formerly known as Andrew’s.

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10401 N. Port Washington Rd.

Eclectic menu of casual fare such as flatbread pizzas, jumbo wings, burgers and sliders, sandwiches (Reuben, filet mignon tacos) and chopped salads.

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207 W. Freshwater Way

Sunny dining room/open kitchen where the bill of fare comes in a bowl. The menu features grain-, vegetable- and smoothie-based bowls. Highlights: chocolate peanut-butter smoothie and Green Goddess barley bowl.

 

Wondering how a vessel full of healthy foods came to be called a “Buddha bowl,” I do what comes naturally in our tech-dominated age: turn to Google. It turns out something so zen-sounding doesn’t just refer to plant-based meals-in-a-bowl but also to superfoods (acai fruit), nuts and grains all nestled in one dish.

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Hotel Madrid, 600 S. Sixth St.

Think of this high-end restaurant and adjacent bar as restored old Cream City brick building meets Ernest Hemingway-esque hunting lodge. The service aims to match the expensive house dry-aged steaks. Steaks are a menu highlight.

 

“Fine dining” has more than once been pronounced close to death’s door. Despite those claims, there’s still life in the concept. But what constitutes fine dining has changed, in keeping with broader lifestyle trends of the last 15 years or so.

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459 E. Pleasant St.

The center of this open, modern space is a wood-burning hearth, used for everything from bread-baking to roasting meats and fish. High marks for shareable menu items like roasted parsnips, sunflower seed risotto and whole chicken with BBQ carrots. Open for Sat-Sun brunch as well.

 

When I talked with co-owner Miles Borghgraef by phone a few months before Birch + Butcher’s opening – in Barry Mandel’s North End development on Water Street – the carpentry was finished, light fixtures installed and Borghgraef and his crew were christening the wood- burning hearth at the center of his kitchen.

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2076 N Commerce St, Milwaukee, WI 53212

The eco-friendly dining room is often filled with city folk working on their laptops. The main food focus here: crepes, cromelettes (crepe-omelets) and panini. Great mushroom-barley burger.

Mentioned in: 4 Places to Eat Vegan In Milwaukee

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330 E Menomonee St, Milwaukee, WI 53202

Third Ward butcher shop-resto that serves house-made charcuterie, sausages and so on. The pates and sandwiches should be in your mouth.

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711 West Mitchell Street, Milwaukee, WI, USA

Pakistani cuisine tends to be rich and very flavorful. Anmol gets that message. Meat dishes like haleem (shredded beef), mutton kahari and the tandoori platters are of note.

Mentioned in ‘Our Guide to the Best Milwaukee Indian and Pakistani Food’

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815 East Brady Street, Milwaukee, WI, United States

Has brought light back to the old Bosley on Brady space. Chef/owner Dane Baldwin (of Harbor House and Mr. B’s) brings his know-how to a hearty, flavorful little menu that includes fresh oysters, trout and beef short ribs. Read more…

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117 N Jefferson St, Milwaukee, WI, United States

Dan Van Rite (of the late Hinterland) and Dan Jacobs (late of Odd Duck) offer their takes on dumplings, noodles, Asian pancakes and dishes like Peking duck. Read more…

Related Stories: 2017 Readers’ Choice Awards: Best New Restaurant, Top 12 Restaurants of Last YearJust Desserts: A Day for DandanBest New Restaurants: Readers Speak Out, 10 Best New Restaurants

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550 N Van Buren St, Milwaukee, WI 53202, United States

Modern Italian-American steakhouse that promises “destination-worthy wines and bourbon.” Dinner menu features wine-braised short rib fettuccini and 22-ounce dry-aged bone-in rib-eye. Read more…

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624 West National Avenue, Milwaukee, WI, United States
414-643-5715414-643-5715

La Casa de Alberto avoids the “all signs point to dry beef” predicament that seems to plague griddled steak. This is tender, flavorful meat buried under your choice of toppings. And if you order the chunky guac (you should), pile it on thick!

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4134 West River Lane, Brown Deer, WI, United States

If you’re looking for something that’s a little bit higher up on the epicurean scale, this one’s for you. Maple-glazed, seared and thick-sliced duck breast is the bomb on its own. Layer it inside a warm, sturdy flour tortilla with queso, lettuce and the delicious chipotle salsa and the stars really align. One pro tip: Order the pureed black beans and scoop them into your taco! Head to Poco Loco Cantina in Brown Deer for this masterpiece.

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901 South 10th Street, Milwaukee, WI, United States
414-647-2266414-647-2266

Sit at a table pushed up against the old wooden bar at Guadalajara. It’s old Milwaukee (the building dates to 1890) meets the modern wave of immigration. The steak is lean, on the juicy side, and with the spread of toppings, the tacos looks like little queso-capped mountain peaks. Don’t forget the house pico de gallo! This boffo fresh salsa of cabbage, radish and bell peppers offers that all-important crunch.

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916 S Cesar E Chavez Dr, Milwaukee, WI 53204, United States

There’s an art, or perhaps etiquette, to eating tacos (nobody tells you that until the filling is falling out of your tortilla down onto your sandaled foot!). The well-seasoned, griddled chicken is so generously piled on by the cooking masters at Taco Loco (inside the El Rey markets) that you need to double-hand the taco, in a so steamy corn envelope, and lean over your plate, letting the juices dribble down your hands. But wonderful? Si!

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6821 West Lincoln Avenue, Milwaukee, WI, United States
414-541-8201414-541-8201

Some of the best tacos on this list come from a space – Chilango Express – that’s adjacent to a gas station. Fancy settings are no indicator of quality food. Peek around the counter and you might see a woman mixing together masa harina, salt and warm water to make corn tortilla dough. The freshness of that base ingredient (which yields a fluffy, light tortilla) combined with big meaty chunks of pastor is taco ecstasy. Come early on weekends for the lamb, a dynamite taco filling.

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