Top 12 Restaurants of Last Year

With the rapidly expanding culinary scene in Milwaukee, it can be difficult to keep track of which new restaurants are calling your taste buds. Our dining critic does the legwork and rounds up the best new dining establishments in Milwaukee.

Nobody will or should ever show empathy for the plight of the dining critic, “forced” to consume steady diets of steak au poivre, fried chicken, eggs Benedict — whatever the assignment dictates. Eating is just one part of the job; cooking, traveling, reading and nonstop learning also help inform the work I do at Milwaukee Magazine, whether I’m writing or editing a column. Trust me, I know I’ve got a “nice work if you can get it” kind of gig.

And my work got a great deal more interesting over the last 15 years or so (yes, I’ve been doing this a long time!), as developments have transformed our neighborhoods and skyline. Fresh living and work spaces lure in people, while people draw new restaurants. Keeping up with the culinary growth is my ongoing challenge, and the latest restaurants routinely have a prominent position in my monthly column.

For the first time ever, we’ve culled the best new restaurants in a greatest hits edition called Dine Out. It features reviews of 12 major openings, such as Third Ward American-Chinese joint Dandan, Waukesha small-plates haven Tofte’s Table, Latin-inspired Bay Viewer C-viche, and storied German establishment Karl Ratzsch,  (now unfortunately closed).

Augmenting the coverage of dining and culinary culture that you look for every month in the magazine, consider this guide your planning resource!

Karl Ratzsch

A modern chef re-imagines this Downtown staple, melding tradition and a contemporary aesthetic [Now closed].

Pretzels with mustard. Photo by Kevin J. Miyazaki/PLATE.


The bold, biting flavors of Latin America are at home on Bay View’s vibrant South Kinnickinnic Avenue.

Photo by Chris Kessler

Pastiche at the Metro

With Pastiche bistro in the house, is the 18-year-old Hotel Metro poised for rebirth?

Photo by Adam Ryan Morris

Tofte’s Table

A longtime steakhouse chef trades in fine dining for laid-back, something-for-everyone tapas.

Photo by Adam Ryan Morris


Chefs Dan Jacobs and Dan Van Rite have pooled their skills and love of Asian food at the Third Ward’s offbeat restaurant.

Photo by Kevin J. Miyazaki/PLATE

Tre Rivali

The Third Ward’s Kimpton Journeyman Hotel is home to Tre Rivali, which is Italian for palate-pleasing plates in a stylish atmosphere.

Photo by Adam Ryan Morris

i.d. at the Delafield Hotel

The best gastronomic reason to live near downtown Delafield is this charming modern hotel restaurant.

Shot on location at I.d. at the Delafield Hotel. Photo by Adam Ryan Morris.

Irie Zulu

Irie Zulu offers a fascinating, exhilarating journey through the cuisines of Africa and Jamaica.

Easy Tyger

Brady Street’s new small-plate restaurant jockeys for position in the pack.

Photo by Adam Ryan Morris

Iron Grate BBQ

Cohabiting businesses Iron Grate BBQ and Hawthorne Coffee Roasters draw from each other’s strengths.

A tray of Edna’s bounty, from Iron Grate BBQ. Photo by Chris Kessler

Merriment Social

The evolving menu served at this old warehouse venue is the antidote for ennui.

Photo courtesy of Kailley Lindman/Merriment Social.

Wy’East Pizza

Portland, Oregon’s loss is Washington Heights’ gain with this pie maker that treats its oven like a newborn babe.

Photo by Adam Ryan Morris

These dining reviews appears in the Dine Out Pocket Guide in the April 2017 issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

Find the April issue on newsstands beginning April 3, or buy a copy at

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Ann Christenson has covered dining for Milwaukee Magazine since 1997. She was raised on a diet of casseroles that started with a pound of ground beef and a can of Campbell's soup. Feel free to share any casserole recipes with her.