Hi, we are Erin and Ben and WE LOVE FOOD. We’re passionate about dining in Milwaukee. Here are some of our personal favorites, whether you are planning a trip or just looking for inspiration.
Breakfast & Brunch
Uncle Wolfie’s Breakfast Tavern. Classic breakfast and lunch comfort food, done better. Everything is fantastic, and the people are gems. We could happily eat here every week. No reservations but worth the wait.
- Erin’s Recs. BELTCH, biscuits and gravy, get a flapjack or French toast for the table to share. Best Bloody Mary in MKE.
- Ben’s Recs. Burger (every time). Fries are also legit.
Cafe Benelux (and their sister restaurants, Cafe Hollander and Cafe Centraal). Euro-bistro that’s great for brunch, lunch, and dinner. They have an excellent beer list and something for everyone.
- Erin’s Recs. Veggie and bacon omelette (or similar), sweet potato fries with roasted garlic dipping sauce, housemade veggie burger, grilled cheese for something over-the-top. The salads are decent too.
- Ben’s Recs. Also a fan of this burger.
- TIP. The Benelux rooftop is wonderful on a warm day (and popular).
Bavette. Impeccably sourced meats and vegetables, turned into exquisite sandwiches and more. Stellar wine list.
- Recs. Try at least one salad and whichever sandwich appeals to you the most. Enjoy seeing the staff at work.
Cranky Al’s. Best donuts in Milwaukee and worth the drive to Wauwatosa.
- Erin’s Recs. Maple raised (with or without bacon). Try at least one of the cake donuts.
- Ben’s Recs. Straight-up raised glazed. It’s that good.
The National Cafe. No fuss, yummy neighborhood spot.
- Rec. The Ultimate Breakfast Sandwich. We both get it every time.
Engine Co. 3. Tapas-style brunch that’s creative and DELISH. Highly recommend!
- Recs. Go with a few friends and get several items to share. The patatas bravas (with chorizo) and crepes are two faves.
Cafe at the Plaza. Vintage neighborhood treasure. Come back for happy hour on their lovely patio.
- Rec. Eggs Benedict, lemon poppyseed pancakes.
StoryHill BKC. Bright atmosphere with a varied but not overwhelming menu that strikes the right balance between creative and comforting. One of my favorite spots for a group.
- Recs. Crep-urito; a cinnamon roll for the table is a must.
Press Waffles. Belgian liege waffles that will change your life. Erin is obsessed.
- Recs. Blueberry Lemon Whipped Cream; the “Elvis.”
Odd Duck. Shareable, creative, seasonal plates. This is where we eat most, either as a couple or with friends.
- Rec. Get a mix of the meat-based and vegetable-based dishes. The menu changes every time, so trust your server’s judgement (and we always order a few extra, because SO GOOD).
Third Coast Provisions. Fantastic seafood restaurant in a smashing atmosphere. Our pick for a fancy dinner.
- Rec. The Lobster Potholes appetizer is essential.
The Noble. The menu is tiny and changes every night. Don’t worry, you won’t be disappointed.
- Rec. Each night, there’s about one dish in key categories (seafood, beef, pork, vegetarian, etc). The portions are generous and homey. Start with the trio of spreads and enjoy your dinner adventure.
La Merenda. Creative, global tapas sized for sharing. This is one of our favorite places to bring out of town friends or go to dinner with another couple.
- Recs. Start with the truffled potato skins no matter what else you are ordering. The butter chicken, shrimp dishes, salads, goat cheese curds, and any empanadas are excellent. Your server will have great tips.
La Dama. Elevated food that expands your horizons as to what Mexican food can be. An atmosphere that makes you want to linger. The dreamiest patio.
- Recs. Mole, any of the tacos, the lamb, whichever appetizer(s) your server tells you to try. Best marg in Milwaukee.
StoryHill BKC. In addition to a stellar brunch, Storyhill has one of our favorite dinners. Scrumptious, well-portioned shared plates. Go with fellow food lovers. As a bonus, they have a wine shop where you can select your (very reasonably priced) bottle right from the wall.
- Recs. The mushroom hand pies, cedar plank trout, and beef short rib gnocchi are stand outs. The menu changes often, so defer to your server.
Lake Park Bistro. Erin’s classic birthday destination. Delicious French food in a classy atmosphere. Request to sit in the “lake room” if you can.
- Recs. You can’t go wrong with any of the French classics. Their wine pairing dinners are especially good. Treat yourself to a French 75.
Lupi & Iris. This place does everything right. Outstanding, fresh-feeling French/Italian inspired cuisine in a trendy but not annoying setting. Fantastic for a special dinner.
- Recs. Get 1 or 2 smaller-sized pastas to share as an appetizer (it’s a must). The lobster, steak, and salmon are all fabulous entrees.
Buckley’s. Good choice for when you all want your own entree vs. shared plates, but want it to be a little creative.
- Rec. The fried artichokes are a necessity to begin; the carrot cake is legend for a reason.
The Diplomat. Creative, elevated, seasonal food, with zero pretense. The kind of neighborhood spot everyone wishes they had down the street.
- Recs. The Diplomat burger is Erin’s favorite (and an experience). The menu changes regularly. Pick several things to share.
Strange Town. Filling, robustly-flavored vegan food you won’t realize is vegan. Unique wine list. We wish Milwaukee had more places like this.
- Recs. Asian-inspired anything. Hummus is excellent. Note: the menu has been more limited since covid, so this might be best for drinks and apps.
The Original. Tucked away neighborhood spot with excellent cocktails.
- Rec. Whatever Craig the owner says is good that night. Sit on the lovely patio.
Buttermint. One of our new favorites. The atmosphere will make you feel like you’ve stepped into Don Draper’s office. While the menu is retro-inspired, it feels anything but old-fashioned, and the portions are generous.
- Recs. Chickpea fries; TV dinner (odd-sounding but very good); any of the seafood dishes.
Cafe Corazon. Our taco joint. Great for something more casual that still tastes great.
- Rec. Get 3 different tacos that appeal to you, plus a pitcher of their excellent margs.
La Masa. Take the taco flight approach, but apply it to baked empanadas. The fillings are creative and delish. Order 3 and your plate comes with sides. Sangria is excellent.
- Recs. Lamb barbacoa, Wisco corn, mushroom truffle parm.
San Giorgio. Their pizza is the best in the city. Authentic Neapolitan style that tastes like Italy. Atmosphere is casual.
- Rec. The stuffed “star” pizza. Prosciutto and arugula (Maria Carmella).
Santino’s Little Italy. Another great pizza option. The atmosphere is romantic, the owner is friendly and there almost every night, and their patio in the summer is blissful.
- Recs. Split the meatball to start; follow with any of the pizzas. They also do a solid carbonara.
Centro Cafe. Favorite pasta in MKE, tucked in the Riverwest neighborhood. Cozy atmosphere.
- Recs. Bolognese and the gnocchi. Skip the pizza, pasta is the move here.
Sorella. One of our fave Italian spots in the whole city and a go-to dinner destination.
- Recs. Monday Sauce Pasta and any of the pizzas (the spicy pepperoni and broccoli rabe with sausage are two faves).
Ardent. Spectacular tasting menu for a special occasion. We eat here once a year and feel lucky every time we do.
- Recs. Go for the wine pairing. If you are with just one other person, see if you can sit at the bar.
Bryant’s. If you only go to one cocktail bar, make this this one.
- Rec. Let your bartender be your guide.
Tin Widow. Excellent, decidedly un-snobby cocktail bar focusing on gin.
- Rec. The “JLP.” They also do a great aviation.
Foundation. Tiki bar with rum drinks you’ll actually like.
- Recs. This place does rum right (a.k.a. not overly sweet…and strong). Try your bartender’s suggestion; they also have a good tequila-based cocktail.
Lost Whale. Great spot for a drink before dinner in Bayview.
- Rec. We tend towards their lighter/more refreshing spins. The menu is seasonal, so ask your bartender.
Balzac. Our go-to cozy neighborhood wine bar with good drinks and tapas.
- Rec. The fried brussels sprouts. ALL DAY.
Lakefront Brewery. An essential Milwaukee experience.
- Rec. Book a tour ahead. Tours are hilarious, entertaining, and you get to drink some great beer all along the way.
Good City Brewing. Another fave brewery. Both the east side location (with the rooftop) and spot in front of the Fiserv Form are good stops.
- Rec. Motto and Risk are two of their flagships. Great for IPA lovers especially.
Camp. A stop into any of the Camp bars is a Wisconsin experience, right down to the flannel and wood paneling.
- Rec. This is the place to get a Wisconsin old-fashioned. When they ask you sweet or sour, order it press. My preference is bourbon but brandy is the sconnie tradition.