Situated on the western shore of Lake Michigan, Milwaukee is a city best-known for its wealth of breweries, both well established and new to the industry, offering tastings and tours for beer-lovers and aficionados. Meaning ‘ beautiful, good, and pleasant land’ in the Algonquian language, Milwaukee boasts beautiful natural landscapes of rivers, lakes and rolling hills which are perfect for romantic picnics, but if you prefer taking your date indoors, there are an array of excellent cafés, restaurants, distilleries, and eateries to enjoy.
© Morel Restaurant
Located in Walker's Point, Morel Restaurant is a rustic-chic farm-to-table restaurant offering a daily changing menu of New American plates inspired by local ingredients and complemented by craft cocktails, local beers, and fine wines. Chef Jonathan Manyo draws inspiration from the rich bounty of Wisconsin, utilizing the freshest, highest quality produce from local farms, purveyors, foragers, and artisans. The changing menu of seasonal and locally inspired dishes includes Rainbow Trout with Herb Butter, Duck Breast with Parsnip, Pork Tenderloin and Boudin Blanc, Lamb Chops with Merguez, and Farrotto with Oyster Mushrooms. The full-service bar offers a variety of wines from around the world that can be enjoyed by the glass or the bottle, along with classic cocktails made with top-shelf spirits and craft beers. Morel Restaurant is open for dinner, Tuesday through Saturday.
430 S 2nd St, Milwaukee, WI 53204, Phone: 414-897-0747
© Ardent Restaurant
Ardent is an intimate, upscale restaurant that serves a regular innovative New American fare in a stylish and contemporary setting. Open for dinner Wednesday-Saturday with two seatings each evening; the restaurant serves an a la carte menu, a tasting menu, and a newly launched late-night menu that focuses on fresh seasonal ingredients and a variety of flavors to create unique plates. Delights on the tasting menu could include Celeriac with White Chocolate and Trout Roe, Beef Tartare with a Deviled Egg and Bone Marrow, Sunchoke with Dates, Sunflower Porridge with Truffled Goat Cheese, and Mignardises of an Earl Grey Financier, Vanilla Cream Puff, and Salted Peppermint Fudge. The acclaimed cuisine is accompanied by a superlative wine list and craft cocktail menu.
1751 N Farwell Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53202, Phone: 414-897-7022
3.Stella Van Buren
© Stella Van Buren
Located in the elegant Westin Hotel on Van Buren Street in the heart of downtown Milwaukee, Stella Van Buren is the hotel’s upmarket and sophisticated steakhouse restaurant that serves award-winning steaks and fresh seafood and an array of signature cocktails and fine wines. The restaurant boasts a light, airy atmosphere with comfortable seating and stellar city views through floor-to-ceiling windows, which bathe the interiors in natural light. The 180-seat restaurant features both traditional tables and cozy circular booths which can comfortably fit up to eight people, and while the eatery is best known for its dinner set, it now also serves a delectable weekend brunch in a relaxed and laid-back setting.
550 N Van Buren St, Milwaukee, WI 53202, Phone: 414-847-5622
© Odd Duck
Located in the Bay View area of Milwaukee, Odd Duck Restaurant is an eclectic eatery that serves an ever-changing shared-plate menu of casual New American cuisine and creative cocktails. Established in 2012, Odd Duck Restaurant focuses on using only the freshest, locally sourced ingredients from surrounding farms and producers, and creating a mouthwatering selection of small and sharing plates of meat-centric and vegetarian cuisine. Signature plates include Lemon Cured Hamachi Crudo, Chicken Fried Frog Legs, Moroccan Spiced Lamb, Muhammara Stuffed Quinoa Kibbeh, Lemon Risotto, and Handmade Blue Corn Quesadilla. Odd Duck Restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week.
2352 S Kinnickinnic Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53207, Phone: 414-763-5881
© Sanford Restaurant
Formerly housing a family grocery store dating back 80 years, Sanford was transformed into a modern restaurant with a European-style storefront that serves a seasonally driven menu of locally sourced cuisine and an award-winning wine list. Decorated to exude a warm, homey ambiance, the restaurant is committed to serving delicious cuisine prepared with regional ingredients, including a daily menu and an ever-changing four-course seasonal menu. Signature dishes include Citrus Seared Alaskan Halibut, Grilled Wild Sturgeon, Chargrilled Loin of Elk, Grilled Scallops, and Salmon Bourguignon and accompanied by a list of fine wines from around the world, handcrafted cocktails, and craft beers. Sanford is open for dinner only, Monday through Saturday.
1547 N Jackson St, Milwaukee, WI 53202, Phone: 414-276-9608
6.Balzac Wine Bar
© Balzac Wine Bar
Balzac is a cozy wine bar just off Brady Street in Milwaukee’s lower Eastside that serves creative New American small plates and a dynamic wine list of casual and vintage wines by the glass and the bottle. Boasting a warm and welcoming ambiance with low-lighting, a large bar with seating and a charming patio for alfresco dining in the summer, Balzac serves a farm-to-table menu of locally sourced fare from land and sea such as Manchego Brûlée, Spicy Meatballs, Coq Au Vin, Duck Nachos, Tuna Tartare, Firecracker Shrimp, Steamed Mussels, and Grilled Salmon. The full-service bar offers a variety of wines from around the world that can be enjoyed by the glass or the bottle, along with classic cocktails made with top-shelf spirits and craft beers. Balzac Wine Bar is open for dinner nightly.
1716 N Arlington Pl, Milwaukee, WI 53202, Phone: 414-755-0099
One of Wisconsin's most acclaimed fine-dining destinations, Carnevor is a long-standing, premier steakhouse in Downtown Milwaukee that is renowned for serving the finest cuts of aged steak, prime rib, and beef, along with fresh seafood, and decadent desserts. Decorated in dark wood and leather accents with elegantly dressed tables, soft lighting, and a full-service bar, the steakhouse serves a menu of thick house-butchered cuts of USDA choice steaks, free-range chicken and pork, fresh seafood and a range of vegetarian options, created by Executive Chef Mario Giuliani. The full-service bar has an extensive menu of fine wines with over 785 selections around the world, which can be enjoyed by the glass or bottle, craft beers on tap or by the bottle, and handcrafted cocktails. The Fireside Chophouse is open for dinner only, seven nights a week.
718 N Milwaukee St, Milwaukee, WI 53202, Phone: 414-223-2200
Located in Walker's Point, Meraki is a casual restaurant that serves a globally-inspired and ever-changing menu of farm-to-table cuisine in a stylish and sophisticated environment. Chef and owner Chad Meier uses locally-sourced ingredients and regional produce along with imported items to create eclectic dishes such as Tunisian braised goat with harissa, okonomiyaki Japanese savory pancakes filled with seasonal vegetables, and seasonal ravioli accompanied by complimentary fresh wood-fire baked bread and whipped butter on every table. Guests can dine in the beautifully decorated dining room or in the lounge and bar, which serves a rotating collection of fine wines, craft cocktails and a variety of beers on tap and in bottles. Meraki is open for dinner, Tuesday through Saturday.
939 S 2nd St, Milwaukee, WI 53204, Phone: 414-897-7230
9.Bodegon at Hotel Madrid
© Bodegon at Hotel Madrid
Nestled within the historic Hotel Madrid, Bodegon is a fine-dining restaurant that specializes in upscale Spanish cuisine along with carefully crafted cocktails to complement the rustic cuisine. A stylish dining space features contemporary décor, gleaming silverware, and soft lighting and has a full-service bar and a charming patio for alfresco dining in the summer. An innovative menu of Spanish-inspired cuisine boasts dishes such as tapas of acorn-fed Iberian ham, sweetbreads, manchego bagna cauda, Japanese imported strip loin, and Moroccan spiced mussels, followed by entrées of Iberico pork loin, Tomahawk steak, beef ribs, and whole suckling pig. Vegetarian menus are available, and an impressive beverage program features a collection of vermouth from around the world, famous craft cocktails from the 1930s, and a selection of rare wines. Bodegón is open for dinner six nights a week.
Hotel Madrid, 600 S 6th St, Milwaukee, WI 53204, Phone: 414-488-9146
, Michigan beaches
Named after the underground movement in Madrid known as La Movida Madrileña, Movida, which translates to ‘movement’ is a charming Spanish tapas restaurant that serves a variety of delicious Spanish specialties and Spanish wines. Located in Walker’s Point, the inviting restaurant serves a creative menu of eclectic cuisine such as seasonal croquetas, seafood paella, Galician-style octopus and sharing platters of imported cheese, charcuterie, and olives. Movida’s full-service bar serves an impressive beverage program that features house-made Sangria, handcrafted cocktails, seasonal gin selections, and over 30 Spanish wines. Movida is open for dinner, nightly.
524 S 2nd St, Milwaukee, WI 53204, Phone: 414-224-5300
© Harbor House
Set on the shores of Lake Michigan, the Harbor House is an upscale seafood restaurant with spectacular skyline views that serves lunch, dinner, and a classic seafood weekend brunch in an elegant setting. The spacious New England-style seafood restaurant offers a premier lakefront dining experience with an open kitchen, a three-sided bar, a raw bar, which specializes in oysters, and a private dining room available for special events and parties. A seasonal outdoor patio boasts breathtaking views of the lake and offers an unparalleled alfresco dining experience of the freshest seafood flown in daily from both coasts, including lobster and oysters, prime steaks, homemade pasta, and gourmet burgers. A weekday happy hour offers specials on signature cocktails and other libations.
550 N Harbor Dr, Milwaukee, WI 53202, Phone: 414-395-4900
© Centro Café
Centro is a cozy Italian-inspired café-style eatery in the heart of Riverwest with modern décor and an open kitchen that serves fresh homemade fare, warm-from-the-oven flatbreads, and handcrafted cocktails. The café features hardwood floors, stucco walls, ceilings with beautiful plasterwork, and snug banquettes, and serves a comfortable menu to match of Italian classics and seasonal dishes such as house-made pasta and sauces, wood-fired pizzas, fresh seafood and salads, and mouthwatering desserts. The bustling open kitchen is the beating heart of the restaurant and provides an enticing glow, while intimate dining spaces include a laid-back lounge and bar, lovely patio and sidewalk seating. The delicious cuisine is accompanied by an exclusively Italian wine list that offers rich and varied selections of wines from small producers and family vineyards, as well as creative Amari cocktails and a rotating selection of beers from Wisconsin micro-breweries. Centro is open for dinner only, Monday through Saturday.
808 E Center St, Milwaukee, WI 53212, Phone: 414-455-3751
Tucked away in Milwaukee's Bay View neighborhood near the shores of Lake Michigan, Goodkind is an inviting restaurant and corner tavern that takes a modern approach to farm-to-fork cuisine and casual restaurant New American fare. Set within an old, beloved residential building in a comfortable renovated space with contemporary décor, Goodkind specializes in creative appetizers, succulent rotisserie meats, fresh salads and vegetables from local farms, and house-made cocktails. Goodkind focuses on a casual approach and a delicate pairing of food and drinks, creating a symbiotic relationship between the kitchen and bar. Goodkind is open for dinner only Tuesday through Saturday and brunch, lunch and dinner on Sundays.
2457 S Wentworth Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53207, Phone: 414-763-4706
Embracing a return to slow grown, natural food with a focus on locally sourced and organic ingredients and products, Braise is a restaurant and culinary school on 2nd Street that offers a unique farm-to-table dining experience. Braise serves a daily-changing menu of locally sourced and made-from-scratch cuisine from the chewy bread and herb butter served as a starter to charcuterie, sausage, and cheeses. Featured dishes on the menu include charred Romano beans and summer squash chickpea pancakes as starters, smoked trout parfait, lamb pastrami, and garlic-poached pork, and peach thyme blossom pannacotta for dessert. Libations include great Wisconsin beers, easy-drinking wines, and interesting craft cocktails like the Cherry Buzz. Braise is open for dinner, Tuesday through Saturday.
1101 S 2nd St, Milwaukee, WI 53204, Phone: 414-212-8843
15.Buckley's Restaurant and Bar
© Buckley's Restaurant and Bar
Located on Cass Street in Downtown Milwaukee, Buckley's is a friendly neighborhood fixture that serves refined American comfort food and drinks in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere. The family-owned and operated establishment serves an approachable and dynamic menu of locally sourced cuisine accompanied by a beverage list of craft beers, handcrafted cocktails, and fine wines. Signature dishes include Grilled Chicken Tsukune; a Yakitori style chicken served with fermented bean cakes, scallions, and poached anise peach. Lunch is served Monday through Saturday, dinner is served Monday through Sunday, and brunch is served every Sunday.
3908, 801 N Cass St, Milwaukee, WI 53202, Phone: 414-277-1111
© Crazy Water
Crazy Water is a bustling bistro serving upscale New American cuisine and local wines in a charming vintage tavern-style setting. Set in a vintage tavern that was built from a 19th-century feed store, the refined eatery exudes an ambiance of a European bistro from a bygone era with intimate tables and soft lighting. Crazy Water serves a contemporary menu of traditional dishes prepared using locally sourced and organic ingredients and products from regional farmers and producers with dishes like grilled ribeye steak served with potato rosti and cremini mushroom compote in a cabernet syrup, black pepper encrusted Waygu sirloin with blue cheese butter, and medallions of Strauss veal tenderloin with Calvados cream and caramelized apples. Crazy Water is open for dinner daily, and Sunday brunch.
839 S 2nd St, Milwaukee, WI 53204, Phone: 414-645-2606
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© La Merenda
La Merenda is a vibrant spot on National Avenue that serves globally inspired small plates and tapas, local beers and casual wines in a relaxed and friendly environment. Located in a brightly decorated renovated woodworking shop in Milwaukee's historic Walker's Point, the laid-back eatery boasts eclectic décor to reflect the multi-cultural menu with restored and stained antique tables and chairs, a concrete, walnut base and Italian ceramic tile bar, a cool, shady patio and outdoor bar with a fireplace. Celebrating the Italian custom of gathering to share food and drink amongst friends and family, the eatery serves a menu of small plates from around the world such as Spanish Patatas Bravas, Indonesian Sambal Goreng Udang, authentic Colombian empanadas, and Italian antipasti. La Merenda is open for lunch Monday through Friday and dinner Monday through Saturday.
125 E National Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53204, Phone: 414-389-0125
18.Mason Street Grill
© Mason Street Grill
Tucked away in the historic Pfister Hotel in downtown Milwaukee, Mason Street Grill is a classic American Grill serving succulent wood-grilled steaks, delectable ocean-fresh seafood dishes, and creatively prepared entrées for lunch and dinner. Renowned as one of the Milwaukee’s culinary gems, guests are welcomed with a warm ambiance, gracious hospitality and service, high-quality cuisine and libations, convivial 'Happy Hours', and live music six days a week. Mason Street Grill also offers private dining and caters for intimate parties of eight to large functions of up to 60 with three private dining rooms. Mason Street Grill is open for lunch, Monday through Friday, and dinner only on Saturday and Sunday.
424 E Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53202, Phone: 414-298-3131
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19.The Pasta Tree Restaurant & Wine Bar
© The Pasta Tree Restaurant & Wine Bar
Nestled in a cozy Eastside neighborhood and exuding the charm of an antique-accented European bistro, The Pasta Tree Restaurant & Wine Bar is a charming eatery with a lovely garden patio that serves dinner only Tuesday through Sundays. The welcoming restaurant serves a menu of simple, delicious fare such as fresh pasta and house-made sauces, freshly baked bread and mouthwatering desserts daily, along with seasonal and changing entrées and specials. All the cuisine is prepared with locally sourced and organic ingredients where possible and accompanied by a creative wine list of globally-inspired wines, craft beers, and signature cocktails made with imported spirits. Hailed as one of the city’s most romantic restaurants, The Pasta Tree Restaurant & Wine Bar is also available for private functions and events.
1503 N Farwell Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53202, Phone: 414-276-8867
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20.Tenuta's Italian Restaurant
© Tenuta's Italian Restaurant
Tenuta’s Italian Restaurant is a cozy, relaxing family-friendly restaurant that serves authentic and traditional Italian cuisine and drinks in a welcoming atmosphere. Founded by Cesare and Antonia Tenuta after moving to America from the southern tip of Italy, Tenuta’s Italian Restaurant serves a menu of dishes from a wealth of great homemade recipes brought with them, and a combination of fresh, locally sourced and imported ingredients. The menu features simple Italian cuisine such as house-made pasta with delicious sauces and accompaniments, wood-fired Neopolitan pizza, fresh salads, and an array of meat and seafood entrées. The cuisine is paired with both casual and fines wines from around the world, and craft beers. Tenuta’s Italian Restaurant is open for dinner only, seven evenings a week.
2995 Clement Avenue, Bay View, WI 53207, Phone: 414-431-1014
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Zarletti is a fine dining northern Italian restaurant set in a small, minimalist space in the heart of downtown Milwaukee. The cozy restaurant serves creative Italian fare and wines by the glass or the bottle in a relaxed, laid-back dining room reflects restauranteur and owner, Brian Zarletti’s lifelong passion for Italian wine, food, and culture. The menu features simple, thoughtful Italian cuisine such as wood-fired Neopolitan pizza, house-made pasta with delicious sauces and accompaniments, fresh salads, and hearty meat and seafood entrées. The cuisine is paired with both casual and fines wines from Italy and around the world that can be enjoyed by the bottle or the glass, as well as craft beers and signature cocktails. Zarletti is open for lunch and dinner, Monday through Friday and dinner only on Saturdays.
741 N Milwaukee St #1, Milwaukee, WI 53202, Phone: 414-225-0000
Tess is an upscale American bistro with a lovely back patio for alfresco dining on Bartlett Avenue that serves seasonal local fare along with craft beer and casual wines. Close to all the East Side action, Tess is a warm and relaxing getaway with friendly staff, interesting and attractively presented food, and a relaxing ambiance. The eatery also offers a menu of bar bites, such as the Tess burger, lemongrass chicken banh mi, perch po’ boys, and shrimp tacos, all of which can be enjoyed in the bar or the lounge with a variety of drinks. Tess is open for dinner only, Tuesday through Sunday.
2499 N Bartlett Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53211, Phone: 414-964-8377
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23.Bacchus - A Bartolotta Restaurant
© Bacchus - A Bartolotta Restaurant
Bacchus is a sleek, upscale New American spot boasting breathtaking views of Lake Michigan and a menu of contemporary American cuisine and fine wines. Hailed as the city’s best fine dining experience, Bacchus is set in a sleek, stylish space in the Cudahy Tower in downtown Milwaukee and serves a menu of contemporary, globally-inspired cuisine created with fresh seasonal ingredients and accompanied by an award-winning wine list. Signature dishes on the menu include appetizers of Yellowfin Tuna Tartare, Fava Bean Risotto, and Charred Spanish Octopus, and entrées like Sea Scallops, Organic Scottish Salmon, and Miso-Glazed Halibut. The restaurant features several private dining spaces for romantic interludes or private functions, including a glass-enclosed conservatory and is open for dinner only, Monday through Saturday.
925 E Wells St, Milwaukee, WI 53202, Phone: 414-765-1166
24.Bartolotta's Lake Park Bistro
© Bartolotta's Lake Park Bistro
Set in a historic park pavilion overlooking Lake Michigan, Bartolotta's Lake Park Bistro is a quaint bistro that serves award-winning French-inspired cuisine and an extensive, acclaimed wine list. A premier dining destination for more than 20 years, Bartolotta's Lake Park Bistro features beautiful decorative elements of a fancy French farmhouse with copper finishes and tasseled lampshades, and the warmly lit dining room boasts breathtaking views of Lake Michigan. Signature dishes include Tartare de Boeuf, Coquilles St-Jacques with seared George's Bank sea scallops, Moules Marinieres steamed in white wine, Escargots Bourguignon with traditional Burgundy snails, Foie Gras Poele, and Gnocchi Parisienne. An acclaimed wine list offers the perfect bottle for every dish, and decadent desserts provide a sweet end to an unforgettable meal. Bartolotta's Lake Park Bistro is open for dinner only, seven days a week.
3133 E Newberry Blvd, Milwaukee, WI 53211, Phone: 414-962-6300
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25.Dream Dance Steak
© Dream Dance Steak
Dream Dance Steak is an award-winning steakhouse in Milwaukee that offers a variety of delicious steaks, tasty seafood dishes, and seasonal innovations, along with appetizers, salads and sides, all of which are prepared using locally sourced and the finest quality ingredients. The elegant, smoke-free steakhouse is perfect for a special date night and serves a refined menu boasting three-course dining options and a 600-bottle wine list to pair with every dish. The upscale steakhouse boasts walls adorned with Native American art and cozy, intimate ambiance in which to savor some of the best steaks and fine wines in the state. Dream Dance Steak is open for dinner only Tuesday through Saturday.
1721 W Canal St, Milwaukee, WI 53233, Phone: 414-847-7883
25 Best Romantic Restaurants in Milwaukee
- Morel Restaurant, Photo: Morel Restaurant
- Ardent Restaurant, Photo: Ardent Restaurant
- Stella Van Buren, Photo: Stella Van Buren
- Odd Duck, Photo: Odd Duck
- Sanford Restaurant, Photo: Sanford Restaurant
- Balzac Wine Bar, Photo: Balzac Wine Bar
- Carnevor, Photo: Carnevor
- Meraki, Photo: Meraki
- Bodegon at Hotel Madrid, Photo: Bodegon at Hotel Madrid
- Movida, Photo: Movida
- Harbor House, Photo: Harbor House
- Centro Cafe, Photo: Centro Café
- Goodkind, Photo: Goodkind
- Braise, Photo: Braise
- Buckley's Restaurant and Bar, Photo: Buckley's Restaurant and Bar
- Crazy Water, Photo: Crazy Water
- La Merenda, Photo: La Merenda
- Mason Street Grill, Photo: Mason Street Grill
- The Pasta Tree Restaurant & Wine Bar, Photo: The Pasta Tree Restaurant & Wine Bar
- Tenuta's Italian Restaurant, Photo: Tenuta's Italian Restaurant
- Zarletti, Photo: Zarletti
- Tess, Photo: stock.adobe.com
- Bacchus - A Bartolotta Restaurant, Photo: Bacchus - A Bartolotta Restaurant
- Bartolotta's Lake Park Bistro, Photo: Bartolotta's Lake Park Bistro
- Dream Dance Steak, Photo: Dream Dance Steak
- Cover Photo: kitinut/stock.adobe.com