Situated on the western shore of Lake Michigan, Milwaukee is known for its wealth of breweries, both well established and new to the industry, offering tastings and tours for beer-lovers and aficionados. 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.
1.Tre Rivali Restaurant
© Tre Rivali Restaurant
Tre Rivali Restaurant is a vibrant, bustling café and lounge serving Mediterranean-inspired cuisine in the heart of Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward District. The restaurant features five separate dining spaces, including a casual café, a laid-back bar, and lounge, the main dining room overlooking a wood-fired grill and oven, an intimate private dining room, and a seasonal, sidewalk patio on Broadway with tables and chairs to watch the world go by. Celebrating the rich design history of Milwaukee’s Third Ward, the restaurant features fixtures and finishes from a vintage industrial warehouse against a backdrop of contemporary décor such as a glassed-in production kitchen and a custom wood-burning oven and grill. The menu features a variety of Mediterranean cuisine prepared with locally sourced ingredients from surrounding farms and producers. Tre Rivali Restaurant is open for breakfast and lunch, seven days a week.
200 N Broadway, Milwaukee, WI 53202, Phone: 414-291-3971
2.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
3.The Central Standard Craft Distillery
© The Central Standard Craft Distillery
Conveniently located next to Milwaukee Brewing Company in the thriving neighborhood of Walker’s Point, Central Standard Craft Distillery features 1600 square feet of distillery space, an inviting tasting room, and a beautiful bar. The aged barn-decorated tasting room has contemporary décor and a modern bar which offers samples of the five spirits the distillery currently produces, namely Wisconsin Rye Vodka, New American Gin, Oat Whiskey, Bourbon, and Anodyne Coffee Vodka - a collaboration with neighbor Anodyne Coffee Roasting Company. The drinks menu features custom cocktails created by bartender and mixologist Dan Moore and a food truck parked right outside accommodates hungry patrons. Guests can also enjoy distillery tours, Bloody Mary buffet Sundays, trivia night, and various special events throughout the year. Central Standard Craft Distillery is open
613 S 2nd St #609, Milwaukee, WI 53204, Phone: 414-455-8870
4.Who’s on Third
© Who’s on Third
Who’s on Third? is a buzzing sports-centric pub with large screen televisions and a projection screen that offers a comfortable spot to watch sport while eating classic pub and craft beers. This traditional neighborhood pub focuses on local and domestic craft beers and home cooked, all-American cuisine such as grass-fed burgers and golden fries, beer-battered, deep-fried cheese curds, fresh salads and wraps, and other pub-style fare. The bar has an old-school feel with brown maple floors, olive green walls, hanging ceiling lights and walls adorned with historical paintings of different Milwaukee landmarks, and four flat-screen televisions on the walls. The drinks menu features mainly local beers, Spotted Cow, cider beer, a small wine selection and mixed drinks, as well as Dogfish Head Brewery’s 90 Minute IPA on tap. Who’s on Third? is open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week.
1007 N Old World 3rd St, Milwaukee, WI 53203, Phone: 414-897-8373
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
6.The Thistle and Shamrock
© The Thistle and Shamrock
The Thistle and Shamrock is a lively Milwaukee neighborhood hangout styled after a rustic northwoods tavern, boasting an impressive bar menu of scratch-made fare alongside reasonably-priced draft brews. The bar, which opened in 2015, serves up delicious Celtic specialties like reuben rolls, slow-cooked corned beef, and a full fish fry menu of favorites like pollock, haddock, smelt, and rainbow trout. High-quality burgers are crafted from fresh ground beef, featuring excellent toppings like ghost pepper jack, sauteed mushrooms, sauerkraut, and Thousand Island dressing. Personal 12-inch pizzas are also served up, along with a menu of shareable appetizers like loaded nachos, mozzarella sticks, and fried cheese curds.
3430 N 84th St, Milwaukee, WI 53222, Phone: 414-871-3977
© Comet Cafe
Comet Cafe has been showcased on the popular Food Network series Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, serving up hearty comfort fare at its Milwaukee location since 1995. The cozy cafe is known for its eclectic crowds and scrumptious homestyle meals, including classic bacon-wrapped meatloaf, tuna macaroni casserole, and bone-in pork chops stuffed with Swiss cheese, mushrooms, and caramelized onions. A plethora of old-school sandwich options are served up, ranging from pulled pork sandwiches and tuna melts to signature Cubanos and banh mis. Extensive vegan options make the restaurant a great choice for diners with alternative diets, ranging from plant-based gyros and salisbury steak platters to dairy-free mac and cheese.
1947 N Farwell Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53202, Phone: 414-273-7677
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
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
10.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
© 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
12.Braise Restaurant & Culinary School
© Braise Restaurant & Culinary School
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
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
14.Odd Duck Restaurant
© Odd Duck Restaurant
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
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
16.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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17.Dream Dance Steak
© Dream Dance Steak
Dream Dance Steak is an award-winning steakhouse in Milwaukee that offers a variety of delicious steaks, succulent 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
Translating to ‘honest’ in Italian, Onesto is a casual eatery on North Broadway that serves classic Italian fare with a modern twist and an emphasis on fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Exuding a cozy and romantic atmosphere with stylish décor and soft lighting, the restaurant serves a creative menu of authentic fare such as housemade pasta with delicious toppings and sauces, wood-fired pizza, fresh salads and appetizers, hearty seafood and meat entrées, and decadent desserts. Dishes are paired an approachable wine list, and a craft cocktail menu, as well as craft beers and imported spirits, and guests can frequent the restaurant for lunch and dinner, Monday through Saturday and dinner only on Sundays.
221 N Broadway, Milwaukee, WI 53202, Phone: 414-308-1600
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Serving weekend brunch, lunch, and dinner, Swig is a warm and cozy restaurant that is an ideal spot for a first date or a celebration of love. Established in 2004 as Milwaukee’s first and only small plate dining restaurant, the eatery serves a menu of innovative cuisine prepared using fresh locally sourced ingredients and produce from regional farms, along with award-winning desserts, and an eclectic array of wines and champagnes. The restaurant boasts a comforting ambiance and lounge-like atmosphere with a roaring fireplace for winter dining and an outdoor patio for alfresco dining in the summer, where guests can enjoy an array of small and sharing plates, and Spanish-style tapas. Swig is open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week.
217 N Broadway, Milwaukee, WI 53202, Phone: 414-431-7944
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20.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 on a daily basis, 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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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
22.Le Reve Pâtisserie & Cafe
© Le Reve Pâtisserie & Café
Located in the Village of Wauwatosa, Le Rêve Patisserie and Café is a charming French café and bakery that serves breakfast, brunch, and dinner in a relaxed atmosphere. Set in a historical double-story bank building, the restaurant features a cozy dining space, full service bar, and bakery that produces fresh bread and flaky pastries daily. The café is also renowned for its traditional French bistro fare, which includes dishes such as pan-seared salmon with celeriac purée, and a warm bacon shallot vinaigrette, pan-seared scallops over manchego, chorizo and rock shrimp risotto, and cabernet braised duck leg and pan-roasted duck breast in a vin santo reduction. Le Rêve Patisserie and Café is available for private functions and parties and has a catering menu. Le Rêve Patisserie and Café is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Monday through Saturday.
7610 Harwood Ave, Wauwatosa, WI 53213, Phone: 414-778-3333
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© Good Kind
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 with the goal of 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
© Eddie’s Martinis
Eddie Martini's is an upscale chophouse set in a 1940s supper club-style venue that serves a menu of fresh seafood, prime steaks, and handcrafted cocktails. Hailed as one of Milwaukee's premier dining establishments, the restaurant serves a menu with a heavy emphasis on seafood, including dishes such as fresh platters of lobster, crab, oysters, shrimp, scallops, and mussels, escargot, and black and blue ahi tuna. Signature dishes include a blue crab cocktail made with fresh lump crab and aioli, spinach salad with spicy walnuts and crumbled cheddar cheese, and roasted duckling with a marmalade glaze and cherry pecan wild rice. Don’t miss the mouthwatering desserts like the rich banana cake filled with molten chocolate. Eddie Martini's is open for lunch and dinner, Monday through Friday, and dinner only on Saturdays.
8612 W Watertown Plank Rd, Wauwatosa, WI 53226, Phone: 414-771-6680
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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
25 Best Places to Visit in Milwaukee on a Date
- Tre Rivali Restaurant, Photo: Tre Rivali Restaurant
- Mason Street Grill, Photo: Mason Street Grill
- The Central Standard Craft Distillery, Photo: The Central Standard Craft Distillery
- Who’s on Third, Photo: Who’s on Third
- Bacchus, Photo: Bacchus
- The Thistle and Shamrock, Photo: The Thistle and Shamrock
- Comet Cafe, Photo: Comet Cafe
- Sanford, Photo: Sanford
- Centro, Photo: Centro
- Bartolotta's Lake Park Bistro, Photo: Bartolotta's Lake Park Bistro
- Crazy Water, Photo: Crazy Water
- Braise Restaurant & Culinary School, Photo: Braise Restaurant & Culinary School
- Zarletti, Photo: Zarletti
- Odd Duck Restaurant, Photo: Odd Duck Restaurant
- Tess, Photo: Tess
- Tenuta’s Italian Restaurant, Photo: Tenuta’s Italian Restaurant
- Dream Dance Steak, Photo: Dream Dance Steak
- Onesto, Photo: Onesto
- Swig, Photo: Swig
- The Pasta Tree Restaurant & Wine Bar, Photo: The Pasta Tree Restaurant & Wine Bar
- Ardent, Photo: Ardent
- Le Reve Pâtisserie & Cafe, Photo: Le Reve Pâtisserie & Café
- Good Kind, Photo: Good Kind
- Eddie’s Martinis, Photo: Eddie’s Martinis
- La Merenda, Photo: La Merenda
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of SeanPavonePhoto - Fotolia.com
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