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Best Restaurants in Milwaukee

restaurants in Milwaukee

Milwaukee is Wisconsin’s most bustling city, and it’s full of awesome places to eat! There are restaurants in the city serving everything from world cuisine to Midwestern traditions. If you’re looking for the very best places to eat, keep reading! Here are the best restaurants in Milwaukee.


If you’re looking for a great fine-dining experience in the city of Milwaukee, then Ardent is an interesting option. The restaurant has made a name for itself with its ever-rotating seasonal fare. The cuisine is New American, and it comes to diners via a variety of small plates. You can expect such delicacies as caviar and kohlrabi. Many of the ingredients that are utilized in Ardent’s dishes are sourced from Chef Justin Carlisle’s own family farm. All of these facts might make it seem like Ardent is an exceptionally fancy place that you’ll have to dress up in order to visit. However, the vibe when you’re eating at the restaurant is surprisingly laidback.

Speed Queen Bar-B-Q

Ardent is one of the best places to go in the city of Milwaukee for New American cuisine, but those that are in the mood for something more specifically Midwestern may be curious about Speed Queen Bar-B-Q. The Midwest is nearly as well known for it’s barbecue as the South. You’ll find some of the best Midwestern barbecue there is at Speed Queen Bar-B-Q, which has been a local staple since 1975.

A woman by the name of Betty Gillespie founded Speed Queen Bar-B-Q. Betty had already been selling her unique brand of Midwestern barbecue for decades before establishing the restaurant. Today, Speed Queen Bar-B-Q is watched over by Betty’s son. Betty is the eatery’s namesake Speed Queen, and the most popular thing on the menu is the pork shoulder. The meat is roasted over a big fire pit with an open flame. The barbecue sauce is exceptionally sweet, making for some seriously mouth-watering sandwiches.

The Diplomat

Like Ardent, the Diplomat is another Milwaukee restaurant that’s the perfect mix between highly rated and casual. Adventurous eaters can try the octopus, while others may opt for the Diplomac. The Diplomac is the Diplomat’s take on the Big Mac, and it aims to be the quintessential hamburger. The food is exquisite, but the atmosphere isn’t intimidating.

Glorioso’s Italian Market

Glorioso’s Italian Market has been a local favorite amongst Milwaukee residents for decades. The little Italian eatery and market first opened it’s doors in 1946. At the time, the location that the restaurant occupied was decidedly small. As more and more customers started coming in, it became apparent that a change of location was necessary.

Thankfully, the perfect location opened up just across the street! Today, Glorioso’s Italian Market may reside across the street from where it originally stood, but the food is imbued with the exact same Italian tradition as always. True to the name, Glorioso’s Italian Market is a market. However, it’s also a great place to grab a bite to eat! The sandwiches are always hearty, and oftentimes incredibly spicy.


We’ve taken a look at a couple of fine-dining establishments with a decidedly casual atmosphere, but there are also eateries in the city of Milwaukee that take their fine dining seriously. One of these is Sanford, which has been one of the preeminent names in the Milwaukee fine-dining scene since first opening up in 1989. Both the food and the atmosphere follow established fine-dining tradition. You’ll find such items as duck breast and foie gras on the menu, and the atmosphere is decidedly high-class. If you’re looking to impress someone, try making a reservation at Sanford!

Triciclo Peru

Triciclo Peru is an awesome Milwaukee joint offering up what many consider to be the city’s very best empanadas. If you’re interested in trying out a wide variety of tasty empanadas, this is the place to do it! There are also other Peruvian favorites on the menu, including ceviche. Ceviche is certainly an interesting dish, as it’s made from raw fish or shrimp. This raw fish or shrimp is marinated in citrus juices, and the chemical reaction that is caused is akin to cooking.

Triciclo Peru is a popular place to dine, but diners also have the option to buy packs of frozen empanadas and take them home. If you’re looking for Peruvian cuisine in the Milwaukee area, you won’t find anywhere better than Triciclo Peru!

San Giorgio Pizzeria Napoletana

San Giorgio Pizzeria Napoletana is a pizzeria that touts itself as offering the only true Neapolitan-style pizza in Milwaukee. Those that like Neapolitan pizza will certainly want to give this place a try. You can even sit at the bar and watch as your wood-fired Neapolitan pizza is cooked! If you’re looking for a pizza place that stays true to Italian tradition, then San Giorgio Pizzeria Napoletana may be the place for you.

Alem Ethiopian Village

If San Giorgio Pizzeria Napoletana holds claim to being the best destination in Milwaukee for tried-and-true Neapolitan pizza, then Alem Ethiopian Village can hold claim to being the Midwestern city’s best Ethiopian restaurant! Alem Ethiopian Village is an Ethiopian eatery with fare that can satisfy both vegans and omnivores alike. Meat-eaters will adore getting their hands on the kitfo, which is the Ethiopian equivalent of steak tartare. Meanwhile, those that are averse to meat can partake in the traditional variety of lentil dishes. One of the coolest things about Alem Ethiopian Village is the selection of imported African beers and wines. Pairing your meal with one of these exquisite imports will make your Ethiopian dining experience all the more authentic.

Dairyland Old-Fashioned Frozen Custard & Hamburgers

When it comes to Wisconsin, there are a few things that are considered culinary traditions. One of these things is the timeless paring of frozen custard and hamburgers! There are so many places for frozen custard and hamburgers in the city of Milwaukee that you could probably find two different ones sitting right next to each other. However, there’s one that stands above the others in the eyes of many locals, and that would be Dairyland Old-Fashioned Frozen Custard & Hamburgers. If you’re looking to get to the heart of one of Wisconsin’s oldest culinary traditions, pay this place a visit.

Clock Shadow Creamery

Besides frozen custard and hamburgers, another Wisconsin tradition is cheese curds! If you’re looking for a Milwaukee location that specializes in the beloved snack, then Clock Shadow Creamery might be your answer. Clock Shadow Creamery has some of the tastiest cheese curds you’re liable to find anywhere. If you’ve never had cheese curds before, this is the best place to start. If you’ve tried cheese curds before and you aren’t sure what all the fuss is about, you’ll know after you’ve tried the ones they serve here.

Guadalajara Restaurant

If you’re looking for reliable Mexican cuisine in the city of Milwaukee, then Guadalajara Restaurant has your back! This place is all about tradition, and most of the food you’ll find here is as homemade as can be. The restaurant’s signature dishes would be the menudo and pozole. However, you can’t go wrong with a plate of tacos!

Damascus Gate Restaurant

For those seeking out a great place to get some authentic Middle Eastern cuisine, let us divert your attention to Damascus Gate Restaurant. The restaurant has become renowned for it’s hummus and kababs, and it’s considered a local favorite amongst world-savvy Milwaukee residents.

Flour Girl & Flame

Flour Girl & Flame is another Milwaukee pizza place, and this one stands out for it’s exceptionally hot oven! The oven at Flour Girl & Flame is kept at a scorching-hot 900-degrees Fahrenheit, meaning that the pizza cooks fast– and the results are delectably charred. In addition to it’s unique method of cooking, Flour Girl & Flame also has some unique pizzas. There are even a few breakfast pizzas on the menu!

Odd Duck

Odd Duck is considered one of Milwaukee’s most popular restaurants. It’s semi-upscale, but the vibe is fun and upbeat. The food is exquisite, with the menu featuring such offerings as wood-fired octopus and lamb quesabirria.

The Vanguard

The Vanguard is a Milwaukee staple that’s known for it’s sausages. However, there are plenty of other forms of meat on the menu! The most popular item here would have to be the hot chicken sausage sandwich, though there are also plenty of interesting burgers on the menu. You’ll find pork belly being utilized liberally, and lots of cheese curds!

Twisted Plants

Twisted Plants is the last restaurant we’ll be looking at in this article, and it’s a vegan restaurant with marijuana-centric theming. The restaurant may appeal to potheads, but you don’t have to smoke in order to enjoy the interesting cuisine! The menu is filled with vegan burgers named after famous stoner movies, and they’re served with waffle fries.

Regardless of what you’re in the mood for, there are tons of great places to eat in the city of Milwaukee. Hopefully, this article helped you figure out which restaurant you’re going to try first! From the casual fine dining of Ardent to the vegan burgers of Twisted Plants, there are plenty of unique culinary experiences to be had in this bustling Midwestern city.