3 Brothers is awesome! But I would watch your time as it does take a long time, well worth it though. I would also add Crocus at S. 13th and Ohio. Very old school Polish, great food, the last of a dying breed in Mllwaukee (only open for lunch on Wednesday). You also mentioned Italian. Tenuta's, 2900 S. Clement, nice relaxing atmosphere, sort of a neighborhood tavern feeling, great basic Italian food. Enjoy!
Packing house has a decent Sunday brunch. Roberts is decent. BUT - instead of going to a resteraunt, the Klemet's sausage outlet is nearby the airport. Bring a cooler. Offerings vary day to day, but this week they had the same hot dogs that a certain "high end web site that sponsers Rush" sells for $12 a lb. for $1 a lb. With teh web site's name on them. Picked up a giant boneless smoked turkey for $18 that literally fed 40 people at the holiday lunch today. Not everything there is a bargain, but worth looking.
There is also one of those moronic "cook your own steak" places nearby as well (I think it is still there- got caught in a blizzard there a couple of years ago and gave up and pulled into there as the first place I could pull into). Several "adult" establishments there as well - cannot give reviews of those.
re: g rote
Ooooh - I would arrange a layover at MKE airport just for that burek. It's fabulous! The goulash is really good, too, but the burek is the thing to order.
Important note, if your friends go - the burek takes 45 to 60 minutes to cook, so they should call from the airport to order it. Otherwise, they might be late for their outgoing plane. And bring the map from Google - I wouldn't necessarily expect every cab driver to be able to find this neighborhood eatery.
Three Brothers Bar & Restaurant
2414 S Saint Clair St, Milwaukee, WI 53207
I agree, Three Brothers is a better choice than everything else listed here. Excellent food. Unique, not every city has authentic food from the Balkans. After your meal, you can go just a couple blocks to either Palimino (bar/pub) or At Random (cocktail lounge) for an after dinner drink, both excellent choices.
There's Robert's Tavern and Sandwich Cuisine
4301 S. Howell Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53207
A century-old building that has been a tavern since 1902, craftsmanship prevails in both the architecture and the kitchen. The pair of daily homemade soups come from a repertoire of about 60 different recipes, where everything is done from scratch the old fashioned way. With a hearty bowl of soup under your belt, the next object of your attack should be one of almost two dozen sandwiches that fill the menu.
900 E. Layton Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53221
The menu has something for everyone's tastes whether you join them for lunch or dinner. The specialties include steaks like the award-winning Garlic Stuffed Filet and Steak au Poivre. You can also choose from many other varieties of entrees like their famous barbecue ribs and many excellent seafood dishes.
5067 S. Howell Ave.
Cudahy, WI 53110
A Mexican restaurant and bar featuring traditional cuisine and sophisticated regional menu items. All dishes are lard-free.
Jalapeño Loco specializes in Oaxacan food, including Chiles en Nogadas, Mole Oaxaqueño, Amarillito Oaxaqueño and much more.
A second for Jalapeno Loco. The moles are great. I've heard (since I've never ordered these myself) that the usual Mexican entrees are not that great. But I've had the black and the green moles and they are wonderful. And just to clarify, the recs immediately above are all right across from the airport property.