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Jun 15, 2008 11:39 AM

Milwaukee dntwn June 19-24 -- reccomendations?


I've been caregiving for my mother 24/7 (she's in hospice) and am getting a 5 night break -- decided to hit Milwaukee because of a positive experience there several years ago. I'm staying near downtown (Ambassador Hotel) and need recommendations for great places to eat. My only restriction is not too expensive (which I guess I would put at over $40 per meal), just great food, will consider anything but am especially interested in places are unique, I love ethnic food, and also would love a great pizza place -- I had a stuffed pizza the last time I was there that was heavenly but don't remember where. Vegetarian-oriented places appreciated as well as more meat-oriented restaurants. Fancy, casual, doesn't matter, all ideas welcome, as long as the food is great.

Also important to me is good service -- I've eaten alone as a single woman and tip well and appreciate places that recognize that every table should be treated the same. (Along those lines, a romantic place with lots of couples would probably be a bit awkward).

I'm heading up to Cedarburg for a day, too, so if you can recommend a nice place for lunch there I'd appreciate that.

Finally, does anyone know about the Polish Festival's food? I understand it's that weekend -- I know nothing about Polish food but if it's worth trying, please give me some suggestions on what to try.

Many,many thanks!!

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  1. Three brothers is a great ethnic restaurant that I'd suggest.

    Polish festival is great to sample things that you have never tried. Walk around enjoy the festival grounds right on the lakefront and sample variety plates from any of the vendors. Potato pancakes, pierogi's to name a few that should be tried.

    You really can do well in Milwaukee if your budget is $40 and under. There is The Hinterland in the Third Ward, an European Gastropub concept , with an emphasis on seafood and local items.

    The Transfer on the border of the Fifth Ward and Bay View has unique pizzas and pasta,Transfer Pizzeria Café, 101 W. Mitchell St.

    Three Brothers Bar & Restaurant
    2414 S Saint Clair St, Milwaukee, WI 53207

    Hinterland Erie Street Gastropub
    222 E Erie Street, Suite 100, Milwaukee, WI 53202

    1. The Ambassador is great! There's not much, great food-wise, in the immediate area (see ), but downtown is close.

      I second the Three Brothers for Serbian food in a very cozy atmosphere. I'd recommend the spinach burek, but it's huge - it feeds two very hungry people - but maybe you'd be OK with leftovers (if there's a fridge in your hotel room). The goulash is very good, too. I've never eaten there as a solo diner, but the servers are great, so I'm guessing they would treat you well.

      If Bombay Sweets is still around, it's a good option for vegetarian Indian food. It's very cheap and very, very casual (order at the counter, food on disposable plates, etc.), but tasty food.

      Have a great time, and pamper yourself! You deserve it.


      Bombay Sweets
      19555 W Bluemound Rd Ste 36, Brookfield, WI 53045

      Bombay Sweet
      3401 S 13th St, Milwaukee, WI 53215

      1. I have to (or is that get to?) travel to the Waukesha?pewaukee area for business several times per year. I've struck out on anything decent that far west, and have turned my attention eastward. I've liked Roots, a "slow food type" of place. For Mexican, I've liked Cempazuchi (particularly the margaritas). Although it can be a little gimmicky, the food at Crazy Water is pretty good. And I agree with the other posters regarding Three Brothers. And the Public market is worth a visit.

        For the opposite kind of pizza (ultra thin crust), try Zaffiro's.

        And, if you want fish fry on Friday, Lakefront Brewery.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Brad Ballinger

          Thanks to all, I'm looking up the provided links and making notes!

          I don't intend to stick right around the hotel; I'll probably be downtown more and along the lakefront, so the more eastern locations are good.

          Thanks again!

          1. re: springfever

            For organic and vegetarian (though not exclusively vegetarian, you might want to give these two a try.

            Both on the strip of bars and restaurants on North Ave on the East Side. Pizza Man across the street from them both has good pizza, but it'll be a mobbed on the weekend.

            The only stuffed pizza I know of is Edwardo's downtown.

            Likewise, on that strip is Elliot's Bistro - menu is French. I've had some really fine meals there, but also some preparations that aren't usual, so if you go, ask your server. The room is a fun space, service good. If the place is crowded you can eat at the bar.


            I hope you have a great time.

        2. The Ambassador is close to Miss Katie's Diner -- which is our favorite place for breakfast when we're back in town.

          Water Buffalo in the Third Ward has terrific sandwiches at lunchtime. You can eat at the bar and have a great view of the river and River Walk. Or if the weather's nice, they have a great deck.

          As for Cedarburg, we love Morton's Wisconsin Inn -- I highly recommend it. Really good soups. Never have had a bad meal there. It's a block off of the shopping street

          1. I'm sorry about the reasons for your visit (and unfortunately am heading to Milwaukee on Tuesday for about the same thing, so I understand), but it is a great friendly town and you should have fun & get away from it all. I'd also add Trocodero, and although it gets mixed reviews, a table on the window at Coast on a nice day is really quite wonderful. Elsa's on the Park is nice, and you really shouldn't miss at least a drink at Mader's or Karl Ratzsch's for that old German atmosphere. I love Coquette Cafe, and again, if you get nice weather, it's fun to sit on the patio at The Harp on Juneau on the river & enjoy a brat (not Milwaukee's best, but the setting makes up for it) & a beer. Other than that, I highly suggest eating at the bar anyplace there is bar seating - you'll have someone to talk to, get great recommendations, and usually excellent service. Only drawback is that smoking is allowed at a lot of bars in MKE, so if that makes you crazy... otherwise, relax and make friends.

            1 Reply
            1. re: torta basilica

              Thanks for continued suggestions! I got in last night and made a beeline for the lake before just having a sandwich from Cafe Deco for dinner, but tonight I'm trying to pick from all great ideas. Pizza is a must-have while I'm here but that's the only definite thing on my list. I think I'm just going to take my notes and stick them in my purse, and pull them out when I see exactly where I am come dinner time!

              torta, sorry you're facing the same kind of situation. Difficult times but a blessing to be part of it.

              Thanks again, everyone. I'll be here until Tuesday so any further recommendations will get considered!