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Milwaukee, WI

I am going to Milwaukee, WI for a conference at Marquette University and I will be staying at nearby Ramada Inn.

I won't be having access to a car so will be relying on bus or taxi for short distances.

Any recommendations on places to go for lunch in the Marquette area?

And any recommendations for dinner near Ramada Inn or that are worthwhile taking a short taxi ride to?

I love french, asian, fusion, but am up for anything that is good in the area. Budget for dinner would be up to $20. Budget for lunch is up to $15ish.


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  1. If you're OK with kinda-fast food, Real Chili is a few blocks from campus. I haven't been there (yet), but it gets good reviews.

    Here's a thread from last summer asking a similar question:

    It's easy to catch a bus to downtown, where you'll have more choices - search this board for "downtown Milwaukee".

    And though it's not French, Asian, or Fusion, my favorite MKE restaurant is Mekato's Columbian Bakery and Cafe. You could FEAST for $20. There's a bus stop right in front (on 35th). I'm not sure of the logistics of getting to that bus from campus, but I'm sure it's possible. Otherwise, it's not far away, so a cab wouldn't be that pricy. Here's my rave review from this summer:


    Have a great time!


    3 Replies
    1. re: AnneInMpls

      For public transit information in and around Milwaukee, see www.ridemcts.com

      1. re: AnneInMpls

        Real Chili is fantastic. Go for thhe hot with all the fixings and add a little of the hot oil. Make sure a bathroom is reasonably handy afterwards, though (especially with the cheap 2nds)! :O

        1. re: mech_e

          It's not "real" chili... don't waste your time!
          Take a cab ride to the Milwaukee Public Market! It has EVERYTHING! and it's casual enough to walk around, shop and sit and eat at your leisure!
          Or head over to Old World 3rd St. to get some good Italian small plates at Tutto or a sausage and spaezel at Old German Beer Hall (Hofbrauhaus)

      2. Marquette, about 10 years ago, sort of took over their neighborhood did extensive real estate renovations. In the process, they wiped out a lot of the small restaurants and coffee shops, etc, that grow up around a campus. So, now, right on campus there isn't much. There is a Real Chili branch and a Dogg Haus (an attempt, not completely unsuccessful, to recreate Chicago style hot dogs in MIlw.)

        Miss Katie's diner is on Cylbourn and 19th st. Pretty good food, but nothing spectacular, strictly American. If you can get down the hill to St. Paul st. Sobelman's has great burgers.

        Likewise, the area where the Ramada is in downtown is a bit barren. The best bets would be to head east to either Water st. (1st street over the river, 8 or so blocks) and then north. There's a number of bars and restaurants. You might check Eagen's. Or turn south and head to the 3rd ward area (board search will give you plenty of results)

        Further east you can head north on Milwaukee st. I'd recommend Zarletti, but you don't indicate that Italian is what you'd want. Also in the 3rd ward there's Coquette Cafe. http://www.coquettecafe.com
        Busses run up and down WIsconsin Ave., in other words anything you catch on WIsconsin ave will run between 12 st and milwaukee, pretty much anything.

        1. The Ambassador Hotel on Wisconsin Ave has a good restaurant called Envoy. Give it a try. They refurbished the hotel and is is something to see.http://www.ambassadormilwaukee.com/de...
          Milwaukee Ave has a plethora of restaurants, so does Water Street . I'd walk around the Milwaukee Public Market and around that area. http://www.milwaukeepublicmarket.org/

          1 Reply
          1. re: Living4fun

            On Water Street, check out Eagan's Lobster BLT with Lemon Caper Sauce.

          2. Sobelman's pub and grill is near the campus and has a great burger:

            1 Reply
            1. re: keppy

              Sobelman's is pretty small and popular so it can get crowded. The burger is great, though, with a nice toasted bun (freshly baked). However don't get the signature burger if you don't like lots of stuff on your beef patty. It was delicious but the three kinds of cheese and bacon and jalapeno peppers definitely overpowers the taste of the beef. I'm fine with it, but I know others won't be.

            2. Sobelman's for sure. The only other place I can think of near Marquette is Coerper's 5 O'Clock Club which is the best steak house.... ever. You might be able to get buy on $20 but I'd wager it would be closer to 25-30. Worth every cent. I also second Coquette for french, its consistently very good.

              1. I'd suggest Louise's downtown location for fun Italian. Milwaukee old standbys would include Mader's for German food.

                1. Milwaukee restaurant and bar list

                  For more details, just Google a few of these places.

                  Downtown restaurants:

                  Mader’s, 1041 N. Old World 3rd St.; German, upscale

                  Karl Ratzsch’s, 320 E. Mason St.; German, upscale

                  Eagan’s, 1030 N. Water St.; upscale, known for seafood

                  The King & I, 830 N. Old World 3rd St.; Thai

                  Thai Palace, 838 N. Old World 3rd St.; Thai

                  Edgar’s Calypso, 628 N. Water St.; Caribbean

                  Tulip, 117 N. Jefferson St.; Turkish

                  Elsa’s on the Park, 833 N. Jefferson St.; perennial favorite, upscale cocktails and sandwiches

                  Aladdin, 202 W. Wisconsin Ave.; Middle Eastern, casual

                  Buca di Beppo, 1233 N. Van Buren St.; Italian, family-style

                  Usinger’s Sausage, 1030 N. Old World 3rd St., traditional German sausage retailer

                  The Spice House, 1031 N. Old World 3rd St., nationally renowned spice shop

                  Downtown bars:

                  John Hawk’s Pub, 100 E. Wisconsin Ave.; English pub, seating on the River Walk, food service

                  Water Street Brewery, 1101 N. Water St.; brewpub, good beer, food service

                  Trinity Three Irish Pubs, 125 E. Juneau Ave., Irish pub, food service

                  Old German Beer Hall, 1009 N. Old World 3rd St., German décor, beer and food

                  Milwaukee Brat House, 1013 N. Old World 3rd St., German décor, beer and food

                  Turner Hall, 1034 N. 4th St., German décor, beer and food, historic building, open weekends only

                  Buck Bradley’s, 1044 N. Old World 3rd St., longest bar in the city, food service

                  The Safe House, 779 N. Front St. (an alley off Wells St. at Water St.); Milwaukee’s favorite tourist bar since the 1970s; espionage theme; to enter you must say “I’m looking for a safe house.”

                  Brady Street restaurants:

                  Casablanca, 728 E. Brady St.; Middle Eastern

                  Mima’s, 1307 E. Brady St.; Italian, upscale

                  Cempazuchi, 1205 E. Brady St.; Mexican, upscale

                  Apollo Café, 1310 E. Brady St.; Greek, casual

                  Emperor of China, 1010 E. Brady St.; Chinese, very good pot stickers and orange beef

                  Peter Scortino’s Bakery, 1101 E. Brady St.; traditional Italian bakery

                  Brady Street bars:

                  Nomad World Pub, 1401 E. Brady St.; imports & microbrews, music

                  Up and Under, 1216 E. Brady St.; blues venue

                  Hi Hat Lounge, on Brady St. at Arlington Pl.; martini bar

                  Balzac, on Brady St. at Arlington Pl.; wine bar

                  Trocadero, 1758 N. Water St., one block north of Brady St.; French-themed bar and café; food service; parking can be difficult

                  East Side restaurants:

                  Palermo Villa, 2315 N. Murray Ave.; Italian

                  Ichiban, 2336 N. Farwell Ave.; Japanese, sushi and teppenyaki

                  Izumi’s, 2150 N. Prospect Ave.; Japanese, best sushi in town; in an historic art deco building

                  Maharaja, 1550 N. Farwell Ave.; Indian

                  Ethiopian Cottage, 1824 N. Farwell Ave.; Ethiopian

                  Good Life, 1935 N. Water St., Caribbean

                  East Side bars:

                  Paddy’s Pub, 2339 N. Murray Ave.; Irish pub; BEST BAR IN MILWAUKEE; gorgeous hand-built interior, unbelievable patio, music upstairs, great owners. No food service, but plenty of restaurants in neighborhood. One block north of Von Trier.

                  Von Trier, on E. North Ave. at Farwell Ave., traditional German interior, import beers, no food service

                  Hooligan’s, on E. North Ave. at Farwell Ave., popular pub, imports & microbrews, sandwiches served upstairs

                  Café Hollander, 2608 N. Downer Ave.; Dutch & Belgian themed café; mussels & fries; beet salad

                  3rd Ward and Walker’s Point restaurants:

                  Coquette Café, 316 N Milwaukee St.; French

                  La Merenda, 125 E. National Ave.; small-plate dining from around the world

                  Nanakusa, 408 E. Chicago St..; Japanese, upscale

                  Chez Jacques, 1022 S. 1st St.; authentic French, casual atmosphere

                  Crazy Water, 839 S. 2nd St.; upscale dishes in a tavern atmosphere

                  Conejito’s, on South 6th Street at Virginia St.; at the south end of the 6th Street Viaduct; authentic Mexican, perennially popular, very inexpensive, food served on paper plates, tavern atmosphere

                  3rd Ward bars:

                  Milwaukee Ale House, 233 N. Water St.; popular brewpub, seating on the River Walk, food service

                  The Wicked Hop, 345 N. Broadway; imports & microbrews, food service


                  Three Brothers, 2414 S. St. Clair St.; Serbian, nationally known; in Bayview neighborhood; difficult to find, print off Google map and directions

                  Jalapeño Loco, 5067 S. Howell Ave., across from airport; specializes in Mexican moles

                  Personal favorites:

                  Phan’s Garden, on National Ave. at 19th St.; authentic Vietnamese; cha gio (Vietnamese egg rolls), goi cuon (spring rolls), bo noung vi (grilled beef in rice papers), bahn xeo (Vietnamese omelet), pho, green papaya salad, cold beef salad, H8: curried chicken, K3: shrimp in coconut milk and lemon grass.

                  Thai BBQ, on National Ave. at 34th St.; Thai, good appetizers and curries. Try the Green Curry.

                  Paddy’s Pub, 2339 N. Murray Ave.; Irish pub; BEST BAR IN MILWAUKEE; gorgeous hand-built interior, unbelievable patio, music upstairs, great owners. No food service, but plenty of restaurants in neighborhood. One block north of Von Trier.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: carts2

                    thats a pretty extensive list, but there are definitely some things I would leave off as far as recommendations go, I'd sure hate to see someone end up going to three diablos rojos restaurants at the expense of missing something good. as far as best bar in milwaukee? i dunno....those sound like fightin words

                    1. re: carts2

                      How is that helpful? Plus, it left off the Riverfront Bistro on Erie!

                      1. re: carts2

                        wow. that's quite a list. am I right to assume that sausage/german is 'traditional' milwaukee fare? is there a classic place everyone goes to? more than one?

                          1. re: sarapeater

                            a kringle? do you mean the pastry ring things from Racine, WI? they are a flat breakfast pastry sometimes with icing on top and filled with fruit or nuts. My favorites are the pecan ones!

                            and yes, MKE has quite the German representation. Sausages and beer!

                            1. re: JenInTosa

                              I read about kringles on another thread. I'm guessing, yes, it's the pastry. thanks.

                      2. I would have to say, where is La perla? I believe anyone that comes to Milwaukee should ride the pepper! They even have a shuttle service from Marquette campus. Margaritas here I come!

                        1. I love Milwaukee-I lived there when I was student teaching. I lived on the East side, near the U of M, and getting around is really easy on the bus. We took the bus to the Y downtown, so it wasn't far. There's also some kind of a hop-on hop-off trolley for like a dollar some days, which is sort of fun in terms of getting acquainted with the downtown area, and for transportation.
                          I love love Authentic Thai Kitchen on Oakland Street. It's cheap, and good-and they have this amazing thing called volcano chicken. Get that and the curry and you should be a happy camper.
                          Next door is Oakland Gyros (with a door from the men's room that goes into the bar next door!) The gyros are good, but for some amazing food to go, try the athenian chicken with rice. It will last you for three days. Pizza Man is also good for Italian I think on the corner of Brady and Oakland? Don't quote me. They have amazing fried eggplant. For food to go there's this great organic place across the street from Pizza Man called Beans and Barley. It would be great to eat in or to take to go. Enjoy your time, and try to get out to the East side a little!

                          1. Alem Ethiopian Village has good Ethiopian food that can hold its own with that of cities with larger Ethiopian populations. I'd rate it as one of the top Ethiopian places I've tried. The menu is typical of Ethiopian restaurants, but with a few variations, like the tasty Filet Mignon Tibs. Good ingredients, too.

                            One of the better places to eat in Milwaukee that I've tried.

                            Alem Ethiopian Village
                            307 E. Wisconsin
                            Milwaukee, WI 53202
                            ph: 414-224-5324
                            alt: 414-243-1430

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: maigre

                              Silly question:

                              I'm going back to Milwaukee (where I grew up) this summer from New York. I pretty much have every meal planned.

                              Fish Fry at Lakefront Brewery
                              Coerper's, Kopp's, Sobelman's, Speed Queen for meats
                              Zaffiro's, Pizza Man for pizza (I've heard Pizza Man has improved- true?)
                              Branded at The Iron Horse (our hotel) for a romantic dinner

                              But I have one night where I'm getting taken out to dinner and I can't decide between Mader's or Mimma's. I've never been to either one. Bear in mind my wife (from Portland, OR) will be with me and I'm looking to give her the "Milwaukee experience."

                              1. re: pastoralia

                                It sounds to me like you've already got quite a bit of the "Milwaukee Experience" covered (even more so if you add a stop at Usinger's to shop for sausage to take home with you).

                                Between Mader's and Mimma's, Mader's is more "Milwaukee" than Mimma's. But personally I think that Mimma's has MUCH better Italian food than Mader's does German food.

                                One man's opinion.

                                1. re: Fydeaux

                                  Oh, I got Usinger's covered. My gma works there and send me sausages every year.

                                  The problem I have with Mimma's is it's Italian...and there's some pretty damn good Italian in Brooklyn/NYC.

                                  I'm thinking Mader's will be the choice...or maybe I should do that Serbian place in Bayview? Followed by drinks at At Random?

                                  1. re: pastoralia

                                    Having once lived in Rochester, I did not automatically assume that you would be visiting from NYC. And you're right: you have no shortage of excellent Italian where you live (although that alone should not rule out Mimma's as it compares quite favourably).

                                    That being said, I would pick Three Brothers (the Sebian place in Bayview) over Mader's. The food is superb; just expect to wait for it as everything is prepared fresh.

                                    Enjoy your visit.

                                    1. re: pastoralia

                                      Maders is really good, but Karl Raatch's is better. While you are in Mke. go to "Blue" it's a cocktail lounge on the top of the Pfister. All glass looking out at the lights at night is fantastic. also, if you like Mexican food La Fuente on 5th & National is the place to go (outdoor seating too).

                                      1. re: pastoralia

                                        You definitely won't find real pizza in Wisconsin. There are alot of good ones, but I have yet to find one that compares to real NYC pizza pie.

                                        1. re: caftpru

                                          Having grown up in Milwaukee and now living in New York...it's true there isn't a pizza like DiFara's in Milwaukee but it's also true you can't find a delicious thin crust pie like Zaffiro's in New York.

                                2. For a Milwaukee experience dinner, I would definitely go for 3 Brothers in Bay View. When we were being wooed to Milwaukee, 3 Brothers was key to our positive first impression to the city. Remember to bring cash, as they do not take credit cards!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. You can walk to downtown from Marquette. There are SO MANY great restaurants to pick from. Also the Milwuakee Public Market is a must for lunch. There are so many different vendors to pick from there. The St Paul Fish Company has the best fish sandwich I have ever had.

                                    1. If you like Sushi--Izumi's is the one & only place youwant to go--absolutely gorgeous presentation and wonderful quality sushi.

                                      1. Regarding the original post if you ever come back to visit i've been in milwaukee about 5yrs and have found so far that .... for authentic lao/thai food its only Vientiane for me. Its on 35th and national. A small mom and pop resteraunt that typically only laos folks dine at so you know the food is authentic. For pho (vietnamese soup) i only go to Phans garden on about 17th & national, best in the city (unless you know someone to make it home made for you)! Its nextdoor to the Lao temple and across the street from Pick n Save. For chinese it is hands down Fortune on highway 100 (aka 107th). I have there phone # in my cell its that good!

                                        For those of you from NY you are absolutely correct about the pizza in Milwaukee! Your definately not going to find a pie out here but there is good pizza. So far Neds pizza is favorite thin crust (located on 27th). Its paper thin and has a flavorful sauce. Not to mention the sausage topping is DElicious! For just reg pizza i only go to Marty's in brookfield. Its about 10 min west of milwaukee and so far the only pizza resteraunt that i can find a eatable antipato at.

                                        Bon Appetit!