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Milwaukee fine dining

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As a surprise for our three month wedding anniversary (woo hoo a full quarter !) i want to surprise my husband with a great dinner somewhere in Milwaukee.

Anyone with some standout recommendations? We are not picky and will eat everything. Would be happy to spend up to $300.

Thanks!

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  1. Sanford. It's the best restaurant in Milwaukee and one of the best in the Midwest - perfect for your special occasion. www.sanfordrestaurant.com

    Congratulations! With this for your three month anniversary, I bet you're going to have many, many great anniversary dinners over the coming years! :)

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    Sanford Restaurant
    1547 N Jackson St, Milwaukee, WI 53202

    1. First of all, congratulations!

      Secondly, Sanford is an excellent restaurant but locals would debate if it is "the best". Some would claim Carnevor is "the best" and even some would say the tasting menu at Dream Dance is "the best" I love all three but they are very different. Are you looking for a certain type of cuisine? A specific atmosphere? Do you want something formal? More laid back?

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      Carnevor
      724 N Milwaukee St, Milwaukee, WI 53202

      2 Replies
      1. re: Fowler

        Well hoping for a fine dining experience. But above atmosphere I think we'd appreciate delicious well-executed food.

        I think that we just might try Sanford (as another couple suggested it as well) and try Carnevor for my birthday :)

        Thank you!

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        Carnevor
        724 N Milwaukee St, Milwaukee, WI 53202

        1. re: Fowler

          Since you're looking for a fine dining experience and delicious well-executed food, Sanford is the first place I'd recommend, absolutely.

          In addition to enjoying outstanding meals at Sanford myself, I've heard at least twenty different people familiar with the restaurant scene in Milwaukee refer to it as "the best in town". You are the first person I have ever heard make that claim for Carnevor or Dream Dance Steak, which last year changed its name (from Dream Dance) and abandoned its fine-dining format including the tasting menu you mention. (The only place I have heard a few others claim belongs close to the top with Sanford is Lake Park Bistro.)

          Every year the restaurant critic of the Journal-Sentinel, the big newspaper in town, writes an article on the top 30 restaurants in the Milwaukee area. This year's article should be out in the next week or two. In the meantime, you can look at the most recent article on their website. It says, "People sometimes ask me which is Milwaukee's best restaurant. This is it." www.jsonline.com/features/dining/1025...

        2. Sanford is excellent. You may also want to consider Lake Park Bistro if you like French food. It's a great atmosphere. http://www.lakeparkbistro.com/

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          Bartolotta's Lake Park Bistro
          3133 E. Newberry Blvd, Milwaukee, WI 53221

          1 Reply
          1. re: forrestg1

            I've never been to Sanford, but it looks amazing! I just wanted to add that my husband and I have been to Lake Park Bistro several times and it really is wonderful -- great view, too, if you can score a table overlooking Lake Michigan.

            And ginkonut, I know this is off-topic, but if you are also searching for another place for your birthday, and are OK with a more casual atmosphere, I loved Roots. Great view there, too . Sorry! Couldn't help adding my 2 cents!

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            Bartolotta's Lake Park Bistro
            3133 E. Newberry Blvd, Milwaukee, WI 53221

          2. I will give you another vote for Sanford and point out that they do a surprise tasting menu M-F that is a really great experience.

            1. Adding to the chorus for Sanford. I also have to say that the atmosphere at Carnevor is not what you are likely looking for. I just don't think it is anywhere near the caliber restaurant as Sanford or Lake Park Bistro. Enjoy!

              For your birthday, if you are looking for something more casual but with really good food, try some of the new spots on the South Side in Bay View. Pastiche is wonderful. also, not new but lovely is Crazy Water in Walker's Point. Enjoy!!

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              Crazy Water
              839 S 2nd St, Milwaukee, WI 53204

              Carnevor
              724 N Milwaukee St, Milwaukee, WI 53202

              2 Replies
              1. re: rjlebed

                I'll chime in with another resounding vote for Sanford. Elegant high end dining with impeccable service and outstanding food at a premium price point.
                I would also throw in The Hinterland Erie Street Gastropub as being an excellent choice for a high end dining experience in a casual atmosphere. The main dining room has not failed us with superior service and fantastic creative menu.
                http://www.hinterlandbeer.com/restaur...

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

                1. re: Living4fun

                  >> not new but lovely is Crazy Water in Walker's Point.

                  >> I would also throw in The Hinterland Erie Street Gastropub

                  What's funny is that I ate at both Crazy Water and Hinterland on consecutive nights on the same trip to Milwaukee late last year. I enjoyed both of them, but they were very different. Crazy Water is very, very casual, kind of a neighborhood bistro kind of place, with good food. More of a neighborhood-y type place, not so much a destination restaurant. L4f's description of Hinterland is excellent - it has the excellent service, creative food, and atmosphere of a high-end restaurant, yet it also has a casual vibe to it. You walk in the entrance and see the dark contemporary decor of the gastropub-looking bar, and it's sort of an eye-opener to walk up the few steps to see the upscale dining room of the restaurant. Sanford is still much more of a fine dining experience than either one and outstanding in every way, but I agree that the other two are also worth considering when looking for a more casual experience (slightly more casual for Hinterland, much more casual for Crazy Water).

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

                  Crazy Water
                  839 S 2nd St, Milwaukee, WI 53204

              2. Sanford has been on my bucket list for years. I can't believe I haven't been there, it just seems to demand a certain level of celebration that we keep missing.

                I've been to Crazy Water twice and it's lovely. Kind of East Coast-y with surprising and delicious food. Definitely casual as other posters mentioned.

                I was not impressed with Carnevor. In fact, we went there for my birthday several years ago and left before ordering. The name fits; it is a meat-market.

                Roots is wonderful. I've been there many times. Similar to Crazy Water in its adventurous menu, but more upscale atmosphere (upstairs). Also has the best brunch in Milwaukee.

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                Crazy Water
                839 S 2nd St, Milwaukee, WI 53204

                Carnevor
                724 N Milwaukee St, Milwaukee, WI 53202

                3 Replies
                1. re: lolablitz

                  I once suprised my sister and took her to the finest restaurant in Toronto for absolutely no occasion. We had the best night because of the spontaneity. The best reason is no reason :)

                  Thanks to everyone on this list- Im moving there in a few months so it is good to get a bunch of places to try!

                  1. re: ginkonut

                    Oh dear....that will have you moving to Milwaukee in winter, when it can be said rightfully that we are not at our best. Please post again when you get here, and we'll do the best we can to ease at least the gustatory transition.

                    1. re: ginkonut

                      Here is the journal/sentinel's most recent top 30 restaurants, published today 9/16

                      http://www.jsonline.com/entertainment...