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Sunday night anniversary dinner in Milwaukee

My husband and I are driving up from Chicago for a one night stay in Milwaukee. We are staying at the Intercontinental, arriving on the late side (no earlier than 6pm) and looking for somewhere special to have dinner. The catch is that it is a Sunday night, which removes a great many of the restaurants I have looked at in previous threads. No Sanford, no Coquette Cafe, no Hinterland. Not to mention just about everything else on the much discussed Milwaukee top 30 list. So we are left with, I think, a choice between Lake Park Bistro, Crazy Water, or the cellar family style dinner at Roots. From what I understand, those are in descending order of price/fanciness, correct? We don't need fancy, but we do hope for a memorable, somewhat romantic (not super loud/bar) atmosphere, and more importantly, great food. Which of those would you all recommend most highly? Are there any other places open on a Sunday that we are missing?

We came up for our anniversary 2 years ago and stayed at the Iron Horse, ate at Smyth, and didn't really explore any of the rest of the area. It was great, we loved it there, but we want to explore further this time. Since we are arriving on the late side (probably not until 7pm or so), we are also looking for places to grab drinks after dinner, as we will want to stay out late and make the most of our limited time away from the kids. Any Sunday late night tips? Especially (but not limited to) downtown by the Intercontinental hotel? We are open to any kind of bar but would probably prefer to avoid a meat market or frat bar kind of vibe. Places I have seen mentioned as at least open are Balzac, Jackalope, and Mo's Irish Pub.

And finally (I know, this is a long post), any places that do a Monday breakfast/brunch/lunch that we should think about? Any and all info. would be most appreciated, thanks!

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

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

Mo's Irish Pub
142 W Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53203

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  1. >> So we are left with, I think, a choice between Lake Park Bistro, Crazy Water, or the cellar family style dinner at Roots. From what I understand, those are in descending order of price/fanciness, correct?

    I have not been to Lake Park Bistro, but I have heard only good things, which make me believe it's appropriate for a special occasion. I've been to Crazy Water, and I thought it was quite good, but I wouldn't choose it for an anniversary dinner. It's very casual with a vibe sort of like a funky neighborhood bar. Places here in Chicago that it reminds me of include Lula and Twisted Spoke, if that helps.

    >> And finally (I know, this is a long post), any places that do a Monday breakfast/brunch/lunch that we should think about?

    I don't really know about breakfast/brunch places downtown. When I've eaten breakfast/brunch in Milwaukee, for whatever reason, I've always been west of downtown, at places like Envoy in the Ambassador Hotel on the other side of the Marquette campus from downtown, Le Reve in Wauwatosa, and Nora B's in Elk Grove. All good places, but I assume you're looking for places downtown. As for lunch, And I recently had lunch at Port of Call and enjoyed it; I especially recommend it for the view of the river. If the weather's nice, sit outside on the deck overlooking the river. It's right around the block from the Intercontinental. I know Kil@Wat is right inside the Intercontinental; I haven't eaten there, but I've heard interesting things, and they're open for breakfast, lunch, and brunch. And Coquette Cafe is open for lunch on Mondays.

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    Coquette Cafe
    316 N Milwaukee St, Milwaukee, WI 53202

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

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

    Envoy Restaurant & Lounge
    2308 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53233

    Le Reve Patisserie & Cafe
    7610 Harwood Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53213

    Kil@Wat
    139 East Kilbourn Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53202

    Port of Call
    106 W Wells St, Milwaukee, WI 53203

    Nora B's
    890 Elm Grove Rd, Elm Grove, WI 53122

    2 Replies
    1. re: nsxtasy

      "and Nora B's in Elk Grove"

      Since the poster is from out of town I do not want her to be confused. Nora B's is in ELM Grove, not ELK Grove. Elm Grove is a suburb of Milwaukee. Elk Grove is about 150 miles west of Milwaukee.

      1. re: Sailing77

        Oops - sorry, and I appreciate the correction!

    2. Going to Crazy Water tonight, Thursday. 5 People from 23 years to 84. Will let you know.

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

      1. Depending on your timing, Chez Jacque, is just south of the downtown area and is a favourite birthday & anniversary spot for Mrs Fy & me. But they only serve until 8:00 on Sunday. It would be well worth a call to see if they can accommodate you.

        As for breakfast/brunch on Monday, it's a good bit west of downtown, but Blue's Egg is excellent.

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        Chez Jacques
        1022 S 1st St, Milwaukee, WI 53204

        Blue's Egg
        317 N 76th St, Milwaukee, WI 53213

        1. I like all 3 of your dinner choices, but Lake Park would be my choice as far as being anniversary worthy. I would ask to sit at a lakeside window.
          However, I love the atmosphere at Roots—so if the family style supper menu that night happens to be incredibly delicious sounding to you, you could try it knowing it will be more casual. I haven’t eaten at Crazy Water in a few years, I recall great food, but it being loud, cramped, and hot in the restaurant...so the atmosphere is what turns me off for a special date.

          Some after dinner date-worthy drinking spots…
          Balzac that you mentioned would be a nice place (esp. if you enjoy wine) after dinner. Hi-Hat across the street as well. It can be crowded on the weekends, but otherwise it’s usually pretty chill and dimly lit…good place for drinks on a date.

          I think getting closer to your hotel, more places (that you’d actually want to go) will be closed on Sundays…but there are some notable hotel bars that would be nice for drinks—Hotel Metro and Blu at the top of the Pfister

          And speaking of hotels, the Intercontinental’s lobby bar is actually quite nice and the brunch and dinner I have had at Kilawat were both very good (despite some mixed reviews I’ve heard of the restaurant), so I would give that consideration for the morning. I also really like the Waterfront Deli for lunch which is by your hotel.

          Might as well touch base on the other places you mentioned. While I’m partial to County Clare as far as Irish Pubs go, Mo’s Irish Pub is really a fine bar to go if you just want a generic Irish Pub. I doubt it would be meat-markety or college filled on a Sunday, unless of course they have some crazy cheap drink special going.

          Jackalope is a cool place too. If you enjoy Belgian Beers, that new Cafe Benelux across the street from Jackalope could be another stop for drinks. (It's been discussed on the board that the food and service at Benelux is underwhelming, but for drinks it should be just fine and it's a cool place.)

          Whatever you do...hope it is wonderful!

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

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

          County Clare
          Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI 53202

          1. Here are my impressions of our meal at Crazy Water last night. Once again we are 5 people in a wide range of ages, but all have spent a lot of time and cash eating well. All have spent varying degrees of time overseas and have a wide range of pallates.

            Arrived at 1845 hrs with reservations. Sat at a table that was actually designed for 5 people. The waitress ( yes, I am that old), sorry, server, was attentive, was knowledgeable on the components of the dishes, not just the specials. Silverware was clean, and she introduced herself while providing our waters. Sharp.

            Half a dozen people noshing at the bar, the house was about 60% full at any given time. If the weather holds, I would recommend the patio for the chance of a more intimate experience.

            Yeah, but for me it is all about the food. My sister ordered a Argentinean Malbec and then the lingonberrry tarte and butternut squash soup followed. Since they are sharers and everybody has to agree on the apps, I was outvoted on the figs. I am returning on my own. There was no problem providing additional plates and silverware.

            Main course was scallops, chicken, and specials of grouper and veal. The birthday girl, my sister, was about to order another bottle of red. "I know it should be white wine, but it's my birthday." I said I would pay for the wine and had the vouvray. Among the least expensive, but everybody agreed it went well with the food.

            Mom finally got me to try her scallop. Perfect. Tasted like scallop and the sea. Perfect texture. Not stamped from a ray or halibut. Being from Florida, I rarely order grouper (Chinese catfish?). It looked like grouper and was again perfectly cooked. Portion size was large for this price bracket. My veal with brown butter was tender, flavorful, and definately not baby beef soaked in milk. The butter was browned, not burned. The chicken off the menu was declared a winner by my niece.

            My sister received a chocolate cupcake with a fudge center and a candle in celebration. The four chocoholics declared it worth ordering.

            All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed myself as did everybody else. We spent about $125 in wine, and $175 in food. Service was wonderful. Dishware was cleared as appropriate. Can't talk about the deserts as we had cheesecake waiting at the house. Good value for the money. The Barlotta chain of restaurants is well respected and a notch up. I fit in well with the atmosphere at Crazy Water. A tad loud in the bar area, so go for the back porch if possible. As it was, we never had to raise our voices to carry on a conversation, even being in the room next to the bar.

            Based on the recommendations posted above, I trust you will enjoy your dining in Milwaukee no matter where you decide to go.

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