I will be visiting Milwaukee in a couple weeks with my wife and 23 year old son. We will be staying near Marquette University. I am looking for a restaurant that has interesting food, not stuffy, and where we can experience the character of Milwaukee.
We are looking for something more than good Pub food.
Just to orient you... Marquette is just west of downtown Milwaukee. Downtown has the longtime German stalwarts like Mader's and Karl Ratzsch's, as well as a bunch of steakhouses, while many of the newer interesting restaurants in Milwaukee are clustered in three areas right next to downtown. East Town, which is northeast of downtown, has some of the finest restaurants in Milwaukee, including Sanford and Lake Park Bistro. The Historic Third Ward is just south of that (south of I-794) and is home to the Milwaukee Public Market - perhaps the best place of all to "experience the character of Milwaukee" - as well as interesting places like Hinterland, a combination brewpub and upscale restaurant. Walkers Point is south of downtown (southwest of the third ward) and is home to Crazy Water, with outstanding food in a publike atmosphere, and Braise, which I haven't been to.
Just west of Marquette is the Ambassador Hotel. I love the Sunday brunch at Envoy, the restaurant in the hotel; all the food is prepared to order but it's a fixed price and you can order whatever you want (even though they don't call it "all you can eat", that's basically what it is).
Finally, the food writer in the local newspaper does two articles every year that you will find extremely helpful. The first is the "top 30 restaurants in town":
Carol Deptolla's Top 30 restaurants blend the flavors of old and new - www.jsonline.com/entertainment/dining...
And the second is more along the lines of cheap eats, but still distinctive and worth checking out; its recommendations include Blue's Egg (perhaps the best place in town for breakfast - www.bluesegg.com ) and Kopp's (for frozen custard - www.kopps.com ):
Carol Deptolla's 20 Good Eats in Milwaukee - www.jsonline.com/entertainment/dining...