Milwaukee's 10 Great Restaurants

Photo of Culture Trip
9 February 2017

Bursting with unique restaurants, there’s no shortage of tasty food in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Motorbike enthusiasts can dine at the world’s only Harley Davidson Museum, kids can sample dozens of flavors of frozen custard and for those that like a tipple there’s plenty a saloon bar to frequent. This is an updated version of Eating Out in Milwaukee: 10 Local Restaurants You Should Try bringing you even more fantastic restaurants.

Milwaukee Art Museum | © ThreeIfByBike

Swingin’ Door Exchange

The Swingin’ Door Exchange is a welcoming and cosy traditional saloon and eatery that draws upon Milwaukee’s Mid-Western cowboy heritage. In keeping with the theme, the food on offer here is classic American comfort food ideal for chilly winter days. Tuck into a bowl of chilli, chowder or soup and you’ll instantly be transported to a land of nostalgia and hearty home cooking. Small groups can order a variety of exchange plates to pick at between them whilst enjoying a beer; the mussels, onion rings, chili cheese fries and BBQ ribs are all great choices.

Swingin’ Door Exchange, 219 E Michigan Street, Milwaukee, WI, USA, +1 414 276 8150

Swingin Door Exchange
Image Courtesy of Swingin Door Exchange


Restaurant, Healthy, American, Gluten-free, $$$
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Having earned both local and regional acclaim for its farm-to-table dining etiquette, Braise is an exclusive, environmentally minded restaurant that provides its guests with sophisticated cuisine at affordable prices. The owner, David Swanson’s mission with Braise was to ‘reconnect people with food’ and he’s managed this by revolutionising our understanding of what it means to eat fresh. Each day the menu at Braise varies to take advantage of seasonal produce available and to allow the chefs to get creative in the kitchen imagining up brand new tantalising appetisers, main courses and desserts to woo the diners.


Providing patrons with a visual as well as a culinary feast, each dish at c.1880 is beautifully presented in a colourful and artistic manner. Serving contemporary American fine foods, the menu rotates with the seasons but generally includes a good selection of lamb, beef, rib and crab dishes, all of which are said to be among the best in the city. Those with a sweet tooth will absolutely love the ‘whatchamacallit’ dessert and wine aficionados won’t be disappointed by the wine selection on offer either. The industrial chic decor and impeccable service within the restaurant attracts a wide range of clientele and the fabulous flavours ensures that Milwaukee’s gourmands keep on coming back for more.

Image Courtesy of C. 1880

Distil Milwaukee

Famed for its tasty sharing plates of cheese and charcuterie, Distil Milwaukee is an upscale establishment that draws the crowds in with its artisan approach to food. The chefs here are constantly at work on new flavour combinations and innovative dishes and the bar men are similarly always working to ensure that the handcrafted, classic cocktails on offer remain among the best in the city. Of course as the name suggests, Distil also has over 100 varieties of whiskey on its menu to please even the most discerning of liquor lovers. The restaurant’s copper ceilings, wooden tables and carefully designed interior hark back to eras gone-by while the schedule of live music keeps the atmosphere lively and the locals rolling in.

© Distil Milwaukee

Glorioso’s Italian Market

Grocery Store, Italian, $$$
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Bringing home cooked, secret Italian family recipes to the city’s dwellers, Glorioso’s Italian Market has been feeding the Milwaukee masses since 1946. Both a deli and a restaurant, locals are welcome to stop by to tuck into a hot out of the oven pizza, a bowl of freshly made pasta or an assortment of tasty antipasti. For those that fall in love with Glorioso’s family flavours, there’s a wide selection of cheeses, wines, pasta, olive oils, imported meats and baked goods that can be purchased from the store and taken home. Pizza making, wine tasting and coffee tasting classes are also held regularly at Glorioso’s, check out the events page on the website to find out when the next one will be.

Kopp’s Frozen Custard Stand

Forget ice cream or fro-yo, frozen custard is what’s got everyone talking in Milwaukee. Each day there are different flavours to try at Kopp’s Frozen Custard Stand and true Kopp’s fans can sign up to receive an email alert whenever one of their favourite flavours is being featured. Time it right and try the strawberry rhubarb pie sundae consisting of three scoops of vanilla custard, French pastry, a tart strawberry rhubarb, dollops of fresh homemade whipped cream, rich streusel crumbles and topped with a fresh strawberry. Aside from frozen custard delights, Kopp’s also makes juicy jumbo burgers for those after a savoury bite before the cold stuff comes out. Choose between a hamburger, cheeseburger, chicken burger or fish burger and enjoy with a side of fries or onion rings and a choice of toppings – but save room for dessert.

Kopp’s Frozen Custard Stand, 7631 W Layton Avenue, Greenfield, Milwaukee, WI, USA, +1 414 282 4080

Motor Restaurant

Situated within the walls of the world’s only Harley Davidson Museum, the Motor Restaurant is the eatery of choice to enjoy a brew and a burger after a morning or afternoon spent admiring the 450 iconic motorbikes on display. The food here is all-American classics in keeping with the theme of the museum and the beers are brewed locally at Lakefront Brewery. Giving locals a reason to keep on returning, the specials change monthly but it is the stuffed motor burger which continues to be the most popular on the menu. Overlooking the Milwaukee riverfront, the Motor Restaurant reflects the legendary style of the Harley Davidson estate.

Sandford Restaurant

Diner, Restaurant, American, $$$
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Describing its cuisine as ‘modern ethnic’ the chefs at Sandford Restaurant source inspiration for their menu from sampling a variety of traditional dishes during their travels. A fine dining establishment perfect for a celebratory meal, guests can enjoy a special four-course exploration menu on weekday evenings which will be themed to a certain geographical region or culture. For something even more special, there is also a seven-course surprise tasting menu available Monday to Friday if requested at the time of reservation. Sandford Restaurant supports local farmers and artisans wherever possible and as such the menu changes here not only with the seasons but daily, to make the most of the farmer’s bounty each day. Said to be one of the best restaurants in the whole of the Midwest, Sandford also has an impressive wine cellar and cocktail menu.

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Sobelmans Pub and Grill

Bar, Restaurant, Pub, American, $$$
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Sobelmans Pub and Grill instantly became one of the most famous eateries in Milwaukee after the picture of its Bloody Mary cheeseburger circulated the globe. Oozing with cheese, this meaty, uniquely flavoured burger remains one of the restaurant’s best-selling dishes today. Run by husband and wife duo, Sobelmans has been voted Milwaukee’s Best Burgers & Bloodies on several occasions due to its innovative flavours and generous portions. The laid-back restaurant is a great spot for casual, no-frills dining and the variety of appetisers, sandwiches and famed burgers on offer is almost endless and sure to have something to please everyone.

The Anchorage

Setting the standard for fine seafood dining in the city, The Anchorage has the freshest fish and seafood flown in from all three coasts ensuring that its guests are served only the most delicious of dishes. The red snapper soup with sherry and The Anchorage scallops are firm favourites among locals and the daily specials are always extremely good choices. Set on the banks of the Milwaukee River, guests can enjoy beautiful panoramas from the patio during the summer months. Open also for breakfast, both the a la carte and buffet options are impeccable value and very convenient for guests staying at the Hilton River next door.

The Anchorage, 4700 North Port Washington Road, Milwaukee, WI, USA, +1 414 962 4710