Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, was named after the Potawatomi word for firefly. The urban city has a small town feel and a European-style city center, lined with historic buildings and French bistros. Located just 15 minutes from downtown Milwaukee, Wauwatosa is the perfect place for your next weekend getaway. Read about the city’s ten best restaurants here.
Le Rêve is a traditional French bistro that opened in 2008 and quickly became well-known for cooking up excellent breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. Dinner at Le Rêve is an elegant affair – order an hors d’oeuvre of brie with crusty bread, local honey, and fresh-cracked pepper and follow with a dish like the steak au poivre, served with haricots verts in red wine black peppercorn sauce, or bouillabaisse, made with a seasonal seafood selection. The restaurant has a beautiful atmosphere, and is located in a century-old building that used to be a bank.
Rocket Baby offers breads, pastries, and sandwiches made from scratch every day. Locally sourced ingredients are used whenever possible to keep Wauwatosa sustainable. Stop in for breakfast and grab a coffee with your Breakfast in a Muffin, a muffin made with egg, bacon, cheddar, parsley, and stone-ground mustard. If you have some more time to spare, try some of the breakfast and lunch dishes like The Beetnik, a salad of roasted yellow and red beets, watercress, oranges, and citrus Greek yogurt dressing, or the Cider Boys Pork, a pulled pork sandwich with molasses BBQ sauce served on a potato bun. Daily specials are also served.
This seasonal restaurant serves authentic Hawaiian grub to the cold-weather folks in the northern Midwest. The menu includes traditional dishes like Kalua pig (Hawaiian pulled pork) and new fusion creations like the Chinese-style barbecued chicken, ahi tuna, or saimin (Hawaiian-style ramen). The restaurant even has a market, so if you like your dish, you can buy the ingredients to try it out at home. The deli also sells bento boxes for perfectly sized portions to-go.
Visit Ristorante Bartolotta for classy Northern Italian cuisine in a historic old Pabst brewery building. Opened in 1993, this restaurant has an intimate feel. The chef provides a traditional menu, which offers dishes like homemade pasta and a three-course chef’s menu that often changes to use the freshest, most seasonal ingredients. Try the spaghetti all’aragosta, handmade spaghetti served with sautéed spiny lobster in a spicy tomato-white wine sauce, or grigliata mistadi mare, a classic Tuscan dish of assorted grilled seafood – shrimp, scallops, calamari, baby octopus, and fish – prepared with spinach, lemon, and olive oil.
Restaurant, BBQ, South American, Cajun, Seafood, $$$
Maxie’s is the place to go to find Southern-inspired cuisine in the northern Midwest. Located south of Wauwatosa in Milwaukee’s city limits, the restaurant specializes in Creole and Cajun cooking, slow-smoked barbecue, and seafood. The walls of the interior are painted a bold red, and the vibe is often party-like – full of life, excitement, and fantastic smells. The menu is extensive comprising of East Coast oysters and Gulf shrimp, regional BBQ, sandwiches and snacks, ‘Soul-Stirrin’ Classics’ from the Deep South, and seafood. And that’s without even mentioning the drink menu.
Belair Cantina is a small chain of California-style Mexican cuisine. Known for their tacos and their tequila, the restaurant is a relaxed spot with a cool, SoCal vibe. The menu is extensive, offering a huge variety of tacos, enchiladas, burritos, and more. Veggie-lovers should try the soy chorizo taco, made with soy pieces, diced potatoes, avocado, and pico, or the ‘port-queso,’ made with portabella mushroom, queso fundido, black beans, radish, and chimichurri. Meat lovers will like the pollo Yucatan, made with grilled chicken marinated in achiote, piña salsa, and avocado salsa, or the Zihuatanejo shrimp taco made with shrimp, onion, tomato, jalapeño, cilantro, citrus slaw, and chipotle-ancho mayo.
Located just south of the city limits of Wauwatosa is Blue’s Egg, a brunch cafe serving their fare every day from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. With dishes as simple as two local eggs, buttermilk pancakes, and steel-cut oatmeal to the extravagant crispy shrimp, scallop, and calamari scramble or the ‘hoppel poppel’ – a dish of scrambled eggs, cream, zesty sausage, cherrywood bacon, caramelized onion, shredded potatoes, spinach, and hollandaise sauce – the menu has a variety of old favorites and new.
Café Bavaria is a German-themed bar and restaurant, with a fun environment in which to enjoy some German beers and cuisine. The menu includes sandwiches like the Yodler’s Choice, a choice of two of their specialty sausages served with lager cheese sauce or the Wiener Schnitzel, pork schnitzel, fried egg, sweet spicy relish, and sweet hot mustard on a potato roll. There are also plenty of appetizers, burgers, entrées, and desserts to keep you fed well enough to enjoy all the beers you want.
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Go back in time to the 1940s in this fine-dining restaurant with a retro theme. Serving ‘steaks, chops, and seafood,’ this eatery boasts superb, professional service, ready to take care of any question or worry and allow you to relax and enjoy your evening. Start with the crisp crab cakes, made with pickled tomato, Dijon aioli, and crispy prosciutto, for an appetizer. As your entrée, try the tender bone-in filet or the tasty, 16-ounce New York strip.
North Avenue Grill offers classic American diner food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and the kitchen uses local ingredients whenever possible. Along with daily specials, the restaurant has an all-day breakfast menu as well as a lunch and dinner menu, adding up to a huge amount of options with something everyone will love, all at an affordable price. The restaurant reopened under new management in 2013 and has been wowing customers with excellent food and service ever since.