Best Restaurants

Out of all the restaurants in a city, 10Best narrows the options to those places with the most appeal and the best reputations. We offer carefully vetted selections to let you explore Milwaukee dining on your own. If time is really tight, though, and you don't have the leisure to look through all our offerings, we present our Milwaukee Best Restaurants list. Here, we distill the best businesses down to a special selection of ten. These places promise a stellar experience and a taste of the city that you just can't miss.

7 Mo's — A Place For Steaks
One of Milwaukee's best restaurants, Mo's concentrates on fine steaks and wine, and excellent service. If you're with a group, the huge seafood platter is the way to start, otherwise, shrimp cocktail and crab cakes are good. The signature steak is a 24-oz bone-in rib eye, but you'll do well with any of the steaks or ribs. Veal and fish are well prepared, too. A la carte sides include various tasty potato dishes, asparagus and other vegetables, and onion rings. Desserts are worth saving room for, especially the chocolate bread pudding and the ice cream drinks for grown-ups. Excellent and lengthy list of mostly California wines to suit any palate. Reservations essential on weekends, recommended at all other times. (414-272-0720)

6 Louise's Trattoria
Power lunching business people make up the lunchtime crowd at Louise's, but the serene interior and patio overlooking Cathedral Square makes the restaurant popular for dates as well. The menu is California-influenced Italian, with pastas, salads, and wonderful gourmet pizzas. Standouts include chicken piccata, cioppino, baked lasagna, pappardelle with Italian sausage, and penne with asparagus, sun-dried tomatoes and mushrooms in a pesto sauce. Service is attentive but unintrusive. (414-273-4224)

5 Il Mito
Just short drive from Milwaukee, Il Mito's well-liked chef-owner is intent on pleasing his patrons. Eclectic Italian-Californian cuisine is calculated to satisfy not only taste buds, but budgets as well. Menu favorites include linguine with mozzarella-stuffed veal meatballs, and risotto with shrimp and asparagus. Also recommended is prosciutto-wrapped pork tenderloin with sage, smoked provolone, and peppercorn pasta in a light and lemony white wine sauce. This place gets packed, so arrive early and relax at the bar. (414-443-1414)

4 Mader's German Restaurant
Since 1902, Mader's has offered the folks of Milwaukee wonderful traditional German food. The menu features all the specialties — schnitzels, sauerbraten with gingersnap sauce, a near-legendary pork shank, Hungarian goulash, brats, and more. Meat lovers will be in their element! There's even a sampler platter for the indecisive. Accompaniments include sauerkraut, spaetzel, dumplings, red cabbage, hot German potato salad, and hundreds of beers. Don't miss the German chocolate cake for dessert. Mader's is also the largest Hummel store in the US. (414-271-3377)

3 The Pines at Bristlecone
Located in the clubhouse of the Bristlecone Pines Golf Course, The Pines overlooks the golf course and surrounding area. With white tablecloths and such a beautiful view, the ambiance is elegant and peaceful. The creative New American menu favors unusual yet flavorful combinations, such as the pistachio-crusted crab cake appetizer. Entrees include roasted duck with blueberry-ginger reduction and wild rice, lamb with porcini mushrooms and a spiced cranberry reduction, cilantro-lime marinated shrimp, and grilled Atlantic salmon with potato-cilantro hash and prickly pear cactus sauce. Reservations recommended. (262-367-7888)

2 Karl Ratzsch's
In the same location since 1929, Karl Ratzch's may seem a bit old fashioned, but the truth is, they serve excellent traditional German food in a convivial atmosphere, and there's no reason to change a good thing. Various schnitzels, red cabbage steeped in vinegar and sugar, and homemade spaetzle, accompanied by an impressive selection of German beer and wine — what more could you want? Service is friendly and professional, and the apple strudel is the best in town. Guten Appetit! (414-276-2720)

1 Sanford
Since opening in 1989, Sanford has been one of the best and most sophisticated restaurants in Milwaukee. Contemporary décor complements the inspired Continental menu. An unwavering dedication to the freshest seasonal ingredients results in an ever-changing menu, but past favorites have included a pear and Roquefort tart with caramelized onions, grilled tuna with cumin wafers, and a Sardinian grilled scallop over couscous with walnut aioli. Desserts are also a house specialty — save room for decadent treats like warm chocolate espresso cake or a banana butterscotch toffee tart. Four-course dinner $49; seven-course chef's menu $85, $115 with wine pairings. (414-276-9608)

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Maps and Directions

Mo's — A Place For Steaks 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, Steakhouse
Dining Options: Bar / Lounge, Bar Dining, Disabled Accessible, Group Friendly, Non-Smoking, Parties / Private Rooms, Take Out, Wine Cellar
Neighborhood: DOWNTOWN
COST: $$$
Louise's Trattoria 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, California, European, Italian
Dining Options: Catering, Disabled Accessible, Family Friendly, Group Friendly, Non-Smoking, Take Out
Neighborhood: DOWNTOWN
Il Mito 10Best List Arrow
Dining Options: Bar / Lounge, Bar Dining, Disabled Accessible, Group Friendly, Non-Smoking, Take Out, Wine Cellar
Cuisine: European, Italian
COST: $$
Mader's German Restaurant 10Best List Arrow
Dining Options: Bar / Lounge, Catering, Family Friendly, Group Friendly, Non-Smoking, Parties / Private Rooms
Cuisine: European, German
Neighborhood: DOWNTOWN
COST: $$
The Pines at Bristlecone 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, Continental, Southwestern
Dining Options: Disabled Accessible, Non-Smoking, Parties / Private Rooms
COST: $$
Karl Ratzsch's 10Best List Arrow
Dining Options: Bar / Lounge, Bar Dining, Family Friendly, Non-Smoking, Take Out
Cuisine: European, German
Neighborhood: DOWNTOWN
COST: $$
Sanford 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, Continental, Eclectic
Dining Options: Bar / Lounge, Disabled Accessible, Group Friendly, Non-Smoking
Neighborhood: EASTSIDE
COST: $$$