Milwaukee Pancakes neighborhood cafes/bistros
July 14, 2011 3:26 PM   Subscribe

Pancakes and neighborhood bistro/cafe/restaurant in Milwaukee. Quite specific inside. You have never let me down (recommendations in Philly outstanding)

I have reviewed prior posts and the usual travel forums. I will be in Milwaukee for 4 days next week.. I would appreciate recommendations for: The best pancakes (not Original Pancake House thanks) and your favorite neighborhood bistros/cafes/restaurants. No Asian please. Outside dining a plus. My wife and I prefer local restaurants with repeat local trade, chef owned/operated, quality food and wine. While atmosphere certainly is a plus we prefer food and service over theme. Thanks for any leads--the pancakes are for me. PS we are staying at a small Inn on North Astor. Would be nice to walk but we do have a car.
posted by rmhsinc to Travel & Transportation around Milwaukee, WI (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
George Webb is a nice local chain of diners with breakfast; I can't complain about any of the food I've gotten there, it's good. The other locally-owned restaurant that springs to mind is la Perla, for good Mexican food. I've eaten at several locally-owned Italian and Greek restaurants, with outdoor dining, but none stick out in my mind at this time as any better or worse than the others.
posted by AzraelBrown at 4:29 PM on July 14, 2011

Last time I was in Milwaukee I ate at Trocadero, and I thought it was dynamite. It can't be more than a few blocks from where you're staying.
posted by Hlewagast at 5:35 PM on July 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you're not already staying there already, County Clare is on Astor and has great Irish food - the atmosphere is low-key but nice, friendly and cozy.

Comet Cafe is just up the road, and one of my favorite casual restaurants in the city. It looks a bit like a diner and prices are reasonable, but the menu is really creative with a focus on local/organic (good wine/beer list too). I've never been for breakfast but they never disappoint, so the pancakes are definitely worth a shot.

I love Trocadero too, though it may be a bit further away than you want to walk. For French though, my absolute favorite is Coquette Cafe, a French bistro in the Third Ward. It's pricier, but the food is completely worth it and it fits your requests perfectly - the chef, Sandy D'Amato, also owns Sanford, probably the most uber-upscale place in the city, and Coquette is a more casual little sister. Great atmosphere and great wine list too.

One more - Roots Restaurant is a foodie dream. They raise much of their produce themselves and the menu focuses on seasonal/local/super-fresh foods. The outdoor patio is lovely with a perfect view of the city.
posted by ella wren at 5:54 PM on July 14, 2011

I go to Milwaukee for work occasionally. We always stay at the Dark Horse Hotel, and their restaurant Smythe and outdoor bar The Yard are both fantastic - delicious food, great atmosphere. Also really like Hinterland, for the same reason - delicious local food. Yum!
posted by Kololo at 7:27 PM on July 14, 2011

Beans and Barley is very good.
posted by Slinga at 8:07 PM on July 14, 2011

I would say Beans and Barley has the best pancakes hands down, whole-wheat buttermilk with real maple syrup. Plus they have a special pancake of the week every week. I had a pumpkin pancake with orange infused butter one time and it blew my mind. It gets quite crowded at weekend brunch times so plan on going early if you don't want to wait. However, waiting isn't that much of a chore there because they have a cute grocery/shop area with a magazine rack and cute gift type items.

George Webb is a cheap, greasy spoon type local chain. Known more for their convenience and 'round the clock hours than the quality of their food. That said, if you find yourself craving pancakes at 3am or a cheeseburger at 9am, you know where to go.

I would also second the recommendations for Hinterland, Roots and Sanford to satisfy your foodie needs.

Some other recommendations are:

Pastiche Bistro a small, chef owned French restaurant. You will need a reservation well in advance for Pastiche but sometimes you can sneak in and dine at the bar if you time it right. Hinterland and Roots are larger restaurants that can usually accommodate on shorter notice. Roots also has a patio.

Pastiche is also a hop, skip and a jump from my favorite bar in the city, Palm Tavern. Hole in the wall with a Scotch and craft Bourbon list longer than.. well, quite long indeed. If you're looking for a more lively bar atmosphere after dinner, Blackbird is literally next door and they really know how to make a proper Brandy Old-Fashioned Sweet (the official state cocktail).

Balzac Wine Bar is easy walking distance from your Astor st location and the food and wine and atmosphere are all delicious. They do have some outdoor seating as well.

La Merenda is international style tapas and is fantastic. You may need to make a reservation here depending on the day and time you're looking for.

Centro Cafe (not to be confused with Cafe Central) is my favorite Italian restaurant. It's incredibly cheap given the quality of the dishes. Simple pasta dishes and classic appetizers executed perfectly in a wonderful atmosphere. This is another popular place that can be difficult to get into because it's so tiny. They don't take reservations and the wait list can become quite lengthy. Get there early and have a glass of prosecco at the bar or leave them your phone number and walk down the block to Foundation for a tiki drink.

I could go on, but you only have four days... :)
posted by j03 at 11:20 PM on July 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Comet Cafe, Trocadero, and Cafe Corazon for a really good Mexican brunch, or Bel Air Cantina for Mexican street-food tacos.

If you can find them, Satellite Crepes is really good. Not quite your requested pancakes, but a worthy alternative.
posted by svdodge at 2:28 AM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Don't know much about pancakes but Original Pancake House is the only place that specializes in them besides IHop. I'm sure most actual diners have them but most trendy places don't.

Downtown area bsitros/cafes are Coquette, Buckley's, and the Knick.

Old-style diners are Solly's, and Cafe at the Plaza.

Hipster cafes include Transfer, Comet, and Fuel.
posted by JJ86 at 7:07 AM on July 15, 2011

Now, if you are looking for a nice, expensive restaurant, Sanford's is the best, most of the Bartoletta restaurants like Bacchus and Lake Park Bistro are also great, and Sabor is an excellent choice for Brazilian-style steak.
posted by JJ86 at 7:12 AM on July 15, 2011

Hotch a doo has delicious Blueberry and banana pancakes. That's the only pancakes on the menu, and they don't do substitutions, but they are delicious and enormous. Outside dining: check. Local restaurant: check. Chef owned/operated: check. Quality food: check. Depending on how far north you are on Astor, it could easily be within walking distance. Only miss is the wine.
posted by JJtheJetPlane at 11:35 AM on July 15, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks for making this an even more enjoyable get away--have already made several reservations. Non marked as favorite(s) as I have planned the dining/lodging selections as a surprise for Ms RMHSINC
posted by rmhsinc at 3:46 PM on July 15, 2011

« Older Food suggestions for my cross country travel route   |   Quote Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.