Food & Drink

Milwaukee’s Top 15 Totally Unique Eateries You Need to Try!

Milwaukee is a city that is known for its vibrant food scene. From classic American fare to fusion cuisine, there are plenty of options available for foodies to indulge in.

However, for those who are looking for something a little more unique, Milwaukee has a lot to offer. The city is home to a wide variety of restaurants that offer an experience that goes beyond just the food.

These unique restaurants offer a range of experiences, from dining in a converted warehouse to eating in a garden surrounded by plants.

Each restaurant has its own distinct atmosphere and style, making them a must-visit for anyone looking for something different.

One of the things that sets these restaurants apart is their commitment to using fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Many of the restaurants work closely with local farmers and producers to ensure that they are using the highest quality ingredients in their dishes.

This not only supports the local economy but also ensures that diners are getting the freshest and most delicious food possible.

In this blog post, we will be exploring some of the best unique restaurants in Milwaukee. Whether you are a local or a visitor to the city, these restaurants are sure to impress.

From the food to the atmosphere, each of these restaurants offers an experience that is truly one-of-a-kind. So, get ready to tantalize your taste buds and discover some of the best culinary delights that Milwaukee has to offer.

1. Swingin' Door Exchange

Swingin' Door Exchange
219 E Michigan St, Milwaukee, WI 53202 (Google Maps)

Swingin' Door Exchange is a unique restaurant that offers a cozy saloon-style atmosphere with old-school decor.

This establishment serves American comfort food and cocktails. The food is fantastic, and the service is friendly and attentive.

The crab cakes, prime dip, and siracha chicken sandwich are all delicious options. The restaurant is popular with locals, so expect a bit of a wait during peak times.

The outdoor seating is covered, making it a great option rain or shine. Swingin' Door Exchange is a great spot for a night out with friends or a casual dinner.

2. Odd Duck

Odd Duck
939 S 2nd St, Milwaukee, WI 53204 (Google Maps)

Odd Duck is a quirky New American eatery that offers an ever-changing shared-plate menu and creative cocktails.

The food is simply impeccable, and one of the best meals one can have. The staff is extremely friendly and helpful, and the atmosphere is inclusive and welcoming.

The Cheese and Charcuterie board is a must-try, and the wine selection is outstanding. The restaurant is perfect for small plates of all types, and the perfect place to celebrate something special.

However, be prepared to try a few different things, and make sure to get a reservation in advance.

3. The Capital Grille

The Capital Grille
310 W Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53203 (Google Maps)

The Capital Grille is a unique restaurant that offers a refined and clubby atmosphere. This upscale steakhouse chain offers classic American fare with a focus on seafood and steak.

The menu has a variety of options, including porcini rub dry aged ribeye steak, lobster mac n cheese, and pan-seared ahi tuna with sesame crusting and ginger glaze. The brussel sprouts are a must-try, caramelized to perfection.

The service is exceptional, with attentive and knowledgeable staff. The warm ambiance is welcoming and not stuffy, making it a great spot for a special occasion or a business dinner.

Valet parking is available, adding to the convenience of the dining experience. The Capital Grille is an excellent choice for those looking for traditional dining and food with a touch of elegance.

4. La Merenda

La Merenda
125 E National Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53204 (Google Maps)

La Merenda is a tapas-style restaurant with a global twist. The menu features small plates from all over the world that are perfect for sharing.

The atmosphere is fun and lively, with a bohemian feel to the decor. The staff is attentive and knowledgeable, offering great suggestions for cocktails and dishes.

The food is the star of the show, with a huge variety of options that are all delicious. The portions are bigger than expected, making it easy to overeat.

Don't miss the creative desserts, like the banana split creme brulee. La Merenda is a must-visit spot for anyone looking for a unique dining experience.

5. Morel

430 S 2nd St, Milwaukee, WI 53204 (Google Maps)

Looking for a unique dining experience that's sure to impress your palate and senses alike, look no further than Morel. This restaurant offers a daily changing menu of New American plates, featuring unexpected flavor combinations and artful presentation.

The rustic-chic ambiance of Morel is warm and inviting, and the attentive and friendly waitstaff will make sure your meal is perfect.

If you're a whisky or bourbon lover, this place is for you. The cocktails are very well balanced, and the wine selection is good.

Don't miss the sharing portions of the appetizers and the desserts, which are the perfect ending to your meal. Morel is a must-visit restaurant for anyone looking for a delicious and unique dining experience.

6. Harbor House

Harbor House
550 N Harbor Dr, Milwaukee, WI 53202 (Google Maps)

Harbor House is a must-visit for seafood lovers looking for a unique dining experience. The restaurant boasts beautiful views of the lakefront, making it a picturesque location for a special occasion.

The seafood dishes are top-notch and expertly prepared, with a twist on classic favorites.

The staff is friendly and accommodating, making for an enjoyable dining experience. While it may be on the pricier side, the quality of the food and the stunning views make it worth the splurge.

Don't miss out on trying the New England Clam Pot, a standout dish that is sure to impress.

7. Goodkind

2457 S Wentworth Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53207 (Google Maps)

Goodkind is a unique restaurant that offers inventive seasonal cuisine and house cocktails in a cozy tavern setting.

The menu changes frequently, and the food is sourced locally, ensuring fresh and delicious meals. The restaurant is small, and reservations are recommended.

The staff is attentive, knowledgeable, and always willing to help. The atmosphere is warm and inviting, making it perfect for a date or special occasion.

The cocktail menu is impressive, and the craft beer selection is noteworthy. Goodkind is a must-visit for anyone looking for a 5-star dining experience in a casual environment.

8. Sanford

1547 N Jackson St, Milwaukee, WI 53202 (Google Maps)

Sanford is a hidden gem that offers a unique dining experience unlike any other. This fine dining restaurant boasts creative, multi-flavored dishes that are well-defined and bold.

The atmosphere is cozy and relaxing, making it the perfect spot for a special occasion or celebration.

The service is top-notch, with servers who are friendly, knowledgeable, and attentive. The menu changes regularly, ensuring that diners are always in for a surprise.

The wine list is carefully chosen and fairly priced, and the desserts are simply divine. Sanford is not just a restaurant, it's an experience that will leave you wanting more.

9. The Original

The Original
2498 N Bartlett Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53211 (Google Maps)

The Original is a unique restaurant that offers a cozy atmosphere and attentive staff.

The menu is updated with a great selection of classic American dishes and a long list of cocktails. The food is delicious and well presented, and the drinks are perfectly balanced.

The owners and staff are passionate about their craft and offer warm hospitality.

The restaurant is a neighborhood gem and a must-try for anyone looking for an unexpectedly fabulous dining experience.

10. Buckley's Restaurant & Bar

Buckley's Restaurant & Bar
801 N Cass St, Milwaukee, WI 53202 (Google Maps)

Buckley's Restaurant & Bar is a neighborhood gem that serves up elevated American comfort food with a twist.

The quaint eatery boasts a charming and intimate atmosphere, making it perfect for a special night out. The menu may be small, but every dish is packed with flavor and beautifully presented.

The extensive wine and spirits list is impressive, and the bartenders are knowledgeable and attentive. Service is top-notch, and the staff goes above and beyond to accommodate dietary restrictions and allergies.

Buckley's may not be the cheapest option in town, but the quality of the food and the overall experience make it worth every penny.

11. Three Brothers

Three Brothers
2414 S St Clair St, Milwaukee, WI 53207 (Google Maps)

Looking for a unique dining experience in the city that offers a cozy atmosphere, phenomenal service, and delicious Serbian cuisine, look no further than Three Brothers.

This family-owned restaurant is a hidden gem that has been serving up hearty and flavorful dishes to locals and tourists for years. The menu is intriguing, and everything is cooked to order, ensuring that every dish comes out perfectly.

From the burek to the goulash and chicken pilav, you can't go wrong with any choice. The staff is knowledgeable, friendly, and always ready to make suggestions.

And if you have room for dessert, don't miss out on Grandma's Torte, which is light and sweet, just enough to satisfy. Plan on hanging out for a while, and make reservations if you can. Three Brothers is a must-visit restaurant that will leave you wanting more.

12. Alem Ethiopian Village

Alem Ethiopian Village
307 E Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53202 (Google Maps)

Alem Ethiopian Village is a unique restaurant that offers traditional Ethiopian cuisine. The food is full of flavor and served in a classic setting.

Diners have the option to mix and match their food family-style with injera bread or have it served individually.

The restaurant is accommodating to people with food allergies and offers a vegan/vegetarian lunch buffet during the week.

The atmosphere is well-decorated and offers a casual dining experience. The food is reasonably priced, making it a great value for the quality of food and service.

13. Tua Pasta Milwaukee

Tua Pasta Milwaukee
100 E Wisconsin Ave LL101, Milwaukee, WI 53202 (Google Maps)

Tua Pasta Milwaukee is a unique restaurant that offers made-to-order pasta dishes.

The restaurant is a counter-service joint that allows customers to choose their noodles, toppings, and sauces. The staff is friendly and the food is fresh and tasty.

The garlic bread is a highlight of the meal and the portions are generous. The location is convenient and offers river views.

The restaurant is a great option for those looking for a casual and affordable Italian dining experience.

14. Zarletti

741 N Milwaukee St, Milwaukee, WI 53202 (Google Maps)

Zarletti is a unique Italian restaurant that offers a luxurious and comfortable dining experience. The menu features authentic Italian dishes with a focus on quality ingredients.

The extensive wine list showcases regional Italian wines, and the cocktails are expertly prepared.

The staff is knowledgeable and attentive, providing excellent service from start to finish.

The atmosphere is cozy and intimate, making it a perfect spot for a special occasion or date night. Zarletti is a must-visit for anyone looking for an exceptional Italian dining experience.

15. Birch

459 E Pleasant St, Milwaukee, WI 53202 (Google Maps)

Birch is a modern bistro and butcher shop that serves Midwestern cuisine prepared on an open-fire hearth.

The restaurant has an exposed kitchen and a cozy atmosphere that makes it a great place to dine.

Birch keeps its menu lean, but the food is delicious and creatively plated. The staff is friendly, knowledgeable, and attentive.

The drinks are also great, with interesting beer and wine selections. Birch is a must-try for anyone looking for a unique dining experience.