By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Nov 27, 2023 at 10:04 AM

Lupi & Iris
777 N. Van Buren St.,  (414) 293-9090 
Serving: Mediterranean, French, Italian fare

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If you are looking for an opulent dining experience, you’ll find it at Lupi & Iris. Every detail of the space has been attended to, from the zinc-topped bar to comfortable banquettes and a chef’s table style counter surrounding the open kitchen.

Mediterranean fare forms the foundation for lunch, dinner and brunch at this Downtown restaurant, which opened just over 18 months ago, serving up a menu of dishes inspired by the French and Italian Riviera. And, as the chill of winter blows in, the dishes from a warmer clime might just be even more appealing.

The current menu includes appetizers like white wine steamed mussels and clams with salami and white beans; goat cheese tart, served with greens, confit tomato and smoked trout; and simple-but-memorable dishes like roasted winter squash with mint, Marcona almonds and sherry vinegar over hand-dipped ricotta and grilled bread.

Pasta dishes include options like Ligurian corzetti (coins) with walnut sauce; cavatelli with pork ragu and housemade ravioli filled with squash and mixed milk ricotta and served with browned butter, amaretti and mushrooms.

Meanwhile, entrees make excellent use of the wood-fired oven. Delicate Dover sole is fileted tableside Dover sole with mushrooms, fingerlings delicata squash and persillade, while wood-fired veal chops are made even flavorful by caramelized anchovy and garlic and served with broccolini and potatoes.

Intimate date for two? Get the 44-ounce wood-fired porterhouse served with cauliflower, roasted fingerlings and persillade.

Visit for Sunday brunch, served between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and you'll find a large menu offering salads, sandwiches and modified entrees, plus dishes like eggs served atop a buckwheat crepe with French ham, cheese and arugula; cheesy polenta topped with chard, sautéed mushrooms and eggs; and French toast made from housemade country French bread and served with preserves, berries and mascarpone cream.

Recommended: Roasted squash, char-grilled octopus, branzino barigoule, expertly prepared desserts

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.