By Lucas Kovnesky OnMilwaukee Intern Published Oct 25, 2021 at 6:01 PM

’Tis Dining Month, the tastiest time of year! This means we’re dishing up fun and fascinating food content throughout October. Dig in, Milwaukee!

The East Side is one of the most buzzing areas in Milwaukee. Home to an enormous selection of locally praised restaurants and bars, it is a great neighborhood to explore via your taste buds. 

Bounded unofficially to the north by the UWM campus, the south by the Brady Street corridor, the east by Lake Michigan and the west by the Milwaukee River, the East Side offers an array of delectable and eclectic eats for everyone from humble college students to well-off professionals.

We present your guide to those great spots for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Apollo Cafe 
1310 E. Brady St., (414) 272-2233

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Specializing in authentic Greek food, especially gyros and chicken sandwiches, Apollo is a popular spot at lunch, dinner and  through bar time.

1751 N Farwell Ave., (414) 897-7022

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The word Ardent -- which means something characterized by warmth and passion -- is reflective of the ambiance and cuisine at this acclaimed restaurant where diners can enjoy upscale dishes in cozy, chef-driven quarters.

Asian Fusion
1609 E. North Ave., (414) 273-6688

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Known as a home-away-from-home for Chinese-born college students, Asian Fusion serves up a menu of both traditional and modern takes on Chinese dishes from a variety of provinces.

1716 N. Arlington Pl., (414) 755-0099

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Just off Brady Street, Balzac is a cozy, dimly lit wine bar serving creative New American small plates and a long list of wines.

Beans and Barley
1901 E. North Ave., (414) 278-7878

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Beans and Barley has been an East Side favorite for years, with its specialty deli, market and restaurant beloved for healthy, eclectic and vegetarian options.

Bel Air Cantina
2625 N. Downer Ave., (414) 964-1190

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A very popular Milwaukee taco spot sits on Downer. Enjoy tacos that will satisfy cali-mex cravings in a casual style.

Betty's Burgers and Custard
1233 E Brady St., (414) 249-4972

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A combo as classic as any -- burgers and custard -- are served up fresh at Betty's. The garlic fries are also a highlight of this Brady Street spot.

Blue Star Cafe
1619 N. Farwell Ave.

(414) 273-9744
Treat yourself to simple, affordable, well-prepared Somali fare at this easy-to-miss eatery. Must-trys include sambusas, the lamb platter with rice, vegetable crepes and what might just be the best hummus in the city.

Cafe Hollander
2608 N. Downer Ave., 414-963-6366

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In addition to being one of the city's best beer bars (especially for lovers of Belgian brews), Cafe Hollander also serves up a menu of savory European-style pub fare, plus brunch every day of the week.

Canela Cafe
2621 N. Downer Ave., (414) 226-6749
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Classic breakfast dishes are served up seven days a week along with brunch favorites.

Carini's La Conca d'Oro
3468 N. Oakland Ave., (414) 963-9623

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Head to Carini's for Southern Italian food, particularly pizza and pasta, in a homey setting with a Mediterranean feel.

728 E Brady St., (414) 271-6000

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This chic bi-level Middle Eastern restaurant features a large menu of dishes, a popular lunch buffet and a cocktail lounge with hookah and weekly belly dancers.

1820 N. Farwell Ave., (414) 390-0570

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This is a low-key eatery featuring updated Chinese fare, bubble tea and late-night delivery.

Chubby's Cheesesteaks
2232 N. Oakland Ave., (414) 287-9999

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Using bread from nearby Peter Sciortino's Italian Bakery and offering dine-in or delivery options, Chubby's is Milwaukee's take on the Philly cheesesteak.

2211 N. Prospect Ave., (414) 273-3753

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Serving strong brew, all-day breakfast and signature sandwiches, Colectivo has grown into much more than a coffee house, especially at the Prospect Avenue location, which offers patio seating and concerts in the "back room."

Crossroads Collective
2238 N. Farwell Ave., (414) 763-9081

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This trendy food hall offers variety at its best thanks to eight resident food vendors including Heaven’s Table BBQ, Frida (soup & sandwiches), Small Pie, Egg & Flour Pasta Bar, Scratch Scoop Shop, Beerline Cafe, Falafel Guys, and Raw Bar, plus a speak-easy style bar called Shanghai (enter through Black Cat Alley).

The Diplomat
815 E. Brady St., (414) 800-5816

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The Diplomat is a well appointed friendly dinner spot serving up approachable American fare in a shareable plate format. 

The Dogg Haus
1433 E. Brady St., (414) 727-1224

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The counter-serve chain joint doles out specialty and build-your-own hot dogs with a variety of toppings, plus other items like cheese curds.

1307 E. Brady St., (414) 539-6826

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Dorsia, located in the former home of Mimma's Cafe, is a modern Italian spot  featuring house-made pasta, pizza and delightful brunch options in snazzy digs.

The Drive Thru
1801 E. North Ave., (414) 287-9900

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This fun drive-up is a great spot to grab a quick coffee, breakfast sandwiches or fresh, hot mini donuts.

Easy Tyger
1230 E. Brady St., (414) 226-6640

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Head to Easy Tyger for playful, creative Asian inspired fare including non-traditional bao, burgers and ramen.

1806 N. Farwell Ave., (414) 224-8284

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This low-key eatery serves a menu of traditional Thai and Lao dishes, including a wide selection of vegetarian options.

Emperor of China
1010 E. Brady St., (414) 271-8889

This longtime, casual Chinese eatery has a huge menu offering a variety of regional cuisines.

Ethiopian Cottage
1824 N. Farwell Ave., (414) 224-5226

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This informal nook with a warm atmosphere showcases a delicious menu of classic Ethiopian dishes.

Freshfin Poke
1806 E. North Ave., (414) 239-8677

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Enjoy fresh modern poke bowls -- including the Mango Tango and vegan Zen Bowl -- at this locally-owned fast casual poke spot.

2116 N. Farwell Ave., (414) 270-1918

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Enjoy a sushi buffet, seafood dishes and made-to-order sushi at this strip mall sushi spot.

Fusion Poke
1813 E Kenilworth Pl., (414) 763-4525

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Build-your-own or signature poke bowls are not the only mouthwatering items available at Fusion Poke. They also have ramen, sushi and Korean wings.

Good City Brewing
2108 N. Farwell Ave., (414) 539-4343

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This craft brewery has upped the game for its genre with a chef-driven menu of snacks, sandwiches and globally inspired dishes. During the summer months, you  can take it all in on their rooftop patio. 

Hacienda Beer Co.
2018 E. North Ave., (414) 296-7200

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This tasting room and restaurant operated by the folks from Door County Brewing offers guests a bright, beautiful environment to enjoy a long list of creative craft brews and a menu of snacks and sandwiches

Harry’s Bar and Grill
3549 N. Oakland Ave., (414) 964-6800

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Harry's specializes in American fare which you can enjoy to live music every Thursday night.

Henry's on Belleview
2523 E. Belleview Pl., (414) 332-2772

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A neighborhood fixture for three decades, Henry's is a bar that serves burgers, sandwiches, salads, fish fry and weekend brunch.

Hi Hat Lounge/Garage
1701 N. Arlington Pl., (414) 225-9330

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A stylish split-level lounge that features craft cocktails and gourmet American fare, including brunch, plus live music.

Hooligan's Super Bar
2017 E. North Ave., (414) 273-5230

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One of the most popular destinations for the North Avenue pub crowd, Hooligan's has been at its prime corner spot since 1936, serving up a strong selection of burgers, sandwiches and other bar eats.

Huan Xi
2428 N. Murray Ave., (414) 906-8888

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This casual Chinese restaurant provides the standard favorites including a popular hot pot offering. But if you're feeling adventurous, you should ask for the secret Chinese menu.

Izzy Hops Swig & Nosh
2311 N. Murray Ave., (414) 249-4489

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Scour through their appetizing menu while enjoying their cozy patio while you still can. Wednesday’s “Build a burger” deal and a menu perfect for any time of day will have you coming back regardless of the temperatures. 

Jack's American Pub
1323 E. Brady St.,(414) 763-2830

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Jack's is a popular watering hole with sidewalk seating that serves pizza and bar fare such as appetizers, burgers and wings. 

Judy’s on North
2207 E. North Ave., (414) 291-0645

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Looking for solid, affordable Mexican fare? Head to Judy's where the service is friendly and late-night dining is the norm.

Kawa Ramen & Sushi
2321 N. Murray Ave., (414) 249-5750

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Head to Kawa for their traditional Japanese ramen; but stay for the excellent sushi. Kawa also offers a variety of Japanese dishes, all in clean modern digs.

Kompali Taqueria
1205 E. Brady St., (414) 210-3010

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Traditionally and internationally inspired tacos grace the menu of this East Side taqueria.

La Masa Empanada Bar
1300 E. Brady St., (414) 885-1866

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Head to La Masa for scratch, oven-baked empanadas in flavors that range from ham & cheese to banana nutella. You can also enjoy sandwiches, salads and a great brunch on weekends.

Lake Park Bistro
3133 E. Newberry Blvd., (414) 962-6300

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Located in the midst of Lake Park, this Bartolotta-run restaurant offers French cuisine with a picturesque view of Lake Michigan. 

Lisa's Pizzeria
2961 N. Oakland Ave., (414) 332-6360

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Lisa's Fine Foods does pizza first and foremost, but also offers quality pastas and sandwiches in a cozy second-floor space.

Mac Shack
1701 N Humboldt Ave., (414) 837-4534

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Creatively crafted mac and cheeses -- including a Giannis-inspired "Greek Freak" option -- are cooked to perfection in a wood oven.

Ma Fischer's
2214 N. Farwell Ave., (414) 271-7424

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A cherished favorite of the East Side, Ma Fischer's has been giving hungry Milwaukeeans the comfort food they want – breakfast, lunch or dinner – 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for more than 60 years.

Mad Chicken
2045 E. North Ave., (414) 616-1299

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Fast casual chicken spot specializing in tenders, wings and sandwiches. It's locally owned and new to the East Side in 2020.

1550 N. Farwell Ave., (414) 276-2550

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If you are craving Indian food, Maharaja is an East Side option. In addition to cuisine from both northern and southern India, they have an Indian beer list to give you the full experience.

1932 N. Kenilworth Pl. (414) 226-5160

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You can't help but have fun at this 1980s themed bar where Korean fried chicken wings are the specialty of the house. Don't miss the full menu of Korean-inspired street foods, including Korean fried cauliflower that's just as good as the wings.

Mr. Senor's
2335 N. Murray Ave., (414) 550-8226

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Open late and serving authentic Mexican food with attitude from its tiny storefront off North Avenue, Mr. Senor's is a favorite of college kids and the late-night bar crowd.

Oakland Gyros
2867 N. Oakland Ave., (414) 963-1393

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A classic spot for gyros on Milwaukee's East Side. You can never go wrong at Oakland Gyros.

The Original
2498 N. Bartlett Ave. (414) 763-4811

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This hidden gem is tucked away in the residential area just off of Oakland Avenue, but it's worth seeking out for its Southern-inspired New American plates and tasty craft cocktails.

The Pasta Tree
1503 N Farwell Ave., (414) 276-8867

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Head to this cozy restaurant for locally-inspired Italian dishes and housemade pasta in a cozy dining room long considered one of Milwaukee's most romantic restaurants.

Pete's Pub
1234 E. Brady St., (414) 312-7457

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Get your poutine fix with specials every Monday, or make Pete's your Friday fish fry spot. Either way, you won't be dissapointed with the delicious -- and large -- menu.

Pitch's Lounge
1801 N. Humboldt Ave., (414) 272-9313

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A no-frills BBQ outlet since 1942, Pitch's is known for baby back ribs and cribbage tournaments.

Pizza Man
2597 N. Downer Ave., (414) 272-1745

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This pizzeria has been treasured East Side staple for decades thanks to its delicious pizza, Italian inspired entrees and extensive California wine list. Be sure to pay a visit on Mondays for their Milwaukee-style deep dish.

Pizza Shuttle
1827 N. Farwell Ave., (414) 289-9993

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An area favorite, Pizza Shuttle serves a huge menu of pizza, other Italian eats, lots of American items and beer in a casual setting with late-night hours, a jukebox and photo booth.

Red Light Ramen
1749 N. Farwell Ave., (414) 837-5107

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Enjoy ramen, inventive snacks and boozie slushies at this hyped-up ramen joint which started as a late-night-only staple.

Red Lion Pub
1850 N. Water St., (414) 431-9009

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Looking for an authentic U.K. pub feel with a menu featuring British favorites like Shepard’s pie and fish 'n’ chips? You'll find it here, along with nice selection of British brews and spirits. 

Rice N Roll Bistro
1952 N. Farwell Ave. (414) 220-9944

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Enjoy delicious Thai dishes and creative, expertly prepared sushi at this trendy spot known for surprising and delighting customers with their beautifully presented affordable cuisine.

Roast Coffee Company
2132 E. Locust St., (414) 828-2030

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Besides its excellent coffee and drink menu, the chill cafe also serves sandwiches and baked goods.

Saint Bibiana
1327 E. Brady St., (414) 988-4629

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A fresh addition to the East Side, Saint Bibiana offers up classic items like fantastic burgers, along with a plethora of creative choices.

2613 E. Hampshire St., (414) 964-2611

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Enjoy Sicilian staples -- including pizza and pasta -- at this art-filled neighborhood Italian restaurant just off the UWM campus.

Sip & Purr Cat Cafe2021 E. Ivanhoe Pl., (414) 585-0707

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How about a glass of wine with a feline? You can certainly enjoy that at this cat-lover's destination which features a cat lounge where customers can interact with a variety of adoptable cats, along with a cafe that serves up a variety of fare from savory burritos to sweet treats, including gluten-free options.

Shawarma House
2921 N. Oakland Ave., (414) 967-1000

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The Middle Eastern restaurant is known for its modern interpretation of classic dishes and using high quality fresh ingredients.

Stone Bowl Grill
1958 N. Farwell Ave., (414) 220-9111

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Enjoy Korean-inspired staples like bibimbap served in hot stone bowls, at this casual, soul-warming spot.

Strange Town
2101 N Prospect Ave., (414) 885-0404

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Enjoy globally inspired plant-based cuisine, natural wines and low abv cocktails at this cozy spot while enjoying a playlist of eclectic tunes from the owner's extensive vinyl collection.

2315 N. Murray Ave., (414) 797-1400

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At Tavolino you'll find well appointed Italian fare, great pizza and a great brunch on weekends. 

2499 N. Bartlett Ave., (414) 964-8377

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Upscale casual fare and craft brews are the name of the game here. This neighborhood spot also offers an extensive gluten-free menu and elegant dining on their quaint patio.

Thai A Kitchen
2851 N. Oakland Ave., (414) 962-8851

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If spicy curries are calling your name, you'll find them at this casual spot.

932 E. Brady St., (414) 837-6280

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Enjoy a variety of Thai dishes or your choice of sushi at this sleek trendy spot located at the heart of Brady Street.

The Truck Stop
707 E. Brady St., (414) 837-4194

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New in 2020, the street food inspired restaurant is owned by operators of the popular food trucks Pig Tailz and Roll MKE. Don't miss their daily specials!

Von Trier
2235 N. Farwell Ave., (414) 272-1775

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Long known for providing Milwaukee with a uniquely German experience, Von Trier is the spot to find German brews, cocktails and more in a beautiful Bavarian-inspired space. They also offer up a great fish fry.

1239 E. Brady St.
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A fresh arrival to Brady Street, enjoy a Berlin inspired dining menu along with a biergarten atmosphere right here in Milwaukee. Menu offerings are locally sourced from Usingers, while plenty of German beer choices are also available.

1724 N. Farwell Ave., (414) 289-8776

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Among Milwaukee's favorite spots for thin-crust pizza and other Italian dishes, Zaffiro's has been serving hungry patrons since 1954.

Zayna's Pizza
714 E. Brady St., (414) 226-9999

This modest locally-owned pizza joint features housemade pies along with a large, varied menu that includes wings, ribs and subs.