These days, dining options are as plentiful as fashion boutiques and galleries in the Historic Third Ward. From the iconic "something for everyone" vibes of the Milwaukee Public Market, the comfort food cravings of Smoke Shack and Shake Shack, and the upscale eats of DanDan and EsterEv, there are myriad options to please your palate in Milwaukee’s arts and fashion district. Here are all the first-rate restaurants and eateries in the Third Ward.
Aloha Poke Co.
220 E. Buffalo St., (414) 585-0000
Say aloha to Aloha Poke Co., a national chain bringing fresh bowls of poke – aka rice bowls topped with chopped raw fish and a whole mess of other bright, delicious, healthy veggies, garnishes and sauces. The Hawaiian favorite has exploded in popularity here on the mainland – and now that includes the Third Ward.
311 N. Plankinton Ave., (414) 276-4400
In Italian culture, an aperitivo is a pre-meal drink – but in Milwaukee, it means "a really delicious place to get a beverage and a very tasty bite in a cool and classy space." Found in the Pritzlaff Building, Aperitivo offers a number of tasty sandwiches, salads and small plates to get you through the day deliciously – plus a lovely cocktail and beverage menu as the perfect partner to your meal.
Bavette la Boucherie
217 N. Broadway, (414) 273-3375
New location, same outstanding butchered meats and meals. Now found in the former Swig space, Bavette offers a remarkably lineup of charcuterie boards, tempting snacks and immaculate sandwiches – including the instantly iconic, nationwide favorite corned beef tongue reuben.
Blue Bat Kitchen & Tequileria
249 N. Water St. (414) 431-1133
Cheers to Milwaukee’s first tequileria and to the adventurous menu of global street food – including sandwiches, bowls, tacos and more – here at the breezy and young spirited Blue Bat Kitchen & Tequileria.
316 N. Milwaukee St., (414) 231-3996
Pizza: You simply cannot go wrong, especially if you head over to this new pizza place in the Third Ward, freshly opened in just 2021. Brute specializes in sourdough pizzas that deliver a uniquely satisfying take on that classic slice, plus clever "pizza of the month" ideas that are as dynamic as they are delicious.
346 N. Broadway, (414) 501-2500
Café Benelux features rooftop seating and a European-style market, in addition to its café, restaurant and bar options. Inspired by the Benelux region, the café features regional fare like mussels, pannenkoeken and frites, along with a wide selection of Belgian style brews. Stop in for breakfast, lunch, dinner or brunch on the weekend.
525 E. Menomonee St., (414) 930-9282
Camp Bar's Third Ward location is more known as a drinking spot than a dining one – but the up-north themed watering hole does have a supply of snacks and soaker pads to help keep the old fashioneds flowing, including Milwaukee Pretzel Co. pretzels and cheese, stuffed tater tots and a number of frozen pizzas from Cranky's.
401 E. Erie St., (414) 930-9088
Opened right before the pandemic in the former Batches Bakery space, Cavas cooks up tantalizing tapas-style dishes in the Third Ward, featuring heavily Spanish-influenced shareable plates, platters and paellas. And a place called Cavas, of course, must have a strong lineup of the delicious Spanish sparkling wines – so don't miss out on a sip of those as well!
222 E. Erie St., (414) 885-2611
Locally grown and seasonal ingredients are elevated to spice up this authentic Korean cuisine while staying close to its traditional flavors. The menu at this Third Ward eatery features delicious bowls showcasing grilled meats, soups, stews and other remarkably comforting options perfect for the coming winter months.
320 E. Menomonee St., (414) 763-8548
Club Charlies serves tasty bar food in a city that’s known for enjoying its pubs. From chicken fingers and mozzarella sticks to stuffed burgers and sammies – plus a number of options for vegetarian diners – Charlies offers a little bit of something for everyone. Check out the website for great weekly specials like Taco Tuesdays, Fish Fry Fridays and Thursday fried chicken dinners.
170 S. 1st St., (414) 765-9873
223 E. St. Paul Ave., (414) 220-8330
Colectivo is a Milwaukee staple. While it offers a limited food menu, what it does have is tasty and bakery delivered fresh from the Bay View bakery. Choose from soups, sandwiches, burritos, breakfast bites and daily quiche specials. But, of course, the real star at Colectivo is the coffee. With the exception of the lakefront location, there's arguably no better Colectivo location than the intimate one in the Third Ward.
360 E. Erie St., (414) 488-8036
The menu at DanDan, which was inspired by countless visits to Chinese restaurants over the course of two lifetimes, pays homage to those memories of childhood and a beloved cuisine with which both chefs love. There's also a hefty dose of creative license thrown into the mix, meaning you'll find both modern interpretations of classic dishes as well as globally influenced offerings inspired by Chinese-American fare.
316 N. Milwaukee St.
Go nuts for donuts at this local pastry brand's new spot in the Third Ward, moving into the neighborhood in August 2021. Of course, the spot offers its deliciously creative delicacies – but don't sleep on Donut Monster's savory breakfast sandwiches as well, complete with housemade English muffins as their blissful base.
360 E. Erie St., (414) 488-8036
Looking for a dining experience unlike any other in Milwaukee? Hunt down a reservation at EsterEv, the little restaurant tucked away inside DanDan serving unique, one-of-a-kind chefs' tasting menus for less than $100 a diner on Fridays and Saturdays. It's simultaneously one of the city's great dining secrets and a meal you won't stop telling everyone about.
Explorium Brew Pub
143 W. St Paul Ave., (414) 423-1365
Explorium's craft brews earn the spotlight here – with popular options like Lost in the Sauce, Captain Kidd's Lost IPA and Cream City Crusher – but don't forget to explore the food menu at this warmly assembled locale found in the Pritzlaff Building. The venue hosts a menu of tasty pub grub like wings and chicharrones, soups, salads, flatbread pizzas, burgers, sandwiches, a Friday fish fry and its signature meatloaf. Because what better way to soak up suds than a loaf of meat.
316 N. Milwaukee St., (414) 763-0473
FreshFin was the first to introduce poke to Milwaukee with its East Side hotspot – and it didn't take long for the trendy favorite food to make its way to the Third Ward, complete with FreshFin's menu of fresh and flavorful poke bowls.
191 N. Broadway
A new sleek space found in the MARN Art + Culture Hub, Interval's second coffee shop in town offers its tasty and invigorating brews along with a small menu of cafe-style bites to help fuel the creativity of its customers.
207 E. Buffalo St., first floor, (414) 271-7788
A Third Ward dining favorite, Jing's serves delicious homemade dishes – from Chinese American staples and beyond – available for carry out, delivery, catering and dine in.
408 E. Chicago St., (414) 220-1155
If you’re a lover of sushi and Asian fare, Kanpai is one to try. You’ll find a menu chock-full of Asian specialties, including japchae, bulgogi and bibimbop, as well as artful and creative sushi, rolls and sashimi options.
232 E. Erie St., (414) 91ï»¿4-9497
Formerly Wonderstate, this Third Ward cafe took on a new name and a new look in 2021 – but the brews and bakery are all still as tasty as ever, with a small menu of big flavors like mini coffee cakes, scones and cookies.
221 N. Water St., (414) 269-8829
You should certainly consider yourself lucky if you decide to grab food from Lucky Ginger, an Asian fusion restaurant with a riverfront view. The flavor-rich menu draws on a medley of Asian cultures featuring Korean short ribs, Lao-style lemongrass marinated pork chops, curries, pho and much more.
Milwaukee Public Market
400 N. Water St., (414) 336-1111
This Third Ward landmark is a Milwaukee icon, filled with all sorts of local fun and finds – and that includes food, with a plethora of wonderful dining options including Aladdin, Thai-Namite, West Allis Cheese & Sausage Shoppe, St. Paul Fish Company and Margarita Paradise. Shop, eat, drink, sample and savor a Brew City staple.
Milwaukee Sail Loft
649 E Erie St., (414) 223-0100
Located in the former Riptide location, Milwaukee Sail Loft offers seafood dining with an emphasis on fresh. Aside from its masses of seafood options, Milwaukee Sail Loft also serves up jerk wings, a variety of burgers – available in beef, chicken or Beyond beef – and other items sure to keep any diner's attitude happily afloat.
221 N. Broadway, (414) 308-1600
Onesto focuses on cultivating an upscale atmosphere with fine Italian cuisine using locally sourced ingredients. For an appetizer, try one of the restaurant's tasty jars, packing a lot of flavor into a little serving dish. Follow that with one of its many classic Italian pasta dishes or the scallop risotto with a glass of Tuscan wine. There’s a reason why the restaurant name means "honest" in Italian.
310 E. Chicago St., (414) 291-3980
If you can pry your eyes away from the outstanding view from this rooftop bar – and if you can pry your eyes away from the impressive drink menu, spanning multitudes of spirit varieties – take a peek at The Outsider's lineup of nibbles, including shareable snacks like shishito peppers, crispy pork tacos, cheese curds, tuna poke nachos and more.
207 E. Buffalo St., (262) 498-1891
Get ready to be impressed by Press Waffles, which started as a mobile food business and has now grown into running its own small cafe space in the Third Ward. These aren't some everyday Eggo waffles, either; Press makes Belgian liege waffles loaded with sweet and savory toppings, like Nutella or honey goat cheese with bacon. The cafe also offers a number of sandwiches as well ... but let's be real, you're not gonna waffle on getting a waffle.
Riley's Social House
411 E. Menomonee St., (414) 231-3628
Looking for a Third Ward hang that you and your four-legged best friend can enjoy? Look no further than this dog-friendly bar and bistro, offering tasty drinks as well as a hefty menu of satisfying sandwiches – including one named the "Terrible City," proving something good did come from that silly fracas. Plus, the menu even has treats for your furry friend, making this establishment a two thumbs up – or four paws up – option.
Riverfront Pizzeria Bar and Grill
509 E. Erie St., (414) 277-1800
In a city full of many fine pizza options, Milwaukee's Third Ward has found, thanks to Greendale's Ricardo's Pizza (the owners of Riverfront Pizzeria), another great pizza and a new, cozy family-style restaurant that's sure to please for years to come.
223 N. Water St. Suite 100, (414) 539-4980
One of the newest tenants in the Third Ward is also one of the tastiest. Just opened in June 2022, beautifully enlivening the former Rivalry Sports Bar space, Saffron provides an elevated dining experience and equally top-notch Indian food, ranging from familiar favorites to one-of-a-kind dishes blending modern approaches with traditional flavors. It's barely been around, but in a short time, it's already become a Lori Fredrich favorite.
131 N. Jackson St., (414) 837-5790
Giddy up over to Saloon in the Third Ward for some smokin' good drinks – quite literally, they have smoker boxes to give your cocktails an extra flourish and flavor. Plus, to make sure you don't get too gassed, the bar offers Milwaukee Pretzel Co. pretzels and cheese as well as a plethora of pizzas.
220 E. Buffalo St. Suite 110, (414) 509-1080
This NYC fast casual icon has finally made its way to Milwaukee, bringing its slate of addictive burgers, fries, shakes and other American classics to the Third Ward. It's hard to discuss Shake Shack without drooling – so just eat it instead.
332 N. Milwaukee St., (414) 431-1119
Barbecue is taken seriously here, offering up finger-licking-good platters of all your favorite smoked meats including brisket, ribs, pulled pork, sausage, ham and even mushrooms if you're going the vegetarian route. Slather them up with the sauces of your choosing and add a classic BBQ side, and you've got a meal that smokes the competition. And don't forget their Brew City biscuits brunch menu on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.
St. Paul Fish Company
400 N. Water St., (414) 220-8383
St. Paul Fish Company is located in the Public Market and is a great spot to get a variety of seafood, with a menu including everything from shrimp to tuna salad sandwiches to Schlitz battered cod fish fry. Plus, for one of the brightest bars in the city, check out the Palapa hangout bringing a tropical vibe to even the coldest winter days.
239 E Chicago St #103, (414) 488-9600
Sweet Diner is a sweet spot for brunch in Brew City, creating an upscale diner in the middle of the Third Ward. The roomy space serves up a number of comfort food classics to get your morning (or afternoon) started right, including omelettes, benedicts, pancakes, waffles, French toast options and much more.
200 N. Broadway, (414) 291-3971
A relative newcomer to the area, Tre Rivali is located just inside the Kimpton Journeyman Hotel, offering up a comfortable but slightly upscale vibe. The menu includes Mediterranean-inspired fare in both small and large plate formats.
Valentine Coffee Co.
189 N. Milwaukee St., (414) 208-6000
Taking over the former Bella Caffe in the Third Ward, this new Valentine Coffee Co. location sports a gorgeously clean and slick venue as well as its delicious menu of roasted coffees along with a few snacks to help further fuel your meetings, work or relaxation time.
322 N. Broadway, (414) 223-3005
The best project the Wahlberg name's been attached to since "The Departed," this funky family-run burger chain offers a number of tasty, towering burgers that'll give any diner good vibrations.
The Wicked Hop
345 N. Broadway, (414) 223-0345
A classic Milwaukee stop whether you're starting the day off or just getting the night started, The Wicked Hop has an awesome historic spot, a happening night club next door with Jackalope Lounj and one of the most beloved Bloody Marys in the entire city. Hopping over to The Wicked Hop is never a mistake.
As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.
When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.