My annual article, 52 Restaurants for your Bucket List, was originally created to provide readers with an easy way to explore the wealth of restaurants in the Milwaukee scene over the course of one year (52 weeks). Today, as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, it provides a fun and equally compelling guide for folks who’d like to bring variety to their weekly meals while providing vital support to some of our finest local restaurants.
315 E. Wisconsin Ave., (414) 369-3683
If Spanish and Portuguese-inspired fare sounds delicious, set sails for Amilinda, a restaurant which has been serving excellent fare for just over five years now. Their digs are quaint and the menu is small and focused; but dishes rotate often, depending on what's fresh and in season, so your taste buds won’t tire. At any given moment, you could find empanadas, bacalhau (salt cod), housemade sausages or any number of tasty dishes.
Amilinda is closed this week for the Thanksgiving holiday; but I still wanted to recognize their work and offer a taste of what you’ll find. So, today I’m listing five of the best dishes I’ve enjoyed from the Amilinda kitchen over the years.
If you spy any one of these options (or their seasonal variations) on the menu, don’t hesitate to order it.
- Seasonal fish dishes: seems fish is always a good bet at Amilinda, be it cod, monkfish or the like. The dish pictured above shows a particularly excellent preparation for red grouper, which was nicely seared and served with chanterelle mushrooms, sweet roasted corn and a beautiful smokey tomato broth.
- Roasted chicken: Another option that’s consistently good is the roasted chicken. Whether seasoned with Spanish adobo or perfumed with cumin and honey, it’s always tender and succulent. In fact, I keep my eyes peeled for Chef Leon’s piri piri chicken; it’s among my favorite Amilinda classics.
- Braised pork belly: Leon has a knack for creative pork belly dishes. Last week’s featured Manila clams, Brussels sprouts, onions, bacon and pork broth. A delicious autumnal version featured sauteed fennel, apples and a cider gastrique. It was delicious.
- Pork Alentejana: This classic Portuguese dish of marinated braised pork shoulder and clams is absolute comfort food. Watch for Leon’s deliciously smokey version the next time it comes around.
- Desserts: The caramel flan is buttery and rich. And since December is approaching, watch for the peppermint bark chocolate soufflé cakes, which have a tendency to appear on the menu around the holidays. They are among the best desserts in my recent memory.
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.