By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published May 29, 2023 at 10:57 AM

It’s as important as ever to support the amazing collection of local restaurants that we have in our beautiful city. And there’s no better way to do so than making a commitment to patronize them throughout the year. To guide you on your journey, I’ve composed a list of 52 amazing restaurants. Try just one of these every week and you’ll have visited them all by the end of 2023.  View the full list here OR download an abbreviated printable PDF file.

La Merenda
125 E. National Ave., (414) 389-0125
Global, Small plates
$$-$$$, reservations recommended

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Inventive globally inspired shared plates are the hallmark at this classic Milwaukee restaurant where the menu showcases dishes from Italy and Mexico to Indonesia and Peru, all while supporting local Wisconsin farms.

Now that the weather has warmed, it's the perfect time to visit for tapas and drinks on La Merenda's patio, which showcases plantings from the local farmers at Pinehold Gardens.  Even better, visit for lunch (Monday through Friday) when the restaurant isn't quite as busy.

Treasures on the current menu include fresh, summery dishes like Honduran ceviche with citrus-marinated tuna, coconut milk, pineapple and crisp vegetables; delectable Clock Shadow Creamery goat cheese curds served warm with Tia Paquita chorizo cream sauce and crostini; and comforting choices like Argentinian pork belly with roasted garlic mashed potatoes and chimichurri.

My advice: Dine with a group of friends so that you can try a larger variety of dishes. Also, as always, be sure to order at least one dish that falls outside your comfort zone. 

Recommended: Goat cheese curds; Columbian empanadas; risotto

[View the current menu online]

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.