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.
The atmosphere at Tavolino is lovely, but also flexible. It’s casual enough for a random weeknight pizza stop (take a seat in the convivial bar), but refined enough for a memorable date night in the more formal dining room. And that makes it an easy spot to choose when dining out on the East Side.
It's also a great time to visit and show your support, as Tavolino recently reopened after a near-12-week closure due to smoke damage from a fire in their building.
Starters on the current menu include offerings like Tartare di Bistecca featuring charred strip steak served with salsa verde, aioli and grilled focaccia along with their memorable grilled romaine salad topped with anchovy vinaigrette, focaccia crumbs and Grana Padano cheese.
Housemade pastas are always a good bet; many are familiar, but with a twist. On their newly updated menu, you'll find favorites like Cacio e Pepe (spaghetti dressed simply with Pecorino, garlic confit and black pepper), along with new offering like Bucatini e Guanciale featuring rich pork-forward guanciale paired with summer peas and a tomato sauce enhanced by summer peas, white wine and Calabrian chilies.
But you’ll also find memorable entrees like grilled swordfish served with seasonal roasted eggplant and peppers, kalamata olives and cherry tomatoes ; and red wine braised lamb shank with kalamata olives and marinated tomatoes served over polenta with pan sauce (pictured above).
Meanwhile, their pizza – which sports a thin but toothsome crust – is likely to serve up plenty of memories of the Italian joints that preceded this East Side staple. That's because the recipe has been passed along through the decades, forging a connection between venues old and new.
Also recommended: roasted broccolini and mushrooms; seasonal pasta dishes and risotto; braised meats
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.