For the eighth straight year, October is Dining Month on OnMilwaukee.com, presented by Locavore, the newest restaurant at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino. All month, we're stuffed with restaurant reviews, delectable features, chef profiles and unique articles on everything food, as well as the winners of our "Best of Dining 2014."
Your votes are in, Milwaukee, and you have voted on the best dining spots in the city. We've announced the results of this year's Best Dining, including our editor's pick, in a series of articles that ran all October long during Dining Month.
Of course, this wouldn't have been a success without your participation. After all, it's you who casts your votes to pick the winners of our annual "Best of Milwaukee Dining" poll and this year, thousands of votes were counted.
Here's a recap of the 2014 winners and runner-ups, along with the choices of the OnMilwaukee.com editorial staff.
Did we miss a category this year or do you have a suggestion for 2015? Let us know by posting a Talkback below and we'll put it on the big board for next year.
Congratulations to all of the winners. Now it's time to eat.
Best new restaurant: Goodkind
Runner up: Movida
Editors' pick: Goodkind
One of Bay View's most anticipated new restaurants, Goodkind -- a partnership between Chefs Paul Zerkel and Lisa Kirkpatrick, along with Burnhearts owners Jess and William (BJ) Seidel and bartender Katie Rose -- opened quietly in June. In addition to expertly prepared food and drink, Goodkind also serves up a buzzing friendly vibe that pays homage to both the intention and potential of a restaurant collaboration at which food and drink lies at the fore.
Best steak: Mr. B's
Runner up: Five O'Clock Club
Editors' pick: Carnevor
Mr. B's -- A Bartolotta Steakhouse in Brookfield -- was named one of the 45 best steakhouses in the United States in 2012 and two years later, it has been voted as Milwaukee's best for the first time ever. If you're in the mood for a great steak or delectable seafood.
Best breakfast/brunch: Benji's Deli
Runner up: Blue's Egg
Editors' pick: Blue's Egg
The small restaurant at 4156 N. Oakland Ave. in Shorewood is famous for its lunches – especially the corned beef – but its all-day breakfast menu captured the hearts of all this year.
Best burger: Kopp's
Runner up: Sobelman's
Editors' pick: Oscar's Pub & Grill
Kopp's is a Milwaukee institution, with over 60 years of shelling out burgers and custard under its belt and three constantly hopping locations.
Best view/patio: Harbor House
Runner up: Barnacle Bud's
Editors' pick: Harbor House
Harbor House has a raw bar featuring oysters, clams, shrimp and more, including a slew of appetizers and seafood soups. Its view of Lake Michigan, the U.S. Bank Building, Discovery World and the Milwaukee Art Museum is hard to beat, too.
Best small plates: La Merenda
Runner up: Odd Duck
Editors' pick: Blue Jacket
The menu at La Merenda, located in Walker's Point, incorporates a fusion of local and seasonal items into regional and international dishes, which means that the menu rotates every few months depending on what's fresh or in season.
Best coffee shop/cafe: Colectivo
Runner up: Valentine Coffee
Editors' pick: Anodyne Coffee Roasting Co.
Colectivo’s most famous location, on the lakefront at 1701 N. Lincoln Memorial Dr., is a prime example of the many cafés around the city – cozy (yet big enough to handle massive morning and afternoon rushes), identifiable, accessible and friendly. Serving the Cream City for 20 years, Colectivo has proven yet again to be the readers' choice for as the best coffee shop/café in Milwaukee.
Best Dessert: Purple Door Ice Cream
Runner up: Le Reve
Editors' pick: Kopp's
With flavors like brandy old-fashioned and salted caramel Purple Door has become a staple in some of the best restaurant kitchens in the city. And you can enjoy it in Purple Door's own shop now, too. Is this Wisconsin? Where custard is king? Milwaukee has eaten up what Purple Door Ice Cream is serving.
Best comfort food: Maxie's
Runner up: Comet Cafe
Editors' pick: Honeypie
The cozy Southern food restaurant has held the title since 2010, and even though its name has slightly changed, its menu – a delectable mix of seafood, barbecue, Creole and Cajun favorites old and new – has kept on dishing up scrumptious selections that warm the heart and fill the stomach.
Best seafood: Harbor House
Runner up: Maxie's
Editors' pick: Harbor House
From start to finish, lovers of fish and shellfish can satisfy their palates at Harbor House, beginning with appetizers like Maryland crab cake and steamed mussels to the interesting and delectable combo Crustacean Bisque – which is lobster, crab and cream. The entrée list isn’t overwhelming, but you have options – pick from seven fresh fish dishes and six shellfish choices, or combine items with a filet mignon.
Best fish fry: Lakefront Brewery
Runner up: The Packing House
Editors' pick: McBob's
Lakefront Brewery is complete with live entertainment from Brew Haus Polka Kings – the tasty Lakefront brews available and, of course, the fried fish – featuring cod, perch and a whole menu of varied options to start one's weekend on a scrumptious note.
Best pizza: Zaffiro's Pizza
Runner up: Pizza Man
Editors' pick: Transfer Café
The restaurant, located at 1724 N. Farwell Ave. remains family owned and operated. Zaffiro's thin-crust slices have tickled taste buds for 57 years. You can dine in or have it delivered and of course, you can choose your own toppings from the standard cheese and sausage to the EBF – "Everything But Fish." Or, add the anchovies!
Best food truck: Marco Pollo
Runner up: The Gouda Girls
Editors' pick: Roll MKE
The global cluck truck serves a variety of international chicken that's piled over jasmine rice and served with your choice of "from scratch" sauces. Fried chicken and deviled eggs are also served.
Best barbecue: Ashley's Bar-B-Que
Runner up: Smoke Shack
Editors' pick: Ashley's Bar-B-Que
From slow-cooked Southern greens flavored with smoked turkey (my personal favorite), to homemade macaroni and cheese and baked beans and corned beef that's been cooked for seven to eight hours until it's falling-apart tender, Ashley's Que offers some of the best in Southern comfort food fare.
Best late night/drunk eats: Real Chili
Runner up: Oakland Gyros
Editors' pick: Ma Fischer's
Milwaukee has a plethora of choices for hangover avoidance needs and we can't deny that Real Chili is a smart choice. We actually approve of you eating in general before you head home.
Best special occasion restaurant: Sanford Best food product: Palermo's frozen pizza Best sandwiches: Benji's Deli Best vegetarian: Beans & Barley Best wings: Points East Pub Best Chinese: Emperor of China Best French: Lake Park Bistro Best Greek: Oakland Gyros Best Indian/Pakistani: Maharaja Best Italian: Ristorante Bartolotta Best Japanese: Izumi's Best Mexican: BelAir Cantina Best Middle Eastern: Casablanca Best Asian fusion: Hue Best Thai: Thai Bar-B-Que
Runner up: Lake Park Bistro
Editors' pick: Crazy Water
Whether it's for a romantic date or a birthday celebration, Sanford was chosen as the best in the city. Whether you try the regular menu or the seven-course tasting menu you can't go wrong. James Beard winning chef Justin Aprahamian will take amazing care of you and your taste buds!
Runner up: Purple Door Ice Cream
Editors' pick: Purple Door Ice Cream
Milwaukeeans love their local products, and this category saw tremendous growth in total participation over last year, which is maybe why a new winner was crowned: Palermo’s frozen pizza. The pizza maker is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2014, and features 11 "Primo Thin" ultra thin crust options, seven "Pizzeria" – or hand tossed – pizzas, eight "Classic" pizzas, along with flatbreads and a breakfast pizza.
Runner up: Jake's Deli
Editors' pick: Love Handle
With two locations in Shorewood and Fox Point, Benji's Deli – with its menu filled with tasty deli classics – has snagged the title of Milwaukee's best food between two slices of bread.
Runner up: Casablanca
Editors' pick: Wolf Peach
For more than three decades, Beans & Barley, 1901 E. North Ave., has served consistently good vegetarian soups, salads, sandwiches and entrees. It helped blaze a trail of vegetarian dining options, and continues to be a major East Side draw. From its signature burritos – which include a dairy-free option – to sandwiches like the tempeh reuben and year-round bowls of chili, there are plenty of vegetarian choices. The menu includes full breakfasts, too.
Runner up: BW-3
Editors' pick: Club Garibaldi
Points East's wings are meaty and, thanks to the grilling, the skin has a nice snap when you bite into it, revealing the juicy, tender meat within. The dry rub-style spices on the outside give these wings a subtle but, over time, powerful smokey kick.
Runner up: Jing's
Editors' pick: Yen Ching
The East Side award-winning restaurant, which has been in operation since 1986, offers authentic cuisine creations, which includes a variety of beef, chicken, duck , seafood and vegetable dishes on the large menu. The appetizers are especially recommended.
Runner up: Le Reve
Editors' pick: Le Reve
Lake Park Bistro has robust lunch and brunch menus, as well as a dinner menu that begins with premier plats and charcuterie et fromage (cold meats and cheese), before le plat principal options such as the vegetarian riz de Camargue, along with dishes of les volailles (chicken), les poissons (fish) and les viandes (steak). Do yourself a favor and don't skip the escargot, which are out of this world.
Runner up: Apollo
Editors' pick: Oakland Gyros
The venerable late-night cheap eats hot spot, located at 2867 N. Oakland Ave., has plentiful portions of tasty gyros, spinach pies and much more. It has captured Milwaukee's heart for lunch, dinner and late-night noshing.
Runner up: Taste of India
Editors' pick: Café India
A Milwaukee staple for nearly two decades, Maharaja continues to delight patrons with cuisine inspired by northern and southern India. The restaurant has eight entrée specialties, many with chicken or lamb, but also with vegetarian options. Look out for the Vindaloo, with your choice meat simmered in potatoes in a ginger and garlic sauce. There are five specialties to choose, which include lamb, goat, chicken and catfish, and a robust vegetarian menu.
Runner up: Calderone Club
Editors' pick: Ristorante Bartolotta
Pushing aside the familiar and expected Italian menu items (spaghetti and meatballs, etc.), Ristorante and executive chef Juan Urbieta have constantly dished out delicious authentic dishes, putting the spotlight on the vivacious variety of diverse regional specialties that Italian cooking has to offer.
Runner up: Fujiyama
Editors' pick: Screaming Tuna
The sake list at Izumi's, featuring hot, cold and room temperature options, is also a big draw here and the knowledgeable staff is often helpful. At lunch, order a bento box and get more food than you can eat for under $10.
Runner up: Riviera Maya
Editors' pick: Botanas
Since last year BelAir Cantina has grown -- adding locations in Wauwatosa as well as Downer Avenue on Milwaukee's East Side. With options such as Korean beef, ninja beef, lamb barbacoa and plenty of vegetarian fare there is something for everyone. Milwaukee has shown BelAir Cantina they love "Taco Tuesdays" and "Taco Thursdays," ample tequila selection and more!
Runner up: Tulip
Editors' pick: Casablanca
Casablanca, located at 728 E. Brady St., has served authentic Middle Eastern cuisine such as kabobs, falafel, stuffed grape leaves and shawarma, for more than 30 years. The menu includes an array of beef, chicken, lamb, seafood and vegetarian dishes as well as a selection of appetizers, salads and sandwiches. Are you extra hungry? Check out the much-recommended vegetarian buffet.
Runner up: Tochi
Editors' pick: Ruyi
The Vietnamese inspired restaurant specializes in pho and other central Vietnamese dishes and has recently opened a second location in Wauwatosa.
Runner up: The King & I
Editors' pick: Bangkok House
Milwaukee likes their Thai authentic, fresh and a good value. New winner Thai Bar-B-Que brings all three in the Silver City neighborhood of Milwaukee. The homey classic Thai atmosphere accompanied with a menu of Thai favorites, including pad Thai, pho and curry, give diners ample choices to try.
Best special occasion restaurant: Sanford
Best food product: Palermo's frozen pizza
Best sandwiches: Benji's Deli
Best vegetarian: Beans & Barley
Best wings: Points East Pub
Best Chinese: Emperor of China
Best French: Lake Park Bistro
Best Greek: Oakland Gyros
Best Indian/Pakistani: Maharaja
Best Italian: Ristorante Bartolotta
Best Japanese: Izumi's
Best Mexican: BelAir Cantina
Best Middle Eastern: Casablanca
Best Asian fusion: Hue
Best Thai: Thai Bar-B-Que