It's time for Dining Month, presented by Deer District and its spooky Halloween-themed alter ego, Fear District. Throughout the month of October, we'll be serving up fun and fascinating content about all things food. The signature dish, however, is our 2019 Best of Dining poll, who's winners we will dish out all month long. Get hungry, Milwaukee!
For decades, the East Side has been home to some of Milwaukee's best restaurants, bars and shops, making it one of the social and cultural hubs of the city.
Bounded unofficially to the north by the UWM campus, the south by the Brady Street corridor, the east by Lake Michigan and the west by the Milwaukee River, the East Side offers an array of delectable and eclectic eats for everyone from humble college students to well-off professionals.
Without further adieu, we present your guide to those great spots for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
1310 E. Brady St., (414) 272-2233
Specializing in authentic Greek food, especially gyros and chicken sandwiches, Apollo is a popular spot at lunch, dinner and through bar time.
1751 N Farwell Ave., (414) 897-7022
The word Ardent -- which means something characterized by warmth and passion -- is reflective of the ambiance and cuisine at this acclaimed restaurant where diners can enjoy upscale dishes in cozy, chef-driven quarters.
1609 E. North Ave., (414) 273-6688
Known as a home-away-from-home for Chinese-born college students, Asian Fusion serves up a menu of both traditional and modern takes on Chinese dishes from a variety of provinces.
1716 N. Arlington Pl., (414) 755-0099
Just off Brady Street, Balzac is a cozy, dimly lit wine bar serving creative New American small plates and a long list of wines.
Beans and Barley
1901 E. North Ave., (414) 278-7878
Beans and Barley has been an East Side favorite for years, with its specialty deli, market and restaurant beloved for healthy, eclectic and vegetarian options.
2336 N. Farwell Ave., (414) 551-2166
Serving a mix of Thai, Laos, and Hmong food, Bee's Cuisine is home of some of the best stuffed chicken wings and Hmong egg rolls in town.
Bel Air Cantina
2625 N. Downer Ave., (414) 964-1190
A Mexican restaurant with California flair, Bel Air is known for tacos and tequila, as well as humongous burritos and weekend brunch.
Blue Star Cafe
1619 N. Farwell Ave.
Treat yourself to simple, affordable, well-prepared Somali fare at this easy-to-miss eatery. Must-trys include sambusas, the lamb platter with rice, vegetable crepes and what might just be the best hummus in the city.
1208 E. Brady St., (414) 276-2739
An easygoing coffeehouse, Brewed offers sandwiches and other cafe fare, including vegetarian and vegan items.
2608 N. Downer Ave., (414) 963-6366
In addition to being one of the city's best beer bars (especially for lovers of Belgian brews), Cafe Hollander also serves up a menu of savory European-style pub fare, plus brunch every day of the week.
Carini's La Conca d'Oro
3468 N. Oakland Ave., (414) 963-9623
Head to Carini's for Southern Italian food, particularly pizza and pasta, in a homey setting with a Mediterranean feel.
728 E. Brady St., (414) 271-6000
This chic bi-level Middle Eastern restaurant features a large menu of dishes, a popular lunch buffet and a cocktail lounge with hookah and weekly belly dancers.
2342 N. Farwell Ave., (414) 220-4660
You want Chinese food delivered fast? This is the place.
1820 N. Farwell Ave., (414) 390-0570
This is a low-key eatery featuring updated Chinese fare, bubble tea and late-night delivery.
2232 N. Oakland Ave., (414) 287-9999
Using bread from nearby Peter Sciortino's Italian Bakery and offering dine-in or delivery options, Chubby's is Milwaukee's take on the Philly cheesesteak.
1978 N. Farwell Ave. (414) 231-3030
Celesta is a globally inspired vegan hotspot featuring soulful housemade dishes that resonate with diners of all stripes. Don't miss the fishless fish fry on Fridays during the cooler months.
2211 N. Prospect Ave., (414) 273-3753
Serving strong brew, all-day breakfast and signature sandwiches, Colectivo has grown into much more than a coffee house, especially at the Prospect Avenue location, which offers patio seating and concerts in the "back room."
1947 N. Farwell Ave., (414) 273-7677
Comet is a cozy restaurant and bar serving comfort food staples (from bacon-filled treats to vegan and vegetarian favorites), craft brews and a popular weekend brunch.
Crossroads Collective-east side
2238 N Farwell Ave., (414) 763-9081
This trendy food hall offers variety at its best thanks to eight resident food vendors including Heaven’s Table BBQ, Frida (soup & sandwiches), Small Pie, Egg & Flour Pasta Bar, Scratch Scoop Shop, Beerline Cafe, Falafel Guys, and Raw Bar, plus a speak-easy style bar called Shanghai (enter through Black Cat Alley).
1758 N. Water St., (414) 331-0020
Wood-fired pizza is the specialty at DiModa, which boasts a beautiful four-seasons patio space and dishes for everyone, including your pup.
815 E. Brady St., (414) 800-5816
The Diplomat is a well appointed friendly dinner spot serving up approachable American fare in a shareable plate format.
Divino Wine and Dine
2315 N. Murray Ave., (414) 212-2222
This classy wine-and-dine Italian restaurant off North Avenue serves antipasti, sandwiches and pasta dishes along with their Milwaukee famous hand-tossed, stone-baked pizzas.
The Dogg Haus
1433 E. Brady St., (414) 727-1224
The counter-serve chain joint doles out specialty and build-your-own hot dogs with a variety of toppings, plus other items like cheese curds.
1307 E. Brady St., (414) 539-6826
Dorsia, located in the former home of Mimma's Cafe, is a modern Italian spot featuring house-made pasta, pizza and delightful brunch options in snazzy digs.
The Drive Thru
1801 E. North Ave., (414) 287-9900
This fun drive-up is a great spot to grab a quick coffee, breakfast sandwiches or fresh, hot mini donuts.
1230 E. Brady St., (414) 226-6640
Head to Easy Tyger for playful, creative Asian inspired fare including non-traditional bao, burgers and ramen.
1806 N. Farwell Ave., (414) 224-8284
This low-key eatery serves a menu of traditional Thai and Lao dishes, including a wide selection of vegetarian options.
1505 N. Farwell Ave., (414) 220-9322
Enjoy a menu of simple Thai dishes -- including spring rolls, pad thai and more unusual finds -- at this spiffed up cafe by the owners of nearby EE-Sane.
Emperor of China
1010 E. Brady St., (414) 271-8889
This longtime, casual Chinese eatery with a huge menu offers a variety of regional cuisines.
1824 N. Farwell Ave., (414) 224-5226
This informal nook with a warm atmosphere showcases a delicious menu of classic Ethiopian dishes.
1806 E. North Ave., (414) 239-8677
Enjoy fresh modern poke bowls -- including the Mango Tango and vegan Zen Bowl -- at this locally-owned fast casual poke spot.
2116 N. Farwell Ave., (414) 270-1918
Enjoy a sushi buffet, seafood dishes and made-to-order sushi at this strip mall sushi spot.
Good City Brewing
2108 N. Farwell Ave., (414) 539-4343
This craft brewery has upped the game for its genre with a chef-driven menu of snacks, sandwiches and globally inspired dishes. During the summer months, you can take it all in on their rooftop patio.
Hacienda Beer Co.
2018 E. North Ave., (414) 296-7200
This tasting room and restaurant operated by the folks from Door County Brewing offers guests a bright beautiful environment to enjoy a long list of creative craft brews and a menu of snacks and sandwiches.
The Halal Guys
3133 N. Oakland Ave., (414) 214-1357
An American Halal food restaurant offering Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine, including gyros and chicken dishes.
Harry’s on Brady
1234 E. Brady St., (414) 273-6000
If you're looking for a pub menu to please a crowd, you'll find it at Harry's, which features a large menu of American classics along with weekend brunch.
2523 E. Belleview Pl., (414) 332-2772
A neighborhood fixture for three decades, Henry's is a bar that serves burgers, sandwiches, salads, fish fry and weekend brunch.
Hi Hat Lounge/Garage
1701 N. Arlington Pl., (414) 225-9330
A stylish split-level lounge that features craft cocktails and gourmet American fare, including brunch, plus live music.
Hooligan's Super Bar
2017 E. North Ave., (414) 273-5230
One of the most popular destinations for the North Avenue pub crowd, Hooligan's has been at its prime corner spot since 1936, serving up a strong selection of burgers, sandwiches and other bar eats.
2428 N. Murray Ave., (414) 906-8888
This casual Chinese restaurant provides the standard favorites including a popular hot pot offering. But if you're feeling adventurous, you should ask for the secret Chinese menu.
2035 E. North Ave., (414) 727-9200
A fun vibe and a large, rotating selection of pizzas with unique and generously apportioned toppings (available as a whole pie but more commonly by the slice) makes Ian's a popular spot, especially after bar time.
Izzy Hops Swig & Nosh
2311 N. Murray Ave., (414) 249-4489
Whether you are trying to watch the game or hang out with friends, Izzy Hops is a great spot to grab a bite or a brew. Showcasing over 30 craft beers on tap, plus an extensive list of bourbon, this spot also offers a menu of sandwiches, burgers, wings and pizzas made by their next door neighbors at Divino Wine & Dine.
Jack's American Pub
1323 E. Brady St.,(414) 763-2830
Jack's is a popular watering hole with sidewalk seating that serves pizza and bar fare such as appetizers, burgers and wings.
Judy's on North
2207 E. North Ave., (414) 291-0645
Looking for solid, affordable Mexican fare? Head to Judy's where the service is friendly and late-night dining is the norm.
Kawa Ramen & Sushi
2321 N. Murray Ave., (414) 249-5750
Head to Kawa for their traditional Japanese ramen; but stay for the excellent sushi. Kawa also offers a variety of Japanese dishes, all in clean modern digs.
La Masa Empanada Bar
1300 E. Brady St., (414) 885-1866
Head to La Masa for scratch, oven-baked empanadas in flavors that range from ham & cheese to banana nutella. You can also enjoy sandwiches, salads and a great brunch on weekends.
Lake Park Bistro
3133 E. Newberry Blvd., (414) 962-6300
Located in the midst of Lake Park, this Bartolotta-run restaurant offers French cuisine with a picturesque view of Lake Michigan.
2961 N. Oakland Ave., (414) 332-6360
Lisa's Fine Foods does pizza first and foremost, but also offers quality pastas and sandwiches in a cozy second-floor space.
2214 N. Farwell Ave., (414) 271-7424
A cherished favorite of the East Side, Ma Fischer's has been giving hungry Milwaukeeans the comfort food they want – breakfast, lunch or dinner – 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for more than 60 years.
1550 N. Farwell Ave., (414) 276-2550
If you are craving Indian food, Maharaja is an East Side option. In addition to cuisine from both northern and southern India, Maharaja has an Indian beer list to give you the full experience experience.
2150 N. Prospect Ave., (414) 885-2524
Enjoy your fill of artful rolls at this premium all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant by the owners of Kanpai in the Third Ward.
1932 N. Kenilworth Pl. (414) 226-5160
You can't help but have fun at this 1980s themed bar where Korean fried chicken wings are the specialty of the house. Don't miss the full menu of Korean-inspired street foods, including Korean fried cauliflower that's just as good as the wings.
2335 N. Murray Ave., (414) 550-8226
Open late and serving authentic Mexican food with attitude from its tiny storefront off North Avenue, Mr. Senor's is a favorite of college kids and the late-night bar crowd.
2867 N. Oakland Ave., (414) 963-1393
This perennial award winner is arguably the best spot for casual Greek -- and gyros -- in the city.
2498 N. Bartlett Ave. (414) 763-4811
This hidden gem is tucked away in the residential area just off of Oakland Avenue; but it's worth seeking out for its Southern-inspired New American plates and tasty craft cocktails.
Original Pancake House
2621 N. Downer Ave., (414) 431-5055
Want enormous, plate-sized pancakes (and lots of other breakfast-oriented options) made fresh with quality ingredients and a fun, diner-style atmosphere? Original Pancake House is the place to go.
1814 N. Farwell Ave., (414) 585-0303
Experience a modern take on traditional pho, plus a menu of Vietnamese rice and noodle dishes at this low key spot.
2224 N. Farwell Ave., (414) 727-2720
With a motto of "fresh thinking, healthy eating," Pita Pit offers fresh food fast and has dine-in or delivery options.
1801 N. Humboldt Ave., (414) 272-9313
A no-frills BBQ outlet since 1942, Pitch's is known for baby back ribs and cribbage tournaments.
2597 N. Downer Ave., (414) 272-1745
This pizzeria has been treasured East Side staple for decades thanks to its delicious pizza, Italian inspired entrees and extensive California wine list. Be sure to pay a visit on Mondays for their Milwaukee-style deep dish.
1827 N. Farwell Ave., (414) 289-9993
An area favorite, Pizza Shuttle serves a huge menu of pizza, other Italian eats, lots of American items and beer in a casual setting with late-night hours, a jukebox and photo booth.
2228 N. Prospect Ave., (414) 431-4300
The Mexican-themed chain restaurant makes big burritos, tacos, quesadillas and healthy options at the counter.
The Pasta Tree
1503 N Farwell Ave., (414) 276-8867
Head to this cozy restaurant for locally-inspired Italian dishes and housemade pasta in a cozy dining room long considered one of Milwaukee's most romantic restaurants.
Red Light Ramen
1749 N. Farwell Ave., (414) 837-5107
Enjoy ramen, inventive snacks and boozie slushies at this hyped up ramen joint which started as a late-night-only staple.
Red Lion Pub
1850 N. Water St., (414) 431-9009
Looking for an authentic U.K. pub feel with a menu featuring British favorites like Shepard’s pie and fish 'n’ chips? You'll find it here, along with nice selection of British brews and spirits.
Rice N Roll Bistro
1952 N. Farwell Ave. (414) 220-9944
Enjoy delicious Thai dishes and creative, expertly prepared sushi at this trendy spot known for surprising and delighting customers with their beautifully presented affordable cuisine.
Roast Coffee Company
2132 E. Locust St., (414) 828-2030
Besides its excellent coffee and drink menu, the chill cafe also serves sandwiches and baked goods.
2613 E. Hampshire St., (414) 964-2611
Enjoy Sicilian staples -- including pizza and pasta -- at this art-filled neighborhood Italian restaurant just off the UWM campus.
2178 N. Prospect Ave., (414) 289-8208
Tucked away off North Avenue, Seoul is a longtime staple that keeps customers coming back with its Korean staples including soups, stews and bibimbop.
Sip & Purr Cat Cafe
2021 E. Ivanhoe Pl., (414) 585-0707
Care for a Calico with your coffee? How about a glass of wine with a feline? You can do both at this cat-lover's destination which features a cat lounge where customers can interact with a variety of adoptable cats, along with a cafe that serves up a variety of fare from savory burritos to sweet treats, including gluten-free options.
2847 N. Oakland Ave., (414) 964-5475
Enjoy some of the city's best Persian & Middle Eastern fare (including the silkiest baba ghanouj in the city), plus a weekday lunch buffet, at this long-time Oakland Avenue staple.
2921 N. Oakland Ave., (414) 967-1000
The Middle Eastern restaurant is known for its modern interpretation of classic dishes and using high quality fresh ingredients.
2124 N. Farwell Ave., (414) 271-2124
Simple is a bright, contemporary spot that specializes in creative, locally sourced meals for breakfast and lunch.
Stone Bowl Grill
1958 N. Farwell Ave., (414) 220-9111
Enjoy Korean-inspired staples like bibimbap served in hot stone bowls, at this casual, soul-warming spot.
2101 N Prospect Ave., (414) 885-0404
Enjoy globally inspired plant-based cuisine, natural wines and low abv cocktails at this cozy spot while enjoying a playlist of eclectic tunes from the owner's extensive vinyl collection.
2499 N. Bartlett Ave., (414) 964-8377
Long known for its upscale casual fare and craft brews, this neighborhood spot also offers an extensive gluten-free menu and elegant dining on their quaint, well appointed patio.
2851 N. Oakland Ave., (414) 962-8851
If spicy curries are calling your name, you'll find them at this casual spot.
932 E. Brady St., (414) 837-6280
Enjoy a variety of Thai dishes or your choice of sushi at this sleek trendy spot located at the heart of Brady Street.
2235 N. Farwell Ave., (414) 272-1775
Long known for providing Milwaukee with a uniquely German experience, Von Trier is the spot to find German brews, cocktails and more in a beautiful Bavarian-inspired space.
Whole Foods Market
2305 N. Prospect Ave., (414) 223-1500
The health-conscious grocery store has a hot bar and plenty of tasty tine-in options, including salads and pizza.
Wings over Milwaukee
1434 E Brady Street, (414) 278-9464
Craving wings? Wings Over Milwaukee provides an easy way to get your wing fix with a menu featuring both bone-in and boneless wings and a variety of sauces from spicy "Red Alert" to the cooler "Citrus Chipotle."
2342 N. Farwell Ave., (414) 220-4660
Wok Zone offers a large menu of classic Chinese fare, primarily for takeout and delivery.
1724 N. Farwell Ave., (414) 289-8776
Among Milwaukee's favorite spots for thin-crust pizza and other Italian dishes, Zaffiro's has been serving hungry patrons since 1954.
714 E. Brady St., (414) 226-9999
This modest locally-owned pizza joint features housemade pies along with a large, varied menu that includes wings, ribs and subs.