Wauwatosa's dining scene has evolved continuously, with new options from the string of North Avenue eateries on the east to the options at the Mayfair Collection on the west and right down in the heart of the Village itself.
Here is a look at what Tosa brings to the table.
This family-owned American / Italian restaurant has been in its Wauwatosa location for more than 50 years. The Friday night fish fry is popular, but the entrée selections give it a chophouse feel.
A second Milwaukee-area location for the Chicago-based Aloha Poke, which serves Hawaiian-style raw bowls, as well as a "Pack Your Own Bowl" option. Open seven days a week, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Balistreri's Italian Restaurant
The long-lived Balistreri's is a local favorite – owner Jim Balistreri learned the pizza trade at the legendary original Caradaro Club in the Third Ward – with cracker-thin pizza and Italian-American favorites. A larger location nearby on 65th Street and Bluemound Road serves the same food in an expanded environment.
BB's on North
Located in the former Irie Zulu space, BB's offers a seasonal menu of pizza and globally-inspired modern American appetizers and entrees.
With a large bar and a welcoming fountain patio – to say nothing of taco specials on Tuesdays and Thursdays – this BelAir location proved popular from the day it opened. The vibe is great, but BelAir doesn't take reservations, so on weekends, you might plan to have a margarita at the bar while you wait for your table.
Blue’s Egg is one of the top brunch spots in Milwaukee. The menu features a blend of modern American items combined with old world ingredients. If you are headed to Blue’s Egg try using the No Wait or Yelp App to check wait times and get put on the waiting list remotely.
A sister restaurant to Cafe Hollander just a few steps away, the Northwoods-themed Buckatabon replaced the German-focused Cafe Bavaria with a supper club vibe. Lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, as well as a little beer garden in the heart of the Village.
Ca' Lucchenzo pastificio offers homemade pasta enhanced with seasonal ingredients. As such, the menu changes often. Also offers ready-to-cook pasta and sauces to carry out.
6428 W. North Ave., Wauwatosa, (414) 514-0071
Though typically serving a regular menu, Cafe Blue has limited food at the moment due to the coronavirus challenges. There's still coffee, espresso and tea drinks, and limited food items as daily specials. Call for details.
This Tosa outpost of the local Hollander chain opens early seven days a week for breakfast and Sunday brunch and is open late as a bar, too. Enjoy your meal in the dining room or outdoors (in season) along the river. Expect a wide selection of European beers. And kids will like watching the trains go by.
Though Camp Bar is a Northwoods-themed cocktail bar rather than a restaurant, the Tosa location serves a range of appetizers and pizzas from Cranky Al's just up the street. Plus, you can enjoy these bites with one of the best Old Fashioneds in town.
6810 W. State St., (414) 456-9988
Quick and easy Chinese food with the option for take out.
7200 W. North Ave., (414) 774-8400
The Chinese Pagoda and 'Tosa go way back. It's a small, quaint restaurant with reasonable prices and although some dishes cater to American tastes there is plenty for those who love Chinese and Chinese-American food.
The café is attached to the Wisconsin Athletic Club and right on the County Grounds near Froedtert and Children's Hospitals and is a great place for breakfast or lunch, with a variety of coffee drinks to accompany bakery items, build-your-own sandwiches, soups and salads.
If you're a Colectivo fan, the menu here is familiar, with the usual assortment of coffee, tea and juices, alongside bakery items, salads and sandwiches and wraps. The Wells Street location has a fire pit that's popular all year 'round.
Treat yourself to a wide selection bar food – appetizers, pizzas, sandwiches, burgers and Friday fish fry – while catching the game on one of 10 plasma screen TVs.
7203 W. North Ave., (414) 257-2005
Located on the site of the former Barrie's Frozen Custard – a Tosa landmark for a couple generations – Cosmos offers great Greek food, fish fry, burgers and more – to enjoy in the small dining room or for carry-out.
This is the third location for Crafty Cow, which also has locations in Oconomowoc and Bay View, too. A great place for a burger or a chicken sandwich – or chicken and waffles! – and one of the best selections of craft beer in town.
Crafty Crab Seafood
This national seafood chain offers fish boils using its own special seasoning blends. Choose lobster, shrimp, crawfish, mussels, clams or a variety of crabs – or mix and match – pick your seasoning and the heat level and dig in.
Cranky Al's is a West Side favorite for donuts and coffee in the morning. Don't miss the crullers, apple fritters or Nutella-filled donuts. Also breakfast burritos and pizzas and more!
Daddy’s on Blue Mound
6108 W. Bluemound Rd., (414) 434-1354
This new restaurant on Bluemound serves breakfast and soul food specialties.
Dr. Dawg Tosa
An area favorite, this new location serves the same great Chicago hot dogs, burgers and tasty fries.
This restaurant in the old Fish Cheeks space serves poutine, sandwiches, plant-based pub fare, fish fry and more.
8612 W. Watertown Plank Rd., (414) 771-6680
This is where fine dining meets old-school supper club. The breadth of experience and expertise at Eddie Martini's easily makes it perfect for everything from a business meeting to an intimate date night for two.
A Scandinavian-inspired restaurant in the lobby of the new Renaissance Hotel at Mayfair Mall, Eldr+Rime also has one of the sweetest patios in Tosa.
Ferch's Crafthouse Grille
The family that runs the legendary (and now closed) Greendale malt shoppe and the craft beer-focused grill at Grant Park Beach in South Milwaukee offers a similar vibe at this Tosa location: craft beer, tacos, burgers, fish fry, wings.
Firefly Urban Bar & Grill
Firefly's menu features appetizers, sandwiches and entrees from its wood-burning grill and smoker, as well as microburgers, fondue and crunch salad. Don't miss out on the s'mores for dessert, which you get to make at table with a cute little personal grill.
Named for the famous Hawaiian dish poke comprised of sliced, raw fish combined with various add-ins, FreshFin marked a first for Milwaukee when it opened the doors of its East Side location at 1806 E. North Ave. in 2017, winning the honors of Best New Restaurant for 2017 in the annual OnMilwaukee readers’ poll.
Genghis Khan Mongolian BBQ
725 N. Mayfair Rd., (414) 774-5540
Genghis Khan offers an elaborate buffet laden with various thinly sliced meats, freshly cut vegetables, more than 10 kinds of sauces and natural spices to create your own exotic meal.
George Webb, a Milwaukee-area institution, likely needs no explanation here. Open 24 hours a day, you can grab a booth or belly up to the counter and enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner anytime of day.
Gilles Frozen Custard
Milwaukee's oldest surviving custard stand, which opened in 1938, offers hamburgers, cheeseburgers, french fries, onion rings and, of course, some of the city's best frozen treats for dessert.
Ginza Japanese Restaurant
Don't let the strip mall location fool you, Ginza is a great place to grab sushi or other Japanese dishes, like teriyaki, tempura, miso soup and other specialties. Smart folks grab a soft shell crab appetizer and the delectable Wauwatosa roll (when in Rome!) and smile all the way home.
Golden Nest Pancakes Cafe
Breakfast dishes include classic eggs and toast, as well as benedicts, omelettes, skillets and specialty items like breakfast burritos and chilaquiles. Plus, sweeter options like crepes, waffles and The Nest’s secret recipe pancakes, served with toppings like banana Nutella, tiramisu, roasted Fuji apples, granola berry, bananas foster, fresh berries or strawberry and Nutella. An espresso bar, plus beer, brunch cocktails and more.
Good City Brewing
The East Side brewery's third location is in the former ABV Social in the Mayfair Collection. No brewery here, but a large, airy taproom, along with a spacious patio and copious parking. There's merch for sale and canned beer to go, plus a full menu of pub favorites from wings and chili to burgers, wraps, salads and mac 'n' cheese.
Great Taste Chinese
6618 W. North Ave., (414) 443-1638
This East Tosa place is one of the most popular Chinese restaurants in the area for carryout and delivery, with delicious food and friendly service.
Habanero's Mexican Kitchen
Featuring an impressive array of authentic dishes served in a lively, welcoming atmosphere, this locally-owned restaurant provides a strong alternative for foodies who don't want to head to the South Side for their Mexican food fix. Be sure to take advantage of the fresh table-side guac.
This 'Tosa Village favorite is small and comfortable with an extensive menu that can please the meat eater and the vegetarian. Please don't forget to order a margarita.
11302 W. Bluemound Rd., (414) 763-8846
A Mexican restaurant from the same group that runs Zisters, The Thirsty Duck and Jackson's Blue Ribbon Pubs. Serving everything from tacos to ceviche to carne asada to chile relleno and Yucatan "paella."
1413 N. 60th St., (414) 727-1799
A great neighborhood spot for breakfast or lunch. There's also a great outdoor patio that's great for people watching or reading the paper with a coffee, in season, of course. There is also a nice cocktail list with bloodys, mimosas and more.
Hui's Cantonese American Cuisine
8820 W North Ave., Wauwatosa, (414) 257-9800
Classic Cantonese cuisine in an equally classic American Chinese restaurant dining room setting.
Il Mito Enoteca
Il Mito serves northern Italian-inspired dishes along with a mix of Mediterranean and South American-styled entrees. Adjacent to the restaurant is Chef Michael Feker's School of Culinary Magic.
2930 N. 117th St., Wauwatosa, (414) 235-9220
Former Maharaja owners moved west to offer classic and modern Indian cuisine to folks in Tosa.
10499 W. Innovation Dr., (414) 259-0793
Located in the Crowne Plaza West, this restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, in a nice dining room and on a patio with a fireplace. There's a fish fry on Fridays and brunch on Sundays, too.
Jimmy's Island Grill & Iguana Bar
Family friendly dining across from Mayfair Mall, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner in an island-themed atmosphere. Seafood, salads and sandwiches rule the menu, which also includes a variety of steaks, ribs and chicken. Enjoy the Tiki-ish patio when the weather cooperates.
Jose's Blue Sombrero
This multi-location Mexican eatery has replaced the long-lived Chancery location in the Village and has added some great outdoor seating. Don't miss the margaritas or the tableside guac service, both of which are Jose's highlights.
Kin by Rice N Roll
The menu at this Asian eatery in Tosa Village includes a selection of bites and appetizers, street-food-style Thai dishes, specialty items and a large sushi menu.
Some of the best pizza in Tosa comes out of this tiny delivery- and carryout only pizzeria that's attached to Club Tap on North Avenue. A New York-style doughy crust, but tavern-cut, has a tangy sauce and just the right amount of cheese.
Leff's Lucky Town
Burgers, sandwiches, wraps, salads, wings and pizza – along with a newly revamped fish fry – are the specialties at this comfortable corner tavern, which is hugely popular with softball, kickball and dart league all-stars. Stop in to watch the game, or on your way to the game, and you won't leave hungry. The patio is a must, in season.
Le Reve Patisserie & Cafe
Le Reve is a French-style patisserie and cafe in the heart of downtown 'Tosa that serves pastries, sandwiches, salads, crepes and coffee. Some of the best desserts on tap in the area can be found here.
Lucky Joe's Alchemy & Eatery
A small menu of entrees (sliders, Burgundy glazed chicken, triple mushroom risotto, slow-braised lamb stew) is augmented by a range of shareable plates, salads and sweets in this intimate Tosa Village bar and restaurant.
Maxfield's Pancake House
2727 N. Mayfair Rd., (414) 453-6000
This bustling breakfast, brunch and lunch spot dishes up deliciousness from 6 a.m. until 3 p.m. daily. On weekends, you'll often find a line, but it won't take long as service is efficient here. Don't miss the potato pancakes.
5930 W. North Ave., (414) 257 2228
Not technically in Tosa (but just across the street), but worth a visit is Mekong, a family owned southern Asian restaurant. Since opening in 2008, Mekong has offered Laotian, Thai and Vietnamese options. During the pandemic it converted its dining room into a grocery.
Located in the former John's Sandwich Shop space, MidTown offers a full menu of hearty options for breakfast and lunch, from diner-style fare to salads and other healthy options.
Miss Molly’s Cafe & Pastry Shop
As you'd expect from a cafe opened by a talented pastry chef, Miss Molly's rocks the sweet stuff, plus seasonal breakfast and lunch items with a focus on fresh vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free choices.
Mo's Irish Pub
Like its sister location Downtown, the Wauwatosa Mo's Irish Pub offers a variety of Irish-inspired and American staples in food and drink. You can get a shepherd's pie and wash it down with a pint of Guinness or have a cheeseburger and a Miller Lite; the choice is yours.
North Avenue Grill
Open daily from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. (until 3 on Sundays), North Avenue Grill – located in a classic diner space that retains its counter seating and booths set-up – serves breakfast, great burgers, chili and more, as well as cocktails, beer and wine. Sidewalk tables make for great people watching.
Ono Kine Grindz
Not every neighborhood in the area can boast a Hawai'ian deli and catering business, but East Tosa can. There's Kalua pig, incredible Chinese char siu chicken, Huli chicken, grilled salmon, ahi poke and more, plus a variety of bento boxes, too.
Finally, Tosans and West Siders don't have to drive to the East Side to get their Pizza Man fix, now that there's a location in the Mayfair Collection retail and residential development. Some of the area's best pizza and a great wine list in a festive atmosphere.
Located in 'Tosa village, this place is a marked departure from the Bartolotta group's signature fine dining eateries. This "little pizzeria" venture is a pocket-sized treasure that combines the positive aspects of a chain restaurant – fast, good and inexpensive – with a unique, atmosphere and wood-burning oven.
Bartolotta's theme here is "cucina rustica," or the serving of traditional, simple foods that Italian families enjoy in their homes. This rustic cuisine focuses on country recipes utilizing the freshest of ingredients. Many (like me) argue this is Milwaukee's best Italian restaurant.
The Original Suburpia
10853 W. Bluemound Rd., (414) 456 1100
Walk-in or take-out for great classic subs.
Ted's Ice Cream and Restaurant
6204 W. North Ave., (414) 258-5610
Belly up to the serpentine lino counter at Ted's and dine like your grandparents did. Prices are reasonable and the food is no-nonsense, home-style fare: bacon, eggs and waffles with coffee for breakfast, burgers and fries and Cokes for lunch. Fish fry on Fridays.
8725 W. North Ave., (414) 837-6281
In addition to your typical Thai cuisine, Thai-Namite – which also has a Brady Street location – also offers sushi. A small patio out front offers outdoor dining when the weather cooperates.
Urban Beets Cafe & Juicery
Although the Downtown location closed, Urban Beets is still open in Wauwatosa. The menu is filled with wide-ranging plant-based options for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and a weekend brunch.
6502 W. North Ave., (414) 323-7555
With an island themed cocktail list and menu, Wauwatiki will take you out of Milwaukee and into your happy place on a sandy beach.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.