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Milwaukee Magazine showcases the best restaurants in the city this year

Photo by: Kevin J. Miyazaki/PLATE; Design by Milwaukee Magazine

This month’s issue of Milwaukee Magazine features 20 of the best restaurants throughout the city.

Dining editor Ann Christenson highlights standout dishes and gives readers a taste of the city’s culinary scene. The latest issue’s cover showcases beautifully prepared veal chops from Lupi & Iris, one of the restaurants that claimed a spot on the exclusive list.

The magazine’s most anticipated issue of the year takes months to come together. Leading up to writing the feature, Christenson says she regularly revisits each restaurant to experience the taste of the food, the service and the environment in its totality.

“People think, ‘Oh my God, that's fantastic, you're out eating all the time,'" she says. "Yes, but I'm also on duty, too, because I'm not eating for pure enjoyment. I'm also evaluating the food, how it's prepared, the way it's served. So it's kind of a long process.”

Best Restaurants 


Currently one of her favorite restaurants, Christenson says Birch prides itself on its updated monthly menu and Wisconsin-grown farm-to-table foods.

“The food there is really fresh,” she says. “It's like lots of bright flavors and citrus and when you go there, you really feel like you're eating the rainbow of healthy foods.”


If you’re a true pasta lover, Ca’Lucchenzo is the place for you. Christenson says both the restaurant’s dishes and service are top-notch.

“They're really creative about [their pasta] and they make different shapes that you don't necessarily always see,” she says. “The protein on the sauces, they might be combinations that you just don't see everywhere. You're not just gonna get basic spaghetti and meatballs, that's not what they do. It's very driven by what the chef is inspired by.”

Best New Restaurants 

La Cocina Del Sur 

If you’ve visited a farmers market in the East Side or Riverwest area, Christenson says you’ve likely come across a food truck called Pedro’s. She says the owner of the popular food truck, Pedro Tejada, opened his brick-and-mortar restaurant La Cocina Del Sur in 2022 to showcase more Ecuadorian cuisine.

“He's known for his empanadas and his arepas, which are these corn cakes that have all of these delicious toppings, meat, cheese, beans and sour cream – all of this deliciousness,” she says, “but he's also known for this great Ecuadorian dish that's called llapingachos, and this particular dish features these cheese potato cakes [and mild chorizo].”

Heirloom MKE

Similar to La Cocina Del Sur, Christenson says Heirloom MKE started out as a food truck in 2020. The Bay View restaurant officially opened as a brick-and-mortar concept last August and are known for their diverse dishes and welcoming atmosphere.

“It is so charming inside [Heirloom MKE] and they're able to do some of the things that they have become known for on their food truck,” she says. “They do braised short ribs, they have a really good burger, they have a halibut dish, they have a chicken sandwich — they have so many different things, and everything is just really, really colorful.”

You can read more about the city's culinary scene in Milwaukee Magazine’s March Issue, Best Restaurants, which is out now.


Xcaret is a WUWM producer for Lake Effect.
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