Last updated on September 24th, 2023 at 08:29 pm
5 Best Hole-in-the-Wall Restaurants in Milwaukee
These five best hole-in-the-wall restaurants in Milwaukee are part of a quest for hidden gems takes us to the best restaurants in Milwaukee. From the delectable Thai-infused flavors of Thai Bar-B-Que to the nostalgic Italian comfort of Nessun Dorma, and the comforting charm of Oakland Gyros, each establishment showcased its unique blend of tradition and innovation. Glorioso’s Italian Market and Comet Cafe added their own chapters to this culinary journey, with their rich heritage and heartwarming dishes.
In the vibrant Historic Third Ward, Nessun Dorma beckons with its elegant Italian offerings, inviting diners to experience a slice of Italy. Thai Bar-B-Que takes us on a journey to Southeast Asia, serving up a fusion of tastes that tantalize the senses. Meanwhile, Oakland Gyros and Comet Cafe weave together a tapestry of American and Greek influences that truly embody comfort.
While these five best hole-in-the-wall restaurants in Milwaukee provide a glimpse into the city’s culinary wonders, they are only the beginning. Beyond these, Milwaukee harbors a great deal of undiscovered gems, each with its own story to tell and flavors to explore. From cozy family-owned establishments to quirky hidden spaces, the city’s dining scene is brimming with surprises waiting to be uncovered. This is why these are some of the popular hole-in-the-wall restaurants in Milwaukee that are waiting for you to discover them. This list is in no particular order.
A lot of great options are in these posts!
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1) Thai Bar-B-Que
Thai Bar-B-Que stands as one of the best hole-in-the-wall restaurants in Milwaukee, tucked away in the vibrant heart of the city’s East Side neighborhood. This charming family-owned and operated gem combines the rich flavors of traditional Thai cuisine with the smoky allure of barbecue, creating an eclectic dining experience that’s both inviting and unforgettable. The restaurant’s unassuming exterior conceals a culinary haven that captures the essence of Thai culture while offering a unique twist.
One of Thai Bar-B-Que’s standout dishes is the “Grilled Thai Pork Skewers.” These succulent skewers feature tender marinated pork, infused with a blend of Thai herbs and spices. The meat is carefully grilled to achieve a perfect balance of smokiness and tenderness. Served with a tangy and slightly spicy dipping sauce, these skewers embody the essence of Thai flavors with a delightful barbecue twist.
Main Menu Items:
1. “Pad Thai Noodles”: A classic Thai favorite, Thai Bar-B-Que’s Pad Thai Noodles are a harmonious combination of stir-fried rice noodles, shrimp, tofu, bean sprouts, and crushed peanuts. The dish boasts a symphony of sweet, savory, and tangy flavors, elevated by the restaurant’s meticulous preparation.
2. “Green Curry with Chicken”: This aromatic dish features tender chunks of chicken swimming in a velvety green curry sauce, infused with a medley of Thai spices, coconut milk, and fresh herbs. Served with steamed jasmine rice, it’s a comforting and soul-satisfying option.
3. “Basil Fried Rice with Beef”: The Basil Fried Rice with Beef is a hearty and flavorful offering that brings together wok-fried jasmine rice, tender slices of beef, vibrant basil leaves, and an assortment of vegetables. The dish is a testament to Thai Bar-B-Que’s prowess in creating dishes that are both comforting and bursting with authentic taste.
“A hidden treasure in Milwaukee! Thai Bar-B-Que’s unique blend of Thai and barbecue cuisine is a match made in culinary heaven. The Grilled Thai Pork Skewers are a must-try!”
“I’ve traveled extensively and tasted Thai food around the world, but Thai Bar-B-Que’s Pad Thai Noodles remain unparalleled. Each bite takes me back to the streets of Bangkok.”
“Quaint, cozy, and utterly delicious. The Green Curry with Chicken had the perfect balance of spice and creaminess. This restaurant truly knows how to leave a lasting impression.”
Thai Bar-B-Que, located in the heart of Milwaukee’s East Side, is an exceptional culinary destination that seamlessly merges Thai and barbecue influences. As one of the best hole-in-the-wall restaurants in the city, it boasts a family-owned charm that is matched only by the flavorful authenticity of its dishes. They are one of the best hole-in-the-wall restaurants in Milwaukee.
From the Grilled Thai Pork Skewers to the masterfully crafted Pad Thai Noodles and Green Curry with Chicken, every bite tells a story of passion and dedication to culinary excellence. With its unpretentious ambiance and unforgettable flavors, Thai Bar-B-Que is a must-visit for those seeking an extraordinary dining experience. They rank high among the best hole-in-the-wall restaurants in Milwaukee for good reasons.
2) Nessun Dorma
Nessun Dorma stands proudly as one of the best hole-in-the-wall restaurants in Milwaukee, nestled in the charming Historic Third Ward district. This family-owned and operated gem is a culinary sanctuary that offers an intimate ambiance and exceptional Italian cuisine. Tucked away in an unassuming corner, Nessun Dorma captures the essence of a hidden culinary treasure.
Nessun Dorma’s standout dish is the “Gnocchi al Gorgonzola,” a delectable creation that combines the soft pillows of handmade potato gnocchi with a rich and velvety Gorgonzola cheese sauce. Each forkful is a symphony of flavors, where the earthy warmth of the gnocchi is beautifully complemented by the bold, creamy tang of the cheese sauce.
Main Menu Items:
1. “Risotto ai Funghi Porcini”: This dish is a celebration of Italian comfort food. The creamy Arborio rice is lovingly cooked with aromatic porcini mushrooms, imparting a deep and earthy essence. Finished with a drizzle of truffle oil, it’s a luxurious indulgence that captures the heart of Italy.
2. “Tagliatelle al Ragu”: Nessun Dorma’s Tagliatelle al Ragu is a true testament to the art of pasta-making. The delicate ribbon-like tagliatelle is tossed in a hearty meat sauce that’s been simmered to perfection, resulting in a dish that’s both satisfying and nostalgic.
3. “Saltimbocca alla Romana”: This dish offers a taste of Roman elegance. Thin slices of tender veal are layered with prosciutto and sage, then sautéed to a golden brown. The dish is elevated by a velvety Marsala wine reduction that adds a touch of sweetness and depth to the savory ensemble.
“Nessun Dorma is a hidden gem in Milwaukee! The Gnocchi al Gorgonzola is a divine dance of flavors that’s worth savoring slowly.”
“I felt transported to Italy with every bite of the Risotto ai Funghi Porcini. The truffle aroma and rich mushroom essence were simply enchanting.”
“The Tagliatelle al Ragu was a nostalgic journey back to my grandmother’s kitchen. The authenticity and love in the food are palpable.”
Nessun Dorma, located in the Historic Third Ward, is undeniably one of the best hole-in-the-wall restaurants in Milwaukee. A family-owned establishment, it radiates an intimate charm that perfectly complements its exceptional Italian cuisine. They are one of the best hole-in-the-wall restaurants in Milwaukee.
From the unforgettable Gnocchi al Gorgonzola to the comforting Risotto ai Funghi Porcini and the elegant Saltimbocca alla Romana, each dish is a testament to the restaurant’s dedication to culinary excellence. For those seeking an authentic Italian experience in a hidden culinary haven, Nessun Dorma is an absolute must-visit. They stand out among the best hole-in-the-wall restaurants in Milwaukee.
3) Oakland Gyros
Description:Oakland Gyros stands proudly as one of the best hole-in-the-wall restaurants in Milwaukee, nestled in the lively East Side neighborhood. This family-owned and operated gem exudes an inviting aura, offering a comforting blend of traditional Greek cuisine and American favorites. With its unpretentious ambiance and warm hospitality, Oakland Gyros captures the essence of a hidden culinary treasure.
At Oakland Gyros, the “Gyro Sandwich” stands out as the epitome of their culinary prowess. This signature dish features tender slices of seasoned meat, typically a blend of beef and lamb, nestled in a warm pita bread. Topped with fresh tomatoes, onions, and a cooling drizzle of creamy tzatziki sauce, the Gyro Sandwich is a harmonious fusion of flavors and textures.
Main Menu Items:
1. “Souvlaki Plate”: The Souvlaki Plate is a Greek classic that satisfies both the palate and the soul. Succulent chunks of marinated and grilled chicken or pork are served alongside fluffy rice, a crisp Greek salad, and warm pita bread. The dish embodies the essence of Mediterranean cuisine with its robust flavors and vibrant presentation.
2. “Spanakopita”: Oakland Gyros’ Spanakopita is a delightful vegetarian option that showcases layers of flaky phyllo dough enveloping a filling of spinach, feta cheese, and aromatic herbs. Baked to golden perfection, this dish offers a balanced combination of textures and flavors that’s as comforting as it is satisfying.
3. “Cheeseburger Deluxe”: In addition to Greek specialties, Oakland Gyros caters to American cravings. The Cheeseburger Deluxe is a classic option that features a juicy beef patty topped with melted cheese, fresh lettuce, tomato, and onions. Served with a side of crispy fries, it’s a taste of comfort with a touch of nostalgia.
“Oakland Gyros is a hidden gem! Their Gyro Sandwich is a burst of flavors that takes me back to the streets of Athens. A must-try for anyone craving authentic Greek cuisine.”
“I love the Souvlaki Plate! The tender meat, flavorful rice, and fresh salad create a wholesome and satisfying meal. It’s my go-to dish whenever I visit.”
“The Spanakopita at Oakland Gyros is perfection in every bite. The flaky pastry and the savory spinach filling make for a delightful combination that’s hard to resist.”
Oakland Gyros, located in Milwaukee’s East Side, is undoubtedly one of the best hole-in-the-wall restaurants in the city. This family-owned establishment seamlessly merges the flavors of Greek and American cuisine, offering a diverse and delicious menu. They are another of the best hole-in-the-wall restaurants in Milwaukee.
From the iconic Gyro Sandwich to the comforting Souvlaki Plate and the flaky Spanakopita, each dish showcases the restaurant’s dedication to providing authentic flavors in an unassuming setting. For those seeking a blend of Greek heritage and classic American fare, Oakland Gyros is a culinary treasure that truly lives up to its reputation. They deserve to be ranked high among the best hole-in-the-wall restaurants in Milwaukee.
4) Comet Cafe
Comet Cafe stands out as one of the best hole-in-the-wall restaurants in Milwaukee, nestled in the eclectic neighborhood of the East Side. This family-owned and operated establishment is a culinary haven that seamlessly combines comfort food with a quirky ambiance. With its unassuming charm and welcoming atmosphere, Comet Cafe embodies the essence of a hidden culinary gem.
Comet Cafe’s renowned dish is the “Mac n’ Cheese.” This iconic creation features a generous serving of creamy macaroni and cheese, elevated with a tantalizing blend of melted cheddar and smoked gouda. Topped with a crispy breadcrumb crust, this dish strikes a harmonious balance between indulgence and nostalgia.
Main Menu Items:
1. “Chicken and Biscuits”: The Chicken and Biscuits dish offers a taste of Southern comfort. Tender fried chicken is paired with flaky buttermilk biscuits and smothered in savory sausage gravy. Served with a side of mashed potatoes, it’s a satisfying and hearty option that warms the soul.
2. “Comet Burger”: The Comet Burger is a celebration of classic American flavors. A juicy beef patty is cooked to perfection and topped with melted cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, and a special sauce. Served with a side of hand-cut fries, it’s a timeless favorite that captures the essence of comfort food.
3. “Vegan Reuben”: Comet Cafe caters to diverse palates, offering the Vegan Reuben for those seeking a plant-based option. This sandwich features house-made seitan, sauerkraut, vegan Swiss cheese, and Thousand Island dressing, all grilled between slices of rye bread. It’s a satisfying choice that doesn’t compromise on taste.
“Comet Cafe is a true hidden gem! The Mac n’ Cheese is the ultimate comfort food, and it’s so creamy and flavorful. A must-visit for anyone craving a hearty meal.”
“I couldn’t get enough of the Chicken and Biscuits. The crispy fried chicken, fluffy biscuits, and rich gravy create a delightful symphony of flavors.”
“Even as a meat-lover, I was blown away by the Vegan Reuben. The seitan and vegan cheese mimic the flavors so well that I didn’t miss the meat at all.”
Comet Cafe, located in Milwaukee’s East Side, is undeniably one of the best hole-in-the-wall restaurants in the city. A family-owned gem, it offers an inviting atmosphere that perfectly complements its diverse comfort food menu. From the iconic Mac n’ Cheese to the hearty Chicken and Biscuits and the innovative Vegan Reuben, each dish is a testament to the restaurant’s commitment to satisfying cravings with creativity and flair.
They are one of the best hole-in-the-wall restaurants in Milwaukee. For those seeking a blend of comfort and character, Comet Cafe is a culinary treasure that delivers an unforgettable experience every time. They have earned the rank of being one of the best hole-in-the-wall restaurants in Milwaukee.
5) Glorioso’s Italian Market
Glorioso’s Italian Market stands as one of the best hole-in-the-wall restaurants in Milwaukee, situated in the vibrant Riverwest neighborhood. This family-owned and operated establishment is more than a restaurant; it’s an Italian culinary treasure trove. With its unassuming charm and deep-rooted heritage, Glorioso’s Italian Market captures the essence of a hidden culinary gem.
Glorioso’s Italian Market is renowned for its “House-made Italian Sausage.” Crafted with a time-honored recipe, this signature dish features perfectly seasoned pork sausage that’s expertly blended with aromatic herbs and spices. It’s a flavorful testament to the art of Italian sausage-making, available for purchase at their market or enjoyed as a key ingredient in various dishes.
Main Menu Items:
1. “Chicken Parmesan Sandwich”: The Chicken Parmesan Sandwich offers a taste of Italian-American comfort. A breaded and fried chicken cutlet is smothered in rich marinara sauce, topped with melted mozzarella cheese, and served on a freshly baked Italian roll. It’s a hearty and satisfying option that showcases the essence of Glorioso’s cuisine.
2. “Italian Meatball Sub”: The Italian Meatball Sub is a popular classic. House-made meatballs are simmered in marinara sauce until tender, then nestled in a crusty Italian roll. Topped with melted provolone cheese, this sub is a testament to Glorioso’s dedication to delivering authentic Italian flavors.
3. “Margherita Pizza”: Glorioso’s Italian Market caters to diverse palates, including pizza enthusiasts. The Margherita Pizza is a simple yet exquisite option that features a thin crust topped with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, basil leaves, and a drizzle of olive oil. It’s a flavorful tribute to the essence of Italian cuisine.
“Glorioso’s Italian Market is a hidden culinary gem! The House-made Italian Sausage is a taste of tradition and quality. It’s a must-try for anyone looking to experience authentic Italian flavors.”
“The Chicken Parmesan Sandwich took me straight to the streets of Little Italy. The crispy chicken and flavorful marinara were a match made in heaven.”
“I can’t get enough of Glorioso’s Italian Meatball Sub. The tender meatballs and melted provolone cheese create a delightful explosion of flavors.”
Glorioso’s Italian Market, located in Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood, is undeniably one of the best hole-in-the-wall restaurants in the city. A family-owned gem, it offers an authentic Italian experience that goes beyond its delicious dishes. They are one of the best hole-in-the-wall restaurants in Milwaukee.
From the iconic House-made Italian Sausage to the comforting Chicken Parmesan Sandwich and the classic Margherita Pizza, each item on the menu reflects the restaurant’s commitment to preserving Italian culinary traditions. For those seeking a slice of Italy in the heart of Milwaukee, Glorioso’s Italian Market is a culinary treasure that delivers an unforgettable journey through flavors and heritage. They are one of the best hole-in-the-wall restaurants in Milwaukee.
Now you know why these are some of the popular hole-in-the-wall restaurants in Milwaukee just waiting for you to discover them. However, it’s important to let you know that this is not an exhaustive list of the best hole-in-the-wall restaurants in Milwaukee and that this list is in no particular order.
So, as you traverse the streets of Milwaukee, keep your eyes open for unassuming facades that hold within them culinary treasures waiting to be savored. As these five hole-in-the-wall restaurants in Milwaukee have shown, a world of flavors and experiences await those who dare to venture beyond the well-trodden path. With every bite, you’ll discover the heart and soul of Milwaukee’s diverse culinary landscape, one hidden gem at a time.
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