1. Third Ward
Essential Restaurants: Hinterland, DanDan, Tre Rivali, Bavette la Boucherie
The Third Ward edged out East Town in this list thanks to a couple recent openings that are cementing the 'hood's reputation for quality dining: DanDan and Tre Rivali. Modeled after Chinese-American restaurants in San Francisco and New York, DanDan is the first to bring modern, upscale Chinese to Milwaukee. Tre Rivali is located in the new Kimpton Hotel, so swanky with some Midwestern comfort seems to be the theme of the dining room and Mediterranean menu, which overflows with fresh pastas and tapas. Of course classics like Hinterland, an outpost of the Green Bay brewery, have continued to serve up creative dishes, as well as ever-popular daily food specials like $5 pho nights. Bavette la Boucherie is a full-service butcher that also acts as a small restaurant where you know that the beef in your burger or lamb in your curry is as fresh as it can get. The list of other noteworthy spots is long: Jing's, St. Paul Fish Company, Smoke Shack, Coquette Cafe, Lucky Ginger, Swig, Kanpai… couple all those with the relatively compact nature of the Third Ward, and you have the absolute best eating neighborhood in Milwaukee.