Food & Drink

The Thrillist Awards: Milwaukee's Best New Food & Drink of 2015

Published On 12/29/2015 Published On 12/29/2015
Courtesy of Amilinda

Best new restaurant

Amilinda

Address and Info

Juneau Town

There haven’t been many openings as anticipated as Amilinda’s, thanks to a large fanbase cultivated at their pop-up restaurant of the same name. Their permanent home has lived up to expectations with a menu influenced heavily by Spain and Portugal, and dishes. ranging from braised lamb to octopus, that are all tackled with a skillful hand.

Courtesy of Rice n Roll Bistro

Best new Asian

Rice n Roll Bistro

Address and Info

Lower East Side

Asian restaurants that take on too many cuisines can raise red flags, but this one pulls it off. From sushi to Thai to whatever cuisine crab rangoon is, every dish on the huge menu is made with finesse.

Best new beer bar

Camino

Address and Info

Walker’s Point

A decidedly unpretentious bar and grill in an area rife with expensive dining options, Camino's focus is on craft brews by the glass or growler. The kitchen is pumping out some instant classics, like the kimcheese sandwich, Korean chicken wings, and cheese curds from a local dairy, and while you’re waiting for your food, you can embrace your inner teenager with vintage arcade games like Tapper and BurgerTime.

KAILLEY LINDMAN/COURTESY OF MERRIMENT SOCIAL

Best new burger

Merriment Social

Address and Info

Harbor View

Though Merriment Social’s menu touts small plates and dim sum, the burger here steals the show. It’s a classic combination done really well: a double stack, topped with thick slabs of bacon, a couple slices of cheese, and homemade pickles. It’s a classic combination done really well.

Best new bar

Plum Lounge

Address and Info

Juneau Town

Though DJs abound late night, Plum Lounge’s atmosphere is more lounge and less nightclub, thanks to swanky bottle service and an upscale, substantial food menu. Even if dance music isn’t your thing, make the trip for the patio and its long fireplace-in-the-bar.

Courtesy of Irie Zulu

Best new African

Irie Zulu

Address and Info

Wauwatosa

Admittedly, there’s not a whole lot of competition for African food around the city, but even if there were, Irie Zulu would still be the stand out. The restaurant itself brings a marriage of African and Jamaican cuisines, but it’s the creative combos from the African portions of the menu that impress the most. Start your menu exploration with the peanut butter stew.

Gypsy Tacos

Best new taco

Gypsy Taco

Address and Info

Bay View

The Gypsy Taco cart moved to MKE this year from Door County, and has taken up permanent residence at Boone & Crockett, one of the best bars in the city. They operate on a pop-up basis lately, thanks to a jerk who stole their money instead of delivering a shiny new taco truck. So when you can get your hands on their fusion tacos with Dr. Pepper-marinated pork and fresh veggies, run, don’t walk.

Anodyne

Best new pizza

Anodyne

Address and Info

Bay View

A coffee shop with pizza? It makes total sense when you realize they sell beer and wine and serve as a hub of activity for their neighborhood. The massive pizza oven was shipped from Italy, and the pies are Neapolitan style, naturally. Originally only available on weekends, demand for pizzas has increased, and the oven (thankfully) now only rests on Mondays.

Company Brewing

Best new brewpub

Company Brewing

Address and Info

Riverwest

Company Brewing comes out on top by being a brewery, live music venue, and outstanding restaurant all rolled into one warm industrial space. While you’re coming for the impressive, refreshing beers, you’ll stay for the food; much of it is Puerto Rican influenced, like jibarito and tostones, but you can get trout, steak, or gnocchi, too.

Courtesy of Beerline Cafe

Best new vegetarian

Beerline Cafe

Address and Info

Riverwest

You’re guaranteed to feel good for going to Beerline Cafe. You’ll have a good coffee, you’ll be supporting a local business that believes in sustainability, and no animals will be harmed in the making of your food. If none of that actually convinces you, the large array of sweet-filled crepes should seal the deal.

Xankia

Best new sandwiches

Xankia

Address and Info

Kilbourn Town

This Vietnamese spot that specializes in banh mi moved downtown this year, earning them much more recognition than they had tucked away in an Asian supermarket. The cubicle farm worker has heard the siren song of pork pate combined with briny vegetables and spicy jalapeños, and will never look back.  

Supper

Best new supper club

Supper

Address and Info

Lower East Side

A modern reinterpretation of the classic Wisconsin supper club, Supper is sleek and retro, from the decor to the menu. Some things are classic, like steak Diane and oysters Rockefeller, and some things have been updated, like a craft cocktail menu. One thing that straddles both old and new: ice cream drinks. Blue Moon in an after-dinner drink? Yes please.