Whether it's your first date, an anniversary, or just an impromptu night out together, Milwaukee offers a lot of great hot spots that are the perfect backdrop for a romantic dinner. These places are not about kids, shot specials, and quick eats, and definitely about atmosphere, specialty beers and cocktails, and leisurely dining.
Where: 2101 N. Prospect Ave.
Contact: (414) 287-2053
Think European bistro at Allium, where you can wile away a few hours over cocktails and small plates. This is not the place to be if you're looking for a 16 ounce steak or heavy dinner, but it is the place for leisurely dining with lighter fare -- think salads, crostini, sandwiches and soups. A perfect spot for conversation.
Where: 550 N. Harbor Dr.
Contact: (414) 395-4900
It can be argued that Harbor House offers the best views in the city. Situated on a piece of land jutting out into the waves of Lake Michigan, the Harbor House is aptly named, and views also include the city skyline and the beautiful Milwaukee Art Museum. Seafood is the specialty here, and the restaurant includes a raw bar. Cost runs the gamut from a reasonably priced cheeseburger to steak and lobster options.
Where: 125 E. National Ave.
Contact: (414) 389-0125
One of the most popular restaurants in the city, La Merenda lives up to the hype with its distinctive small plate menu. Tucked away in a developing area of Walker's Point, La Merenda offers a comfortable, warm atmosphere, and a creative, locally sourced menu. Make reservations in advance, or expect a wait at the bar!
Lake Park Bistro
Where: 3133 E. Newberry Blvd.
Contact: (414) 962-6300
As the name suggests, Lake Park Bistro is situated in the middle of one of Milwaukee's best known East Side parks, and diners at select tables have a view of Lake Michigan. At this renowned restaurant, the menu is French, the atmosphere is intimate, and the service is superior. A good bet for a special occasion, and a worthwhile splurge for those on a budget.
Where: 2778 N. Weil St.
Contact: (414) 264-8466
A Riverwest neighborhood bar and restaurant featuring generous paninis, soups, salads and appetizer plates, as well as laid back cozy atmosphere. Located on an otherwise residential street, Nessun Dorma is a great place for food, cocktails, or both. Expect an enormous beer and wine selection and a welcoming vibe, and the chance that you may spend your entire date in the same location.
Where: 2499 N. Bartlett Ave.
Contact: (414) 964-8377
An intimate gem tucked nestled among an otherwise residential neighborhood, Tess is a great option for romance on the East Side. The menu features American fare with some adventurous twists, though traditionalists need not stay away. A little bit more expensive than some other options, but Tess is worth paying a few more dollars per entree for the right experience.
Where: 2995 S. Clement Ave.
Contact: (414) 431-1014
A comfortable, intimate corner restaurant in Bay View, this Italian restaurant is a perfect spot for date night conversation and a place to escape over a bottle of wine. Expect a friendly neighborhood feel, reasonable prices, and great pizza or old-county pasta favorites.