In any great food city, you'll find them - those streets that seem to be an authentic, walkable, neighborhood equivalent of a food court. So many dining options and so much variety, that you could practically eat every meal along a few blocks for a month and never have the same thing twice.
In Milwaukee, one of those concentrated dining districts falls on Wauwatosa's North Avenue, and from Irie Zulu, to Juniper 61, were highlighting some of our favorite stops along the way.
8725 W North Ave
Thai-namite’s third and newest location opened its doors in the fall of 2016 on North Avenue in Wauwatosa. Thai-namite offers traditional Thai fare, a sushi bar, beer, wine, and cocktails. They are known for their elaborate sushi plate presentation, so be prepared to take a picture of your dish before you dig in. Our two favorite rolls are the Dragon, and the Spider Rolls.
7237 W North Ave
Irie Zulu offers fresh African & Jamaican dishes unlike any other restaurant in the city. They view food as an art that expresses the chef’s imagination, which you’ll see carried throughout the menu. One of our many favorites is the Ultimate Jerk Chicken, seasoned with a jerk marinade and Mama Deacon’s jerk BBQ sauce.
North Avenue Grill
7225 W North Ave
North Avenue Grill is your quintessential family friendly neighborhood grill, with exceptional breakfast, lunch, and dinner offerings. Grab a seat at the semi-old-school style counter or slide into a booth, and try some of our favorites, like the Bananas Foster, with bananas in a dark rum caramel sauce poured over ice cream and served in a cinnamon and sugar fried shell, or the Peppercorn Horsey Burger, with hickory smoked bacon, cheddar jack, crispy onion strings and peppercorn horsey sauce.
6910 W North Ave
Cranky Al’s is just about the only place in the world where doughnuts and pizza live together in harmony, unlike Susie & Al (owners). Cranky’s serves hand-crafted foods to bring a little joy to your day, and, aptly, it’s home to the largest beer and wine selection of any bakery in Wisconsin. If that doesn’t bring joy to your day, we don’t know what will.
We like the Susie Special Pizza, with baby organic spinach, ricotta and fresh garlic topped with mozzarella and romano cheese, and the weekend only Waffle Bites, which are waffle battered chicken bites, sprinkled with powdered sugar and served with maple syrup.
6817 North Ave
BelAir Cantina’s Wauwatosa location boasts a large bar, a fountain patio out back, and floor to ceiling garage doors that you can expect to find open on warm summer days. Their perfectly crafted, Cali-Mex style menu makes it hard for us to choose a favorite, but we like the High-Five Taco, with Cheetos crusted chicken, pico, lettuce, roasted corn salsa and chipotle ancho mayo. Plus, proceeds from this taco benefit Playworks of Wisconsin (an organization that supports learning and physical health by providing safe and inclusive play to low-income students in urban schools). Tacos for a cause, that's something we can get behind.
Rocket Baby Bakery
6822 W North Ave
You may know of Rocket Baby Bakery for their artisan bread and sweet bakery treats, but did you know they serve lunch with impressive sandwich options as well? And when we say sandwiches, we really mean finely crafted dishes showcasing seasonal and local ingredients alongside Rocket Baby's amazing bread. The Herbed Turkey never disappoints, with sliced all natural mesquite turkey breast, tomatoes, Carr Valley aged cheddar, herb pistou, and lemon aioli, on fresh Tosa Sourdough.
7203 W North Avenue
Cosmos Cafe brings authentic Mediterranean fare to North Avenue in a casual, counter service setting. We tend to gravitate towards the Gyro Platter, with gyro meat, a choice between rice or fries, tomato, feta, olives, pepperoncini and pita. If you're a pro, you'll ask for the Greek Fries, crispy fries topped with Greek seasonings, lemon, and crumbled feta cheese.
6030 W North Ave
Juniper 61 serves elevated contemporary American cuisine in a quaint, cool setting (with options to dine al fresco). Expect to see innovative dishes inspired by international flavors, like the Saffron Scallops, with seared sea scallops, herbed Israeli couscous, fresh asparagus, and saffron cream sauce, and the Caribbean Hen, with a whole game hen braised in Caribbean seasonings, grilled kohlrabi and turnips, raspberry and chicken demi-glace, and fresh raspberries.
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