Award-Winning Steak House | Classic Surf 'n' Turf | Live Entertainment | Californian Wines | Supper-Club Decor
When to Go: Try to plan your dinner for a Friday night around 8 p.m. That’s when musicians hit the adjoining Alley Cat Lounge stage, playing everything from oldies and jazz to modern rock and R&B.
Inside Tip: Show up hungry. All meals come with a salad, relish tray, and sourdough bread with butter and honey. A side of butter-sauteéd mushrooms also accompanies every steak.
Media Mentions: Over the years, 5 O’Clock has drawn national attention. The Travel Channel featured it on the program Steak Paradise, Saveur magazine named it one of the best steak houses in the country, and Travel + Leisure said it has a "Mad Men vibe."
Behind the Name: According to the restaurant's lore, the steak house got its name from an alarm clock that would ring every day at 5 p.m., alerting customers that it was time for a free drink.
While You’re in the Neighborhood
Before: Tour the Tripoli Shrine Center (3000 W. Wisconsin Avenue), a replica of the Taj Mahal and a member of the National Register of Historic Places.
After: If the entertainment at the Alley Cat Lounge isn't to your taste, head over to The Coffee House (631 N. 19th Street), which offers acoustic music and poetry performances.
According to OnMilwaukee.com, Angel Velasquez didn't only look to his own Puerto Rican heritage when planning the menu for Kafe Kultura. Instead, he brought back the dishes he fell in love with on his many travels throughout Latin American and the Caribbean. As a result, the recipes hail from varied and far-reaching locales—Cuba's ropa vieja, for instance, drenches pulled beef and bell peppers in tomato sauce for a disk-shaped meal that Carol Deptolla of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel lauded as "modern and so delicious." Pechuga rellena—a stuffed chicken breast wrapped in a blanket of bacon alongside a delicate guava sauce—comes from the Caribbean, while the cheese-laden sweet plantains and ground beef that is pastelon hangs its hat in Puerto Rico. In the dining room, Deptolla writes, "Latin music is played at a subdued level, and the lighting is discreet," forming an atmosphere that sets a prime stage for romantic dinners, special occasions, or secret rendezvous between rival spice-trade ships.
Refuge Smoothie Cafe started as a way to indulge without completely undoing healthy eating habits. The menu boasts colorful, tasty smoothies made with fruit and vegetables to satisfy sweet cravings while filling the body with healthy vitamins. House blends include smoothies packed with berries, vegetables such as kale and spinach, and herbs such as mint and basil. Guests can customize their own smoothie or slurp on coffee, tea, and fresh-squeezed juice.
INdustri Cafe evokes local industry in more than its name—its New American menu prizes local ingredients , and it’s served in a rustic warehouse-style space hung with the work of local arts. The bistro brings fine dining out of the realm of diamond-encrusted waiters in order to bring the delicate flavors of lobster, pulled-duck, and truffle oil to a wider audience. The menu shifts with the seasons, but diners can expect to find American favorites graced with a gourmet touch—burgers topped with sautéed apple and poblano barbecue sauce, for instance. Serious Eats found that burger " juicy and rich and well seasoned" with toppings that "all worked together in total harmony."
Weathered wood and exposed brick surround the dining room at INdustri, which is illuminated by rows of bright globe lights. Another level of seating sits atop the bar’s canopy, while beneath it patrons sip from a beer list that only includes Wisconsin brews.
When Sababa's founder and head chef, Ed Wahhab, isn’t whipping up a homestyle menu of Middle Eastern dishes, he can be found in the dining room reading diners' fortunes in the bottoms of their cups of Arabic coffee. Ed’s banter and his love of card tricks create a sense of camaraderie that fills Sababa—Hebrew and Arabic slang for "awesome"—as patrons settle in at the bar, puff strawberry-daiquiri-flavored hookah on the patio, or sample housemade hummus and falafel.
Putting a modern American slant on traditional Mediterranean cuisine, the kitchen flavors beef sliders with kifta spices and creates nachos with pita chips, feta and cheddar cheese, lemon tahini sauce, and a medley of garbanzo beans and vegetables. Bartenders pour wine, crack open bottled beers, and mix up specialty cocktails, such as a manhattan with cardamom and a French martini, whose blend of Chambord, pineapple juice, and vanilla vodka is served in the traditional French way, by a weeping clown.
Jennifer Nowicki really loves produce; she's named her third restaurant Verduras, the Spanish word for vegetables. The completely vegetarian menu employs ingredients such as grapefruit, beets, and teriyaki-infused carrots to insulate sandwiches, salads, and soups, many of which are also vegan or gluten free. However, the ever-shifting curls of steam that tickle the hardwood floors, exposed rafters, and large windows hint at Verduras' primary focus: teas from all across the globe. Beneath the ivory-hued exposed bricks, white, green, rooibos, and local Rishi teas steep in hot water, filling mugs with the flavors of wild rose, hibiscus, or chai. The floral aromas of darjeeling fill the air as patrons gaze at the art on the walls, rendered in crisp black and white like a zebra’s yearbook page.