Featured on OnMilwaukee.com during its early-aughts inception, Sala Da Pranzo's dinner and lunch menus offer both contemporary and traditional Italian fare to fill the boot-shaped hole in Milwaukee's collective heart. Dinner diners get the chance to taste the ricotta-enhanced grandeur of the house specialty appetizer, the eggplant con pane ($11). Pastas like the saporito ($18.50), which tosses shrimp, tomato, basil, and garlic into the capable hands of fettuccini pasta, are available all day, and scene-stealing entrees such as the grilled salmon ($26) with chive cream sauce or the tenderloin porto vino ($34) shine like a strobe light covered in smaller strobe lights. For afternoon eaters, the veggie balsamic sub ($7.25) staves off narcolepsy with the time-tested jolt of mozzarella, tomato, onion, cucumber, lettuce, and balsamic vinaigrette.
Pear Street Bistro enchants diners with a neoteric ambience and an eclectic menu of regional fare fused with international influences. Break the table ice by trading life stories and Antarctic survival tips between bites of applewood bacon and parmesan fritters ($8). The fettuccine with chicken, swathed in a creamy marsala-wine sauce with savory veggies and sun-dried tomatoes, will appease mouths in a Mediterranean mood ($17), while the Bistro burger will delight buds of more traditional tongues with lean Angus beef on a ciabatta roll with bacon, onion, provolone, and mustard aioli ($13). Buttress chow with one of many sapid signature cocktails, including the Van Gogh sour apple, an artful libation concocted with Appel vodka, Apple Pucker, Midori, sweet and sour, and fresh lemon juice ($10).
After walking under the turquoise awning and past the brick façade of Abby's Grill, diners can dig into grilled seafood and pork marinated in the restaurant's secret sauce. The polished surfaces of wood tables gleam in the light streaming through the eatery's tall windows, which provide opportunities to watch passersby or attempt to intimidate parking meters with icy glares.
Since opening in 2003, Ristorante Due Rose has combined the open, family-style ambiance of an American diner with hearty, pan-regional Italian cuisine. Old World techniques endure in the kitchen, and the chefs lend a homespun charm to their meals by baking their own bread and by making fresh pasta and gnocchi in house. Medallions of filet mignon, seafood stew brimming with prawns and clams, and pizzas topped with prosciutto demonstrate the range of the menu, which overflows with iconic dishes from virtually every corner of Italy.
Taupe-hued half walls run throughout the generous dining room, dividing the space into small areas that cater to both couples and large families. Amid the white linens and the neutral-toned walls, a handful of décor accents add splashes of color, too. A burgundy awning sits above shelves of wine, evoking old-country trattorias, and verdant potted plants tower above the half walls, evoking the thick jungles of Tuscany.
Inside Tandoor, chefs chop, stuff, and bake 100% Halal Zabihah ingredients, weighing down tables with authentic Northern Indian and Pakistani dishes topped with freshly made curries. This BYOB eatery cooks its breads and tandoori items in clay oven or underneath the flame of a single match.