I love walking into the classic Euro-french atmosphere at Coquette. It makes you feel like you're in Paris and you know, just having a casual night out with your lover, no big deal. And they have a special Valentine's Day menu with plenty of aphrodisiacs like oysters and dark chocolate.
It took me years to even know this place existed. If you didn't think Milwaukee had one of the best restaurants in the world, think again. This place, the food and the atmosphere, rival anything downtown Manhattan has to offer. It's a tiny place and the tables are close together (we had a lady at the next table drop in on our conversation), but trust that when the chef has won a whole wall of awards, including a James Beard award, you're going to have one of the best meals of your life.
3. Lake Park Bistro
Speaking of James Beard awards, chef Adam Siegel has one, too. Lake Park Bistro is the "go-to" romantic dining restaurant in Milwaukee. If Coquette is Paris, Lake Park Bistro is the french countryside. It doesn't disappoint.
4. Crazy Water
The kitchen at Crazy Water is a 5x5 crowded corner right in the front window. Red velvet drapes keep out the front door draft, the tables are dimly lit and the napkins are french dish towels. I really love this place. The food is a mix of local, american and french fusion. My favorite dish is the endive and apple with nueskes bacon, candied walnuts and creamy cheddar dressing. I keep trying to recreate it at home, but it's never the same.
5. Roots Restaurant and Cellar
Roots' dining room has one of my favorite views of the city. I also love their hearty, organic, slow food. If a farmer's market had a gourmet restaurant attached, this is what Roots is like. And they have a truffle seared tenderloin with chevre whipped potatoes, oh my. And they have Vegan and Gluten Free options, if you're into that, too.
Runner's Up: Mason Street Grill, La Merenda, Tenuta's, Centro Cafe