The 5 best Italian spots in Milwaukee

Looking for a tasty Italian meal near you? Hoodline crunched the numbers to find the top Italian spots around Milwaukee, using both Yelp data and our own secret sauce to produce a ranked list of the best spots to venture next time you're on the hunt. Mangia!

1. Glorioso's Italian Market

Photo: brian h./Yelp

Topping the list is Glorioso's Italian Market. Located at 1011 E. Brady St. in Lower East Side, the grocery store and deli is the highest rated Italian restaurant in Milwaukee, boasting 4.5 stars out of 338 reviews on Yelp.

The deli section offers a menu of signature sandwiches, pizzas, flatbreads, paninis, pastas, soups, salads and more. Look for options like the Milwaukee Muffalatta with genoa, mortadella, ham, provolone and mild or hot muffalatta; the Napoletana flatbread with mild sausage, artichokes, Moroccan oil-cured olives, fontinella cheese and arrabiatta sauce; and the Italian Classic calzone with mild sausage, bell peppers, onion, ricotta and mozzarella. (See the full menu here.)

Brian F., who reviewed it on Nov. 15. wrote, "If you love an Italian deli, this is a must stop in Milwaukee. Superb selection of Italian cold cuts and sausages, fresh sauces and just about everything else Italian that you could want."

2. Centro Café

Photo: sandy n./Yelp

Next up is Riverwest's Centro Café, situated at 808 E. Center St. With 4.5 stars out of 200 reviews on Yelp, the lounge and Italian spot has proven to be a local favorite.

The menu features pizzas, pastas, soup, salad and appetizers. Look for house specials like the Gnudi ricotta dumplings with pancetta, mushrooms, spinach and truffle oil; the Risotto Verde with spinach, shallots, mushrooms, roma tomatoes, cream, goat cheese and Parmesan; and the Marsala Braised Short Ribs with Alfredo gnocchi, mushrooms and gremolata. (See the full menu here.)

Yelper Christopher D. said, "Really cool atmosphere and fantastic food. I would recommend sitting at the bar and watching the action in person as the chef delivers each plate in front of you."

3. Santino's Little Italy

Photo: mikey b./Yelp

Santino's Little Italy, a cocktail bar and Italian spot that offers pizza and more, is another much-loved go-to, with 4.5 stars out of 129 Yelp reviews. Head over to 352 E. Stewart St. to see for yourself.

The menu mostly features pizzas and pastas, but also has salads, appetizers and desserts. For pasta, look for the Pasta Carbonara with freshly grated cheese, dry aged bacon, eggs, cream and black pepper over pasta. For pizza, try the Vesuvius with house tomato sauce, Italian ham, red pepper, onion, black olives and mozzarella.

Ben W., who reviewed it on Nov. 2, said, "This was an unexpected treasure! The menu is fairly standard Italian, but everything we had was executed remarkably well. The bruschetta was toasted and dressed to perfection, without being overly crunchy or greasy. The meatball pasta was generous, perfectly al-dente and delicious. The pizza and salad were both excellent."

4. Transfer Pizzeria Café

Photo: pamela m./Yelp

Over in Clock Tower Acres, check out Transfer Pizzeria Café, which has earned four stars out of 405 reviews on Yelp. You can find the Italian spot, which offers pizza and more, at 101 W. Mitchell St.

The pizzeria offers plenty of pies, plus paninis and pasta dishes. Look for pizza options like the Paisano with tomato and pesto sauces, cheese, spicy sausage, tomatoes and shaved asiago; the Razzo with olive oil, oregano, mozzarella, prosciutto and baby arugula; and the Carne Amore with tomato sauce, cheese, sausage, pepperoni, bacon and salami. Its pizzas are all available gluten-free upon request. (See the full menu here.)

Cheyenne O. wrote, "Best pizza on the planet, hands down. I always get the Margherita with pepperoni on top. So good! I don't know what else to say."

5. Stella Van Buren

Photo: stella van buren/Yelp

And then there's Stella Van Buren, a Juneau Town favorite with 4.5 stars out of 118 reviews. Stop by 550 N. Van Buren St. (within the Westin Milwaukee) to hit up the steakhouse and Italian and traditional American spot next time you're looking to satisfy your cravings.

With separate breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner menus, you can expect to find options like the Mediterranean Branzino with grapefruit, olive and pistachio relish; the Spicy Gulf Shrimp Spaghetti with heirloom tomatoes, basil, Parmesan, garlic and hot pepper oil; and the baked lasagna with crumbled meatballs, Italian sausage, ricotta and mozzarella. (See the dinner menu here.)

Yelper Chetan P. said, "Great ambiance, delicious food and, most importantly, complimentary parking if you are dinning with them. Definitely recommended for a date night."