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Permanently Closed - Water Buffalo

883 reviews
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$30 and under
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Top Tags:
  • Waterfront
  • Scenic View
  • Good for a Date

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This restaurant is permanently closed. Milwaukee's favorite riverfront bar and restaurant in the heart of the historic third ward for nearly 10 years.

Fantastic outdoor riverfront seating as well as a dynamic, highly designed space with a varied casual American menu.

Plenty of parking via street parking and nearby structures.

This may be the most unique Riverfront restaurant and bar in Milwaukee.

If you don't happen to find the reservation time that you're interested in, please do call the restaurant: 414-431-1133
Dining Style
Casual Dining
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American, Comfort Food, Vegetarian
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Hours of operation
Weekdays: Lunch from 11 am to 4 pm; Dinner starting at 4 pm
Weekends: Brunch from 10 am to 3 pm; Dinner starting at 3 pm
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Phone number
(414) 431-1133
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Payment options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Casual Dress
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Executive chef
Alex Sazama
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Private party facilities
Private space can accommodate up to 150 guests in the summer; great for group gatherings. No matter the occasion, Water Buffalo is the perfect spot for your event.
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Private party contact
Chrstine Bradford: (414) 585-8934
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Cross street
Buffalo St.
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Parking details
Street and surface lots are plentiful; private parking lot also available near by.
Banquet, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cafe, Cocktails, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Private Room, View, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
What 883 People Are SayingWrite a review
Overall ratings and reviews
4.4  based on recent ratings
Noise · Moderate
84% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OpenTable Diner (Milwaukee)
5.0  Dined on December 31, 2017

Our server was such a sweet girl and really on top of everything.

ScubaSteve (Milwaukee)
2.0  Dined on December 31, 2017

We had a reservation at 8:30 on New Years Eve and arrived around 8:25 pm. We were told there were several groups ahead of us but we should be seated in the next 5-10 mins, which I totally understand since it was New Years Eve. So we sat at the bar that was less that half full and did not receive service for about 10-15 mins, even after I acknowledged the bar tender. It seemed as if there was only a single bar tender (inexperienced) servicing the entire restaurant. It was honestly kind of a joke. After a while we were seated (around 9 pm), and a server came by and introduced herself twice and both times said she’d be with us in a few mins. We eventually had a different server that was very nice. The food came out pretty quickly. We had two appetizers and two entrees. The lasagna is a little heavy, but for the most part the food was pretty good. I think the restaurant is beautiful with an unbelievable location, and maybe it was a bad night due to the holiday, but I did expect a little more. It was a special occasion dinner with a significant other that was less than stellar, but I have heard good things about the restaurant in the past.

OpenTable Diner (San Francisco)
5.0  Dined on December 31, 2017

We went to Water Buffalo on New Years Eve. Our reservation was for 2 instead of 4. They were able to accommodate even though it was incredibly busy.

OpenTable Diner (Milwaukee)
2.0  Dined on December 31, 2017

We did not have a very good experience. Waitress was very annoying. Kept telling us how busy she was having to waitress and tend bar at the same time. When we selected a drink or entre' selection she always tried to get us to change it. Very strange. Food was average at best. My steak was burned and portions we relatively small for the price. It was a cold evening and several people in our party sitting next to the windows froze.

DeeH (Milwaukee)
4.0  Dined on December 29, 2017

Service very good. My husband loved the ribs. My ahi tuna...not so much. I get tuna almost everywhere I go. This was my least favorite I’ve ever had. There was No flavor to this dish. Was supposed to come with quinoa, but it was unflavored couscous.
My friend and I were drinking of her glasses was about 3 oz.

Shai (Chicago)
5.0  Dined on December 29, 2017

Our server, Molly, was great. Even though she was becoming increasingly busy she took the time and energy to be really present when she was answering our questions or making recommendations. The tone was set with the poblano chicken in puff pastry which where stellar. The puff pastry was like buttery cashmere with a super soft crunch. I had the lobster ravioli in a perfectly nappe white sauce with almost a garnish of arrabiata, which was a nice touch. I have to say I’m in LOVE with the fact they use fresh pasta. It speaks to a real commitment happening in the back of the house. My friend had the lasagna (more fresh noodles 😍) with sausage and artichoke. It came topped with a super fragrant pesto and while it was a little on the salty side it wasn’t enough to detract from the overall flavor of the dish. We shared the carmelized Brussels sprouts. Many places drop the ball on dessert. That’s not the case with Water Buffalo. The almond pound cake almost ruined our friendship because I didn’t want to share. It came out toasted and warm and divine and inspired an audible moan. We also had the Swiss roll, an endearing little twist on a childhood favorite. The coffee was even great! They could have served that meal to me in a cardboard box fort and I would have left happy so the overall ambiance of the place was just the icing on the cake. There was enough attention to detail happening that it kept me surprised and delighted for the entire meal. An appetizer, wine, 2 entrees with a side and 2 desserts with coffee for under a hundo? Stick a fork in me. Thanks Water Buffalo! You’re my new “go to” watering hole whenever I’m in Milwaukee.

vipTHeTs (Milwaukee)
4.0  Dined on December 28, 2017

Nice place for a casual meal. Went on a quiet weeknight so the service was prompt and attentive. Food was good. Liked the fried chicken sandwich. The only complaint I would make is they were out of two of our parties choices. Considering it was a slow weeknight it seemed odd they would have sold out of two items.

KarrieT (Tampa)
5.0  Dined on December 16, 2017

There were 7 in our group and all of us loved the food. Prices were reasonable and most of us went home with leftovers because the portions are pretty big. Would definitely go back.

sudsr (San Francisco)
4.0  Dined on December 15, 2017

This is a very attractive restaurant with a fabulous view of the river. The food was very good - not necessarily special or unique but very good. We don't visit the Third Ward often and we were expecting something a bit more special. We were there for dinner on a Friday night and I was happy the place wasn't packed. We (group of four) sat comfortably at the bar for drinks before and after dinner and were able to all converse without yelling.

Sarah (Milwaukee)
5.0  Dined on December 8, 2017

Excellent! I had the Kansas City Strip and absolutely loved it. I wanted to try Water Buffalo for a long time-I'm so happy I finally did!

OpenTable Diner (Milwaukee)
5.0  Dined on December 3, 2017

We really enjoyed the food, our dirty martini, and the server was wonderful!

OpenTable Diner (Chicago)
5.0  Dined on November 26, 2017

We traveled from the Fox Cities to meet are son who traveled from Chicago to meet for Sunday Brunch. It was a perfect place to meet and enjoy the view of the river. We will be back!!

OpenTable Diner (Milwaukee)
4.0  Dined on November 26, 2017

Brunch menu is not the same old same old, the Banana brule French Toast was to die for! Friend had the veggie omelet which was good but not enough veggies.

vipOpenTable Diner (Milwaukee)
2.0  Dined on November 26, 2017

Inattentive service.
Over done breakfast potatoes.
Coffee Mugs too wide so coffee gets cold quickly.
Menu has very limited GF options.

vipVespagal10 (Chicago)
3.0  Dined on November 25, 2017

We actually arrived early and we could not be seated so we sat at the bar. Kelly was our bartender and she was great! Food was good nothing exceptional .

vipKila (Chicago)
3.0  Dined on November 25, 2017

Wait staff was very nice, but never around. 45 min to get chicken roll apps. We had a 4 y/o with no intention of spending 1.5 hours to eat a burger. Could never find waitress, until the end when we got the bill!!! Fries were ICE cold, had no one to tell. Great looking place, not sure it’s worth it. Can’t imagine if it was busy

OpenTable Diner (Milwaukee)
5.0  Dined on November 22, 2017

Food was great! Fast service! Nice staff!

OpenTable Diner (Milwaukee)
3.0  Dined on November 19, 2017

The food was good and our waitress was good, however the host was so incredibly rude. I had a party of 5 and we weren't all there when I got there, so he told us we needed to wait to be seated until our whole party arrived. A few minutes later, a girl came and said she needed a table for 2 and that her friend was coming shortly and he sat her right away! When we asked to be seated, he said they don't like to seat parties when not everyone is there. Once 4 of the 5 people in my party arrived, he took us to table but was very short with us. He put us at a table that seated probably 10 people and our group made a joke about it and he rudely said "Well you're supposed to have FIVE people". This alone was enough to make me not want to come back again, although fortunately our waitress was friendly. The other issue was that 4 meals came out and the fifth one didn't come out for at least 10 minutes after everyone had already received their meals and all she received was 10% off of her next visit, which I didn't think was fair, as everyone was already at least halfway done with their food by the time she got hers (because we didn't want our hot food getting cold). I did enjoy the atmosphere, the decor and the view, however I'm not sure I would go back based on the service and the way we were treated.

vipCharlesE (Milwaukee)
5.0  Dined on November 19, 2017

Had a very tasty brunch Apple pancakes and turkey benedict with many different items to select from. Went with the unlimited mimosa option which were well made. Will return the next time we are in Milwaukee.

vipDineNDash (Milwaukee)
3.0  Dined on November 18, 2017

Beautiful building