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Permanently Closed - Water Buffalo

4.2
883 reviews
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$30 and under
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American
Top Tags:
  • Scenic View
  • Waterfront
  • Good for Anniversaries

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About

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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Cuisines
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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Neighborhood
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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.
Additional
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
4.2based on recent ratings
3.9
food
4.3
service
4.4
ambience
4.2
value
Noise · Quiet
67% of people would recommend it to a friend
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5.0Dined on December 31, 2017

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

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2.0Dined 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.

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5.0Dined 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.

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2.0Dined 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.

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4.0Dined 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 wine....one of her glasses was about 3 oz.

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5.0Dined 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.

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4.0Dined 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.

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5.0Dined 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.

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4.0Dined 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.

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5.0Dined 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!

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5.0Dined on December 3, 2017

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

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5.0Dined 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!!

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4.0Dined 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.

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2.0Dined 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.

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3.0Dined 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 .

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3.0Dined 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

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5.0Dined on November 22, 2017

Food was great! Fast service! Nice staff!

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3.0Dined 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.

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5.0Dined 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.

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3.0Dined on November 18, 2017

Beautiful building

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4.0Dined on November 18, 2017

Great service. Good food--the wine is a bit pricey--but nice selection.

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5.0Dined on November 11, 2017

We really enjoyed our meal. The food was delicious and was quite creative. We went with our servers recommendations and she knew what she was talking about. The atmosphere had a nice vibe as well.

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5.0Dined on November 11, 2017

I can’t say enough positive things about our experience. The meal was great, drinks were amazing, server was top notch. Best spot to go.

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5.0Dined on November 11, 2017

This was everyone in my group's first time here (8 of us) and we all enjoyed our food as well as the view!

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5.0Dined on November 11, 2017

In town for a wedding, Water Buffalo had been recommended by the bride and groom to be. We went for the Saturday brunch despite not being "brunch" people. We were totally impressed, from the Bloody Mary (served with a beer "back") to the short rib bowl that included breakfast potatoes and veggies along with two soft-boiled eggs. Great food, great bartender (we usually sit at the bar for lunch and often for dinner) and great atmosphere.

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5.0Dined on November 3, 2017

We celebrated our daughter's 19th birthday over lunch. The pulled pork was tender and tasty, the mac and cheese was outstanding. The fish and chips we a little greasy on the plate but non the less was very tasty.

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3.0Dined on October 29, 2017

I ordered the salmon burger and it didn't taste fresh. The restaurant was under staffed because of call-out. It was barely OK for a mid-week dinner.

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5.0Dined on October 28, 2017

The service was good and the tuna was very good. Wish the Quinoa was a bit more interesting.

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5.0Dined on October 21, 2017

Had dinner with 5 friends and couldn't be more happy with overall experience. Everything was very pleasant evening from checking in with host, being greeted by our server, delivery of drinks and dinner which I must add was very delicious. All six had something different and all where very pleased. Will definitely return

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5.0Dined on October 17, 2017

Never fails to disappoint! The food is excellent, and the service is as well.

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3.0Dined on October 15, 2017

Nice brunch menu. Noise level was over the top. Felt like we had to shout to hear each other. Breakfast potatoes were hard and over done.

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3.0Dined on October 12, 2017

Great looking spot. Menu has wide appeal however, Food was just ok, not amazing. In particular, the Brussels sprouts were not that good at all, we asked to have them cooked longer. This was done, but they were still stringy and lacked the taste one might expect from a dish labeled "Carmelized." Other dishes were solid, I liked the fried chicken sandwich. Service met expectations but did not dazzle. It's not expensive, but it's not cheap either, which is kind of an expectation trap.

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4.0Dined on October 8, 2017

My boyfriend and I went her for our one year anniversary, and we really enjoyed the whole experience. We were both huge fans of our meal. He ordered the pulled BBQ sandwich with fries and I ordered the Mac and cheese with chicken. This was amazing Mac and cheese and I am happy we spent our night there :)

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3.0Dined on October 8, 2017

I've been to Water Buffalo many times and this might be the time I stop. The food just wasn't as good as it used to be and the portions were smaller. My scallops and risotto were very overpriced for what I received, and the risotto had a different taste than in the past. My husband's lasagna was supposed to be huge--the server suggested he order it if he was really hungry--and he was actually left hungry afterwards. My kids shared the mac & cheese since they remembered it being super cheesy and delicious on past visits. This time, the portion was small and the dish was fairly tasteless with relatively little cheese. The server did come through with a warm cookie pie for my birthday, which was great and the highlight of our meal. But the rest left us wishing for the quality of past meals.

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5.0Dined on October 6, 2017

Service was great, very responsive and prompt. Meals were excellent.

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4.0Dined on October 6, 2017

Our dinning experience was great. We had a fun time, a great waitress and the food was very good. Dan Martino

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3.0Dined on October 1, 2017

Food was good, service was very slow. Think they were understaffed for Sunday brunch.

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3.0Dined on October 1, 2017

Went for Sunday brunch. There really isn't one. It's a regular breakfast menu and if you add unlimited mimosas that's their brunch. Good food. Slow but curteous service. Only one wait person, I think. Needed to keep asking for coffee refills. Good food, good quantity, reasonable price. Limited menu.

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3.0Dined on September 23, 2017

Long wait for outside tables.....one hour plus with a reservation.....

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4.0Dined on September 23, 2017

We arrived a few minutes early for our reservation but were seated immediately to a clean table. We ordered a caprese salad - it was well dressed but only had 3 small pieces each of (not fully fresh) tomato and cheese. For a $12 salad I expected a little bit more. I ordered a sandwich and asked if I could have one of their sides instead of the regular side for an upcharge. Instead of a small up charge on the original sandwich/fries or coleslaw combo, I was charged for both items full price. Because of this, I asked for the coleslaw to-go. The sandwich was delicious. I also ordered a margarita which was very good, and cocktail prices typical for downtown. Our server was pleasant and good came out quickly. The atmosphere was very calm in the restaurant.

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