“Onesto, which means “honest” in Italian, serves a modern twist on Italian fare, emphasizing fresh, handmade, flavorful cuisine. We also feature an approachable wine list and a craft cocktail menu.
Onesto is the type of place you will want to visit more than just once.
It has everything you could want, from a dining out experience from the atmosphere to the food itself. However, this place isn’t one you will want to sleep on.
You can not get better views than Onesto.
Settled in the Third Ward, it sits in arguably one of the most beautiful neighborhoods of Milwaukee. There isn’t a single bad view when you sit outside or inside.
The building has cream bricks, which is part of Milwaukee’s history. Cream City brick is a cream or light yellow-colored brick made from clay found around Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in the Menomonee River Valley and on the western banks of Lake Michigan.
It has a spot for everyone. Belly up to their giant bar that sits to the restaurant’s left or takes a seat to the right and dine over a candle. Upstairs has beautiful views, and I suggest trying to sit by the windows if you can – the definition of dinner with a view.
Outside tables offer you a chance to eat literally on the sidewalk, and if you come during the warmer months, I suggest something.
They also have a little window from which you can order stuff, including coffee and desserts.
Onesto radiates a vibe that is high-end but approachable. It will work as an excellent option if you want a place to impress people from out of town.
Ideal for work meals and also is a great date spot. With candles on each table, it can set the mood. Don’t be fooled; Onesto isn’t one of those candlelit places that make you want to whip out your cell phone to read the menu. Instead, candles throughout provide a romantic vibe without being the only light source. If it’s a first date, you will be able to see what color their eyes are.
Onesto has a wide variety of drinks to choose from.
- Wine – bubbles, white, and red
- Bottled beers
- Tap beers
You can choose from 5 oz, 8oz, and bottles for the wine, and they do offer reserve wines.
They also offer wine on tap, which isn’t a common thing you often see, especially around Milwaukee, where all fixtures seem to be filled with beer.
Why do they make wine on tap? They do so for various reasons, from environmental friendliness to quality. It also reduces wine’s carbon footprint tremendously by reducing the usage of glass bottles, wood corks, paper labels, and cardboard transportation. Some even say it taste as fresh as the barrel it was made from.
The cocktails are always my first look at how a restaurant will shake out in terms of quality level. If they put the time into their cocktails, you know they will take even more time into the food.
They have perfected just about every drink and have everyone’s favorite cocktails, including – Melegrano Mule, Italian Margarita, Basil Smash, Seasonal Sangria, Broadway Sour, and two different types of Manhantanns.
Cocktails only run $12, so you can get one or two and try a few different flavors. We tried four different ones between me and my significant other, and they were all fantastic. I recommend the Third Ward, which is the classic take on Manhattans.
Onesto offers some made from scratch Italian food – it is Italian for “honest.” They make all of their pasta daily and offer gluten-free options and vegetarian options. Those with seed or nut allergies can eat here without fear because they label everything!
With any dish, you can do add ons with options including:
- Caramelized cauliflower
- Fingerling potatoes
- Chicken Breast
- Season soup
Onesto puts a modern twist on Italian cuisine that’s fresh and flavorful. Located in the heart of the Historic Third Ward, they pair handmade pasta with an outstanding wine and craft cocktail list, elegant service, and a unique menu that has been frequently named among the best Italian in Milwaukee.
I typically eat vegan, and Onesto is a space that makes Italian food without being heavy-handed with things like oil, butter, or cream. Trust me, if they were, my body would tell me instantly.
Being someone who doesn’t eat dairy or meat daily, I have a bit of a sensitivity to it. So I love that Onesto makes Italian that won’t make me feel like I just ate a gallon of creamy dairy or ingredients that make me feel like I had a food baby.
They have three different menus, including cafe, lunch, and dinner.
The cafe menu is paired with a cafe window that you can order from outside, and it is an excellent option for those who are on the go or need something quick. The cafe menu has everything you would expect, from coffee and tea to bakery treats.
You can also order to-go lunch from the cafe window, including salads, sandwiches, pasta, pieces of bread, and extra sauces.
The lunch menu is an excellent choice for those who may want to try something from their dinner menu but want to save a few bucks and a few calories for the day. Then, if you love it, go back for dinner and get a large portion next time.
Unlike the dinner menu, the lunch menu offers sandwich choices, including meatball sliders, seared chicken, and grilled cheese. All of their sandwiches are served with chips.
Their dine-in lunch menu will have a bit more options than the to-go one, so that is something you will want to keep in mind when choosing to make their lunch dine-in or to-go.
Onesto offers a menu with the perfect amount of items. So often, when I step into an Italian restaurant, there are so many options, it can be an eye sensory overload. This usually leaves me feeling overwhelmed. I typically feel like ordering my go-to menu items because I can’t even begin to dive into what each dish contains after taking the ten minutes to read the titles.
Onesto has the type of dinner menu that keeps it simple with enough variety that there is sure to be a dish for everyone. The menu hits every kind of pasta, sauce, and entree you would want from an Italian restaurant if you were told you could only pick your top 5 favorites forever.
I LOVE that the dinner menu also allows you to add the extra protein option, including their caramelized cauliflower. This makes every dish customizable to your wants, needs, and dietary preferences. If only more places woke up and decided to do this, then eating out would be easier for those who watch what they put into their bodies.
The dinner menu will be where you have the most choices compared to the other menus, and the portions match the more significant price tag.
The menu is clearly labeled, so those with allergies or dietary restrictions don’t have to flag the server down before you consider what you want for dinner, and it is all around very user-friendly.
This is my first restaurant review in a while, and it’s an odd thing when you sit back and think about it. Not only do you consider service as it used to be, but you now consider service as it coexists with COVID and all things pandemic related. Talk about a tough job to have at a tough time.
Hats off to our waitress, who was running around and still killing it while wearing a mask. Political views aside, wearing a mask makes being a server more complicated. I would have a tough time talking, walking, and running around trying to give the best customer experience possible while wearing one of them. It is a whole new ball game, and I surely wouldn’t want that job or responsibility, but our waitress nailed it!
She made us feel comfortable and talked loud enough through the mask that we didn’t have to ask her to repeat anything.
I felt like all proper precautions were taken in terms of COVID protocol, and while they do require masks around the restaurant, you don’t need to wear them while seated at the table. Instead, just wear it if you are going to the bathroom or running to the bar for a drink.
COVID business aside, our waitress was super helpful in guiding us through the menu since it was our first time there. She asked what our palate typically goes for and made suggestions based on that and the fact we wanted to be adventurous and, of course, try their best selling items!
Book An Event
Yes (Sun-Thurs only)
Street parking (free after 6 pm)
Parking structures within two blocks
(Milwaukee St & corner of Water & Chicago St)
Piccino Window Café: 7:00am – 2:00pm
Lunch & Dinner: 11:00am – 9:00pm