Il Cervo Milwaukee Pasta_Agnolotti

Restaurant of the Week: Il Cervo

Just-opened Il Cervo, located in Milwaukee’s Deer District atop The Trade hotel, is already making a name for itself as one of the hottest new places in town. With modern Italian dishes made from the freshest ingredients, cool vibes and sweeping views of the skyline during the day and twinkling city lights at night, it is easy to see why this is a must-stop in town.

A stone’s throw from Fiserv Forum, home of the Milwaukee Bucks, Il Cervo is Italian for “the deer,” paying homage to its next-door neighbors. It marks the first restaurant in Milwaukee for Madison-based Food Fight Restaurant Group. This ninth-floor restaurant is a fun and modern space with an open kitchen and contemporary bar that offers impeccable views. It is perfect for after-work cocktails, business dinners or date nights, and guests can enjoy indoor seating or outdoor (with heaters) for chillier evenings.

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Il Cervo’s menu is a multi-course experience with a bit of everything for everyone’s palate. The carefully crafted menu is broken into various sharable sections. Take your bread game to the next level with a few starter options including Milwaukee-area’s Rocket Baby Bakery sourdough with whipped mascarpone butter with house-made giardiniera or roasted garlic focaccia. An entire section of the menu is dedicated to daily-made fresh mozzarella and burrata. Unique twists on this cheese include polenta-tempura mozzarella and romesco with hazelnut and roasted red pepper sauce. Additional sharable appetizers include Italian sausage-stuffed Medjool dates with applewood bacon; fried Castelvetrano olives with a Lake Michigan smoked whitefish dip; and mouthwatering crispy pork belly with stone fruit, broccolini and white truffle oil.

Main courses include hand-made sourdough pizzas with intricate flavors like squash blossom; prosciutto with whole-milk ricotta, parmesan, arugula and shaved truffle; or the hearty locally made Italian sausage made with product from Bunzel’s Meat Market. Il Cervo’s pasta game is on point with selections such as the ever-popular squid ink gnocchi with butter-poached lobster, squash blossom cream, chili and lemon olive oil; dry-aged beef Bolognese mafaldi; and a mushroom lover’s delight with royal trumpets, hen of the woods, oyster mushrooms, asparagus, cream and black summer truffle. Rounding out the main courses are selections of dry-age steaks; and fish like the Scottish salmon with beetroot buttermilk risotto and whole branzino with speck; as well as veal and chicken. Gluten-sensitive pasta and pizzas are also available upon request.

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Enjoy a lovely selection of flavorful craft cocktails, traditional and unique negronis, martinis, wines by glass or bottle and Wisconsin beers, ciders and NA beers (also check out the all-glass wine cellar in the middle of the dining space). Il Cervo also offers in-house made limoncello–a must have!   

End the night with a selection of Italian desserts like traditional tiramisu, carrot-olive oil cake and, our personal favorite, the affogato.

Il Cervo is open Sunday through Thursday, 4 p.m. to midnight; and Friday and Saturday, 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. The restaurant offers late-night menu service at 10:30 p.m.

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For more information, visit

420 W. Juneau Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53203

Photo credit: Food Fight Restaurant Group/Nicole Hansen

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