Zarletti: Traditional Italian in the heart of Milwaukee


For New Year’s Eve my parents, boyfriend, and I went to one of my favorite places in downtown Milwaukee, Zarletti.  My parents and their friends have been enjoying the atmosphere and food at this fantastic Italian restaurant for years and about 7 or 8 or so years ago I was lucky enough to attend dinner with all of them.  My parents and their friends are super fun, slightly loud, and like to drink so my first night at Zarletti was a beyond a blast!  I have always loved going back and when my Mom asked where I wanted to go for NYE it was a no brainer!!




First and foremost let’s talk alcohol!  My parents are VERY into wine (they have a wine cellar in their basement for goodness sake) and they would never be regulars at a place that didn’t have a fantastic wine selection.  I am more of a champagne gal myself so the first drink we had when we were waiting for our table was champagne.  What I love about Zarletti is everyone is oh so knowledgeable about both the drinks and food.  Our bartender picked out the champagne and it was fantastic, perfectly dry!  My parents had the owner, Brian Zarletti pick out their bottle of red for the night (Did I mention they are now friends with the owner and his beautiful wife!?) and from what I hear he made a perfect pick!

Right from the Zarletti Facebook page, here is a little more info about their wine selection: “Our wine list features 78 different reds, whites and spumante with an emphasis on small Italian grower-producers. Several options in each category are available by the glass and our knowledgeable service staff will be happy to assist you in choosing the right wine for you.”







Now on to the food!!  I love me some Italian food and Zarletti’s food is just the perfect choice when you are looking for traditional Italian.  I most always get the Ravioli when I am there because they are always finding fun, different, and yummy things to put into the ravioli but really, anything you get is fantastic.  To start our delicious meal we had an appetizer of prosciutto (I didn’t eat it because I’m not a big fan) but I heard it was delightful!  My Dad and Mac had lamb prepared in two different ways and my Mom had fish.  Everyone ate everything on their plate AND we had enough room for TWO HOMEMADE desserts!  You really will not be disappointed with their food.  It is absolutely delightful!

In case you still aren’t convinced (I mean really, you’re not!?!?) here is a little more info for their Facebook page about their traditional and spectacular food: “Rustic pasta dishes are abundant and highlighted by an ever changing ravioli, hand made daily. Classic northern Italian entrees feature fresh seafood, veal, lamb and our signature Osso Bucco is an owner favorite and not to be missed. The lunch menu includes pressed panini, pastas and hearty salads including Maryland style crab cakes and herbed salmon filet. Desserts include decadent tiramisu, dense cheesecake and creamy panna cotta, all hand made by our chefs.”  Ok, that just had to convince you! YUM!


So if you are in need of some traditional Italian food, a spectacular wine selection, and a warm, friendly environment, make a reservation as Zarletti now!  You will be so happy you did!

Oh and if you see a table full of people having a blast and being slightly rowdy, those are probably my parents and their friends!  Just walk up to them, say hi, and share in a shot of limoncello!







  • Gaylene Townsley

    Great article – and a great Milwaukee restaurant! Zarletti should be on everyone’s Milwaukee dining bucket list.

  • Kathleen Fleming

    Can’t believe I’ve never been to Zarletti !! It sounds like my kind of place. Thanks for the info!!!