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“Fried eggplant strips and thin pizza in a baking pan”

Balistreri's Italian-American Ristorante
Ranked #30 of 1,504 Restaurants in Milwaukee
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $1 - $20
Cuisines: Italian, Pizza
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Dining on a budget, Kids, Families with children
Dining options: Late Night, Dinner, Lunch, Highchairs Available, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Waitstaff
Mahwah, New Jersey
Level Contributor
423 reviews
301 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 216 helpful votes
“Fried eggplant strips and thin pizza in a baking pan”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 18, 2012 via mobile

This unassuming restaurant on 68th Street has all delicious food with a neighborhood feel. They've been around for decades (I used to go there in college) for good reason. While you really can't go wrong, there are two things to get here that I think many would consider their signature items - the fried eggplant strips and any version of their pizza.

Start with the fried eggplant strips - seriously, start your meal with an order. Note that in order to preserve the integrity of the frying oil, they don't offer these until late at night on Fridays so that they are not frying fish for their Friday fish fry along with the eggplant. That would be just wrong. On any other night order yourself a nice New Glarus Brewery Spotted Cow beer and marvel at the bowl of fried eggplant, lightly salted and served with lemon wedges and marinara sauce. While I'm sure many would disagree, I personally would recommend skipping the marinara sauce and just squirting the lemon juice over the pile of strips and taste what makes Balistrieri's famous. I believe that because the eggplant is cut into thin strips as opposed into rounds the ratio of soft eggplant to crunchy coating is just right.

Next get the pizza. I'm not always a fan of thin crust pizza because it sometimes can inch into tasting like a cracker with toppings, but not here. It doesn't matter what toppings you order, you can't go wrong - it always comes out balanced and flavorful and a true pizza. Their style is to serve it on big flat baking pans, cut into what my husband calls "little puzzle pieces" instead of wedge slices. The little trapezoid shaped pieces are just big enough to pick up and devour in two or three bites, and you just keep picking them off of that baking pan - the pizza looked so big when it arrived, how could it be gone?

If you are visiting Milwaukee, you may not think to go looking for great Italian-American cuisine, but look here. If you live in Milwaukee, isn't it time to go back?

1 Thank Anne C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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166 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
2 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Best pizza around.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 3, 2012

Best pizza around. Thin crust, great sauce. Always get the speci, size large so we can take some home. Eggplant is great also. We always take friends and family there if they haven't tried it already. Everybody ask to again and again.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank kpsail
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wauwatosa, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
29 reviews
20 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“On bluemound”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 30, 2012

WE prefer to dine at the Balistreris on Bluemound rather than 68th. Fine food and wonderful attentive staff.

Visited June 2012
Thank gneepig
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cudahy WI
Level Contributor
322 reviews
259 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 134 helpful votes
“A thirty year reliable pizza joynt”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 16, 2012

My wife and I have been coming here for 30 years. The restaurant is first of all reliable. The product is wonderful and stays wonderful. The pizza is a home made very thin crust with a cornmeal finish. Light tomato sauce. Their mushrooms (salads and pizza) are canned, but somehow the canned mushrooms work.
We usually order an Italian salad, followed by deep fried eggplant, and then a "junior" pizza. This has always been more than enough food for two eager eaters.
You won't be disappointed.

Visited May 2012
Thank Peter P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
30 reviews
21 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Ohh la la!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 21, 2012

Italian food is great! The Balistreri's know how to do they thing..... Yummy, Yummy!!!!!

Thank Darlene B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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