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“not impressed” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of Louise's Italian Cafe

Louise's Italian Cafe
Ranked #190 of 1,503 Restaurants in Milwaukee
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $0 - $12
Cuisines: Italian, Pizza
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Large groups, Families with children
Dining options: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Late Night, Full Bar, Outdoor Seating, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Neighborhood: Downtown
Joliet, Illinois
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“not impressed”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 31, 2014

My meal was terrible. I ordered jumbo garlic shrimp with pasta. The shrimp were tiny not jumbo, there was not one ounce of garlic in the dish and there was absolutely no sauce of any kind on the shrimp or pasta. However, I tasted the dishes that my son and husband ordered and they tasted fine. Not wonderful but edible. Service was not great but that could have just been our server. They were not at all familiar with the menu. I probably won't go back.

  • Visited July 2014
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank Michelle G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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115 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    28
    57
    19
    5
    6
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
Milwaukee
Level Contributor
437 reviews
295 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 189 helpful votes
“It was much better last time...”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 14, 2014

My wife and I decided to have a nice dinner outside at Louise's during Bastille Days last weekend. We had done the survey of the food stands, and thought this would be a nice alternative. We found a table outside and were seated right away. The server brought the menus and some water while we enjoyed the beautiful weather (finally!) and decided what to have. Perhaps it was because of the festival, but the service was merely ok. Dave, our server, was trying but several things went wrong. We ordered drinks, which came in plastic cups. I understand outside and glass don't really go together, but a 4 oz plastic glass of wine at full price is not good. After the bread and olive oil, we had a caprese salad. It had the usual tomato/mozzarella/basil with balsamic, but the other half of the plate had a green salad that was drowning in a bland and salty vinaigrette salad dressing. There was not much basil on the caprese, and it had been salt/peppered rather more than tasted good. The salt, in particular, was too much. Halfway through the salad, another server brought our entrees. We struggled with finding a spot to put all of the plates, and they offered to take some empties away, but at that point there were no empties. The server apologized for the entrees coming up so quickly, but not much could be done at that point. We finished off the salad and got them to clear off a few plates.
For entree, my wife had the asparagus ravioli, and I had chianti-braised short ribs with gnocchi and sauteed green beans. The ravioli came with a cream sauce, as did the gnocchi. The ravioli was pretty decent, and the pesto cream sauce provided a nice balance. The short ribs were very tender, boneless, and quite good. However, the green beans had a slight burned taste, but the beans themselves seemed to be cooked properly. They must have picked up the flavor from a pan that had been burned with the last batch. We skipped dessert so we could walk around and enjoy something from the festival.
Overall, I was disappointed. This did not match my recollection of the experience last time, when my visitors from France enjoyed Louise's (during Bastille Days, even!) several years ago. I may be willing to give them a bit of a pass for the festival, but they should have adequate experienced staff to run the restaurant and the food tent as well. I am not sure I would go back, or even recommend it to others. There are too many great restaurants in Milwaukee these days for a mediocre place to be successful. This could be a really great experience with some simple improvements.

  • Visited July 2014
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank John M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Prospect Heights, Illinois
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Good lunch spot”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 12, 2014 via mobile

We sat outside on the terrace. The server brought us bread with oil n vinegar, which we really liked! We had a Caprese appetizer which was ok. We were satisfied but are not in a huge rush to go back.

  • Visited July 2014
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank WarmHeartd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mukwonago, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
28 reviews
20 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“After 20 Years......Disappointing”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 8, 2014

I have been going to this restaurant for 20 years, and my last visit was horrible. Visited the evening of July 1, the waiter sat at this table and was very hard to find after that. The food was awful (bland, very flavorless), dirty dishes at surrounding empty tables were not cleared, dirty glasses made it hard to see the bartender at the bar......it was almost as if all managers has abandoned the facility! It took us almost 15 minutes to find a waitperson who could give us our check. I have always liked this facility but this experience was AWFUL. Hopefully, I am hoping it is just a one-time thing/

  • Visited July 2014
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank GoBrewers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago
Level Contributor
40 reviews
26 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“If only the food and service matched the great location.”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 7, 2014

Louise's is located close to the downtown business district and just across the street from Cathedral Square, a lovely park that typically has something going on during the summer months.This restaurant is separated into three primary seating areas, outdoor, bar area, and dining room seating.

I've dined here for lunch and dinner with similar experiences both times, The staff is semi-disconnected, which equates to less than enthusiastic slow service. The food is average with some items, such as the calamari, bordering on awfully (Greasy with after an taste of freezer - Yum).

The salads and home made fresh pasta dishes are creative but not spectacular. My wife and I enjoyed the watermelon feta salad, and the Pappardelle with Italian sausage, plum tomatoes, garlic and red pepper was good but not worth coming back for. On the other hand the raspberry mohito was refreshing and hit the spot on a warm evening. This I would come back for.

The best thing this place has going for it is the location and the fact that it has a bar. I would go back to this restaurant to sit outside, have a few drinks, snack on a pizza and watch the foot traffic, but for any other purpose it's officially checked off the list. Far better places in Milwaukee to eat than Louise's Italian Café.

  • Visited July 2014
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank Switherj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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