Hilton City Center - Come Hungry—Leave Satisfied

I know how the saying goes—hotel restaurants are not that great. However, those who live by that statement have not tried the Hilton Milwaukee City Center's brunch. If you are looking for a brunch buffet that has style and class written all over it, then look no further than this downtown hotel.

Located on the corners of Fifth and Wisconsin, it is hard to miss this Milwaukee landmark. With over 700 rooms, it is the city's largest hotel. And with that, it has an attached parking garage. Walking into this grand hotel, you are taken back to a time when hotels were destinations all unto themselves. The marble floors, grand stair cases, crystal chandeliers and gold leaf transport you back to yesteryear. If you are going their for brunch, you head to the ground level and into the Cafe.

This modest dining area has several different seating areas, so you don't have to sit next to the table with the screaming kids if you don't want to. Andrew and I went one Sunday morning with his parents. We had been to this brunch buffet years ago when family members used to work there, but recently we have been brunching around town. It was really nice to get back to a place that felt familiar and welcoming.

We were sat at our table, and the server told us about the menu and all about the buffet. It was interesting to note of some changes. In addition to the normal brunch buffet there was a fruit of the month station and bloody mary bar. Instantly we all knew which brunch we were going to order. For $16 per person, we were about to brunch until we were content and check out the fruit and and bloody mary bar. It is important to note that all coffee, juice and water were included in this price. If we wanted vodka for the bloody marys, it would cost between $6 and $8 per shot depending on the vodka.

We ordered our drinks. Andrew and his dad ordered vodka to go in their bloody marys ($6). I ordered my usual, mimosa ($7), coffee and water. The mimosa took sometime to get to the table, but I was ok with it. Considering I had my choice of four different juices at the buffet, I got a small glass of cranberry juice while I waited. When the mimosa did come, i was surprised to see the fresh strawberry garnish! It was very tasty and the mimosa was just perfect—not too much pulp and not overly sweet. Andrew told me that he had the choice between two different bloody mary mixes—mild and spicy. He made himself up a mild bloody and had a great time choosing all the different add-ins he wanted for his drink. One thing we did notice was we were not offered any chaser for the bloody mary. But in the long run, it didn't matter much—there was still so much food to look over to eat!

I scanned over the buffet and made my choices wisely. I knew that I was hungry, but I wanted to try to sample everything in front of me. So, for the first plate I decided upon sausage links, bacon, breakfast potatoes and scrambled eggs. Next to the eggs dish, the staff had laid out cheese, green onions and salsa to add on top! I thought this was great! I could add a little extra flavor to my eggs if I wanted to! I rounded the first corner of the buffet and noticed the Babybel cheese wheels. Now this has a special meaning to me and Andrew's mom, because I made some comment about this cheese the first time I had it. It makes the two of us laugh, and so I had to grab one for this photo. Lastly I added two different types of melon to my plate from the fruit of the month station. It was covered with melons—sliced, whole, balled, cubed. There were melons everywhere. They all looked delicious, but I knew I needed to pace myself for this buffet. Everything on my plate was delicious, and I was surprised on how fresh everything tasted.

Back at the table, our server came around again to let us know that if there was some thing else we wanted that was not on the buffet, to let him know. If we wanted hash browns rather than the breakfast potatoes or waffles or pancakes, we could just ask him for it. He would run back into the kitchen to have it prepared for us. While this was a very generous offer, I just wanted to get back up to the buffet for my second plate!

I returned to the buffet and started looking over the third and fourth rows of food. Yes, there are literally four rows of food to this buffet. I think my eyes caught up with my stomach because I didn't take nearly as much food the second time around. I settled on a bowl of granola with milk, a yogurt, some grapes and I just had to grab a small cinnamon roll. It was just too good to pass up. (I later found out that the cinnamon roll is home-made at the restaurant, and it was delicious!) I think it must have been that granola that filled me up, because after that plate, I couldn't eat anymore. And I did want to get back up there and try an omelet from the chef prepared omelet station.

Now, if you are not into the all-you-can-eat-fest that is this amazing Hilton Breakfast Buffet, the chef does offer a made-to order brunch menu with corned beef hash, benedicts and all sorts of omelets. Also for only $16 per person, there is a wide selection of food to choose from. "Come hungry and leave satisfied" should be the new saying for this hotel brunch option. The attached parking garage is also an added benefit. For only $5, it beats driving around to try and find parking when there is an event in town!

Until next time, hope you have a great weekend and happy brunching!

Full Disclosure:  Although we received our meals free of charge (many thanks to Chef Nicole Booker), I was not paid to advertise for the Cafe or the Hilton Hotel.  All opinions expressed in this blog entry are our own and are reflective of our experience.

What have been your experiences at the Hilton City Center? What are some other good entrees? Respond below in the comments or suggest other places for me to try around Milwaukee!

All the details you want to know: (on a five star rating)

Hilton Milwaukee (****½)
509 W. Wisconsin Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53203
(414) 271-7250
Miller Time Pub on Urbanspoon

Brunch hours:
Sunday: 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Atmosphere: **** (very good)
Brick pillars, granite and wood tables, very traditional hotel restaurant setting

Food: ***** (awesome)
Great selection and the food was fresh

Service: **** (very good)
Impeccable, friendly and knowledgable. Perhaps overly attentive to the table.

Drinks: ****½ (very good)
Mimosa - ***** (awesome)
Bloody Mary - **** (very good) (perhaps a chaser for the bloody?)

Price: ***** (awesome)
$16 a person gets you a lot of food!