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Safina Restaurant  - Safina, Milwaukee, WI

Safina

4.8
4.8
200 Reviews
$31 to $50
Italian
It’s been over four years since guests last tasted the Sicilian dishes from longtime Milwaukee restaurant Giovanni’s. But all of that changes with Safina: a new casual Italian concept that comes to the historic building at 785 N. Jefferson St.

Focusing on comforting dishes with roots in Sicily and the southern regions of Italy, Safina's goal is to keep the menu familiar and accessible. The restaurant also features a full bar and second-level seating, complete with wood and marble finishes that highlight the rustic, modern Italian ambiance.

Make a reservation

2 people

10:30 p.m.


Booked 12 times today

Additional information

  • Dining style
    Casual Dining
  • Price
    $31 to $50
  • Cuisines
    Italian, Sicilian, Comfort Food
  • Hours of Operation
    Tue–Thu 4:00 pm–9:30 pm Fri, Sat 4:00 pm–10:00 pm
  • Phone number
    (414) 488-9578
  • Dress Code
    Business Casual

What 200 people are saying

Overall ratings and reviews

Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant

4.8
4.8 based on recent ratings
  • 4.8Food
  • 4.8Service
  • 4.7Ambience
  • 4.7Value

NoiseModerate

Loved For

  • Wisconsin

    Best Value

  • Wisconsin

    Italian

  • Milwaukee

    Best Overall

  • Milwaukee

    Best Food

  • Milwaukee

    Best Value

200 Reviews
  1. SusanB

    Milwaukee

    2 reviews

    4.0

    2 reviews

    Dined 1 day ago

    1. Overall 4
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 4
    Our first time and it was great. Our Ragu el Forno and the Chicken Parmesan were both excellent and portions plentiful. We saved room for Panna Cotta and were thrilled with that as well.

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  2. JeffP

    Chicago

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined 1 day ago

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    One of the best restaurant experiences in Milwaukee.

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  3. AnthonyJ

    Milwaukee

    3 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    3 reviews

    Dined 2 days ago

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 4
    We visited last night and dinner was amazing. I asked for something that wasn’t on the menu and our server Kayla H. asked the chef and he was able to accommodate my request. That’s what I call exceptional service. Kayla was amazing as our server and she proving exemplary service to us.

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  4. SaraT

    Denver

    3 reviews

    5.0

    3 reviews

    Dined 3 days ago

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    The best! Everything was superb - - beyond our expectations.

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  5. jtalaga

    Milwaukee

    37 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    37 reviews

    Dined 4 days ago

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    If you were a fan of Giovanni's you will love Safina! Same family, same great food with a wram, inviting atmosphere. And if you do stop in for dinner, ask for Marissa. She was an outstanding server!

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  6. MargaretB

    Milwaukee

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined 4 days ago

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 4
    4. Ambience 5
    Egg Plant was outstanding,Food was very good. Staff was very friendly.Can't wait to go back

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  7. ThomasB

    Milwaukee

    5 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    5 reviews

    Dined 4 days ago

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Another great dinner!! The spiedini were to die for.. Giovanni has not lost his touch. We are so glad that they are back.

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  8. OpenTable Diner

    Milwaukee

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on February 16, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    I don’t want to write this review because I like being able to walk in without reservation but feel I need to. Next level old school Italian/Sicilian food. Similar to east coast Italian fare. This place (and the veal) is the best in Milwaukee and I don’t think it’s even close. 10/10 would recommend.

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  9. OpenTable Diner

    Milwaukee

    36 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    36 reviews

    Dined on February 16, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Great cocktails. Food is excellent. Our second time and we’ll be back soon!

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  10. FrankV

    Kansas City

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on February 16, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Safina is my new favorite Italian restaurant, the food is amazing. Service is excellent and staff is friendly, I have been telling all my friends about this amazing gem of a restaurant!! 👍

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  11. BOBB

    Milwaukee

    4 reviews

    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on February 15, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Second time after a wonderful first experience last Fall. We're old fans of Giovanni Safina's first restaurant "Giovanni's" on Brady and were frequent patrons of both the original and the location they had in Kansasville on Eagle Lake. Safina's is quite different with a smaller menu and an intimate setting but again with exceptional food, service and ambiance. We've had the Arrostito and the Melanzana Fritte (eggplant) as starters and both were exceptional. The eggplant was as we remember from Giovanni's, perfectly prepared and seasoned and the best we've enjoyed. The veal parm (my favorite) is now a bone in chop but with similar if not the same marinara sauce from Giovanni's original as was the chicken parm enjoyed by another in our group. Momma's Vesuvio (chicken) was ordered by another and she loved it and was surprised to see it as she said it's rare on most menus. The portions are generous and with sharing appetizers we've not had room for desert so can't comment but Giovanni's cheesecake was always perfect so we would expect the same. Two experiences that were both excellent just like the consistent quality we always experienced with Safina's previous restaurants. Another Milwaukee gem courtesy of the Safina family.

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  12. OpenTable Diner

    Northern MI

    4 reviews

    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on February 15, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Food was fantastic. Definitely will be back. Reservations highly recommended for Friday and Saturday.

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  13. DianaSan

    Milwaukee

    9 reviews

    5.0

    9 reviews

    Dined on February 15, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Food was absolutely divine. The service was impeccable. This is exactly what I need to feel at home.

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  14. JulieB

    Milwaukee

    7 reviews

    5.0

    7 reviews

    Dined on February 10, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Absolutely delicious. My portion of Nonna's eggplant parmesan was enormous. The starter of roasted vegetables (ARROSTITO) was mildly spiced. The chianti was robust and paired well with the food. The wild boar (CANNELLONI CINGHIALLE) was tender and flavorful. The desserts (cannoli & tiramisu) were great with the cannoli crisp and the pistachios not overpowering. The tiramisu was enormous, as well as delightfully tasty, light, and fluffy.

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  15. jnienhuis

    Milwaukee

    10 reviews

    3.0

    10 reviews

    Dined on February 8, 2024

    1. Overall 3
    2. Food 2
    3. Service 4
    4. Ambience 4
    I'm on the fence about this place. Great location in downtown Milwaukee with a clubby (think flashlights to read the menu) feel. Small, intimate, noisy. Very noisy. Very attentive wait staff serving very mediocre food. We started with the breaded eggplant strips. Nothing special here, served with standard marinara. I had the veal with prosciutto served with pasta in garlic butter. Ample serving of meat, salty and average. The pasta was served in a small seperate bowl, like a cup of soup bowl. Not sure what that was about. 4 entrees, 4 glasses of wine, one appetizer, $240.00 all in.

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  16. JacalynV

    Milwaukee

    15 reviews

    5.0

    15 reviews

    Dined on February 7, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    I loved Safina! Everything was amazing. Their red sauce was superb; the veal cotoletto was spectacular. No less than four people came by to see how everything was. This truly was a special experience. I cannot recommend Safina more!

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  17. SarahH

    Milwaukee

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on February 4, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Wanted to say thank you to Sal and his staff for such an amazing experience! They accommodated our large party for my husband's birthday. The appetizers and the main courses didn't take long to come out! I had the shrimp alfredo. TO DIE FOR! Hubby ordered the chicken parm and the sauce was just perfection! I also tried the pistachio pasta... sounds weird but I think it may be my new go to! The pistachio was not overpowering and the sauce/spices meshed really well together. This is the new hot spot! Overall such a friendly staff, food is amazing and its not too loud in there! Will be back again! PS: BRING BACK THE SALMON!!!!!

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  18. OpenTable Diner

    Milwaukee

    6 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    6 reviews

    Dined on February 4, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Great service, ambiance and food. Cannot wait to go back

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  19. OpenTable Diner

    Milwaukee

    7 reviews

    vip
    4.0

    7 reviews

    Dined on February 4, 2024

    1. Overall 4
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 4
    4. Ambience 2
    Went out for dinner as a couple on a Saturday night. The food was terrific so no complaints there. There was a coat check but no one to take our coats (I asked a server and was told someone else would help, but no one did). We sat squarely in the middle of this small but charming restaurant, and could barely hear each other. The noise level was so high I could not hear half of what our server was saying. We ordered drinks (very good cocktails) and were told warm bread was on the way. That did not arrive until after we’d received (and eaten) our first course of salad (the arugula/burrata salad was fresh and fantastic, and enormous). Bread and oil came shortly before the main course, and was excellent. Nutty oil and crispy bread with pillowy insides. Not the usual white bread, it definitely had more of a brownish/wheat hue. We were checked on (by owners?) at least twice during the evening but it was too loud to give real feedback. The black squid ink pasta with seafood was outstanding, the Kampachi was 8/10, with great pasta and sauce but the fish was only slightly above average for the high price. We were too full for dessert. We will go there again (maybe a less busy weeknight?) and perhaps ask for a corner table.

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  20. OpenTable Diner

    Milwaukee

    12 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    12 reviews

    Dined on February 4, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    So excited Giovanni and his 3 sons brought back the original recipes from Giovanni’s! And the venue is so warm and welcoming. Service was impeccable and the bartender made an excellent Traditional (not Wisconsin) Old Fashioned. I can’t recommend it enough. We will be back in a few weeks and I will definitely hold corporate events here as well.

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  21. OpenTable Diner

    Milwaukee

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on February 3, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Always delicious food! Love it!! Owners walk around and ask you how everything was. Great dining experience.

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  22. Boris

    Milwaukee

    3 reviews

    5.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on February 3, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 4
    Very good food. Excellent service. It is a small place. Very loud inside. My only complaint is really my own fault for not asking the price of the special I ordered.

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  23. TheMayor

    Milwaukee

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on February 2, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    It was a date night for 2 first timers and it was great! Very clean, inviting, great service, very hospitable, and will return! We had the stuffed filet and the squid ink pasta. Both were excellent!!!

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  24. KatieK

    Milwaukee

    1 review

    vip
    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on February 1, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 4
    4. Ambience 5
    You can tell it is a family owned/ run restaurant. Appreciated the owner stopping by our table to see how our meal was.

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  25. CarlaC

    Phoenix

    3 reviews

    vip
    4.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on January 28, 2024

    1. Overall 4
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    We love the food here. Service is great but our reservations were for 6:30. We arrived early at 6, checked in and were not seated until 7:30. That’s too long of a wait.

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  26. MPAmor

    Milwaukee

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on January 27, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    We went yesterday for the first time. We loved it!! The only comment I'd like to make is that in my opinion is a little too dark and I'd like to be able to see what I'm eating. The rest was just perfect.

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  27. OpenTable Diner

    Milwaukee

    4 reviews

    4.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on January 27, 2024

    1. Overall 4
    2. Food 4
    3. Service 4
    4. Ambience 4
    Beautiful place, great atmosphere. As others have said, rather noisy but not so bad that we wouldn't go back. Everything was delicious, from the bruschetta to the entrees to the cannoli for dessert. Only two complaints - the bruschetta appetizer is very small with only three pieces. Since many diners are couples, it would be a nice touch to give four pieces. Also, our waitress brought the check while we were still eating dessert, with wine still in our glasses. Even if they say 'no rush' that still makes you feel rushed.

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  28. higherin

    Milwaukee

    24 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    24 reviews

    Dined on January 27, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 3
    This is our second visit to Safina and we very much enjoyed the food and the service. It is a very attractive place inside. Our one concern is that it can be very noisy. Well everything we had was excellent, we always make sure to order the fried eggplant which is amazing!

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  29. OpenTable Diner

    Milwaukee

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on January 26, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    We both enjoyed the bruschetta forno. We both also ordered Mammas Vesuvio. It is a chicken cotlet to die for best I’ve had since going to Giovanni’s on Vanburen street. It should be good, same family, The Safina’s. Finish evening with a cannoli. Thank you for opening this wonderful restaurant. We will be going back to try more wonderful entrees.

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  30. Golfer

    Milwaukee

    141 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    141 reviews

    Dined on January 25, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Great addition to the Milwaukee dining scene food was spectacular and service outstanding also terrific value.

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  31. OpenTable Diner

    Milwaukee

    7 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    7 reviews

    Dined on January 25, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 4
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Will definitely be back! The pistachio pasta was absolutely amazing! Burrata and tiramisu was also delicious. We got the special that night which was pretty disappointing. Overall though would highly recommend. Cozy atmosphere and the staff was very prompt and thorough.

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  32. PatriciaM

    Milwaukee

    10 reviews

    5.0

    10 reviews

    Dined on January 24, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    We really enjoyed our time and the food was delicious at Safina.

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  33. OpenTable Diner

    Milwaukee

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on January 24, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Great food, amazing service! Wonderfull family Son and father visiting all tables. Authentic food and great family business. Warm and inviting restaurant!!

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  34. OpenTable Diner

    Milwaukee

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on January 21, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    We have the best time celebrating my birthday! Our server was helpful and pleasant, and the food was outstanding! Highly recommend :) 10/10!!

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  35. SmritiS

    Denver

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on January 20, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 4
    Loved it! Stellar food, service and ambience. Nice portions with special attention to flavors. Will be going back again!

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  36. DavidH

    Milwaukee

    1 review

    vip
    3.0

    1 review

    Dined on January 20, 2024

    1. Overall 3
    2. Food 4
    3. Service 2
    4. Ambience 2
    Food was very good. Service was spotty as we had to ask for bread and a second drink. The waitress was very busy and it was very hard to get her attention. Food was very good and generous. It is noisy due to nothing to absorb sound.

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  37. TuckerM

    Denver

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on January 20, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Wonderful place to eat with a great staff. You get what you pay for.

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  38. hjg33

    Milwaukee

    19 reviews

    5.0

    19 reviews

    Dined on January 19, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Good service; casual atmosphere but not informal. Service was very good. Food choices were good with fresh ingredients and attractive presentation. Was my wife's birthday so got a nice complementary piece of cheesecake. Value is average for a nice restaurant these days. Menu is not large but there is sufficient variety for anyone to find something to like. Would return.

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  39. Trouble

    Chicago

    27 reviews

    5.0

    27 reviews

    Dined on January 19, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Consistently delicious food. Mozzarella balls and baked clam appetizer were flavorful and yummy. The stuffed tenderloin and chicken special entrees came well seasoned and flavorful.

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  40. DarkNStormy

    Milwaukee

    5 reviews

    5.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on January 19, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Safina is excellent. Our waitress was wonderful, and asked about allergies right away. The food was delicious, everyone had a great time.

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FAQs

Safina is rated 4.8 stars by 200 OpenTable diners.

Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable.

Make a reservation

2 people

10:30 p.m.


Booked 12 times today
Google Map for Safina

785 N Jefferson St. , Milwaukee, WI 53202

Additional information

  • Neighbourhood
    Grafton
  • Hours of Operation
    Tue–Thu 4:00 pm–9:30 pm Fri, Sat 4:00 pm–10:00 pm
  • Price
    $31 to $50
  • Cuisines
    Italian, Sicilian, Comfort Food
  • Dining style
    Casual Dining
  • Dress Code
    Business Casual
  • Parking Details
    None
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Use
  • Cookies and Interest-Based Ads
  • Cookie Preferences
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