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  5. Grafton
Safina Restaurant  - Safina, Milwaukee, WI

Safina

4.8
4.8
223 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 booking

2 people

7:00 pm


Booked 27 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 223 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 Food

  • Wisconsin

    Best Value

  • Wisconsin

    Italian

  • Milwaukee

    Best Overall

  • Milwaukee

    Best Food

  • Milwaukee

    Best Service

  • Milwaukee

    Best Value

  • Milwaukee

    Romantic

223 Reviews
  1. TomM

    Milwaukee

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined 6 days ago

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 4
    4. Ambience 5
    The night was perfect. Food was excellent, ambience casual enough to be comfortable and very nice staff. I would say the service a bit slow. We will be back

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  2. OpenTable Diner

    San Francisco

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined 6 days ago

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Exceptional. Best pesto I’ve ever had. Made sense when the owner came over and told us he is from Sicily and has been making it since he was a child. Makes it himself every day. This should be a Michelin star restaurant. Five stars in every way. Must go.

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  3. Foody

    Milwaukee

    29 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    29 reviews

    Dined on 4 April 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Food was absolutely wonderful. So nice to use OpenTable for a restaurant like this. Highly recommend!

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  4. Lana

    Milwaukee

    45 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    45 reviews

    Dined on 31 March 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    The restaurant is in a small, historic (?) building on Jefferson Street. It’s very comfortable with nice ambience. We had an excellent meal and the service was very good. The bartender even asked me how I wanted my cosmo made (tart or more sweet?) I told her not tart and it was perfect. We had the eggplant appetizer, the beef ragu Al forno, the shrimp special with cauliflower, broccoli and fingerlings. Everything was excellent. We will be back.

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  5. BillF

    Milwaukee

    5 reviews

    4.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on 29 March 2024

    1. Overall 4
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 2
    Acoustics were deafening. Perhaps some sound-softening ceiling tiles or wall coverings might help. Food was great, as was the server.

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  6. OpenTable Diner

    San Diego

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on 29 March 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Food and service was amazing!!! Can’t wait to be back!!

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  7. PatriciaM

    Milwaukee

    11 reviews

    5.0

    11 reviews

    Dined on 29 March 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    A wonderful meal to celebrate an upcoming wedding with good friends. Highly recommend!!

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  8. OpenTable Diner

    Milwaukee

    15 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    15 reviews

    Dined on 28 March 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    We had an excellent reception, prompt attention to service, food and satisfaction - Truly a wonderful dining experience.

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  9. danS

    Chicago

    13 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    13 reviews

    Dined on 22 March 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Perfect for a date night or an amazing place to take friends or family. The food and drinks are excellent and in a great location in the city.

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  10. OpenTable Diner

    Milwaukee

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on 22 March 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Loved the ambience, server Jackie couldn’t have been sweeter, food was delicious, had the frutta Di mare, husband had the lightly breaded shrimp special. Enjoyed the whole experience!

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  11. Mark

    Milwaukee

    21 reviews

    5.0

    21 reviews

    Dined on 16 March 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Awesome Food! Authentic Italian at its finest!! Great custom cocktails! Very attentive service. Management is on site and making certain all patrons are having a fabulous experience. Thank you for operating a top-notch restaurant, your attention to detail did not go unnoticed and is greatly appreciated. Very cool atmosphere as well.

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  12. Mere

    Milwaukee

    15 reviews

    5.0

    15 reviews

    Dined on 10 March 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Best Italian in MKE! Also, best veal parmigiana! I love that it's served with the bone in. It was our second time at Safina and we brought our son since he was in town. He was also a huge fan. My only complaint would be that it was difficult to find parking; however, I realize it was a Saturday night. The parking would not prevent me from returning to this restaurant on a Saturday night or any other night. Highly recommend!!

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  13. 2727

    Milwaukee

    8 reviews

    5.0

    8 reviews

    Dined on 9 March 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Excellent from start to finish. Eggplant appetizer was fried perfectly. Wild Boar Cannelloni and Seafood stew for dinner. Both were perfect in texture and flavor. Octopus was cooked perfectly in stew. The bread was amazingly soft and crispy and the house recipe olive oil complimented it well. We ordered panna cotta for dessert which was rich but delicious, as well as the special (Saturday night) tiramisu. I don’t think I’ve ever seen my partner eat a dessert so quickly! We will be back.

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  14. OpenTable Diner

    Milwaukee

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on 9 March 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Best pork chop in the state!!!!! Everything is awesome!

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  15. BobbyM

    Philadelphia

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on 8 March 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Great ambience, very attentive. Good portions and definitely taste the freshness in ingredients.

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  16. kaykay

    Milwaukee

    54 reviews

    vip
    3.0

    54 reviews

    Dined on 8 March 2024

    1. Overall 3
    2. Food 3
    3. Service 2
    4. Ambience 2
    i really want to life Safina and its not that I don't but the noise level is crazy , its kind of a strange cause its a romantic italian restaurant but you can't hear the other person talking. We have been 3 times now and each time we get seated in the middle section of the restaurant so you get the volume from both sides. Its just a kind of unfortunate layout. The egglant is delicious and you have to get the gorgeous golden pile as an appetizer its absolutely divine with the aioli sauce. The steak sandwich was good not great a little gristly . let me clear this restuarant is definitely worth a visit its just so loud that it kind of takes away from the enjoyment of it.

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  17. TomF

    Milwaukee

    27 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    27 reviews

    Dined on 7 March 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 4
    Overall quality of food and service outstanding. The noise level at times louder than I would have expected. We will definitely go back for another great dining experience at Safina’s!!

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  18. SnotDoc

    Milwaukee

    4 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on 7 March 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Excellent food and service. Quite a nice ambiance in the restaurant. Well decorated space, especially for an Italian restaurant.

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  19. OpenTable Diner

    Philadelphia

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on 2 March 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Great food at a great price.

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  20. OpenTable Diner

    Milwaukee

    9 reviews

    vip
    4.0

    9 reviews

    Dined on 2 March 2024

    1. Overall 4
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 4
    4. Ambience 5
    The details of the experience are too lengthy to go into other than to say that management completely bungled the payment and created an incredibly awkward situation with the family whom I was trying to treat to dinner for a special occasion. Not only was the reservation under my name but I called about 20 minutes ahead of time to make sure that I was the one who paid the bill. Despite that they took my guest’s card for payment. The whole situation culminated with the waitress coming to the table and announcing that I got to pay because I was using a gift card to help pay for the meal. How awkward is that?! 😱

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  21. OpenTable Diner

    Milwaukee

    5 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on 1 March 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Love coming here! Great food and service and the prices are very reasonable. We will be back!

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  22. LisaW

    Milwaukee

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on 28 February 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Food was outstanding! I had the mushroom bruschetta, fusilloni al pistachio, and the panna cotta. All were delicious! Service was amazing, owner visited our table during our dinner to ensure everything was to our liking. Will definitely be back!

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  23. FOODFESTER

    Milwaukee

    24 reviews

    5.0

    24 reviews

    Dined on 28 February 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Expected a nice experience, but was really an outstanding one. Cannot say anything but tremendous!

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  24. SusanB

    Milwaukee

    2 reviews

    4.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on 25 February 2024

    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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  25. JeffP

    Chicago

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on 25 February 2024

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

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  26. AnthonyJ

    Milwaukee

    3 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on 24 February 2024

    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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  27. SaraT

    Denver

    3 reviews

    5.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on 23 February 2024

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

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  28. jtalaga

    Milwaukee

    37 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    37 reviews

    Dined on 22 February 2024

    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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  29. MargaretB

    Milwaukee

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on 22 February 2024

    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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  30. ThomasB

    Milwaukee

    5 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on 22 February 2024

    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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  31. OpenTable Diner

    Milwaukee

    37 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    37 reviews

    Dined on 16 February 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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  32. OpenTable Diner

    Milwaukee

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on 16 February 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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  33. FrankV

    Kansas City

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on 16 February 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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  34. BOBB

    Milwaukee

    4 reviews

    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on 15 February 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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  35. OpenTable Diner

    Northern MI

    4 reviews

    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on 15 February 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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  36. DianaSan

    Milwaukee

    9 reviews

    5.0

    9 reviews

    Dined on 15 February 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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  37. JulieB

    Milwaukee

    7 reviews

    5.0

    7 reviews

    Dined on 10 February 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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  38. jnienhuis

    Milwaukee

    11 reviews

    3.0

    11 reviews

    Dined on 8 February 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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  39. JacalynV

    Milwaukee

    15 reviews

    5.0

    15 reviews

    Dined on 7 February 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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  40. SarahH

    Milwaukee

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on 4 February 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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FAQs

Safina is rated 4.8 stars by 223 OpenTable diners.

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

Make a booking

2 people

7:00 pm


Booked 27 times today
Google Map for Safina

785 N Jefferson St. , Milwaukee, WI 53202

Additional information

  • Area
    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
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