A mall isn’t a mall without a food court, unless it’s Water Tower Place. The upscale shopping plaza has the requisite collection of inexpensive restaurants in one location with shared seating, but you won’t find an Orange Julius or a Great Steak Escape. Not on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, anyway.
foodlife is tucked into the mezzanine level and consists of 13 kitchens, each serving a different cuisine. You can get comfort food, pasta, Mexican, soup, and salad. The health-conscious can visit the juice bar, and Cooking Light Magazine has a kiosk featuring balanced options. At the stir-fry bar fill a bowl with veggies and pick a sauce ala Flat Top Grill. Of course you can also get burgers and barbecue and pizza.
The quality and variety of the food would be enough to separate it from your standard mall fare, but foodlife goes a step further with its payment procedure. Upon entering each diner is given a plastic card, which is then swiped at each station where food is ordered, and payment is made at the exit. You’re also not limited to soda, tea, and juice. foodlife offers wine, and even has a wine tasting the first Friday of each month featuring selections from the market.
With the regulated entrance and exit it feels a bit Disney-esque, or like a wanna-be Visa commercial where everyone’s moving in sync, but it does serve to keep the madness of cafeteria-style mall dining at bay. On busy days there’s even someone to seat you.
foodlife, Water Tower Place, 835 N Michigan Ave, Mezzanine Level
All entrees below $10