Location is everything for Terzo Piano, on the third floor of the new Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago, next to the sleek new bridge that crosses over Monroe Street from Millennium Park. The fancy Italian lunch restaurant offers views of Michigan Avenue, the park and the Bluhm Sculpture Garden from its outdoor piazza (with binoculars, you could even watch a performance on the amphitheater stage from here).
The food is all fresh, local and organic, designed by Chef Tony Mantuano, who food-loving Chicagoans know from his four-star Italian restaurant, Spiaggia. The menu will change seasonally. If you dine here before summer vacation, try the spring salad of local peas, the Chesapeake Bay soft shell crab sandwich with avocado slaw or the sesame crusted Lake Superior whitefish with eggplant and organic cucumber salad.
Stick around and enjoy a cheese plate from the cheese cave (cava di stagionatura), which holds a variety of American artisanal cheeses. Terzo Piano serves quality wines and beers, as well as a list of fresh spirits infused with such refreshments as lemon, sage, seasonal fruits, basil or tomato passato. The restaurant is open for dinner on Thursdays only.
Average cost: $21-$30
Centerstage Reviewer: Jacob Wheeler