The worst thing you can say about the Greenhouse is it's not easy to find. Secretly stacked atop the Ritz Carlton on floor 12, this restaurant in the clouds offers light food at high prices—including a shrimp cocktail for $25 and a glass bottle of Diet Coke for $4. Luckily for schizophrenics, there are several menus, including a lunch menu (available 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.) with salads, sandwiches and more, a brunch menu (available 11:00 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays) with an "array" of breakfast and lunch food and an appetizer menu (available 2:30-11 p.m.) with classic appetizer eats like calamari fritti or more substantial stuff like truffle fries fried in duck fat.
As you walk out of the golden-lined elevator and into the wide-open atrium restaurant/lounge, you'll see why they call this hotel eatery The Greenhouse, as it's decorated tastefully with various plants of the "green" variety (nothing too crazy, though; this isn't the Rainforest Cafe). And though daytime dining offers pleasant scenery through the windows, the nighttime view, of Chicago and its Magnificent Mile, unequivocally takes your breath away—like being sucked out of an airlock, only better. Enjoy eating appetizers and chit-chatting while sipping tea? Afternoon tea seatings are offered at 2:30, 2:45 and 3 p.m., and on a walk-in basis thereafter.
Unless your fear of heights prevents you from enjoying anything above two floors, The Greenhouse is one of the classiest "joints" you're likely to eat expensive snacks at, and a great place to relax at the end of day and have a drink. So, drink up. We hear the Dom Perignon is pretty good.
Average cost: $21-$30
Centerstage Reviewer: Benjamin Andrew Moore