Next time you're shopping the Magnificent Mile
and find yourself starved, stop in at Oak Tree Restaurant & Bakery rather than make a beeline for the nearest Starbucks (a sugar-free frappucino does not a proper lunch make). Located on the sixth floor of the retail pantheon that is the 900 Shops Mall, Oak Tree offers a convenient location, casual American fare, and a bird's eye view of Michigan Avenue.
For a lighter lunch, the ahi tuna salad with spring greens and sweet wasabi dressing, though somewhat lacking in presentation, provides a smart choice ($14.75), while bigger appetites will drool over the roasted hot turkey with mashed potatoes and gravy just-like-mom-makes ($11.25).
In case you're short on time and need a quick burst of energy (for some of us, shopping is cardio), drop by the bakery for a crusty roll or a date-flecked scone. Oak Tree offers something for everyone, with an extensive list of juice and smoothie options, hearty soups and breakfast served all day (the brioche French toast, served with sautéed banana and mascarpone, is pure bliss, $10.25) rounding out the menu.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Amanda Nyren