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Terzo Piano, 159 E. Monroe St., Chicago
Who eats: A mixture of businesspeople, museum visitors and diners taking it easy with a glass of wine.
Why eat: It's a chance to sample Spiaggia chef Tony Mantuano's cuisine while enjoying Michigan Avenue views from atop the Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago. The restaurant's name means "third floor" in Italian.
Ambience: Clean and minimalistic, but what else would you expect in an art museum? Diners sit at white tables, either in white plastic chairs or along a banquette. Unadorned windows that run almost from floor to ceiling offer city views on three sides. In warmer months, dining is available on the terrace.
Dress code: Jeans and sweaters to suits, and everything in between.
Noise factor: Minimal. Despite the high ceiling and expansive space, it's easy to carry on a conversation. Tables in the middle of the room are spaced farther apart than those along the banquette, so opt for one of those for a little more privacy.
Overhead: "Did your health insurance work out OK?"
Service: Attentive and knowledgeable. When asked what the third bean in the three-bean salad was, the server quickly responded, "cannellini." Also, he twice picked up a patron's coat, which had slipped off the chair.
Cellphone reception/Wi-Fi: No Wi-Fi.
Reservations: Recommended. The restaurant is open seven days a week for lunch, and for dinner on Thursdays.
Menu: Not extensive, but the seasonal offerings feature fresh local and organic ingredients. The menu lists the farms it supports. Current options include flatbreads, salad, two sandwiches and three entrees. The restaurant, open to the public without having to pay museum admission, also has a prix fixe lunch for $18.
Reliable options: Toppings for flatbread pizzas change with the season, with a traditional margherita ($13) offered now. The open-face chickpea and veggie burger with zucchini and chilis ($17) is a true vegetarian option. The tenderness of the burger pairs nicely with the greens on top and the crunchy bread underneath. The spaghetti on the prix fixe menu featured a bland ricotta cream, but crunchy leeks were a nice touch. House-made beverages include a pomegranate lemonade ($5) that's a tasty variation of the old standby, and the grapefruit mint soda was refreshing. For dessert, the coffee and chocolate semifreddo with a banana salted caramel sauce and a sprinkling of toasted oats ($9) was rich and the perfect size for sharing.
Expect to pay: $20-$30 per person.
Contacts: 312-443-8650 or terzopianochicago.com.
-- Ameet Sachdev and Mary Ellen Podmolik -- Ameet Sachdev and Mary Ellen Podmolik < /i>
February 25, 2013