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“Very different type of food court with better than average food” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Foodlife

Foodlife
835 N.Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 335-3663
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Ranked #448 of 8,382 Restaurants in Chicago
Price range: $1 - $20
Cuisines: American, Chinese, Mexican
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Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children, Large groups, Dining on a budget
Dining options: Lunch
Chicago, Illinois
Top Contributor
272 reviews 272 reviews
228 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 55 cities Reviews in 55 cities
60 helpful votes 60 helpful votes
“Very different type of food court with better than average food”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 29, 2014

We were on our way to the theatre in the Water Tower and didn't want to go to a regular sit-down restaurant and possibly be late for the play. There are more than enough choices that each member of the party will find something for him or her. The interesting thing is that this is actually a part of the Lettuce Entertainment restaurants, so each of the different stations is a different restaurant. Sushi, pizza, comfort food, Chinese, soups and more are well represented. The food was excellent and is freshly made and nothing seems to sit very long. When you walk in and are seated, EVERY member of the party (maybe, except for really small children) is given a card. When you are rung up at each station, you present the card and the food is charged to that card. When you are leaving their are several registers where you present a card for each member of the party and you can pay for the whole thing, or split the bill amongst friends - rather easily. Technically, you don't have to tip, as you are the ones actually going to the various counters, but they do add 7.5% to the bill for the staff to split. There is one regular sit-down restaurant that is a part of this, but it was fun to look and get your items from different stations. A great place to go whether shopping in Water Tower Place or Michigan Ave., or going to a play and not wanting to be late.

  • Visited March 2014
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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181 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
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English first
South Bend, Indiana
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Nicer than normal foodcourt”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2014

I really like the concept of having a variety to choose from. They make it convenient to make sure everyone is happy with their choice for dinner. My date (yes went here on a date, lol) and I both had bbq brisket and it was really good.
The only downside was when we were seated we asked the young man to explain how it worked, and he didn't do very well. But, we figured it out. :-)

Visited March 2014
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ontario
Senior Contributor
47 reviews 47 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
83 helpful votes 83 helpful votes
“Cafeteria-Style Comfort Food”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 3, 2014

This is a little gem tucked away on the second floor of Water Tower Plaza. The concept is cafeteria style in which you are given a green card. You choose your food selection from several stations divided up by food type (Chinese, Mexican, Hot Dogs, Soups, Salad, Baked Potato Bar, Sandwiches, Crepes, Ice Cream, etc., etc., etc.), eat your food and then pay on your way out. The food is extremely affordable given the other restaurant choices within the Mall. For example, my children ordered an "authentic" Chicago hot dog, fries, and a soft drink for $4.95. I ordered gumbo for $3.49 which came with a side order of corn bread. We went at Noon on a Saturday, and it was crowded, but it did not feel crowded - lots of seating available and good spacing between tables (no bumping of chairs). I also appreciated the hand washing stations and the recycling stations. It is only open until 8:30 p.m., but is a great alternative to fast food!

  • Visited March 2014
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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2 reviews
“LOVE!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 9, 2014

This is no "food court" but every mall in America should have it. The concept, the value, the food, the service, the experience was all exceptional.

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Top Contributor
479 reviews 479 reviews
248 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 186 cities Reviews in 186 cities
448 helpful votes 448 helpful votes
“Better-than-average food court”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 3, 2014

Quick summary: a very wide variety of freshly-prepared food at reasonable prices for the area.

My evaluation is based on what I expect of a good food court, not fine dining. This is a food court that has gone upmarket with better-than-average food quality and a very wide selection. Think everything from barbeque to stir-fry to Mexican to "comfort" food fried chicken to salad to Chinese by Big Bowl to pasta, sushi, soup bar and sausages. The sides for any of these stands are also pretty good!

Most prices are under $10 on the menu, but it can add up for drinks, taxes, and a service charge. Yes, there is a service charge at the food court, but there are folded paper napkins and dinnerware on the table, and the place is well-tended and clean.

It is reasonably convenient in that each person entering the turnstile area gets a card that is charged for what you order at any station, i.e. there is no making change for every stop -- just give the server your card. You cash out when you leave.

Admittedly, I would usually go elsewhere for lunch, partly because I hate to juggle shopping bags as well as a cafeteria tray. However, I was having lunch with a bunch of college students, and this place could satisfy everyone, from the picky salad eater, to someone who just wanted a slice, to the stir fry crowd and more. I had the pulled pork barbeque sandwich that was a generous size, and came with one side, for 7.69 -- a little salty for my taste, but good. (The reviews from the students were also very good.)

The atmosphere is pretty nice for a food court -- not as loud as you might imagine, and well-kept. Some tables have windows that overlook the old Water Tower pumping station, now a Chicago visitor's bureau.

There are also some fast food alternatives on this same mezzanine level that do not require going into the turnstile-controlled area -- pizza and burgers - but you'd sit at some tables in the atrium.

To sum up: not a cheap place, but well-priced for this pricey neighborhood, and the food is good with a wide menu.

  • Visited January 2014
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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