For some reason, "cafeteria-style" has become synonymous with "avoid at all costs" (probably something to do with bad high school lunchtime memories), and while it's not the most eye-appealing way of running a place, it usually has nothing to do with the quality of the food and it also might speed up your service. Attempting to buck the trend of mediocre cafeterias, Alonti Café, located past the Citibank inside the ground floor of 300 S. Riverside Plaza, features a huge staff delivering quality lunchtime sandwiches and pastas by means of the dreaded system.
There are plenty of options, but sandwiches seem to be the specialty here, with five types of bread (French baguette, focaccia, wheat, white and Jalapeno cheese) and a nice variety of spreads and toppings. The B.L.T., a dependable classic, is a steal at $3.59 for the amount of bacon heaped in droves. The New Orleans muffaletta ham, salami, and provolone on a muffaletta roll comes in even cheaper at $3.10, so there's no reason to complain about price here. Alonti's signature item may be the chicken tequila slim slices of chicken topped with a spicy cream sauce and bell peppers a zesty lunchtime treat for $4.99-$5.99. Didn't get any sleep last night? Starbucks coffee to the rescue, a 20-ouncer for $1.95 should do the trick.
Not the most charming of interiors, Alonti does feature several large paintings of the Caribbean and large, all-encompassing windows on its east side for a lovely view of the Chicago River and the Sears Tower. If you're a tourist, sit around and stare at the view till the late afternoon, and if you're working in the building, sit around and stare at the view till you're fired for not returning to the office.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Andy Seifert