1. Bellisio's- maybe this place should be called Malefico's instead. Then again I'm just recording my first impressions here. Their drink list clocks in at 39 pages, mostly to do with wine. The focaccia they serve before the entree is chewy but overspiced, as was the bucatini I ordered for lunch. The latter came with peas and plenty of very flavorful mushrooms in the shape of buttons, too bad the pancetta and prosciutto (sp?) in the dish were tough. Remaining at the bottom of my bowl was a gross pool of oil. The entree was so overspiced that I was tasting my meal three hours later. Food aside, the interior is relaxing if a bit sparse, and the service is efficient and professional.
2. Lake Avenue Cafe- where I ordered lunch the next day. A clean, bright place. The service is the same as at Bellisio's, but there the comparisons end. The food is better and at cheaper prices. I had the falafel consisting of three mounds of mashed garbanzo beans, with a side of salad. The lettuce was not brown or wilted, and the tomatoes and onions were fresh as well. Their tiramisu was the perfect substitute for coffee.
3. Sir Benedict's- an odd place with a great selection of beers. You order sandwiches at the counter and they're made exactly to your specifications. The entrees are placed on cafeteria trays lined with wax paper. Plain old potato chips come with sandwiches. A very modest place with entertainment at night. Smoking isn't allowed inside until after 9:00 PM.
None of these places are exotic enough for true chowhounders but so what.