First time in Chicago - Restaurant Recommendations
I'm traveling to Chicago with friends and we are staying at The James Hotel. I wanted to get your advice on where to eat breakfast (near hotel) and lunch (near hotel and/or near shopping).
Right now, we plan on having a late dinner at Cafe Spiaggia on Thursday (have reservation) and an early dinner on Friday at Frontera (no reservation).
Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
980 North Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
I just want to second the suggestion for breakfast as XOCO - it's generally the least-crowded time of day to stop in and the churros and champurrado are every bit as good as what you'll find in Mexico City.
Purple Pig might be fun for lunch if you don't mind sharing plates and eating (well prepared) off-cuts and offal. La Madia is good, too - not particularly inventive but it's done well enough. Plenty of options around the Loop if you plan on shopping there: The Gage and Terzo Piano come to mind first but it would mostly depend on what you and your friends like to eat.
159 E Monroe St, Chicago, IL 60603
500 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
For breakfast, there are a lot of hotel restaurants and a few breakfast specialty places; those closest to the James include Eggsperience (Ontario and Dearborn), XOCO (Illinois and Clark), and Orange (Clark and Superior). For more suggestions and links, see this discussion:
River North Breakfast Ideas - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/693985
For lunch, I'd go to David Burke's Primehouse, which is right in the James. It's perhaps our best steakhouse, and at lunch you can get anything from their excellent burgers to a steak or anything else. Another decent choice is Heaven on Seven for cajun-creole food, right across the street.
BTW, Frontera opens at 5:00 on Fridays, and if you want to avoid a long wait to be seated, it's best to get in line 15-20 minutes before the doors open.