The Gold Coast, especially that main shopping drag, has a plethora of touristy, bland burger joints with bad food and terrible service. If afternoon tea at one of the Gold Coast hotels isn't possible, I always opt for a tostino and Orangina at L'Appetito. They have such a great selection of tostinos, paninis and pizzas, there's something to please everyone. It's all very casual. Tell one of the big Italian guys behind the counter what you want, they heat it up and hand it over, you pay and then find a coveted seat. They also have a small retail section where you can find all sorts of Italian imports like fine olive oil, vinegars, small fishes, and plenty of wines. By the registers, you will find countless types of cookies and sweets. Being located below street-level, under the John Hancock building, also cuts down on the number of annoying tourists in the way. You really only see them as they march towards the Cheesecake Factory next door. I went here (again) when my niece Sarah and her companion Wes visited. It seemed to be a lunchtime hit with them, too.
John Hancock Center
875 N. Michigan Avenue