CHICAGO 1. In River North’s new Felix hotel, the ground-level restaurant Elate opened in August. Serving dressed-up American fare—burgers topped with creamed spinach and bacon, for example—the venue has a communal table that seats 10. The entire space seats 80; a patio seats an additional 54.
2. Open since late April, Fred’s at Barneys New York occupies the top level of the Gold Coast department store. The 5,000-square-foot space—which hosted a 50th birthday celebration for White House social secretary Desirée Rogers—seats 120 in its main dining room. A semiprivate space with a drop-down projection screen and its own phone line seats 24.
3. In February, Markethouse opened in the renovated Doubletree Hotel Chicago Magnificent Mile. Groups can dine at a 14-seat communal table or gather in the Heart Room, a circular area that seats 30 and can be closed off with curtains. The restaurant’s farm-to-table comfort food menu includes macaroni and cheese and rotisserie chicken with candied lemon. In the hotel lobby adjacent to the restaurant, a screen broadcasts flight updates from local airports.