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#25 of 1,531 American in Chicago
Travelers' Choice
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North Side
1.0 miles from Lincoln Park Zoo
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MICHELIN Guide's Point of View

Chef Grant Achatz continues to burst with novel ideas at this temple to culinary ingenuity. The kitchen is mature, substantive, soulful, and operates w...
Read more on MICHELIN Guide
Three MICHELIN Stars: Exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey!
Extremely comfortable restaurant.
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All reviews roe tasting menu wagyu beef truffle potatoes seafood scallops molecular gastronomy chef grant dining experience french laundry green apple dry ice food experience michelin star fine dining service was impeccable
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Reviewed October 10, 2020 via mobile

Alinea was a restaurant that we have been looking forward to eat at for the longest time, after mostly trying all of the 3 Michelin star restaurants in the US and overseas (Eleven Madison, French Laundry, Chef’s Table @ Brooklyn Fare, Lung King Heen, Le...Bernardin, Per Se, etc, etc.). Unfortunately, the experience was not even close to 1 star, let alone 3 and all the accolades the restaurant received. This review also takes into account that this was not the original Alinea location given renovation, but it was at Alinea in Residence temporary location, so this review completely ignores the fact that it was set in a tent used for catering events and weddings. So here is the round up of some the 11 courses with wine pairings, although sadly for a restaurant of this caliber, there was no specific dish that stood out. Hamachi: overcooked and dry (when we provided feedback we were thanked for it, but no further effort was made to improve the experience i.e. offer a replacement, etc) Beef: was chewy and arrived cold, although it was wagyu and super marbled. Needless to say that cold fat part of medium rare beef is anything but gross and ended up not finishing it. No one bothered to ask why I sent back a plate that still had food on it or if there was anything that I did not enjoy. Wine pairing: to our dismay, after the first wine pairing (which was a Chablis), the waiter wanted to pour sake in the same white wine glass!!! My husband was in shock but managed to ask: is this a clean glass, aren’t you going to change it from white wine to sake?! Unacceptable for a 3 star Michelin restaurant. Side note: all wine glasses were the same (stemless water glasses), no specialized glasses were used to match the wine to the appropriate glass, so clearly the perception of aromas was hindered. Again, for a fine dining molecular gastronomy experience, one would expect that every single note and flavor would need to revealed, but guess that’s not the case at Alinea. Waiters would show a bit of an attitude (especially the lady waiter), would mumble the dishes unintelligibly under their mask and upon us asking to repeat some part of the food description, you would get a higher pitch, slightly annoyed voice, which would only discourage us from further posing any questions. However, Stuart and the sommelier deserve a shout out for the thorough explanations and descriptions, and for the impeccable service. I throughly enjoyed when the sommelier (sadly did not catch his name) immersed us into a dreamy artsy world, explaining what the moving art blocks in the restaurant are in reference to and how some deserts in the original Alinea location were inspired by the works of Joao Miro. Lastly, and the only personal comment I will make pertains to the fact that we were celebrating our 9-year anniversary. The team was aware, we got congratulated, and... that’s pretty much it. No other acknowledgement was made in the form of anything. Eleven Madison made a big deal at our 3-year, prepared a special cake with a candle, even gave us a gift to take away. We were particularly disappointed as the restaurant just went on to their pre-set dinner sequence and did not make the slightest attempt at personalizing our experience and making us feel like we were acknowledged and celebrated. Overall, the experience was mediocre and disappointing, food was anything but outstanding, and even worse, everything had the feel of a catering hall, where the food is pre-made, pre-heated and definitely not worthy of a Michelin nod, let alone 3!More

Date of visit: October 2020
Helpful?4  
Reviewed September 29, 2020

It has been a summer of curbside pick-up and home delivery. Alinea has been offering curb side pickup of "take it home and cook it yourself" meals. Other restaurants have similar offerings and in August I looked at all of them but was so impressed...by our first Alinea to go order that I was compelled to order their grill kit, bypassing their competition. Pay in advance and choose a pickup time. There's a reserved space outside the restaurant for the timed pickups and staff are waiting there. Show them your invoice and the food is in the back of the car within 2 minutes. The staff wear masks and gloves and are friendly and efficient. Much of the meal was salads, needing no cooking. Two salads-each remarkable flavor bombs with ingredients that sang together in a bowl. I whistled a happy tune between bites and conducted an invisible orchestra with my fork. I'm regularly a Caesar salad kind of guy. Minimal ingredients. Even when there is no stove involved the Alinea team work their magic with flavor profiles and ingredients I could buy myself if I only had the imagination to compose the dish. The salads were; 1 Grain and pasta salad featuring artichokes, raisins, black olives, sun-dried tomatoes, orzo and fresh mint leaves. Some finely chopped herbs and lemon vinaigrette were included to compliment. Heaven in every bite! 2 Arugula, goat cheese (yes please!) stone fruit and sunflower seed salad with herbed croutons and yogurt balsamic dressing. Also cucumber slices. Fresh and frisky flavors! Our entree was the skewers of beef tenderloin with shrimp, red and green peppers, onion, mushroom and zucchini slices. This we broiled on a grill pan. Great quality ingredients as anticipated. We used the oven for our dessert-S'mores with house-made Graham crackers. Photos of all the kit boxes will be attached. Everything was well organized and detailed prep instructions included. Every component of the kit was delicious and satisfying and we wolfed it down like a pair of jackals, then howled at the moon. The cost was under $100 (including a mandatory 20% tip for the prep) and that was money well spent. Alinea you rock the take out!More

Date of visit: August 2020
Helpful?2  
Reviewed September 27, 2020 via mobile

My husband and I happened to be in Chicago for his birthday. We haven’t done anything special in a while and we love Chef’s Table on Netflix so we decided to try Grant Achatz’s Alinea in Residence. SAVE YOUR MONEY. My husband and I spent...over $900 for a meal and 3 glasses of wine and we were insanely underwhelmed. We ate at Alinea In Residence on a Sunday evening and were allegedly served 20 courses during our meal. We found the dishes to be unique in a pretentious and inaccessible way. They were beautiful and served on gorgeous platters, but they weren't tasty. I found the food itself to be incohesive, salty, and lacking fat and acid. I also have a thing for texture and I wasn’t thrilled about some of the gelatin components. The service was fine, we met a very competent sommelier and the servers were plentiful and attentive, although they kept forgetting my husband’s sparkling water (not a huge issue, but we did pay $400+ per person). Also, my husband pointed out that there was a serious lack of protein throughout the courses. He described the meal as mostly sauces. When I pay close to $1k for a meal, I expect to be wow’d by at least one course—I was not. The best course was a mushroom dish and it was so salty, I couldn’t say that I’d eat it again. In fact, I can’t think of a single thing that I tried tonight that I would want to eat again. This is a place for lovers of fine dining — not a place for lovers of tasty food. The worst part about it all is that we spent all of our special occasion budget on this 3-Michelin star meal. Now all we have to show for it is a kind of funny memory and the understanding that we’re not fancy restaurant people. In conclusion, save your money. There is a ton of excellent food in Chicago. And if you have your heart set on trying Alinea or Grant Achatz’s food, wait until the actual restaurant is open.More

Date of visit: September 2020
Helpful?1  
Reviewed September 23, 2020

We have been to Alinea before and it was amazing. We just returned for our 38th anniversary and found a much different experience. Let me start by saying Covid messes with everything and Alinea is not in its normal spot. It is currently located on...a rooftop in Fulton Market. They are not in their normal kitchen and may not have all their capabilities. Having said that, the food was good, in fact, very good with a couple of dishes I would label as outstanding. But not all. The service was excellent and the wine pairings were good, but pretty skimpy, particularly when you got to the lamb and beef dishes. You need a little more than just a taste. The presentations, which have long been a hallmark of Alinea, left much to be desired. Not bad, but not what you would expect here. There signature desert was, in many ways a copy of many we have seen before. The overall point is that if you are going to pay $1400 for two people, you expect the exceptional Alinea experience. If you can’t give it, then don’t charge for it.More

Date of visit: September 2020
Helpful?
Reviewed September 3, 2020

This is definitely a special occasion dining experience! Taste was superb, unexpectedly transformed food to pieces of arts!!

Date of visit: September 2020
Helpful?2  
Reviewed August 29, 2020 via mobile

Very disappointing. Do not go. We went to alinea 7 years ago and it was amazing. This time was terrible. Service was terrible, food was very disappointing and less than half the amount of dishes as last time but same cost. Definitely recommend you stay...away. They are struggling and trying very hard to make money for subpar food and service.More

Date of visit: August 2020
Helpful?2  
Reviewed August 13, 2020

We have been doing take out once a week to support our local Chicago restaurants. This is one of only two that has not disappointed. WE have eaten in at Alinea once, but the prices (well over $1000 for the four of us that night)....are out of reach most of the time. We have done 4 take out kits during the pandemic: cassoulet, two 6 course dinners, grill kit. Each was well designed, perfectly packaged with clear instructions and elegantly garnished and very very tasty. they are generous enough that often we have enough left for the next day's dinner or part of it. The 6 course dinners even included the signature table top dessert including a big sheet of plastic to build it on. Last night we had the grill kit of skewers of beef, veggies, shrimp; salad with peach and blueberry; amazing grain bowl with artichokes, and dessert of a some mores dip and home made graham crackers. Just exceptional and we only ate one of them so we will have the same thing tonight. We prepared it on our condo rooftop grill. This is your chance for wonderful creative Alinea food at modest prices. The grill kit was $35 a person; the 6 course meals were $50 a person. Very well worth it.More

Date of visit: August 2020
Helpful?1  
Reviewed July 29, 2020

Visited from London and bought the tickets to see the show. It did not disappoint me from the theatric of their presentation of the food. I am sure their food, style, pricing approach will provoke debates but I just tried to enjoy every moment. To...me, presentation and feeling special plays a part to the whole experience. The food was not bad but i was not going to break down every components on the plates. I have to give credit to the chef to be so creative in how he uses the ingredients. The higher the price, the higher the publicity, the higher people expectations are so they will need to keep up with our expectations to continue to push the boundary and surprises.More

Date of visit: August 2019
Helpful?1  
Reviewed July 11, 2020

We have been to Alinea only once. I found it to be more theatre than great food. We are more about the food people. But, desperate for some decent food that someone else made, we decided to try the to go menu. The process is...seamless. No worries about finding a place to park or waiting a long time. We had the steak, bisque, heirloom salad and strawberry shortcake. The bisque was amazing. The steaks and sauce were fine. Nothing we couldn't do at home already. (We cook a lot). The strawberry shortcake was also amazing. All in all, a great way to have a little change from the daily rut and not terribly expensive.More

Date of visit: July 2020
Helpful?1  
Reviewed July 9, 2020

This is Alinea's rooftop outdoor experience. It was just wonderful. What made it such a wonderful dinner was the 20 course tasting menu. AIR did not accept any dietary requests are restrictions. The result was flawless service with no complaints about the dish not being...prepared to the whims of the many diners. I did like this aspect. The courses were unique but what made the real experience was dining alfresco and the beautiful people that were at the dinner. No one taking pictures of the various dishes and no one asking the waiter to take a picture of their group. No, this was for the folks that are use to this high level of dining. The $1,300 tab for the tasting and wine pairing did not seem to upset anyone. I felt fortunate to be able to go to this event. I think it was Grant Achatz (chef) greatest masterpiece.More

Date of visit: July 2020
Helpful?3  
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Questions & Answers
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ChefArthie
August 23, 2020|
AnswerShow all 4 answers
Response from Janettravels44 | Reviewed this property |
It is whatever they are serving. You can indicate food issues or allergies but other than that it is what it is. When we were there examples included a lovely scallop dish served in a dish with dry ice creating a cloud of... More
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Courtney4284
October 15, 2019|
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Response from ShaanS74 | Reviewed this property |
We could not get gallery seating, but do not feel like we were compromised with the salon. You can hear the music played in the gallery for those extra courses, but food-wise, the salon menu was quite substantial. If... More
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Chefryanberlin7
June 15, 2019|
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Response from Teresa W | Reviewed this property |
There is a facebook page that is specifically for this purpose. Also, try Craigs List.
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