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“An Experience”
Review of Alinea

Alinea
Ranked #3 of 9,712 Restaurants in Chicago
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $150 - $1,000
Cuisines: International
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Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions
Dining options: Late Night, Dinner, Reservations
Neighborhood: Lincoln Park
Reviewed December 11, 2012

One of the best. As somebody else put it " food theater". Very pricey, but we knew that. Worth it? ...yes. If nothing else, a bucket list item for foodies. Great service, great food, great night.

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1  Thank Salvatore M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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831 - 835 of 1,200 reviews

Reviewed December 11, 2012

This restaurant was above & beyond anything I have ever experienced. The food was incredible. The service was incredible. The creativity was beyond belief. I have eaten at many restaurants around the world, and this tops anything anywhere. I went with the very highest of expectations, and this exceeded my expectations by 300%. If you are willing to try some different things and don't mind spending the money, this is a must!

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Thank Michael B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 10, 2012

Still trying to absorb the experience 2 days later, but lucky we have plenty of pictures.

On a recommendation to dine at Alinea I’d first say, think about the cost.

The meals cost $210 to $265 per person, depending on the day and time.
Then add the mandatory service charge of 20% and finally a hefty state and city sales tax of 10.75%. All paid up front when tickets are purchased.

Beverages, which are charged after the meal, include house made sodas $5 a piece to complete wine pairings ranging from $150 to premium at $250.

If you can justify the cost in your budget then definitely try and get here at least once.

The first step is to get tickets. Even though there can be last minute seats available as posted on Alinea’s Facebook and twitter accounts, the best bet is to set up an account on Alinea’s website and watch for the monthly on sale date.
The on sale date for December was back in October so it appears there is a 2 month lead.
It’s important to note that seats are only sold in groups of 2, so try to avoid having an odd number of guests. Tables for 2, 4 and 6 are sold with seating times 5 pm to 9:45 pm.

During our visit the valet parking charge was $11 and is worth it due to the price of street parking in the area in addition to the maximum time limit on the meters.

I won’t get into the exact details of the dinner and entrance process since one of the treats was being surprised with what they did once we entered.

If you are the type that’s going to take pictures just be sure to have your camera ready before you enter the door and have your flash turned off.

Things moved quickly once we entered since there is really no decision on menu items (unless you have a dietary restriction) and as a welcome we were immediately served our first course.

We were brought to our table and offered the wine pairing in addition to an optional extra menu item for the evening. Once those decisions were made the meal began and for our 4 person table it lasted about 4 hours.

There were some really amazing courses and in addition to some fun ones that got everyone laughing.

The exact items vary from year to year and season to season so reviewing based on last weekend’s meal doesn't really help for future readers.

Another thing that will factor in the enjoyment of the experience will be your table mates and to a lesser extent, your table neighbors. We had a great couple at the table next to us that were having fun with the occasion and didn't have a problem conversing with our table during the evening. It made our dinner that much more fun.

The only thing I felt could be better about the whole experience would be a bit more sense of wonder from the wait staff. They bring out these amazing items and explain what it is and how to eat it with a tone that is a bit reserved and lacking the excitement you’re expected to have while eating it.
I suppose the uniqueness wears off when you've delivered hundreds of the same plate over the previous few months.

We’d go again in a heartbeat if money was no object. It would be great to try once each season to see what is different.

My advice would be to treat it as a theater event in which you get fed and get a chance to participate.

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Thank Jim H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 5, 2012

One of the best restaurants of experimental cuisine in the world. This, in my opinion, ranks with the best ( French Laundry, El bulli etc)

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Thank Broncos1998
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 30, 2012 via mobile

There is no menu, but a set tasting course. They were excellent in accommodating my pregnant wife, although, at times, some of our party found the dishes a little intimidating. This would be a matter of opinion though. We did leave feeling satiated. Some of the more memorable courses included: a glass straw shooter of butternut squash and vegetable puree; a combination of shellfish served on a bed of kelp and driftwood; and even a green Apple taffy helium filled edible balloon. It was memorable, we are glad we did it, but for the price, we will only do it once.

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1  Thank ManfromtheRock
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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