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“Good Food / Lousy Wine” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of Alinea

Alinea
Ranked #1 of 9,467 Restaurants in Chicago
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $150 - $1,000
Cuisines: International
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Special occasions
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Full Bar, Private Dining, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Valet Parking, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Neighborhood: Lincoln Park
Elburn, Illinois
Level Contributor
41 reviews
19 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Good Food / Lousy Wine”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 21, 2013

We ate at Alinea last weekend (our first time). The restaurant itself is "interesting", the help is rather snooty and all in all the food was fun. I am a bit surprised that they have been open since 2005 and that there are people that really think is an amazing culinary experience???

All that said the food was fun but the part that was completely underwhelming was the wine pairing. We have been all over the world and have done lots and lots of pairings and they really missed the mark. Overall the wines were "average at best": and many were not paired well with the food.

It was an experience for sure but we will not be headed back or recommending it

  • Visited January 2013
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
4 Thank Joe B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,109 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
28 reviews
13 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Great Presentation, Decent Food”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 20, 2013

Creativity at it's finest. The food was served, prepared and delivered in the most fascinating way, however, some dishes left taste to be desired. The atmosphere is stuffy, with far too many employees. For $800, I would expect more.

On a positive note, beautiful, clean kitchen!

  • Visited January 2013
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
3 Thank lkala23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
31 reviews
22 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“A culinary experience beyond belief”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 19, 2013

All the hype, all the ranking, all the accolades...are all true and well deserved. Form the moment you walk in to the moment you leave. The food, the serve, and the experience are well worth the astronomical price.

  • Visited January 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank richb28
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
20 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“Great meal overall”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 15, 2013

Dining at Alinea was an incredible experience for the senses. Our night was guided by edible foam and delicious balloons, frozen curry and more ways of eating duck than we thought was possible. That said, some dishes were not as impressive. For a couple of courses, I thought: The concept and execution are all here, but it lacks some flavor. In short, it would not be something I consider "enjoyable" in the culinary sense.

Finally the staff is a bit overly prompt. The tasting menu is in front of me. My dinner jacket is on. Please don't stand there and watch me eat, ready to pounce at my every move. Plus, the lack of a smile now and then really goes against Chef Achatz's battle against the unconventional.

That said, it was a memorable meal at a restaurant that truly earns its Michelin stars.

  • Visited October 2012
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank ml8878
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
145 reviews
110 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 76 helpful votes
“Surpasses all expectations...and then some...”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 14, 2013

After missing the window for El Bulli in Girona, Alinea was top of the list in terms of dining on the infamous "bucket list". It took 3 months to get a sitting for 2PAX and the cost was downright obscene with wine-pairing (think the GDP of a smaller emerging market country) but somehow, it was worth every single penny.
The most incredible blend of haute cuisine, theatre and cubist table-art you could ever imagine amounting to a sensory overload which defies explanation.
Having been fortunate enough to wine and fine in some of the most vaunted and impressive establishments in multiple cities around the world, this puts them all to shame.
Forget "see Rome and die", "eat in Alinea and die".
To Mr Achatz...let us never see the wizard behind the curtain.

  • Visited January 2013
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank BBnE
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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