We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Best ever”
Review of Alinea

Alinea
Ranked #1 of 9,668 Restaurants in Chicago
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $150 - $1,000
Cuisines: International
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions
Dining options: Late Night, Dinner, Reservations
Neighborhood: Lincoln Park
Valparaiso, Indiana, United States
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Best ever”
Reviewed October 27, 2013

Alinea is the ultimate dining experience of my life so far!! I have been to this experience (I call it an experience because it is far above being a restaurant) 3 times and I cannot wait to go back. What Grant Alscatz does it his laboratory is just amazing. he creates the most wonderful tastes of food I have ever had. Each presentation stimulates all of your senses from the sight of the dish to the smell and taste. just picture eating a chocolate dessert on a canvas of various sauces that has been created by one of the chefs- it is just wonderful. The servers explain everything and they are right there to make your dining experience one that will be remembered. For me it is well worth the money to have an experience of a lifetime!

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Christina D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

1,181 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    952
    126
    66
    23
    14
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • 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
Oslo, Norway
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Living up to every expectations”
Reviewed October 24, 2013 via mobile

Second visit and still worth every dime!! Fantastic food with carefully picked and paired ingredients! This is as expected from a restaurant at this level, but what makes Alinea stand out are the presentations - a delightful circus of surprise and teasing of senses! Wines were fab, we went for the 250$ option, though coming from Europe we had hoped for some new American experiences! Still, who complains over a Chateau Musar 2001...

Helpful?
1 Thank Kjetil K
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual traveler and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.
Level 5 Contributor
81 reviews
44 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“Fabulous dinner”
Reviewed October 23, 2013

We have heard about the restaurant and finally was able to get reservations. The restaurant facade is very simple. The name was just on the valet parking sign. The venue is very streamlined but elegant which I really liked. The menu is exquisite and appeals to all the senses especially sight and taste. With two good friends the night turned out to be a very good experience. The presentation of the food was the entertainment for the night.

  • Visited October 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Zmencontre
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Culinary Adventure of Your Senses”
Reviewed October 20, 2013

My husband and I experienced Alinea for our wedding anniversary back in May 2010 (omit the fact that tripadvisor only allowed me to select a date between 2012 and 2013). We opted for the wine pairing menu, which meant a different type of wine for EACH of the courses served. With the 15+ courses, I would NOT recommend having wine pairing unless you can tolerate having that much wine and that much varietal of wines. Both my husband and I actually ended up turning down the glasses of wine by the 7th course or so because we were so overwhelmed by the amount of wine!

Overall, we had spent 4-5 hours completing our dinner meal and it was definitely one culinary experience to remember. The best part of the meal was the dessert in which it was a masterpiece created on top of your table with a variety of different techniques used.

Would I say this is one of the best meals I have ever had? Not necessarily but definitely one of the more expensive meals per person we have ever had!! Don't get me wrong - this is definitely a wonderful meal but to us it was more of a culinary adventure/experience than a "meal" (sorry - it's kind of hard to explain but to me there is a difference between a "meal" and an "experience" and Alinea is more of an "experience"... ).

As for the culinary adventure of your senses:
(1). Sight - Aesthetics are brilliant both of the restaurant and plating of the food. Romantic with dim lighting with a spiral staircase heading up to the restaurant for seating. Plating of the food is artistic yet unique and unlike any other (mostly because it is due to its gastronomy style of food). It is hard to describe. The equipment such as plates used to serve the dishes are different depending on the technique involved in the preparation of the food.

Smell - Depending on the season, the menu may involve your sense of smell to complete the gastronomy experience. Imagine a "contained" puff of smell in a vacuum and in order to experience and taste the food, one must "poke" a hole in the "container" and experience the smell and then taste.

Touch - When your tongue comes in contact with the food, your eyes may tell you one thing but your tongue tells you something totally different - rest assured that it is a pleasant experience of the palate.

Taste - One would assume that gastronomy may just be technique used to prepare food a unique way but not necessarily appealing to the palate; however, at Alinea, all of the courses are well balanced, seasoned and delectable. Proportions may seem small at first but once you hit the 4th or so course, you'll be surprised just how satisfying (yet enjoyable) the small plates can be.

Hearing - Waiters and Waitresses are educated on each of the course. Ask them any question about each of the courses and they can tell you anything!

  • Visited November 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank eshopgirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Glenview, Illinois
Level 4 Contributor
48 reviews
34 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“More about theater...”
Reviewed October 20, 2013

I have been to a lot of high end places including all the usual ones like Tru, Charlie Trotter, Per Se (my all time favorite). I think this place is a little more about theater than the food. I won't give away any of the secrets but some of the courses just didn't taste all that fantastic. Some of them did. But for $300 a head, you would expect all of them to blow you out of the water. Also, I didn't find the atmosphere all that great. We were seated upstairs in a small room of about 5 or 6 tables but there were so many staff/servers around constantly moving about that it was somewhat unsettling. The service was great and the servers didn't come across as pretentious at all. I am just more about food than I am theater. Per Se is and remains my favorite. Perfect in every way.

  • Visited October 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
3 Thank Allisonfaye
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Been to Alinea? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing