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“The real deal in molecular gastronomy”
Review of Alinea

Alinea
Ranked #1 of 9,602 Restaurants in Chicago
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $150 - $1,000
Cuisines: International
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Reservations
Neighborhood: Lincoln Park
chicago
Level 5 Contributor
55 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 95 helpful votes
“The real deal in molecular gastronomy”
Reviewed January 28, 2014

This was a special dinner and my friend and I were both celebrating b'days together. On a cold, cold night we parked in a non glitzy area in N. Chicago and were ushered into a dark alley which opened to a simple and elegant interior. The food shines here not the glitzy decor. Small, intimate and friendly (not stuck up). I don't drink alcohol and I did not feel stuffy not having a wine pairing with each of the 14 courses. All courses were works of art and not forcing molecular gastronomy just for the heck of it but really ensuring it hit every single one of your taste buds. So Alinea is an experience, you don't go there to eat homey, comfy food. It's refined food and done in a fun, playful way. Impressed by Grant's work and he did our dessert table and obliged us with a photo in the kitchen. Could not have been happier with the overall experience. Would I recommend - yes absolutely, if you can afford it.

  • Visited January 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Papad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
    Food
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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
USA
Level 6 Contributor
98 reviews
74 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
“Nonpareil (Having No Match or Equal) on any continent”
Reviewed January 26, 2014

You know any Michelin restaurant will offer exemplary cuisine. Visually beyond compare here. Exquisite ingredients paired with artistic competence we've never seen. Caviar with lime foam in a spinning crystal globe began the experience. Grand dames like Tour d'Argent, Per Se, etc. -- pale in comparison. Chef Achatz personally served our final tasting with aplomb, quietly acknowledged his fans with a discrete nod.

  • Visited January 2014
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Ginger W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Level 5 Contributor
47 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“Culinary Journey”
Reviewed January 25, 2014

I have dined at Alinea years ago within the first year of opening. I didn't give it a review then but if I did, I would have rated them 5 stars on every single category. The second time I dined here was on 1/4/14. I wasn't blown away like I was the first time so I can't say it's because it wasn't as great this time or because experiences are always more captivating the first time around. The wine pairing is an absolute must with this kind of experience, and I enjoyed it more than the food itself. (Again, it might be because I already experienced it the first time.) The entire staff was fantastic, even offering to get my iPhone I left in my coat (which was checked in at front door). Of course, the presentation is gorgeous, as it should be for this price range. My least favorite was the dessert which they kind of created like art (they drew/created like an artist would on a canvas) on the table itself. I felt like they were trying to be cool instead of concentrating on the actual quality of the dessert. I didn't care for it at all. All the courses, however, were beautifully presented and delicious, and I will not write about them as they should be a complete surprise should you decide to go.

If you are a foodie, then this place is a MUST, especially if price doesn't matter. The food and wine pairing for two people is about $1,200.00 plus, and it is the most expensive meal for two that I have ever experienced. Again, if price doesn't matter at all, this place is a must for the once in a lifetime foodie's bucket list. However, if you asked me after having dined here twice if it was worth it, then I might suggest you dine at NEXT before going to Alinea as it is a similar experience with a far less expense.

  • Visited January 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Blogatrixx
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Barrington, Rhode Island
Level 6 Contributor
118 reviews
82 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
“This may be the best restaurant in the U.S.”
Reviewed January 25, 2014

May have touted this as the best restaurant in the U.S. and I have to say that I agree! It is "fine dining" at its best.

1. The staff is wonderful - they are flexible and can offer you traditional European Michelin star service, or they can be funny, laughing and playful (what we got).

2. We were able to get reservations the day before - (booking for the 9:30 dinner). However, received a wonderful call the day of to move our dinner up to 8:30.

3. The chef's are so talented they make any kind of food simply delicious. It's truly entertaining and an "experience".

Wonderful experience, we will definitely go back the next time we're in Chicago.

  • Visited January 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank MarkSYWong
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
midwest
Level 5 Contributor
71 reviews
47 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
“Meal of a Lifetime!”
Reviewed January 22, 2014

This was a special night, my birthday, reservations made two months in advance. Absolutely loved everything about the experience. From the moment you walk down the corridor to the restaurant and the doors open, it is a magical experience. I would suggest not reading too many reviews as it gives away some of the surprises. We hope to go back in a few years and take our family. It is very expensive, but when you consider it is more of an event, the cost doesn't seem out of bounds. Loved, Loved, Loved it!!

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

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