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“Great meal”
Review of Alinea

Alinea
Ranked #1 of 9,675 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
Chicago, Illinois
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Great meal”
Reviewed September 3, 2014

I had a great experience at Alinea , where dinning , artistry , science and theater all come together
Seamlessly. The only complaint is that the restaurant only offers wine with the meal . I am a beer guy and believe that beer pairs better with food than wine. I feel that for the restaurant to take the next step that they should offer beer or spirits with the meal that way the people that don't like wine have a viable beverage option. How about it chef ?

  • Visited July 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Lake1304
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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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
Baltimore, Maryland
Level 6 Contributor
96 reviews
66 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 81 helpful votes
“Delightful Experience”
Reviewed August 31, 2014

We went to Alinea last week for my first time and my boyfriend's second and we were both extremely pleased. The innovation and attention to detail and concept are simply unparalleled. Perhaps my favorite thing about Alinea, though, is that unlike many other restaurants of this caliber - the staff actually have lovely, engaging personalities. Too often we'll try fine-dining restaurants and the staff are pretentious to the point of obnoxious. Not the case here, everyone who came near the table was informative, funny, and truly witty.

I had a couple of annoyances: the A/C vent was right above me and kept dripping condensation on me during the meal. We told the staff, but nothing was done about it.

We were seated in a room with a party of 6 extremely loud and obnoxious men who overpowered the entire room. We were quite happy when they left.

And finally, for 15 courses we were quite surprised at the lack of...food. Yeah. Every other meal I've ever had like this I left totally full and satisfied. At Alinea we were OK, but we could have done with another course or two - especially a red meat course. We were both a little disappointed there wasn't any form of beef.

The wine pairing was great, but for two people who work in the wine industry, we didn't have anything that we felt warranted the rather hefty price tag on the wine pairing. I also would have preferred more information about the wine itself (location, winemaker, etc.) than on the tasting notes - I'm perfectly capable of tasting my own wine, I want to know more about the story of the wine.

Ultimately, it was one of the best dining experiences I've ever had. I don't think we'll return (on our dime, at least). It wasn't mind-blowing enough to warrant another visit. I'd rather spend that money on trying somewhere different with the same price tag.

  • Visited August 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Robin V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tucson, Arizona
Level 6 Contributor
623 reviews
455 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 410 helpful votes
“Outstanding Creative Cuisine, Superlative Service”
Reviewed August 29, 2014

Yes, we too believe this is surely one of the top restaurants in the world, not just Chicago. You arrive to a nondescript location on Halsted, marked only by a valet sign out front. You open the double doors and walk into semi-darkness, when suddenly the automatic doors open and you are greeted by the host who almost immediately takes you to your table.

Next, you are welcomed and asked about your choice of beverage. We opted to have each a glass of champagne to start and then shared a wine pairing. That turned out to be the perfect amount of alcohol for us.

The food is quite creative, with course after course a surprise. Superb tastes, unique presentations, exceptional service,great atmosphere, perfection in all ways combine to make this a true dining experience unlike we have eer had.

Some outstanding courses included corn cooked in the husk, Chinese takeout sweetbreads served with burning chopsticks, apple balloons, desert spread on a table cloth that you can eat from. All were great, no rush, relaxing, and a dining adventure.

Yes, it is expensive. Total with tip was about $900 for two. Worth it? Absolutely.

Superb!

ZB

  • Visited August 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank zabriskibound
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saint Louis, Missouri
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“More entertainment than food”
Reviewed August 29, 2014

Service: impeccable, very friendly
Ambience: modern, minimalist

Cost: This meal included the price of 2 non refundable tickets purchased 1 month in advance plus 20% off the top at the time of purchase. Wine pairing ($125 is the cheapest) per head plus 20%. There is space for another tip should you feel inclined to leave more cash. Valet is 13 bucks plus tip.

Without giving too much away, Alinea plays with all your senses. Undoubtedly, it takes a tremendous amount of skill to present the food in unexpected ways. However, more attention has been given to the presentation of the food rather than the quality of food itself. For the amount of money spent and the designation of 3 Michelin stars, I expected every single course to be 3 star quality. A leathery, dehydrated string entwined in a bird nest does not meet my criteria of amazing food. Needless to say, I was disappointed in some of the courses.

Once the novelty of some of the gimmicks wear off, I wonder if customers return to Alinea. Molecular gastronomy is fun and can be entertaining, but ultimately I want delicious, appealing food. It was a bit "science project-y" at times.

We had a wonderful time; I am glad we went. However, just because Michelin endorses it, does not make it more delicious.

  • Visited August 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
7 Thank Desiree W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Penfield, New York
Level 6 Contributor
214 reviews
135 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
“Yes, this should be on your bucket list”
Reviewed August 28, 2014

Once in a lifetime experience - unless you go back for more as we did (provided you can navigate their less than intuitive facebook page to buy tickets)

As others stated, this is not just a meal: it's an experience way beyond that, including participating in a performance.
The courses add up to a trip: half time travel - half trip inside: into your limbic system. You don't need to follow my advice, but I recommend skipping the wine pairings: they are very good but I enjoyed the trip more fully sober.

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

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