In the 2019 list of the World’s Best Restaurants, Alinea ranked #37. And we’re talking about tens of thousands of restaurants here – and they’re in the top 1%. Imagine that.
In Chicago, Alinea is dubbed the best restaurant in the city. It’s the only one that has received 3 stars from Michelin. It’s the only one of 14 restaurants awarded 3 stars.
Co-owner and head chef Chef Grant Achatz along with his team create innovative dishes. Who can forget the ultra-famous floating balloon or the ed riffs on what would have been just a regular peanut butter and jelly sandwich?
In 2011, Alinea ranked #6, and while its ranking has gotten much lower the last few years, it’s also worth noting that it’s the only Chicago restaurant that made it to the list in 2019.
In the United States, Alinea is the #1 restaurant on the list of 50 best restaurants in the country. This restaurant opened back in 2005 and underwent some redesign a few years ago and gave a whole new meaning to meals.
Let’s have a look at what it’s like dining at Alinea.
First, understand that guests can choose from 3 dining experiences – The Kitchen Table, The Salon Menu and The Gallery Menu.
- The Kitchen Table: This is considered the most immersive and intimate dining experience at Alinea. It can seat 6 people at a price of $385 per person, excluding tax and service charge.
The Salon Menu: This is a tasting menu with 10-12 courses. Price is between $175 to $225 per person.
- The Gallery Menu: This is a 16-18 course multi-sensory menu with a price range of $285 to $345 per person.
Among it’s most famous dishes is the edible helium balloon – it’s actually a floating dessert made of dehydrated apples, sugar and malic acid created by its executive chef, Mike Bagale. You will then use a pin to pop this dish.
Food critics are pretty happy with its newly redesigned space with painted Plexiglas panels and a cascading LED chandelier.
Because dining in Alinea can be pricey, most would reserve the experience for a special occasion such as a birthday or wedding anniversary. But tbh, it’s well worth the price. You’ll remember every dish they serve you not only because it is delicious but also because it’s a very immersive experience.
When you enter the restaurant, you’ll notice there are two floors and it’s quite spacious. They don’t use tablecloths and there’s no music playing in the background. All well and good, actually, because with food so good, you really don’t want any distractions.
Your table won’t have a server but instead, they have a team that is assigned to several tables. Service is nothing short of impeccable. The staff will always be ready to assist you with any question or request you have.
As for the food, well, there’s nothing quite like it in the world. Every single dish is so good you’ll want more, but then they’ll give you another dish that is also just as good – it’s mind-boggling. The flavors, colors and textures are a feast to the palate – and your eyes! Expect to dine there for 4 hours at least.
Here’s a video on what it’s like to dine at Alinea: