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Posted by nkeithf on 04/03/2012
Three of us went to this restaurant last year for my birthday. It was the most ridiculous, disappointing cultinary experience I've had. This is the perfect example of "the Emperor's New Clothes." Enough fools say it's the most amazing thing ever, and people believe them. It's insanely overpriced, pretentious, silly, and if they have to explain to you how to eat a dish, then they've done something wrong. This is a theater experience, not a dining experience. The service was snotty and rude and condescending. And deceitful on top of it. We were offered wine pairings and told that it would be equivalent to 2.5-3 glasses per person. So, we're figuring $12-$15 glass, why not? Then we received the bill and learned that my host had been charged some $300 extra for the wine. We could have had whole bottles for what this "wine pairing" cost. We thought it was a mistake and called the maitre d' over, who informed us in a snotty way that that was the price. We protested that we had been misled by the server. No good. We called the owner the next day...no dice. This is a media-hyped frenzy supported by people with too much money and too little brains... nouveaux riches who think that because it's expensive it MUST be wonderful...whether their own senses and pocketbooks tell them otherwise or not. I've sat for a year reading this ridiculous puff-piece reviews raving about this place, and just couldn't sit silent any longer. Aburd, and absurdly overpriced.
Posted by Anonymous on 10/30/2010
In an often dark and flawed world, perfection is rare. Alinea is perfection. Arriving at Alinea is being born from a drab gray world into a world of light and color and taste and sound. You are met upon arrival with care and led from course to course encouragingly and with freedom. This is the art of human life-what all life is supposed to be. Immerse yourself in it and-transformed-experience life anew. This is beyond imaginative. Alinea is alchemical transformative genius.
Posted by River North Foodie on 05/01/2010
Went with my son a few weeks ago for the second time. We both had the touring menu and wine pairings. I am vegetarian, he is not. The astonishing thing? At first glance, our dishes looked identical but were, in most cases, comprised of totally different ingredients. Now, how much attention to detail and work did that take? This is an amazing, amazing place. Every mouthful was a delight, every dish better than the last. It is almost impossible for me to describe Alinea. It must be experienced. Expensive? Yes. Worth it? Absolutely. This is not just dining, not even fine dining. This is an unsurpassed culinary adventure. We'll be going back.
Posted by Anonymous on 08/09/2008
Alinea is definitely an experience not to miss. The food is insanely creative, bizarre, unique and yet delicious. The service is incomparable to any restaurant I have ever been to. This is a place you can only visit once a year not only because of the price, but the time commitment as well. TRY THIS PLACE! This is easily the best restaurant in the country!
Posted by Foodie Chef on 08/10/2007
I woke up the next morning and literally wrote Chef Achatz a thank you note. Without a bit of over exaggeration, he changed the way that I look at food. It was an incredible experience and one of my fondest memories to date. My mom and I went for a girls night and we had the 24 course tour. If you have 5-6 hours, do yourself a favor and have this meal. I don't care if none of the ingredients sounds remotely appealing, I guarantee you that under Achatz's command you will be blown away. Coming from someone who has eaten at a fair number of 5 star places and has worked as a chef, Alinea is in a league of its own. If you can, go STAT.
Posted by DiningMartyr on 06/15/2007
I could not agree more with the previous review. I just can't understand the reason there haven't been more reviews since his. I have been to Alinea about 6 times and everything about the restaurant is seamless. A diner at Alinea must allow himself to be taken on a voyage. The calm atmosphere and the unusual dining ware are the vessel and instruments of the trip. The ingredients also will have taken a journey with you -- they are transformed into new forms and combined with both irony and cohesion. The meal follows a roller coaster ride-like protocol -- from savory to sweet, back to savory and sweet again. The wines, which are paired with about half the courses, are chosen with care and fully integrated with the ingredients – they are not merely something with which to wash down the food. (On a rare occasion, I have disagreed a selection or two.) The service, too is seamless and effortless, and only improves with each visit. How lucky you are Chicago, that you are in possession of the finest restaurant in America. And this statement comes from a New Yorker.
Posted by Benmbenm on 08/21/2006
This is not your meat and potatoes restaurant. This is a culinary adventure, new techniques, bold flavors, a innovative approach to gastronomy. We did the 24 course tour and each bite of food is better than the last. The ambiance and service all pay homage to the brilliance and mastery of each dish. Some are just a bite of food others are more intricate flavor combinations. Everyone works though, and paired with delicious European wines this is a meal to be lucky to have experienced. To have all of this it does come at quite a price, so if you are not preppared to surrender to this Culinary masterpiece go to Superdawg. But if you love modern cuisine, and don't mind paying for excellence, Alinea is the must stop for anyone following great american chefs and their restaurants. This will be the top restaurant in America very soon and I am incredibly happy to have been able to dine there.