Is it worth the price of admission? Planning another trip to Chicago in the fall (this one sans kids) so my wife and I plan to do lots of eating.

We have some friends that also want to go to Alinea with us, but $265/pp plus wine is steep. I’m all for spending on the experience so long as it’s worth it.

Yes it’s worth it, take the opportunity to do it while you’re here sans kids. Any specific questions?

Absolutely- a fantastic experience. Have visited several times over the years and never walked away not thinking I got my money’s worth.

definitely. Voted top restaurant in the world in the 50 top restaurant diners’ choice. They will close for a retooling later this year, so check if they will be open

Yes, and I was skeptical.

Top three meals in my life. Eleven Madison park and taillevent being the other two

Been a few times, though not in the last 2-3 years, and yes it is worth it.


I haven’t been in years but want to go back. Was a great meal, though with perhaps more “experimental” than savory/hedonistic than I would typical want at that level.

Doesn’t the $265 include tax and tip - if so, $200 pre tax/tip in some ways seems like a pretty good buy for what is arguably the best restaurant in Chicago…

Should have added that I thought the wine pairings the time that I went were both expensive and “meh” (based on selections not taste as I didn’t order them) - probably better to find something reasonable on the list.

How have the wine pairings been recently?

Anyone know what they charge for the wine pairings? I understand they offer a regular and a reserve.

I don’t know that the food was worth the price of admission, but it was very good. The beverage pairings OTOH, were not worth the price and frankly largely sucked. Those pairings are probably what left the bad taste in mouth. Maybe I was expecting too much, but they were not remotely on the same level of the food.

Their wine program has historically their Achilles

What do you suggest as an alternative to their pairings? Even if they allow BYOB, I imagine it would be difficult to bring wine to match with the 15-18 courses.

They don’t allow BYOB and you are right, its hard to match when you don’t know what’s coming. I either brace myself for the matches, or suck in deep and do a couple of bottles (champagne and red burg)

I’d rather drink a good to great wine than force any form of pairing.

Pick a solid champagne, white, and a red and you’ll be happy most of the time.

This. Skip the pairings.


Haven’t been but thought I’d heard they were starting to offer wine by the glass … though perhaps that was just Next?

or perhaps neither. [rofl.gif] [snort.gif]


Had the reserve pairings two weeks ago and thought they were great, although I’m not aware of the cost, nor did I look at the list. More off the beaten path stuff versus classified growths - I seem to recall a grower champs, gruner veltliner, zind humbrecht gewurtz, a 2006 CdP, an older loire red from magnum and a very old sherry. Pours were generous and they seemed happy to refill glasses if you drank everything. I usually don’t like pairings, but given that it is a long meal, it was nice to not have to worry about the wine and just let the sommelier keep bringing new glasses/wines.

Overall an excellent experience. Found the staff to be relaxed, funny and engaging - not what I was expecting. A very fun time, though not the kind of place I’d go to more than once a year.

I’ll usually find one or two wines I like in the pairings, along with a lot of neck beard matches, but never any profound wines. It is nice to have wines that someone has thought about w/r/t parings, even if it a swing and a miss.