Review: Why Alinea with Chef Grant Achatz Is the Best Restaurant in the United States

Resident Foodies say: Chef Grant Achatz of Alinea in Chicago is a master artist with food. His dishes are creative beyond belief, leaving you dazzled and amazed. The plating of his dishes are beautiful to behold–like a painting or sculpture of edible material. It’s no surprise that Alinea is rated by some as the best restaurant in the United States, if not the world. Alinea’s so good that it can eat The French Landry for lunch.

From the moment you walk in the door of Alinea, you realize you are in for an other-world experience. The front door leads you to a dark passage way in which the floor is grass. Yes, grass. It’s almost pitch dark, and a wind chime sounds lightly in the background. On the left is a tub of lemonade to whet your palate. Then, mysteriously, a door opens, emitting light into the corridor. You have arrived.

All of the dishes are unique, with interesting composition, plating, and taste. Chef Achatz definitely pushes the boundaries of culinary delight–he is an artist at his craft. Alinea is perfect for special occasions. It’s pricey and dinner takes 4 hours, but you will discover new possibilities with food and have a memory you will never forget. Some of our favorites include:

(A) Burn morels, ramps, asparagus, smoked date served on stones
(B) Hot potato, cold potato, black truffle, butter
(C) Black truffle explosion, romaine, parmesan served on silver spoon
(D) Squab inspired by Miro (served on spoons to reflect on silver pitchers)
(E) Blueberry dessert with buttermilk, sorrel macadia (liquid nitrogen to start), served with a straw to sip from center
(F) White Chocolate dessert strawberry, english pea, lemon (liquid nitrogen to start)

Be sure to check out our photos and videos of the tasting at Alinea below.

Steelhead roe with coconut, curry, yuzu

Oyster leaf mignonette, king crab with passion fruit, heart of palm, lobster with carrot and chamomile, top neck clam with shiso, soy, daikon

Woolly pig with fennel, orange and squid

Scallop acting like agedashi tofu

Otoro with thai banana, sea salt, kaffir lime

Burn morels, ramps, asparagus, smoked date

Hot potato, cold potato, black truffle, butter


Black truffle explosion, romaine, parmesan

Squab inspired by Miro (spoons appear melted in reflection)

Anjou pear with onion, brie, smoking cinnamon

Ginger five other flavors

Blueberry dessert with liquid nitrogen, buttermilk, sorrel, macadamia

Balloon dessert with helium, green apple

White chocolate dessert with liquid nitrogen, strawberry, english pea, lemon