• The World's 50 Best Restaurants
No.21

Alinea

Chicago, USA

No.21

Provocative and progressive dining in the Windy City

What’s it all about? Alinea is not a restaurant, or at least not in the conventional sense. So say its founders, chef Grant Achatz and restaurateur Nick Kokonas. Instead, it continues to push the boundaries of a meal with dishes that are fun, emotional and provocative and blur the lines between art and food.

What’s the vibe? Alinea had a total make-over before its 10-year anniversary in 2016. Originally dark and muted, the restaurant is now more bright and airy, with a number of different rooms showcasing three different menus. 

Typical dishes: There’s nothing typical about Alinea’s food, whether it be the green apple helium balloon that floats past your table or the milk chocolate, pate sucree, violet and hazelnut dish served à la Jackson Pollock.

Other ventures: Kokonas and Achatz don’t like to sit still. Their constantly evolving restaurant Next, where the cuisine changes every four months, will even launch a World’s 50 Best menu in late 2017. The team has taken Alinea on the road in the past, having opened it in Madrid for a month in early 2016. It also operates the experimental cocktail bar The Aviary in Chicago.

Worth noting: Alinea uses the Tock booking system, developed by Kokonas himself, so diners need to buy a ‘ticket’ in advance of the meal.

On the pass

  • Chef-owner Grant Achatz (pictured) with Michael Bagale

Pastry chef

Style of food

  • Cutting edge

Standout dish

  • Flavors of Yellow

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