• The World's 50 Best Restaurants


Chicago, USA


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 Alinea’s founders, chef Grant Achatz and restaurateur Nick Kokonas. Instead, it continues to push the boundaries of a meal with dishes that are fun, emotional, provocative and blur the lines between art and food.

What’s the vibe? Smart and sophisticated. The modern, dark and muted restaurant is divided into a number of different rooms through which the staff sweep. It’s all about creating a calm environment but also a blank canvas that allows Achatz’s colourful and creative dishes to shine.

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, keeps them on their toes, and they have also taken Alinea on the road in the past, having opened it in Madrid for a month in early 2016. They also operate 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

  • Grant Achatz (pictured) with Michael Bagale

Pastry chef

Style of food

  • Cutting edge

Standout dish

  • Helium balloon, green apple