• The World's 50 Best Restaurants
No.26

Alinea

Chicago, USA

No.26

Envelope-pushing food and immaculate service combine at this fine-dining stalwart

Grant Achatz’s famed Chicago restaurant is well known for its brave and unconventional approach to food, with dishes served in all manner of creative ways, but there’s more to Alinea then culinary pyrotechnics.

As the meal at this slick, moody restaurant progresses over a number of hours, the expertly trained service team is able to read the tables and its customers and dispatch the most suitable staff at specific times to ensure a truly personal experience. Combined with special lighting that allows for the colour of the walls to change and create different moods in different areas of the dining room, it makes for a restaurant experience that is second to none.

Achatz’s food remains out of this world, too. Whether you’re eating an edible balloon, made from dehydrated apple and filled with helium or watching the chefs ‘plate up’ dessert directly on to the table like a beautifully choreographed Jackson Pollock unfolding in front of you, there’s plenty to shock and delight among the numerous courses that make up Alinea’s famous tasting menu.

Oft copied but seldom bettered, Achatz and his team continue to move forward in offering a genuinely unique hospitality experience. As such, the small Chicago restaurant remains a culinary colossus.

On the pass

  • Grant Achatz

Pastry chef

Style of food

  • Cutting edge

Standout dish

  • Edible helium balloon

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