Alinea - Chicago, IL

Wondering if anyone on FTC has eaten at Alinea in Chicago. And if so, how was it?

I’ll be in Chicago in a couple months and am considering giving it a visit.

A shout into the void, I know, but if anyone has been, any info would be much appreciated!

EDIT: And if not Alinea, any Chicago recommendations would be welcomed!

I’ve been to alinea 1.0 and it lived up to the hype, would love to return for 2.0.

Other recs:
Au cheval for the cheeseburger
The publican
Publican quality meats
Fat rice
Purpe pig
Girl & the goat

And LTH for more discussion


Loved Alinea 1.0; would definitely be interested in trying 2.0.

Agree about the other Chicago recs.

+1 on Girl & the Goat. Excellent pig face there, among other things.

Maybe not what you’re after given Alinea, but I can tell you if you want Chicago pizza, you want Pequod’s (char cheese crust!!) or Lou Malnati’s. You need to get a hot dog. It doesn’t matter where, as long as it’s a Vienna brand frankfurter. Accept no substitutes on this. Italian beef, skip Al’s. it’s gone all franchised and terrible. Portillo’s isn’t bad and there’s a number of locations. And you can get your hot dog there too.

Another cheaper place (I don’t generally do white-tablecloth joints) is Big & Little’s sandwich shop. They serve foie gras fries, which is a nice way to give yourself that 3rd heart attack and not totally break the bank.

There’s also White Castles there (as in Harold and Kumar go to…) but unless it’s 2am and in a suitably altered state it’s probably not worth tracking one down. (They closed the one on Addison, which made me very sad)

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Went to Au Cheval the other night for the first time. That burger is seriously stunning.

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au cheval cheeseburger, bacon, egg

girl & the goat - roasted pig face

publican - bacon

chicago come for the food stay because you got murdered


Went back in 2011. One of the best dining experiences of my life. Delicious, fun, and very comfortable. Would love to return again one day.

Dang. Thanks, everyone. Really appreciate the recommendations. Sounds like I’ll have shed my winter weight just in time to add it all back on during this trip.

@PorkyBelly / @a213b / @djquinnc - Appreciate the thoughts on Alinea. Unanimously positive. I’ll keep ya posted if I take the plunge.

@OCSteve - Excellent. Girl & the Goat was definitely had this on my list. It’s close to where I’ll be staying too.

@lectroid - You’re speaking my language, man. I’ve been curious about Alinea since seeing its Chef’s Table ep, but I definitely plan to border on competitive eating quantities re: hot dogs. And pizza, duh. I may be able to try Tony’s Little Italy Pizza in the OC this week, so I can do a comparison.

@set0312 - Was the wait crazy???

On the same trip that I dined at Alinea, there were two places that I hit up twice: Lou Malnati’s River North location for a Malnati Chicago Classic pizza and a Malnati salad; and Xoxo for churros and chocolate. I enjoyed Girl and the Goat as well, but Lou Malnati’s still sings a siren’s song to me to this day.

The wait is insane, however if you’re going on a weekend the kitchen is closed between 3 - 5pm. Pro-tip, arrive at 4:30, grab a seat at the bar or an empty table, order a drink, at 5:00 order your cheeseburger, at 5:20 enjoy your cheeseburger while the hoi polloi line up outside, at 5:55 head over to girl & the goat across the street for your 6pm reservation.

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This is a great tip. I will do my best to make you proud.

Agreed. That is the Lou’s location that I visited on my first trip to Chicago. Definitely a game changer for me.

Let’s just say if you can go at 11:45 pm on a Monday night you will have no problems. That’s what I did, it was worth it, but my situation was a bit odd. Flight to NYC was canceled because of weather…had to spend a night at an airport hotel in Chicago…there was no food…I said eff it I’m going into the city.

Thanks @PorkyBelly.

My nephew is going to Chicago for the first time and wanted food recs. Your list is great. The LTHForum is the extra tip that makes you a real trekker.

:airplane_arriving: :pizza:

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Au Cheval

Lou Malnati

Purple Pig

Smoked Pork Tongue & Chorizo Panini

Nephew is in hog heaven… or should I say @PorkyBelly heaven? He also did the Architecture River Cruise.


Does anyone know if I can order the Au Cheval burger with egg and bacon at Brunch? Or is it only available for dinner

Had brunch at Au Cheval and their burger is available with additions of the bacon and egg. But take a look at these crazy delicious hash browns!