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Jan 14, 2009 07:26 AM

Alinea- Tasting or Tour?

Hi there...we have reservations for Valentine's Day weekend for Alinea, and I am counting down the days! I have been reading some articles, blogs, etc to get even more excited than I am right now-- and I have a question for those of you who have dined there:

From what I have read, it seems that the suggestion is for first-timers to do the 12 course tasting...but we have made reservations for the full tour (24 courses). Is this too overwhelming? We travel A LOT so chances are we might not circle back to Alinea for a while I want to make the most of the experience. Any suggestions?


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  1. If you don't think you'll be able to get get back for a while, then I think the Tour is a good way to go. You may want to consider splitting the wine pairing with your dining companion (unless you're a big drinker or you're really into wine). That much food and wine might otherwise put a damper on other Valentine's Day "festivities" ;)

    1. Been there twice. I would recommend the tasting. The tour is fantastic but long and sensory over-load. If you do the tasting you don't have to worry about splitting the wine pairings. You'll get a great sense of he place with the tasting. That said, I would never fault someone for the tour as it is fantastic but a long, long dinner.

      1. Hi there,

        We did the tasting and couldn't have eaten another bite - didn't eat much the next day either - so I'd suggest you eat very very little on the day and enjoy the ride!

        1. I'd advise you to treat this as the once-in-a-lifetime experience that it might be, and shoot the works. My SO and I (both first-timers) did the Tour with wine pairings in October; it was about a 4.5 hour event, and every minute was a delight. We did slow down a bit toward the end, because there were a couple of dishes that were a little too rich to finish, but I wouldn't have done it differently.

          It's a life-changing dinner, seriously.

          2 Replies
            1. re: pm1214

              i agree with the above - did the same thing in december and figured since we don't live in chicago, we might as well go all out. we didn't regret it one bit! (oh yeah, and we managed to finish everything, just barely.)

          1. If you can afford it, I highly recommend the Tour. I've eaten at Alinea 3 times, and these are definitely among the most memorable (and, yes, in a certain sense emotional) experiences of my life. Every time I go, I'm sad that there are "only" 25 or so courses. An Alinea meal is something I don't want to end.

            That said, the difference between the Tasting and the Tour mostly consists of small (one-bite) courses. However, these are often some of the most incredible courses, so it seems worth it to me to drop the extra coin.

            1 Reply
            1. re: drdreyer

              Thanks so much for all of the advice...we went on Friday and decided to do the full Tour and split the wine pairing. I have nothing to say but phenomenal things about the entire experience--