If you've ever been to Chicago, then you already know about Alinea--the innovative and delectable brain child of chef/owner Grant Achatz. If you haven't heard about it, prepare to have your socks blown off.

If you're the winner of our Win a Trip to Lollapalooza contest, then you'll get a $500 gift card to spend any which way you want. We realllllllly suggest going to Alinea, for a number of reasons.

  • 1

    It's incredibly expensive to eat there.

    Check out the prices here.

    Chances of you having an extra $500 (which is roughly what it costs for 2 to dine there) could be slim to none. Unless you're rich. In that case, carry on.

    Do know it costs more to eat at Alinea on a Friday night or a weekend. Ticket prices range between $210 and $265. A person.

    Philip Lange
  • 2

    Diners are discouraged from bringing children.

    Read Serious Eats' article about the mean tweet.

    If you've ever been in a restaurant, air plane, or other enclosed space for which you've paid a ton of money to be in, then you've probably given the occasion eye-roll to the parents of a screaming, seemingly tortured child.

    Earlier this year, Chef Achatz tweeted about a couple who brought their screaming 8-month-old child to the restaurant. Telling the world that he thought parents should get a babysitter and not bring them out. Not only did the kiddo irritate waitstaff, but other diners who paid a ton for their meal were miserable.

    And then it sparked a firestorm. Half the world upset that he'd ban kids. Half the world applauding him for their new-found peace.

    arnoaltix
  • 3

    You buy tickets to eat there. And that's fun.

    Check out how to get a ticket here.

    The days of walking into a restaurant and waiting 45 minutes for a table are over. So are the days of calling for reservations.

    Tickets. That's what you want now!

    You buy one prixe fixe ticket per diner. For a date 2-3 months in the future. The menu will be whatever the tasting menu is for that night. Chances are, if your palatte doesn't include a wide variety of foods, you won't want to eat here.

    But tickets! It makes us think about Willy Wonka. Winning the lotto. Supporting charity. And arcade games. This time it's about tasty, tasty food.

    Christophe Testi
  • 4

    The menu is intriguing. And you haven't eaten the likes of it. Ever.

    Check out the current tasting menu here.

    You won't find any sort of burger, fries, or ketchup at Alinea. Instead you'll find such pairings as steelhead roe with coconut, curry and yuzu (a citrus fruit--don't worry. We had to look it up too). Or woolly pig with fennel, orange and squid.

    Don't worry. Some things? You just won't know until you're seated at the table and they put it in front of you. The menu adds that little quirk with, "Lamb. .....?????.....!!!!!!" And "Ginger. Five other flavors."

    You'll get 18 courses (at least), and the meal will always close with a dessert. This menu has white chocolate, strawberry, english pea and lemon.

    Trust in Chef Achatz. It's bound to be delish.

    William Perugini
  • 5

    The chef wrote a book. (No secrets were given away)

    Check out the book, and reviews, here.

    Now the book isn't going to be giving you all the secrets of chef Achatz' trade. But with more than 100 dishes (totaling 600 recipes) and 600 photographs, you're going to give up on trying to replicate these flavors and just head straight to the restaurant.

    Some of the ingredients are so hard to find, too, that it may be worth paying $200 to have someone else do it all for you.

    Maxim Kulemza