Alinea Named World's Top Restaurant

March 30 2012 - 4:16 PM

As Chicago's profile in the world of food increases, it was encouraging to hear that Alinea was named the World's Top Restaurant by Elite Traveler magazine, beating out Thomas Keller's French Laundry and Per Se, for starters.  

Thankfully I ate at Alinea before it received its Michelin stars and when there was a still a choice of tasting menus.   It will only continue to get harder to eat there, but on the plus side it will continue to attract jet-setting foodies from around the world who come to Chicago (or just Alinea) as a destination.   It will definitely help chip away at our inferiority complex that seems to instinctively come up when New York is mentioned. (New Yorkers may take comfort that they have four of the top twenty restaurants.)

One can argue as to what is the world's top restaurant, and many may counter-argue.   Some of these lists aren't always the most credible–I remember one website had "top dating cities" and somehow managed to pick mainly college towns.   In the absence of perfect information and in taking advantage of free publicity,  people use these lists to make good decisions as to where they want to eat next.   

Rather than grumble about getting a table at Alinea, we should be thankful that we have dozens of great restaurants to choose from here, and be proud of the fact that people who visit Chicago know they have these same choices.

–Brian Ziegler