A Tokyo-inspired dish at Alinea, the top-rated restaurant. (Courtesy: Alinea)
Alinea in Chicago had already won over the restaurant critics since it opened in 2005, earning three Michelin stars. Now it can claim to be a restaurant of the people as well.
Alinea, a Lincoln Park restaurant run by chef/owner Grant Achatz whose specialties include Wagyu beef, Dungeness crab, and trout roe, earned No. 1 honors in TripAdvisor’s Travelers’ Choice U.S. restaurant list. The site compiled its rankings by weighing millions of reviews and ratings from its users over the past 12 months.
Here’s one of 542 reviews of Alinea: “Aside from incredible tasting and unbelievably creative food, the atmosphere was pleasant and easy-going and the staff was possibly the best I’ve ever encountered.”
This is a good year for Chicago attractions, apparently. The Art Institute of Chicago was recently named the favorite museum in the world by TripAdvisor users.
The runner-up: Eleven Madison Park in New York. (Courtesy: Eleven Madison Park)
Three New York City restaurants cracked the top 10, with second place going to Eleven Madison Park, which is known for going to extraordinary lengths to make its guests feel taken care of, such as running Internet searches of their names to learn more about them before their reservations.
Rounding out the top 10 are these restaurants:
3. Restaurant Gary Danko, San Francisco
4. Halls Chophouse, Charleston, S.C.
Halls Chophouse (Courtesy: TripAdvisor)
5. Victoria & Albert’s, Orlando, Fla.
6. Uchi, Austin, Texas
7. Bouley, New York City
Bouley (Courtesy: TripAdvisor)
8. Canlis Restaurant, Seattle
9. Pappas Bros. Steakhouse, Dallas
10. Daniel, New York City
At the same time, TripAdvisor released results of its survey of 3,000 people in the U.S., including the following info: of the 3,000 U.S. respondents, 17% visit a fine-dining restaurant several times a month, and of those people, 42% usually pay between $50 and $75 per person.
* 84% said they seek fine dining restaurant recommendations via word of mouth.
* 76% look at online reviews.
* 59% consult restaurant ratings/guides.
* 20% rely on social media.
* 25% read newspapers/magazines for recommendations.
Alinea finished fifth in the world Travelers’ Choice rankings, with top honors going to El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain. Here’s the rest of the top 10, which was dominated by European restaurants:
(Courtesy: El Celler de Can Roca)
2. Midsummer House, Cambridge, England
3. Maison Lameloise, Chagny, France
4. The French Café, Auckland, New Zealand
5. Alinea, Chicago
6. El Club Allard, Madrid, Spain
7. Epicure, Paris
8. Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons, Great Milton, England
9. Le Gavroche, London, England
10. Martin Berasategui, San Sebastian, Spain
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