We knew it was coming and now it's here: Chicago-based Alinea restaurant — which is run by the rule-bending duo Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas — has taken up residence in Madrid at the NH Hotel Eurobuilding, which is where chef David Muñoz's DiverXO is located.
The team explains the reason for the temporary move (which involves the transport of the entire Alinea staff): "The history of Alinea is inextricably linked with the modernist cuisine of Spain... Alinea: Madrid fulfills a dream for our team to bring Alinea, as fully as possible, to the Spanish palates." Alinea Chicago is, of course, closed during the duration of this event. The Madrid pop-up, which runs from January 12 through February 6, 2016 is split into two sections.
From January 12 through January 16, guests are invited to experience both Alinea: Madrid and DiverXO over the course of the same evening. Diners will literally travel from one restaurant location to the other halfway through the meal. As for the food: "The tasting menus will play off one another, contrasting and complimenting styles and creating a once in a lifetime evening with many surprises." Set seating times ensure each diner can experience both restaurants. This menu costs €500 (plus 10% VAT) or about $570 per person. Wine pairings are an additional €125 to €250 per person, plus 10% VAT.
From January 19 through February 6 diners in Spain can experience Alinea: Madrid, which is to say the Chicago restaurant run by Achatz and executive chef Mike Bagale reimagined using local Spanish ingredients and perhaps a more intense focus on modernist Spanish technique. They note, "we will faithfully represent the Michelin 3-star cuisine of Alinea, while paying homage and honoring the culinary heritage of Spain." There's no note on how many courses this menu will include, but prices for the dinner are set at €275 or about $313 per person, plus 10% VAT. Wine pairings run from an additional €125 to €250 per person.
As a point of comparison, Alinea's tasting menu in Chicago costs diners between $210 and $295 per person, depending upon availability and demand and excluding beverages.
Tickets for Alinea: Madrid are on sale now. The team is staggering its release of seats: 40 percent of the tables are available now; 40 percent will become available in December; and finally the remaining 20 percent will go on sale in January 2016 in advance of the event. A glance at current availability shows there are still plenty of seats left among this first batch of tickets and per a quick Google Flight search, round-trip flights to Madrid from New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles currently cost between $700 and $1100.
Video: Alinea's Asian-Inspired 60 Second Tasting Menu