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Securing a reservation at Chicago hot spot Alinea can be tricky. The Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star restaurant has only about 20 tables and will not accept walk-in customers. Sticking to its innovative personality, Alinea does reservations a bit differently. Rather than calling or stopping by to reserve a table, you have to go on the restaurant's website to buy a "ticket." The renowned Chicago restaurant implemented this policy in August 2012 and has stuck to it. When you buy your "ticket," which includes the tasting menu, you'll also be charged a 20 percent service charge that covers gratuity. That being said, if you choose to add wine pairings to your dinner at Alinea — and you should — you'll pay for that at the end of your meal.
Tickets are sold between two and three months in advance, and we suggest you follow the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star restaurant on Facebook and Twitter to get the most up-to-date schedules. Sometimes there will be a last-minute opening and you'll have the opportunity to snag tickets to dinner that evening.