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We’re #1! (Sort of)

By Laura Oppenheimer in Food on Nov 1, 2006 10:30PM

AAA (yes, that would be the AAA of the rescuing you when you have a flat tire fame) announced their Five Diamond Awards for hospitality yesterday, and seven Chicago restaurants were named to the elite level, more than any other city in the nation. Three hotels also made the cut.

2006_11_alinea.jpgJoining repeat offenders Arun’s, Seasons Restaurant in the Four Seasons Hotel, Tru, Everest, and Charlie Trotters are newbies Alinea and Avenues in The Peninsula Chicago Hotel. We don’t want to pick a fight, but if we have more top-rated restaurants than other city, wouldn’t it be natural to infer that we are the nation’s #1 city for diners? Why is it so hard for people to say it? CHICAGO IS #1. Just asking.

Only .25 percent of restaurants –- for a total of 53 -- visited by one of AAA’s “65 full-time, highly trained professional evaluators” receive the Five Diamond Award, so that fact that seven Chicago restaurants were recognized says a lot about the quality of dining in the city. Chicago may be known for hot dogs and pizza (which are delicious as well), but the fine dining offered here has never been better. And now, once again, it has been stated by anoutsider! (And yes, we know Alinea has been recognized by, well, pretty much everyone and their mother as being totally amazing, but we still get defensive.)

The only surprise for us was that perennial favorite Spiaggia didn’t make the cut. We tend to hear it mentioned in the same white truffle-infused breath as the rest of the Five Diamond Award restaurants, so its omission was curious to us.

Image of Alinea's bacon via Poq.