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“great food, tiny portions, noisy room” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Alba

Alba
524 East 6th St., Des Moines, IA
(515) 244-0261
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Ranked #28 of 501 restaurants in Des Moines
Dining options: Reservations, Late Night
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations, Late Night
Fairfield, Iowa
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
“great food, tiny portions, noisy room”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 26, 2012

After looking online at the menus of all participants in the recent Des Moines Restaurant Week, we thought Alba's looked like the most interesting. The three-course prix fixe dinner was delicious and beautifully presented, but stingy with the portion sizes. The appetizers were practically amuses bouches, and the entrees (imaginative salmon and barramundi recipes) were lunch-size portions. The peach clafouti for dessert was pretty amazing, though, and contained more calories than the rest of the dinner combined.
The room was simply too loud. If they're trying to attract a "younger" crowd with this ambience, it isn't working -- practically everyone there was over 50. Lastly, the server was inattentive to a fault: we had to flag him down simply to order coffee. Bottom line: We chose Alba primarily for the food and were pretty much delighted with it, except for the portion sizes. Service and ambience alone would rate two stars.

  • Visited August 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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54 reviews from our community

81% Recommend
    28
    16
    6
    3
    1
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“Nice place”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2012

I'd rate this place as excellent except I didn't love the big open room, and our entrees were both rather over-salted. Service was good once it began (waited a few minutes) and the beet and haricot verts salads were exceptional. We did not try any of the burgers. The gnocchi and tagliatelle were very good although as mentioned, oddly salty. We had salted caramel creme brulee (yes, we ordered salt for dessert!) and it was lovely. Nice wine list! I'd go back.

Visited July 2012
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Des Moines, Iowa
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Better eat before you go to Alba”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 2, 2012

While I generally think the serving sizes at most restaurants are too large, Alba is the extreme opposite - unbelievably small. The drinks are quite small too, and it was difficult to tell if there was any alcohol in them whatsoever despite the charge of $9.50 for a small specialty drink. The atmosphere and service were good, but otherwise Alba is so not worth the money!
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  • Visited June 2012
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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West Des Moines, Iowa
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“aMAziNG! Favorite Restaurant in Des Moines. Period.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 25, 2012

It doesn't get much better than this in Des Moines. My friends and I visited for dinner several months ago, and I have been back three times since (2 lunch, 1 dinner)! Among the things to love:

1) Creative seasonal menu which changes frequently. (Note: The kitchen relies on fresh and organic ingredients that can change daily so one of our servers suggested that we call ahead if we really wanted to know if a specific item was being served for dinner.)

2) Their website is really fun. The sample of menu items and prices was helpful. albadsm.com

3) Friendly and professional staff.

4) Try a martini. Although they are a little pricey ($8-$10) they are super strong and ridiculously tasty.

5) Dessert: Lava cake is hands down the best dessert I have ever had in Des Moines. Must try it! Must.

Obviously I am a little obsessed with this place and it has quickly become my favorite restaurant in Des Moines (sorry Baru!).

  • Visited March 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Des Moines, Iowa
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“A new favorite!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 11, 2012 via mobile

Tool my wife and had an excellent time start to finish! Great atmosphere with neat artwork and perfect lighting, indoor tempature was perfect. Seated right away by politeful hostess....it's amazing how many places we go that have rude hostess.....very good first impression at Alba. Had great window table on east window with view of Capitol building dome. Server Ben was prompt , polite and very knowledgable and provided flawless service all while still serving an 18 top party next to us and me may have had another table or two as well. Had great martinis and excellent extensive wine list. The " east village" Dirty Ketel One Martini with spicy goat cheese stuffed olives was perfectly done! We got chorizo fries which were very tasty...what a great idea~ fries with sautéed chorizo and chives plus it was a large portion which surprised me because some other reviews I read complained of portions....everything we got was more than big enough portions and we left very full. She got the butter nut squash gnookie which was good and not too sweet like we thought it may be. I got the Gunniess braised shirt ribs which were really a top ten all time meal for me! Perfectly done. Very tender with great favors of veggies and egg noodles mixed in and the best part was the sauce which was very flavorful. Moved to bar for desert and wine. Bartender Shannon was very helpful in deciding on wine and desert. We got pineapple upside down cake bread pudding which was very good with Sauvignon blanc she recommend . The bar area got liitle steamy and smoky from Kitchen but they said theyre working on a vent system to help minimize that. We'll definitely be back.

    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
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