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“Excellent lunch spot in Des Moines”
Review of Alba

Alba
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Ranked #34 of 572 Restaurants in Des Moines
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Romantic, Business meetings
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Late Night, Full Bar, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
624 reviews
450 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 213 helpful votes
“Excellent lunch spot in Des Moines”
Reviewed July 22, 2013

I was in DM for business, and this restaurant was a major highlight of my whole trip to this city. I love the decor (doors on the ceiling!) and the food is well thought-out, with a well-chosen wine and beer list. I opted for one of their many styles of burgers, and since I was in Iowa I had a pork burger...specifically the Thai porkburger with peanut sauce and chiles. Since it was June, asparagus was in full season so I added a cup o' the day, cream of asparagus. Delicious.

Make this a destination for business lunch or otherwise, and I hope to try it for dinner on my next trip out.

  • Visited June 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank Mark L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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142 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    82
    36
    10
    10
    4
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Sheboygan, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
42 reviews
19 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Excellent!”
Reviewed June 15, 2013

We ate here on a Wednesday evening in early June, while on a business trip to Des Moines. When we first walked in, I was concerned that the noisy environment would be a problem, but it was not. The four of us shared 2 appetizers, the lettuce wraps and Chef's plate. The lettuce wraps were no impressive but the chef's plate was very good. I had the mixed greens salad and it was delicious. 2 others had soup, 1 the lobster bisque and the other an asparagus bisque. Both of them raved. For an entree, I had the Pork Cheek, which were absolutely delicious. I would have licked the plate if I could have. The others had the Pork Loin, Lobster tail and Rabbit. Everyone raved, however the person who had the pork loin wished she had ordered it medium rare instead of medium. I never eat dessert in restaurants, but as the meal had been so good, I didn't want it to end, so I did. I had the strawberry shortcake and it was the perfect cap to a excellent meal. The portions are on the smaller side but I found them appropriate. I did not leave hungry as other reviewers have suggested. I thought the prices were reasonable considering the quality of the food. We did enjoy some wine as well, which was pricy and I have to admit had I been paying myself, I would probably have passed on it. I will definitely be back to Alba the next time I am in Des Moines.

  • Visited June 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank disfan79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Marion, Iowa
Level Contributor
81 reviews
42 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“In a word - WOW!”
Reviewed May 28, 2013

Tasted the delightful menu offerings at Alba for the first time last Friday - we were so impressed!
Had buffalo rabbit confit with carrot slaw appetizer, the herbed quinoa salad, seafood paella and pan roasted chicken. Everything was delicious, extremely flavorful.

The service was fantastic as well, we wanted for nothing - many servers seemed to be pitching in to help the restaurant as a whole run smoothly and keep customers attended to.

If there is one tiny thing that might be a draw back to some is that it's a bit loud in the dinning room. There isn't anything to soak up the noise (fabric, carpet etc.). However, this did not ruin our evening, just something we noticed.

We will definitely be back, can't wait to introduce Alba to our grow son and his girlfriend.

  • Visited May 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank CKMP_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
West Des Moines, Iowa
Level Contributor
21 reviews
17 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Good food, but at a cost”
Reviewed March 31, 2013

I had read several reviews on Alba and I have to say that the discussion on the noise level and darkness of the restaurant is somewhat over exaggerated. This is a nice and eclectic restaurant. If you are looking for something out of the ordinary you will be happy. The food selections are interesting and alternative. For the most part, the food was very good. The caesar salad and pork cheeks were very good. Although I didn't have one, the burgers looked great! For desert we shared a lava cake and creme brûlée. They were also good, but not the best I have ever had like others described. The use of sea salt on these was a little much! The portion sizes are small and quite expensive. Also, if you are a wine drinker you will want to bring your own bottle. We had a $40 bottle and that was one of the cheapest. There is a $10 corking fee for bottles brought in. Overall, this is worth visiting if you are adventurous with food. If you are more picky, you may not find Alba as the best option.

  • Visited March 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank TLH74
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
West Des Moines, Iowa
Level Contributor
25 reviews
19 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Great service, nice presentation, so-so food for one of us”
Reviewed March 29, 2013

My husband and I recently dined at Alba. The place was fairly busy for a Thursday evening and very loud. We had to shout at each other to have a conversation, something we don't like to do that often. Oddly, it's why we chose a weeknight but that didn't work out! Best part of the meal: the service. The server was educated about food allergies and checked with the kitchen multiple times for choices, which we appreciated very much (we also called ahead to inquire so we didn't surprise them with our gluten intolerance). We brought a special bottle of wine for which we were happy to pay the $15 corkage fee. Our first course of beef carpaccio with a deliciously salty Asian sauce was terrific. My husband's soup and my beet salad were wonderful. The entree choices on the menu were interesting and since I'm a paella fan, I chose that for my entree. I should have chosen the cassoulet or pan-fried chicken breast. If you're a traditional, spicy chorizo paella fan, you will be disappointed with Alba's interpretation. If you like mild tasting seafood and a little rice swimming in tomato sauce, you'll like their version. The server actually brought out a chili paste near the end of my entree that added a little spice but it changed the dish too much to call it paella any longer. Oh, and I'm a diner who believes quality is far more important than quantity, but my paella entree was seriously small in quantity. Since I could not partake in eating bread or dessert (being gluten & dairy free) I left hungry. My husband's dish, however, with potatoes au gratin and vegetables was beautifully done and twice the portion size. (again, not the most important thing but we thought perhaps they serve petite women less food?) Heck, his apple crisp with maple ice cream was larger than my entree.

We've had excellent experiences at Alba before and I'm sure we'll be back to dine there again. It is important to us that they use fresh, organic ingredients and have lovely presentation. And their service is terrific so one not-so-great experience is not going to prevent us from returning. They take excellent care of you if you have food allergies or intolerances and that is worth its weight in gold. I'll just make sure nobody orders the paella next time :-)

  • Visited March 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank M M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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