Álbora is located in the Upmarket area of Barrio de Salamanca, on Calle Jorge Juan 33. It’s an attractive modern restaurant with two distinct sections – a gastro bar downstairs and a gastronomic restaurant upstairs. I regretted my decision to eat upstairs after I saw the fun scene downstairs. It was packed, and noisy with a cool vibe. Everyone seemed to be having so much fun. They are also said to have the world’s best black hoof Iberico hams downstairs plus a good selection of wines by the glass and gin and tonics.
Upstairs was quiet, almost too quiet, with large well spaced out tables in the front room. Álbora is a refined and ambitious restaurant, serving haute cuisine with Basque Chef David Garcia. The owners have combined two of their other ventures – famous hams and Spain’s most sought-after vegetable conserves, so the restaurant is known for using stellar ingredients.
The chef has spent time cooking in Italy and some of these influences are apparent in his cooking. The restaurant serves two tasting menus, a short one with eight courses at 58 Euros, or a long one with ten courses at 78 Euros, both a relative bargain. They also offer wine pairings, but, personally, I am rarely pleased when I go that route. Of course, there are also a few extra surprises thrown in. We went for the short menu, plus threw in a plate of their famous Iberico ham, which was good, but not my favourite of the trip. The meal was pleasant, with dishes like seasonal mushrooms with egg yolk and bread crumbs, pheasant ravioli, or venison loin with black chanterelles sauce and glazed chestnuts.
The cuisine is more modern and creative than traditional and therefore lighter. But, I wasn’t blown away, considering they earned a Michelin Star in 2015. It was not my favourite, by a long shot.
Now that I tried upstairs I think I would only return for a meal on the main floor’s Gastro Bar.