The painted paelleras are up on the stone walls. So are the Spanish plates. The Castillan buffet table offering the best tapas, paellas, lengua, callos and much more, is also set. The heritage wall cradling the rich history of Spanish cuisine in Manila is decked. After five years, Alba Restaurante Español opened its fifth branch at Estancia Mall to please the palates of lovers of traditional Spanish food. And so the Alba legacy continues.
At the 2nd floor, North Wing of Estancia, sits a new 170-seater Alba Restaurant. On the wall is written: Reunirse, from the Spanish rood word “reunir”.
“It means to meet, assemble and get together,” explained Chef Miguel de Alba, President of Alba International Incorporated and General Manager of Alba Restaurante Español. “This branch is envisioned to be a bigger and more celebration-centric venue for families and friends in the nearby residences and corporate offices within the Capitol Commons township,” he added. If “Reunirse” means to gather, then Alba’s feast of flavors—steeped in tradition for over 65 years—is the perfect celebration of life in one meal.
Enter its doors and be greeted by a bigger (tapas) bar adorned with beautiful Mediterranean-patterned tiles. This corner is for young corporate groups who want to unwind and spend happy hours with liquors and tapas.
A deli bar, also by entrance, is for those who want to bring home Alba’s delicious chorizo, other Spanish cold cuts and the newly-introduced chorizo burger patties and frozen, ready-to-heat dishes. Beside it is a dessert bar/coffee corner where mallgoers can have a cup of coffee with Alba’s famous postres like Canonigo and Tarta de Santa Teresa.
Walk further inside and the spacious function rooms, named after Spanish cities, beckon. Alicante, with modern blue couches combined with red-colored chairs can seat up to 60 guests. Further to the left is Andalusia, another function room for 30 persons. Inside, a heritage wall that feature memorabilia of its founder, Senor Anastacio de Alba, tugs at the heartstrings.
At Segovia, Alba’s main dining room that can accommodate up to 50 guests, one cannot miss the larger-than-life sepia photograph of Don Alba, serving his friends and guests in one of his restaurants. Painted on the wall is a Spanish quote by Don Alba “Todo lo que yo deseo desde el momento que llegan que le sirvan con esmero,” that means “All that I desire from the moment you arrive is to serve you with care” which is the heart of the restaurant’s philosophy.
The mere mention of Alba Restaurant conjures up images of Spanish chorizos and cured meats, its Carnes: the stewed ox tongue, Lengua Sevillana; stewed ox tripe, Callos a la Madrilena; beef stew, Caldereta de Vaca and its centerpiece Cochinillo Asado, oven-roasted suckling pig.
Alba is also famous for its authentic Paellas such as the house specialty, Paella Valenciana that has everything on it…. chicken, pork, chorizo, seafood, and vegetables. Other popular choices are Paella Negra (with squid ink and shrimps), Paella Marinara (seafood), Paella de Bacalao (dried salted cod fish and potatoes) and Paella de Verduras for those who prefer vegetables.
A visit to the restaurant also means partaking of Tapas Calientes and Tapas Frias, bite-sized appetizers that are big on flavor. There are about 55 choices of tapas such as chorizos, jamon, gambas, champignon, Pamplona, mortadela, salchichon, mahi-mahi, and Pa amb tomaquet, among others.
One cannot truly say they relished a savory meal without having one of Alba’s decadent desserts such as delectably fluffy meringue cake, Canonigo and another bestseller, Tarta de Santa Teresa, a cream-filled sponge cake with almonds and yema balls.
And if you can’t decide what to order, Alba offers lunch daily at all its branches. Dinner buffet is available daily for Morato, Prism and Estancia branches.
Nathaniel C. Uy