Double Date-Night Weekend!

One of my favorite things to do is go out to eat. That may sound a littttle pathetic, but what can I say, I love food and spending time with close friends! So this past weekend, I was lucky enough to have TWO whole date nights (can you say best weekend ever!?). On Friday, Ryan and I went to Alba in the East Village, and on Saturday, Max and I went to Gino’s West with Ben and Lena. Both meals were great, as was the company, but I must say, Alba has swiftly moved into one of my favorite Des Moines restaurants. So I will give a recap of my delectable dining experiences at both Alba and Gino’s…First up: Alba.


  • THE FOOD! So delicious. I was impressed by all three (count ’em, three) courses. My favorite of all? The duck breast. It was to die for…
  • The atmosphere. The dining room has a fun, eclectic vibe, and with the sun shining through the windows, there wasn’t anything not to love.
  • The area. The East Village is easily one of my favorite spots in Des Moines. The locally-owned shops and restaurants are fun and a change from the chains in West Des Moines.
  • Portion size. It’s nice when restaurants give you an accurate portion size, rather than serving you a platter of food. The quality is better, too, since they aren’t mass producing your meal.


  • I hate to even have any negatives, but the one negative I can think of was that, being a restaurant with an ever-changing menu, they run out of a lot of things quickly. We got there early on Friday night, it wasn’t busy at all, and they were out of an entree, an appetizer, and a dessert (and the dessert was what Ryan wanted!). Not a huge disappointment since all of their food is great, but I had to come up with somethinggg…
Final Verdict: For the quality of food alone, this restaurant is easily one of the top five restaurants in Des Moines. However, prepare to spend a lot of money to fill yourself up. The portions are small (sized to what they’re actually supposed to be), so if you plan to not spend a whole lot of money, you’ll likely leave hungry.

Here is our dinner in photos…

White Bean & Avocado Bruschetta (+ a signature Asian pose)

Duck Breast with root veggies & parsley pesto (Ryan's!)

Proscuitto-wrapped Red Trout w/ root veggies (mine!)

Molten Lava Cake + Salted Caramel Creme Brulee (YUM!!!)

Now, on to night two. Gino’s West:


  • Patio seating. They’ve got a great patio. A lot of room, sheltered from wind, covered from sun. It was a perfect night to sit outside, and they have great accommodations to do so.
  • Cheap food. For the price of their food, it’s pretty good quality. They have reasonable prices and when actually ordering “Italian” food, it’s good! We all had pasta and didn’t have too many complaints.
  • Portion size. Although this completely contradicts what I said about Alba, Gino’s portion size is nice because it’s enough for two meals. So really, you’re paying one price for practically two meals!


  • Salad dressing. While I love their creamy garlic salad dressing, the house salad was drenched…they could’ve backed off just a bit on the dressing.
  • Quality of food. Their food is good, but it’s nothing great. It’s a fun place to go for a decent Italian meal, but Des Moines offers plenty of other delicious Italian restaurants for close to the same prices (Centro, Sam & Gabe’s, Latin King).
  • Menu variety. The menu here is pretty large, but I do NOT recommend straying from typical Italian dishes. I’ve tried the salmon before and it was not a good choice…but I guess that goes without saying for most people. You don’t order a burger at a seafood joint 🙂

Final Verdict: This restaurant is great if you’re looking for a patio or plan to go out in West Glen for the night. Don’t expect a meal you’ll remember, though, as the food isn’t anything to write home about.

Since the food wasn’t anything exceptional, I didn’t take any pictures of it…I did, however, take some pics of the lovely guests at my table…enjoy 🙂

What’s your favorite restaurant in Des Moines (if you’re from here)?




3 thoughts on “Double Date-Night Weekend!

  1. Pingback: Dad Date: Alba (& Luna & Red China Bistro) « Let Them Eat Cake

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