We went to Alta with high expectations after hearing multiple friends rave about the food and famous "secret recipe" sangria. After tasting their sangria, or what we are now referring to as "gutter juice," it became clear why people are so obsessed. Because they're all wasted. The sangria tastes nothing like regular sangria - it's more like a Spanish Long Island Iced Tea.
Alas, we passed on the sangria, and not even decent brussels sprouts and a solid squid ink paella could salvage this sinking Santa Maria. We should have been wary ahead of time. Any restaurant that has 48 different tapas options and offers up "The Whole Shebang," (one of everything on the menu for $450) is suspect. Not every one of those items can be awesome. As it turned out, most of them were quite the opposite of awesome. Half the food tasted like it was fresh out of the microwave, and the service was a joke. Alta is seriously understaffed, which is surprising for a restaurant that revolves around booze refills and the rapid fire of plates being shot out of the kitchen. If you're entertaining a group of drunk, easy to please patrons, Alta is your jam. If you want quality tapas hit El Quinto Pino or Txikito.
For something that apparently came with truffle, soy, vinaigrette, crisp artichoke and chive oil, this had zero taste. Next.Tuna Tartare
The only person who enjoyed this dish was the one person drinking sangria. Large chunks of macadamia nuts and chorizo in a tuna tartare? Really? It screws up the whole consistency and flavor of the dish, and doesn't exactly bring much to the table.Crispy Brussels Sprouts
If you wind up at Alta, this is a must order. It's easily the best option on the menu. Our table demolished four orders of these crispy sprouts with apples, crème fraîche and pistachio nuts.Fried Sea Scallops
It's really hard to screw up fried sea food, but somehow Alta finds a way. Although you get a nice amount of food for the price here, the scallops were gross. Like, downright inedible.Catalonian Flat Bread
Prepared with oven roasted mushrooms, fresh ricotta and truffled cheese. Like most of the dishes on the menu, they sound great in theory, but didn't translate onto the plate. For a dish that was supposed to be shared, this was nearly impossible to cut; the bread was to hard. Also, way too much salt. You could feel your ankles swelling after one bite.Crisp Chicken Wings
The Agave glaze made them sound enticing, but the reality of the situation is that these guys most likely came right out of the microwave. Avoid.Black Truffle Gnocchi
At this point, we started to get angry. How do you royally f up black truffle gnocchi? You put some crazy middle eastern spices it. Why, Alta, why?Squid Ink Paella
Since the rest of the meal was seriously disappointing, I was expecting the worst from this paella, but wound up pleasantly surprised. While the rice wasn't as crunchy as it when paella is at it's best, this was still very tasty and full of flavorful clams, mussels, and shrimp.Braised Short Rib Of Beef
A sub par short rib. This wasn't very exciting, and one bite was plenty.
Not bad, just not great. You'd expect something with "lavender infused honey" to be incredible, and although they were nice and crispy on the outside, the mushy cheese on the inside left much to be desired.