We wanted to have an upscale dining experience in Valparaiso. Alegre was a tempting choice, set in a gorgeous hotel overlooking the bay. We booked ahead; the confirmation email stated that we could enjoy a drink on the patio prior to dinner. When we arrived and checked in with the host, we headed to the terrace for a drink. We were there for thirty minutes and no one came to clean our table or take our order. We had to clean the dirty glasses off our table ourselves. I had to seek out the waiter to take our drink order. There was an extensive drink list, but only two out of 15-20 drinks were available. I was aghast, and this is was to be the beginning of a great meal? Clearly it was going to be an odd experience.
When we left the patio and entered the restaurant I informed the host of the horrific lack of service upstairs on the patio. He apologized and offered us two glasses of champagne which was a nice touch. The menu looked inventive and we were excited that things may improve. Unfortunately, the poor service continued. We were not offered water at all thought the meal. The dishes from the amuses bouches were not cleared until well past the appetizers. The inventive menu missed on the basics while focusing on molecular gastronomy. We informed the waiter that one of us was a vegetarian yet nearly every dish served had either some chicken in it or some form of chicken flavored foam.
The blue egg appetizer was just a regular egg. When one describes a hard to come by blue egg, the customer imagines either a blue yolk or a blue shell. This was not the case; just a regular egg that costs US$20 as an appetizer. Our entrees were both fish, the conger eel and cod. Neither tasted fresh; both were very fishy. The dessert, churros, were soggy.
This is one of the priciest restaurants in Valparaiso, but you are only paying for the setting. The service will leave you aghast as it did us, and the food will make you wonder why the chef does not focus more on getting the basic quality of food correct, instead focusing on jellies and foams. I hardly rant when I review; and I am an avid foodie. Believe me, avoid this place and have wonderful meals elsewhere in Valpa, at a fraction of the price.
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