This was our huge, blow-out meal and we each had one of the gastronomic tasting menus. The price is also astronomical and we had sticker shock upon returning home to find the meal for two had run close to $500 though we each had a glass of wine (to insure being able to drive back down the hilly streets on a rainy night).
We were disappointed by the presentation as work is being done to create new hotel rooms and the view was nothing but haze, but as soon as the food started arriving, it was clear that we could survive on the chef's imagination and humor. Finger foods alert you this is not a stuffy place despite the obvious rich clientele. There were candles at tables with decanting, which I always find pretentious and amusing, but the staff and food were user-friendly.
Because we don't frequent this sort of restaurant, the surprises of texture, presentation and even food temperature were not lost on us. I normally hate tasting menus and fancy, upscale restaurants, preferring peasant food that's well prepared, but for a once-in-a-lifetime treat, I'm glad we chose Akelare. When I told this to the waiter and asked if we might see the kitchen, he took us in, we met the chef and heard him translate what I'd said to him.
We were the first to arrive that evening, getting there before the door was unlocked as we were concerned that the directions provided by the restaurant would be difficult to follow and wanted to find our way while it was still light. I'd hasten to add that the directions end at an intersection, at which point you make a left turn. Going straight leads you to another restaurant.
Though we live in New York and are well-traveled, we surely must have appeared naive to the staff, one of whom explained to us that Spaniards eat later than Americans. Despite that, they treated us respectfully and were cordial even when I asked to have only one glass of wine as I'd have to drive back down in a rainstorm.
There are others who can compare Akelare to comparable restaurants, but I'm here to say if you're going to treat yourself once, you'll probably feel as we did.