Buenos Aires City Guide

La Raya Parrilla Restaurant Review
The only restaurant in Buenos Aires that I suggest you avoid.

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La Raya, located near Parque Las Heras, is one Palermo restaurant I would recommend travelers avoid.  Although the food is inexpensive and authentic in style, it doesn’t do justice to the city said to have the best steak in the Americas.   

We arrived during the prime dinner hour for Argentineans, about 9:30 p.m.  The restaurant was very full, so we would have understood a little bit of a wait, but the host wouldn’t even acknowledge us.  We asked for a non-smoking table, and without saying a word the host began clearing wine glasses from a center table, next to a smoking table and attached to the servers station.  After sitting for a moment the servers began to use the edge of our table to stack plates, organize food and mix salads.  I began to wonder if this table was normally reserved for the servers. 

Our server never smiled.  He seemed to carry the same attitude as the rest of the wait staff, a bunch of geriatrics pissed off at the world.  He delivered our food in a timely manner, but other than that he never stopped by our table.  When we needed our check we had to call ‘senor’ three times before he acknowledged us with a snort, even though he was using the end of our table to stack dishes at the time.  Minutes later he tossed our check on the table and picked it up again without saying a word.  I’m bothered now by the 25% tip we left in such a rush to get out of there.

La Raya Parrilla in Buenos Aires, Argentina
La Raya Restaurant

The entire ambiance of the restaurant wasn’t any better than the service.  There was no music, and the wooden floors and mirrored walls seemed to amplify the chattering patrons and clinging dishes.  The light was very bright, like a high school cafeteria, and the decorations were sparse.

I would have given the restaurant another chance if it had just been bad service, but the food was mediocre at best.  Our salad was more like a cabbage soup.  The dressing was filled to the halfway point, the lettuce was warm and wilted and the fennel tasted sour. 

I thought the meat would make the entire experience worthwhile, but I’ve been served better cuts of meat at 24 hour diners.  We ordered the vacio (flank steak) and entrana (skirt steak), two of my favorite Argentinean cuts.  The vacio which is suppose to be a thick cut surrounded by fat was as thin as the skirt steak and completely tasteless.  The vacio is not a rare or difficult piece of meat to cook.  It is a staple found on every Argentinean asado (bar-b-que).  It is known for its flavor and crunchy exterior, but ours was nothing more than a thin tasteless piece of poorly cooked meat.

I will never return to La Raya Parrilla in Buenos Aires, and I suggest you stay away from it as well.


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