All Reader Reviews of...
166 First Ave., New York, NY, 10003
nr. 10th St.
Battle of Staff vs. Food for the title of most terrible...staff wins
By lgeminder on 12/2/2010
My boyfriend and I have both been to La Zarza, separately, in groups for drinks and loved the atmosphere there, so decided to go for dinner a few weeks ago. We squeezed into a claustrophobe's nightmare of a table, but were by the window, so it wasn't too bad. As soon as we sat down, our waiter pretty much threw menus at us and strutted away, while chewing his gum with his mouth wide open. The food was surprisingly mediocre, which surprised me, since the restaurant gotten such great reviews. Actually, I'm being nice..I truly disliked everything I tried (croquetas, sauteed shrimp, bacon wrapped dates...which are usually my favorite...and even the steak). The corn, however, wasn't the best I've had, but wasn't too bad. The worst part, however, was the waiter, who ignored most of his tables, including us, who sat with empty plates and drinks for over 20 minutes...which we had to ask to be cleared! Then the waiter finally comes up to us with a check (and still, an open mouthful of gum)...not even offering us more drinks, desserts, bothering to ask how our dinner was...nothing! With so many great restaurants in the neighborhood, a little customer service is absolutely necessary. I will definitely not be back!
By cnancyc on 6/27/2010
Friday evening for tapas...and what a disappointment! We ordered the Spanish cheese plate with jamon serrano, the empandas (pollo and carne) and the provoletta along with a bottle of sauvignon blanc. The cheese plate was anything but Spanish queso. Two small pieces of cheddar cheese, two small pieces of monterey jack with jalapeno, one small piece of mozzarella (all supermarket grade products) and two small pieces of manchego (finally a Spanish cheese) and two small pieces of guava paste along with a pleasantly pleated slice of prosciutto (not jamon serrano). Being served this plate that was obviously misrepresented on the menu was the first of several disappointments. We knew that we were ordering a very inexpensive sauvignon blanc (Falling Star). It was brought to the table, opened and poured without a first taste - it was a tad cooler than room temperature. We asked for an ice bucket but our glasses had already been poured. No offer was made to correct the error. This label is served as their white wine by the glass and could have been replaced with a chilled bottle. We finished the bottle of wine and tapas and moved on to another restaurant for the remainder of our meal.
My Blacklisted Restaurant
By chipsandguac on 6/9/2011
I cannot fathom how this restaurant possibly has a critics pick or so many good reviews. I'm guessing there are lots of friends of the restaurant commenting here. I tried twice. The first time I went the service was horrible (our waiter disappeared for 20 minutes, we had to ask for everything at least twice, they speedily took away our food before we were done or could stop them and the manager was an asshole about it) but the food was decent so I was hopeful. I swore never again but a friend wanted to go and I couldn't stop her. And just as I expected, second time around was absolutely horrendous: the waitress didn't understand basic drink requests, it took three tries to get water, some of the food came out cold, my pasta entree came out as 3 overboiled ravioli--not what I ordered. When I pointed it out, they said I was wrong and when I showed them what I had ordered they said oh we're out of it so we thought we'd give you this. Thanks! Never a we're sorry. All attitude. The dark space is not well laid out and we were constantly getting bumped into. Downstairs turns into a club on some nights and, unless you're into trashy girls dancing to bad techno and buckets of champagne with sparklers passing through an impossibly packed crowd, stay away. Never, ever again.
Quality of Food/Service does not match Price
By tuannyc on 10/1/2011
$4 for half a glass of ginger ale. $40 sangria that is water down. And they automatically add 18% tip for two people. And leave a spot for "more tip" on the receipt. I was treating my wife out to nice restaurant. If the food and service match the price, no issue. I've been to Latin America, and this is average Argentinian food. Except for the crispy calamari, nothing else was memorable. The waiter was mediocre and delivered items late. We received the sangria AFTER we just finished our meal. Half the lamb was over cooked, and the other half was done correctly (medium rare). Had to ask for the standard bread and menu. While the waiter was mediocre at best, the "helpers" we good and polite. I wish they would get most of the tip. The low rating is due to the huge discrepancy between quality of food/service to what was charged, charging 18% and calling it "tip", and over all experience. I certainly would not recommend this place to friends.
Decent food, Gitmo-style service
By MaxFisher on 7/12/2008
The food was good, but, of the six people in our group, all agreed we had received the worst service of any dining experience, ever. We waited over half an hour before being acknowledged by the waiter, another half hour before we got bread (water never arrived). We ordered some wine and it didn't show for ANOTHER half hour, when the waiter placed the bottle on the table, unopened, and left. It took several reminders before he opened it and he ended up charging us for a far more expensive bottle (but only after three requests for the check). Our food was incorrect too and we had to sit around forever while he forgot, again, to bring the proper order. The food was fine, but I have never been so anxious to leave a restaurant. Appeals to the management got us a free round but the managerÃ‚Â’s service was no better. The table next to us had a similar experience. At one point the waiter cleared a plate they had not finished, despite their pleas to leave the food (which he ignored). When they finally got his attention he refused to bring the plate back. Unbelievable.
Nothing much to recommend it...
By ranimelborai on 12/6/2008
I was not impressed by this place despite its status as a critic's pick--the music was far far too loud, the tables were too small for the plates (or maybe the plates were too large for the tables), and the food was really average but totally overpriced, and their bathrooms could use an upgrading (they are not even kitschy-cute). I think the one saving grace of the place was the sangria. Otherwise, I would not recommend going there, for either the scene or the food.
No taste, no dice
By glimmer19 on 11/12/2009
The hallmark of Spanish food clear, bold flavors are nowhere to be found in the dull, conventional restaurant. The housing on the empanadas are like shell casings, the gambas bland, and the short ribs feeble. Worst of all, what is billed on the menu as paella is nothing of the sort. Filled with vegetables, soupy, bland, the shellfish tasteless, it lacks any form of socca (the delicious crust that forms on the bottom of the pan), the signature feature of traditional paella. This is Americanized Spanish food for people who don't like Spanish food because they've never tasted the real thing. (I can't comment on the steaks as we didn't sample them.)
By tonyc20 on 3/21/2010
Went with a relatively large group which was nicely accommodated. However, the food was not great, average at best. For example, we asked for a steaks cooked as medium, but they came very rare. When we sent it back they came too well done. The sangria was nothing to write home about, the flavours were unbalanced. The atmosphere was fine but extremely loud - the music was annoyingly repetitive. The waiters tried their best but were overworked trying to serve three large tables at once. The décor was bland and cold.
Worst Dining Experience Ever
By YvesShen on 5/25/2011
I don't judge, but I just want to describe what happened to us tonight. We bought a $50 coupon on restaurant dot com yesterday, and went to Lazarza today for dinner. It was the first time that we have been there. The taste of this restaurant was OK: it was not excellent, but remains reasonable. The desserts are good, though. Then my WORST dining experience began when we got the check and tried to use the coupon. The manager came to us, showed us a coupon, said that we gave him that coupon and it was not valid. The coupon he showed to us was apparently not valid because it does not even have a full coupon number, but IT IS NOT WHAT WE GAVE THEM. We argued and showed them the electronic version of the coupon with the valid coupon number via iphone, and asked them to use that number. They refused to take that number and insisted that our coupon was invalid so that we can not use it. Finally my friend had to ran back home and printed another copy of the coupon. This time they had nothing to say. However I was already embarrassed enough because I invited my friends to that place. How can that happen? Well, the manager told us that it might be a "problem of the printer". I AM JUST CURIOUS WHAT KIND OF PROBLEM OF THE PRINTER CAN CHANGE A VALID COUPON NUMBER TO AN INVALID ONE? btw,the staff is unapologetically rude. Definitely will not go La Zarza again, and I will recommend all my friends to AVOID that restaurant.
Great Space and Food Specially for small and medium sized group
By wey on 2/2/2009
Had the opportunity to host a small birthday party. To our surprise food, service and music were great. Everyone had a great time and will return again for some more great food and sangria. Their PreFixe menu with sangria is an excellent value as choices are plentiful and tasty as well. Would highly recommend and as always reservations in advance are always welcome so both guests and restaurants can prepare in advance. Don't skip nite scene and good house music after 11 pm
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