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Antigua, GT: Las Palmas--A very popular steakhouse with both tourists and locals; unfortunately, it’s not very good

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6a. AV. Norte#14 @ 4a calle

Sometimes I just don’t get it. This restaurant receives almost uniformly rave reviews on TripAdvisor, my Spanish school teacher told me it was her favorite restaurant in Antigua, and when I stopped by to check out the menu, a couple of tourists who were leaving said to me “Go on in. You won’t be sorry. Everything is terrific.”

Well, not quite. Based on all these recommendations, I went with three friends. We ordered margaritas that had obviously been poured out of a bottle. There’s just something about that margarita mix junk that’s always a dead giveaway.

We ordered three appetizers: tostones with guacamole, garlic fries, and a mixed salad. They told us they were out of tostones with guacamole. Excuse me? How can you be “out” of fried plantains and guacamole in Guatemala? Go into the kitchen and make some more! Or did both come out of packages and they’re awaiting a new delivery? I’d prefer not to think about that; not here in the land of plantains and avocados. The fries were definitely out of a package, pre-cut and frozen and were served with roasted garlic on top of them. If you ate the fries alone, there was no hint of garlic. False advertising as far as we were concerned. The salad was edible, but that’s about it. The greens were limp, the only advertised cheese was in the ranch dressing on the side, and the croutons, like the fries, were out of a box. Not a good start to the meal.

Three of us ordered steaks: two of us the steak "Las Palmas" which the menu said was an imported 8 oz. sirloin American cut grilled with home made barbecue sauce and served with baked potato, butter, corn on the cob, tortillas, and avocado salad. Didn’t look like an American sirloin to me. It looked exactly like the filet mignon that another of us ordered just a bit larger. Nonetheless, the steak was well prepared and tasty; the barbecue sauce was really more of a glaze (a good thing) and had a bit of tang to it. Quite nice. The “baked potato” was a quarter of a potato cut lengthwise that I’m pretty sure was boiled and sauteed, not baked. But the piece of corn (not an entire cob) was good and that’s unusual here where an awful lot of the corn on the cob tastes like cattle feed.

Not much in the way of comments pro or con from those who had the filet mignon wrapped in bacon and the grilled longaniza, but both finished at least the protein on their plates. We had no desire to see the dessert menu, and that from at least half a table of serious dessert eaters.

The venue is pleasant and there was nice live music. Neither was enough to lure me back.

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