La Parrilla: Try harder, JBH…

My track record with JBH over the years has been a bit of a mixed bag.  It’s my personal opinion the property is completely dated, which adds to my dislike (soz, but give me a more modern hotel design any time).  Furthermore, I’ve had some average or less than average evenings in the past six months ( a lackluster affair at Carnevale and the time we were almost not allowed into Mahiki because of a flip-flop vs. ‘slides’ debate, neither venue of which I am in any hurry to return).  While I do think the Dhow & Anchor offers dependable service, economical pricing and a decent pub night, other than the stunning views of the Burj Al Arab, there’s not much I find intriguing about JBH.

Thus, when a visiting friend invited us out — first to La Petit Maison (removed from the World’s Top 100 list…I’m sure I know why), then to La Parrilla, I was prepared to be whelmed.  The low ceilings I remembered from a visit eight years ago were still in place, as was the overall claustrophobic interior design.  Rather than ‘intimate,’ the restaurant feels cramped (and after a good round of laughs from our group when the table next to us got up to move outside for a smoke, we wondered if we were the ones at fault).

The Good

  • Live band.  You know I’m always going to love live music, especially if it is of the salsero variety.  Props to also having them play at the correct volume, such that guests can carry on a conversation.
  • Live entertainment.  While I thought the constant costume change for the dancers was a bit much, it was fun to have a bit of ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ during the evening.
  • The gin trolley.  Listen, I will always appreciate gin when it is presented on a stylish cart, loaded with all sorts of delightful accouterments.
  • Attentive servers.  Our glasses never dipped much below the halfway mark (which I’m sure translated to at least an additional bottle of prosecco for the table).
  • Unique views.  Twenty-five floors up, there’s not much else like it for this part of Jumeirah (barring, of course, the Burj Al Arab).  Such a shame the interior does nothing to help.

The Bad

  • In reality, the food didn’t do much for me.  While I thought the range of tapas and starters was nice enough, I thought the costs were a bit high.  Additionally, the steak was some of the worst I’ve had while dining out.  Period.  If you’re going to be a steakhouse, make sure you get the steak part correct.  Hubs and I both found our steaks underseasoned and lacking flavor.  I wouldn’t order either of ours again.
  • The lifts.  When a diner has to wait for 3 rounds to simply get a lift to get to the restaurant (bypassing kids and families coming directly from the pool), it’s just not a great place to start the evening.
  • A deal.  I have no idea why the establishment wouldn’t at least put together any prix fixe menu of some form (even better, an ala carte dinner brunch like Cuts & Kilts).  I think it would’ve gone a long way to creating a better sense of value for money.

Would I go back to La Parilla?  I think I’ll wait another eight years and see what happens…  With our Entertainer vouchers, we were still at AED500+ per person and I can think of a number of other places I would rather spend that kind of money in town.  While there is a lot the restaurant does well, it’s just not enough to compensate for bad food, an expensive bill, and a disastrous interior.

Have you been to this Dubai staple?  (Have you made a second trip??)

La Parrilla Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Author. Expat. Saberer of champagne. You might also know me as Courtney Brandt.

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