In this second example of not-so-great travel adventures, I'll share a story that will make your hair stand on end, and your teeth chew carefully -- I should give Tatiana much of the author's credit here: The material below was taken largely from the review she wrote last night for Trip Advisor. ("I" is Tats.)
I also just want to insert that we've had lots of great experiences with restaurants here and with people. But the experience below must be shared, I felt, if only to help the next victim avoid such a nightmare!!!
We Got Served a Rusty Nail with a Side of Attitude
We'd been to La Cabrera once before and quite enjoyed the food and the atmosphere, so we decided to go there one more time before leaving the city. What a giant mistake! What follows is without question the worst restaurant experience of our lives -- no exaggeration.
It started out pretty well. Since we had reservations, we only had to wait for about 15 minutes before being seated -- that's not too bad for Buenos Aires. A pleasant enough waiter took our order, and soon brought us our starter -- a caprese salad. It looked and tasted just fine, until I took a bite, and, to my horror, pulled A NAIL out of my mouth.
Not a fingernail -- a metal nail, made out of iron. Sharp. Rusty.
Had I bitten it the wrong way, I could have had a pretty bad mouth injury! I was suddenly glad I had gotten my tetanus shot before coming to Buenos Aires, though I would never have guessed that I was putting myself at risk of tetanus by dining at a restaurant that claims to be in the top 50 in Latin America!
I held the nail up for inspection by my dinner companions, and the four of us examined it carefully, somewhat in shock. Still, at this point we were willing to forgive the establishment. I mean, freak accidents happen to everyone, right? I thought about snapping a picture, but it in the end stupidly decided that it was unnecessary. Surely a restaurant of this caliber would take care of this, we figured. Our server was quite apologetic, after all, and even though my appetite was rather spoiled, we figured we'd give them the benefit of the doubt.
However, what came next was rather unbelievable: After the waiter had brought our bill, he informed us that we had not been charged for the salad (duh!) or the dessert (ice cream for the kids; we didn't even want to order any dessert after what happened, but the kids had really been looking forward to that...) Plus, they brought out a tree of cheap lollipops to appease us which, frankly, felt more like a slap in the face. At the very least, they could have taken out the cubierto (seating charge), we felt!
We would have argued further, but unfortunately one of our kids was a bit under the weather and getting really tired and nearly falling asleep, so we decided to just pay the bill and leave. We certainly did not feel like leaving a tip at that point, so we paid exactly the amount the restaurant charged. We felt somewhat bad for the waiter, but could not imagine paying any extra to the establishment after what had just happened. However, our empathy for the waiter quickly evaporated after he very carefully and deliberately counted the pesos we paid him and then had the audacity to point out that "tips were not included", implying that we better give him some. I understand that what happened not exactly his fault, but seriously? You just served someone a rusty nail in a salad and -- having witnessed our rather lengthy discussion with the personnel at your place -- feel like it was the right thing to ask for a tip after all that?
On our way out, the hostess asked us how everything was, and seemed rather embarrassed and horrified to hear of our experience. She was extremely apologetic and had told us that she thought that it was completely unacceptable. I felt for her. I know I would have felt quite awful if an establishment I represented dealt with customers in such a manner.
Wow. Just wow. Let me tell you, we left with a VERY bad taste in our mouths, and there is no question we'll be telling people to avoid this place. A nail in a salad, outlandish and ridiculous as it is, can be forgiven, but the way the restaurant dealt with it is absolutely inexcusable and is indicative of very serious problems.