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“Good - could be very good - worth a visit”
4 of 5 bubbles Review of La Vaca

La Vaca
Ranked #77 of 1,427 Restaurants in Sheffield
Price range: $4 - $45
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Large groups, Special occasions, Kids, Families with children
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Cash Only, Full Bar, Highchairs Available, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible, Wine and Beer
why, Derbyshire, of course.
Level Contributor
83 reviews
69 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
“Good - could be very good - worth a visit”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 16, 2012

The star rating system on here makes you choose between average and very good. That's quite a big gap - this place is somewhere in between. But worth a visit all the same, but take my advice when choosing your steak - don't go for the small sirloin.

I'll explain - but first, a bit about the place itself.

So, it's a smallish restaurant, previously was an Italian deli I seem to recall. It's in a suburb of the city very popular with students and it's not pretending to be a top restaurant, so let your expectations be set somewhat by that.

The decor is pretty basic with smallish wooden tables and chairs and a bit of a South American ranch theme to it.

As you go in the first thing you'll notice is a charcoal barbecue grill, upon which our maestro is flame-grilling his steaks. Well, I like that personally. It's not often you come across places that serve up genuine charcoal grilled steaks - especially in this city - which is why we gave it a go.

There were a group of us and we ordered some sausages and a cheese selection for starters. Personally I'm not keen on cheese to start a meal, but it was nice and the sausages were very good too. They were a bit mean on the accompaniments mind you. They brought one tiny dish of a kind of salsa - I think it was meant to be Chimichurri although it was a pretty basic attempt - a bit low on the spicing and herbs - mostly chopped tomato and there was about 2 tablespoons of it between 4 of us. To be fair, they willingly brought more upon request.

We all went for steak - that is, after all, the main reason for going to a place like this (unless you're a veggie of course). The results were varied. There was quite a longish wait for the food to come - one gets the impression they were a little bit overrun and not coping too well in terms of getting the food out. But let's not forget, they are cooking it all fresh in front of you on the barbecue grill and you might expect to have a wait when they are busy.

However, what they should be able to do is bring all the meals out at the same time. And they didn't. One of our group, who had ordered the 8oz sirloin, was waiting for a further period whilst we all sat looking at our steaks waiting to get started. When it came it looked nothing like a sirloin of steak. More like a rib-eye, very round in shape and very fatty. Contrast that with the 12oz sirloin ordered by another of our group and it was like a totally different steak altogether. The 12 oz was a nice long flat, almost oblong, piece of very lean meat. The difference was explained to us as just the different way in which the steaks were cut. It seems hardly plausible because the texture of the meat and the fat yield was completely different as well. But, if true, then maybe they should start cutting it the same way as the 12 oz sirloin because they aren't going to win many friends with the way the 8oz is served if that's the standard to go by.

There was quite a lot of variation in the way the steaks were cooked compared to what had been requested. The 8oz sirloin, which had been ordered "medium" was almost blue! As we had been waiting extra minutes for this one to arrive we didn't want to send it back and make our unlucky guest wait a further period - so we ended up swopping steaks so we could just get on with having a meal together.

It was therefore a bit of a mixed experience. A bit disorganised. A feeling that they had almost forgotten one of the steaks and then rushed to cook it quick after realising that one of us was sat with an empty space in front of them, whilst the others were staring at a meal going cold. And inexplicable inconsistency between different weights of the same sirloin.

The wine was excellent by the way. We chose an Argentian Malbec - it was not only delicious but very reasonably priced too.

Would we go back?

Yes. We would. But we might try and avoid a weekend evening in order to give them the best chance of not being too busy to miss important details.

Would I recommend it to others?

Yes. Given the reservations expressed here. Which, let's face it, ought to be easy to fix and therefore would be deserving of a proper 4 star rating on here - and not the one with exceptions that I've just told you about.

  • Visited September 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank TheRealDerbyTup
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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406 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
1 review
“Fantastic food, great atmosphere”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 15, 2012

Having spent a year living in Chile I am always on the lookout for good South American cuisine. And I wasn't disappointed!
I had a most enjoyable evening in La Vaca with 3 friends a few weeks ago. As soon as we stepped inside the restaurant I was taken aback by the warm, vibrant atmosphere and decor, from the sombreros on the wall to the wine tree (yes - a wine tree, a tree that holds bottles of wine!). The service we received was excellent - our waitress was very friendly and attentive.
Onto the food... we were greeted with bread and pebre - if you have never tried pebre you simply must. It is a type of Chilean salsa that fuses a blend of refreshing flavours which is delicious with bread. Then we shared choricillos (delicious chorizo cocktail sausages), empanadas and the garlic prawns before tucking into our steaks. The steaks were cooked to perfection and we sampled too many of the side dishes on the menu! The homemade coleslaw, cheesy potato wedges and garlic mushrooms were particular favourites of mine. Unfortunately we were all too full for desert but managed to squeeze in another glass of Chilean wine before leaving.
All in all I had a very enjoyable evening; not only did the ambience take me back to my days in South America, the steak was the best I have had in a very long time and ontop of that I was very pleasantly surprised by the bill. I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for an affordable, slightly different to your typical chain-restaurant, quirky dining experience.

  • Visited September 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank kristyba
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
26 reviews
18 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Haven't had such a good steak since Montevideo (pretentious but true)”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 12, 2012

This is a really friendly atmospheric authentic S American steak house. The other food is excellent but why waste time on fish and chicken when there's meat like this. Chips fantastic but my favorite at the moment is the mash. Just take the chefs advice on how to have it done, he knows. I noticed some one asking for garnish but this is S America not a Berni Inn (nothing wrong with Berni of course but star cut tomatoes and token leaf of something green just isn't needed). House wine good but go for better Malbec at these prices.

  • Visited October 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank 770James
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sheffield, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
12 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Ooo lovely!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 6, 2012 via mobile

Been to La Vaca tonight based on previous reviews. Really lovely! I had ribeye and my husband had sirloin both were delicious we ordered chips, coleslaw and peppers stuffed with Cous cous to share, all lovely. Simple well prepared food which tastes delicious, when I fancy a steak again I will revisit, even better that it's on my doorstep, a real gem. We also had the house white and rose which again was more than acceptable. The cheesecake was also really tasty, obviously not a shop bought.
Again all I can say is simple delicious food done really well. Ambiance nice and staff friendly. Lovely!!!

1 Thank Liddle2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Very good service and the best meat”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 1, 2012

For me, there are two really important things when I go to some restaurant...the food and the atmosphere. And La Vaca has both.
I ate an excellent steak, the meat quality it´s very good. I was served by a lovely waitress.
I hope La Vaca continue for a long time, in Sheffield. To be there, was a great experience.
The staff....friendly.

  • Visited September 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank OSCAR C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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