Choosing where to eat can be difficult. People don't want to end up having a bad meal, whether it's because the food isn't too good or because the ambience and the vibe of the place just leaves a lot to be desired. That's why we have food critics who can help us decide which restaurants are right for us. However, sometimes it's more fun to just watch a critic lay into a restaurant instead of using them as a helpful tool.
What we thought would be fun is to look at some of the most brutal restaurant reviews out there, the sorts of reviews that will put anyone off ever visiting these poor eateries. We can promise everyone that they won't have seen a review as bad as some of the ones that we've put together for them in this list.
So, think it's time to take a look at some reviews? Want to know which restaurants people should definitely be passing on if they're ever in town? Well, the only way to do that is for us to get started!
25 Per, Se In New York
Pete Wells went to Per, Se expecting a lot more than he got, especially since the full meal cost $3,000 for four people. If any of us were to spend that amount of money on a single meal, we would expect to get a lot more than this:
"I don’t know what could have saved limp, dispiriting yam dumplings, but it definitely wasn’t a lukewarm matsutake mushroom bouillon"
Ouch. That is a very bad review, and we know that it has definitely put us off ever wanting to go to a restaurant that costs this much per meal, and isn't even very good!
24 Guy's US Kitchen & Bar In New York
We all know who Guy Fieri is, so can we really be surprised that his chain isn't that good?
"Hey [Guy], did you try that blue drink, the one that glows like nuclear waste? The watermelon margarita? Any idea why it tastes like some combination of radiator fluid and formaldehyde?"
Wells asks the owner directly here if he has attempted to eat the food in his own restaurant, and we can only assume that he was too busy on the road, eating food across the US...
23 T Grill In New York
Tina Nguyen went to this restaurant and not only did she find unpleasant food, she was unable to get a proper seat and was forced to sit on a wobbly table outside.
"Renowned butcher Pat LaFrieda once dared me to eat an eyeball that he himself popped out of the skull of a roasted pig. That eyeball tasted better than the [T Grill’s] Gold Label Burger."
Without getting into the choices that Nguyen has made in her life, we don't think there's a much better put-down in the history of reviews.
22 Olive Garden In Los Angeles
Sure, Jonathan Gold may have set out to do this review as a bit of an April Fool's prank, but we like how seriously he ended up taking it once he sat down to critique the famous US chain. In LA Weekly he said:
"I wondered how much straight Galliano would deliver me to a merciful [end]."
While we could argue that Gold shouldn't have expected much more from Olive Garden, but we guess that a true critic will assume the best until they're proven to be wrong. Bad luck Garden!
21 Balthazar In London
Balthazar was known in London, when it first opened, for offering a fantastic culinary experience with great food and an even better atmosphere, so imagine Giles Coren's surprise when he got there for some truly unpleasant food.
"The greatest mass delusion… truly one of the least impressive kitchens to open in London since the arrival of McDonalds."
Coren is known for his swift put-downs, but we bet even he would have to say that this is one of his better lines. We imagine he hasn't been to a worse restaurant since Balthazar.
20 Buddha Bar In London
Jay Rayner claims that the Buddha Bar was clumsy, pricey and tasteless. Paying through the nose for a good meal is one thing, but paying for a meal that makes someone feel like this, is a whole other kettle of fish.
"There will be casualties in the restaurant trade as a result of the current economic turmoil; I sincerely hope London’s Buddha Bar is one of them."
Without getting into the reality of hoping that people will lose their jobs, sometimes bad food can bring this sort of anger out of a human being, especially if their job is to eat bad food.
19 Kappo Masa In New York
Pete Wells may have disliked the food at Masa, but it was the price of the food that really got him writing in the end!
"Every once in a while, something genuinely remarkable would arrive, as if from another kitchen."
We've all been there, sat at a table and wishing that we'd picked somewhere else. Thankfully, Wells visits these places for us so we can find out ahead of time so that we don't have to find out for ourselves!
18 Leon De Bruxelles In London
In a lot of ways, people can end up cooking themselves into a corner, as they will be expected to bring something impressive to the table. For example, a Belgian restaurant is definitely going to have to impress with the Mussels and Chips.
"The meat inside the shells is small and shrivelled and dry."
Rayner was clearly expecting a lot more from his visit to this Belgian restaurant, as the Belgians are well-known for their ability with seafood. However, just because a restaurant is Belgian doesn't mean that the chef is Belgian.
17 Tavern On The Green In New York
The headline to the original article this quote comes from is simply "Tavern On The Green Is A Bad Restaurant." It doesn't get more succinct than that!
"Mac 'n' cheese is real slop ... $32 on what is surely one of the least impressive things anyone can eat outside of Rikers."
We really hope that Sutton isn't talking about all Mac 'n' Cheese here, because we all know that this is one of the greatest dishes known to man. We would also be upset to see somebody make a bad version of this beautiful dish as well, to be fair.
16 Montana's Trail House In New York
Joshua David Stein really wanted to get across how much it was more about the food when he gave this place zero stars, so he goes in deep detail on just how it made him feel to be in the restaurant.
"It is both inherent and cosmetic; it is culinarily insipid and morally insidious."
Stein really doesn't mince words here does he? We would've liked to see this man as he left the restaurant, as we can only assume that he was close to shouting at the staff as he left.
15 L'Ami Louis In Paris
This Bistro is well-known for courting famous people who appear there regularly, so AA Gill was surprised to find how bad it was.
"It’s undeniable that L’Ami Louis really is special and apart. It has earned an epic accolade. It is, all things considered, entre nous, one of the least impressive restaurants in the world."
That is a strong claim from Gill, but if anybody is in the right position to claim it, it's someone who spends their time going to every restaurant out there, whether they're any good or not.
14 Tao In Los Angeles
This mini-chain is pretty popular, but that doesn't mean it's any good.
"The food isn’t that much worse than what’s available at any number of popular chain restaurants, from the higher end through fast food (though I would much rather eat the orange chicken at P.F. Chang’s or Panda Express than the orange chicken at Tao.)"
Besha Rodell points out a feeling we've all had here, which is that sometimes people just want to get some pretty basic food, rather than the fancy and often unimpressive food offered elsewhere.
13 Le Cinq In Paris
Jay Rayner is known for being a food critic that doesn't mince words, so it's no surprise that his critique of Le Cinq was something to behold, even for people who don't like restaurant reviews.
"If I work hard, with luck, one day I may be able to forget."
We have all had an unpleasant meal from time to time, but most of us move on pretty quickly. It seems that Rayner has a lot of work on his hands if he wants to keep being a food critic...
12 Public Kitchen In New York
Once again, here is an example of a zero-star review that notes how generically bad the restaurant is, which many would argue is much worse than saying they dislike it with a passion...
"Even Manhattan clam chowder, the accompaniment to grilled salmon (ordered medium rare, delivered medium well), turns out not to be actual soup, but a thin, saccharine, barely spoonable sauce of tomato and chili oil."
If someone has a food critic in their restaurant, it would make sense to at least get their order right?
11 Locol In Oakland
We have to say ahead of time that after Pete Wells reviewed this restaurant, there was actually an internet backlash from people who thought he was far too harsh...
"Mr. Patterson and Mr. Choi seem to have thought about the social dimensions of fast food so much that they now see their target audience as problems to be solved, not customers to be pleased. The most nutritious burger on earth won’t help you if you don’t want to eat it."
Honestly, we think we would rather eat the most dangerous burger on Earth. It would definitely taste better!
10 Made In Detroit In Detroit
We don't think there is anyone out there that would think Kid Rock would be able to create a restaurant worth visiting, but it's the prices that took Tom Perkis by surprise.
"Really, there’s no serious crime at Kid Rock’s Made In Detroit beyond the price point... That’s a bit odd since Ritchie bills himself as a working-class hero."
We have all had to pay a lot more for something than we wanted to, but if that something ends up being average it can really sting.
9 Bar George In Montreal
Lesley Chesterman started out her meal with a cocktail that she said looked nice, but fell flat, which ended up being a metaphor for the rest of her meal once it arrived.
"The website describes the restaurant as ‘a modern-day rendezvous, cooking classic U.K. fare, slapped with Québécois cheek.’ Why put a label on it? Why not just make good food?"
While it's important that restaurants make sure that they have the right ambience for their customers, it means nothing if the food is bad.
8 Hot Joy In Dallas
It was cultural appropriation that Brian Reinhart ended up complaining about in his review of Hot Joy, although apparently the food was nowhere near being good enough to make up for it.
"If Hot Joy’s attitude shows a shallow respect for Asia, its haphazard cooking betrays the kind of overconfidence that grows from ignorance."
A lot of food critics get into it for a love for food, but others get into it because they want to be writers. We think Reinhart is the latter, based on this quote.
7 Bulletproof Coffee In Seattle
While the coffee was not as bad as the food, Bethany Jean Clement believes that the hype is overblown when it comes to this chain, and doesn't recommend that anybody bothers going.
"With the exception of the wan porkiness of the bites that include floppy bits of uncured bacon, it’s more of a textural experience than a taste sensation, like eating a gummy, tasteless cloud."
Does anybody else not think the idea of eating a cloud is actually pretty pleasant? Maybe it's just us.
6 Scarpetta In Philadelphia
One of the problems that Craig LaBan had with Scarpetta was the fact that the waiters were not good at their job and seemed to be untrained, which is an important point to bear in mind for any restaurant owner.
"It was a kind of generic pomp, more typical of casino cooking, where seemingly every dish is plated as a little tower, piled high and glossed with stock."
Quantity over quality is never a good idea for a restaurant. Less food that tastes better is always the way to go!
5 French 75 In Denver
Even people who don't like a restaurant will often admit that it's difficult to get desserts wrong, which is why Gretchen Kurtz was surprised to find that the desserts were the part of her meal at French 75 she liked the least.
“Three months in, the tables are already so scuffed they look greasy. The bathrooms are down so many empty corridors, you get the creeps finding your way alone at night."
People who open restaurants will often forget that good food is only part of what they have to offer to be successful!
4 Fancy Crab In London
While Jay Rayner isn't particularly known for his snarky writing, this review saw him pulling out every single piece of snark that he had waiting in his repertoire. That should be enough to prove that the Fancy Crab isn't worth visiting anytime soon, or at least this quote should be:
“Fancy Crab isn’t good. It’s a waste of their money and our money and everybody’s time.”
There are times when fancy language and writing is needed, but other times it's more important to get the point across, no matter how simple it may sound.
3 El Burro In Austin
Before even getting to the restaurant, Brandon Watson was wondering why this place existed, so it's no surprise that he ended up very much disliking his experience there.
“Everything about El Burro feels like a defeated shrug. In a town where some of our Tex-Mex institutions are not working, it seems particularly egregious to replace heritage with hologram.”
Some people would argue that a neutral reaction is the least impressive reaction. Nobody wants to be shrugged at. We reckon people would rather a critic disliked their restaurant than give it a "shrug."
2 Vespertine In Los Angeles
Describing a restaurant as complete and utter rubbish is definitely a zero review. However, that wasn't even the most impressive line in the review to be honest!
“It’s a miserable, dark trap.”
We included this one in the list because we love how succinct it is. Seriously, this is a brutal put-down and we really hope that Vespertine saw it and used it as an excuse to make much better food, or maybe even close down to move somewhere else!
1 Joanne Trattoria In New York
Owned by the parents of Lady Gaga, Joanne Trattoria was not well reviewed by Michael Kamminer, which he claims has nothing worth going to see and is an insult to the Lady Gaga name. The Italian eatery did not like this sentence specifically:
"The flavorless Eggplant Parmesan is the culinary equivalent of old cars in a massive pileup.”
While it's not the greatest metaphor from Kaminer here, we have to say that it's a pretty potent image. Nobody wants to think of their food as looking like old cars, no matter what they happen to be eating.
Sources: FineDiningLovers.com ; InStoreDoes.com ; Eater.com