Are These America’s Worst Restaurants? (Slideshow)
When you walk into this Filipino buffet in Vegas, don’t expect to be greeted. Just grab a plate, load it up, and have a seat. But don’t plan on eating much. "A variety of the dishes I picked out were really cold, and have been sitting out for a while. The dishes also started to taste the same as well… My heart was really torn. I really wanted to cry," wrote one Yelp reviewer. "The beef mechado was hard, the pancit looked like it has been sitting under the sun and the look on it was soggy and to top it off, didn’t have much flavor to it. The beef steak was dry and meat was a bit hard, the melon drink had no kind of flavor," wrote another. Aside from providing a poor impression of Filipino cuisine to guests, it’s most likely also provided a few with food poisoning. The restaurant was featured in KNTV’s "Dirty Dining" twice, most recently after the owner tried to hide their "C" grade, for "chicken being improperly thawed in the prep sink, raw beef stored over cooked beef, and under-cooked eggs being served without a warning to customers," among other offenses.
Dining at his Korean restaurant, best known for its all-you-can-eat deal, comes across as an exercise in masochism. "Took about 15 minutes for us to be seated after being ignored by the hostess," said one Yelp reviewer, and her sentiments were echoed in just about every other post. "There was absolutely no service at all! We had to flag him down every time we wanted something and he acted as if we were bothering him. The place wasn't even crowded! ... When we asked for something, they guy would just look at us and walk away." Others complain of their tables and chairs being sticky and greasy, and food being bland and tough. And in May 2011, it was shut down by health inspectors for more than 90 critical red violation points, including a lack of hot water.
Yelp/ Erica Y
Drop into Lincoln in Tampa and you’re likely to receive a serviceable plate of roast pork, but the tastiness seems to stop there. "I truly feel as though I wasted $16 on mofongo, which was dry and oily at the same time," wrote a Yelp reviewer. "Hard to do if you ask me, and the steak sandwich which was just a slab of ill tasting beef covered with spaghetti sauce and cheese. Again terrible." The real horror show, however, appears to be taking place in the kitchen. On Aug. 22 of this year, the restaurant racked up 70 violations, including live flies, a warm walk-in cooler, 75 live roaches behind the sink and 15 under the cook’s line, rodents, mold in the ice machine, and no soap at the hand-washing station. When a news crew arrived a week later to see if they’d cleaned up, they were left waiting for an hour and weren’t allowed to see the kitchen, but did spot a dead lizard in the dining room.
Yelp/ Harry D
"Only eat here if you're up to date on your Hepatitis shots," wrote one Yelp reviewer who got food poisoning from dining at this Chinese buffet that specializes in the greasy, deep-fried, salty, lukewarm, Americanized Chinese food that’s about as far away from authentic as possible. But what really sets this buffet apart from all the other middling ones is the lack of cleanliness. Along with employees not washing their hands, "potentially hazardous foods weren’t being held at safe temperatures, including squid," according to a SD CityBeat report last year. "Raw meat was stored above cooked meat in the cooler. Gnats were found, as were mice droppings from an earlier infestation. Slimy mold was observed growing inside the ice machine, dripping on the ice. Three pounds of batter was thrown out after the inspector determined it had been contaminated by nearby trash bags." And when the reporter called, the owner hung up on him.
One word: Yikes. "The appetizer was clearly a freeze and re-heat situation," wrote a Yelp reviewer. "The supposed seafood paella was clearly yesterday’s rice accompanied by the 'woops we forgot to add the muscles, calamari, and shrimp but would you like us to cook it separate and bring on a plate for you?'" Rude and unknowledgeable waitstaff, constantly running out of food, cold, inedible fare, and refusing to honor Groupons are also all running themes. A miserable health inspection warranted a local news segment: inspectors found moldy cheese, expired dairy, seafood improperly thawed and sauces held at wrong temperatures, dead cockroaches, a "heavily soiled" kitchen floor, and a bar with a non-functioning sink and a moldy bar glass case.
Facebook/ Espana Tapas House
Multiple Yelp reviews describe horribly botched delivery orders from this Chinatown pizza and sandwich restaurant, which also inexplicably has a Turkish food menu section. "This pizza is the product of using bad flour, bad salt, bad cheese, bad sauce, bad toppings, and probably bad water," wrote one Yelp reviewer. "My boyfriend and I had our credit card numbers stolen from [here]," wrote another. And as for cleanliness? With 56 violations, it was the dirtiest restaurant in the city last year, with no soap and live cockroaches.
Where to begin with this place? "The many drug dealers in wheel chairs (they at times walked down the street on their own so don't feel bad for them) sitting 3 feet from us on the other side of the glass lent an air of the degenerate life to our meal," wrote one Yelp reviewer (you can’t make this stuff up), and many more complained of a waitstaff that speaks very limited English and treated non-Spanish-speaking customers poorly. As for the food? "I took a bite into the chicken and felt something scratch the top of my mouth. I took the piece out of my mouth and realized it was a metal piece the size of a staple," wrote one reviewer. "They will be hearing from my attorney soon since I ended up in the hospital and received a tetanus vaccine and 3 medications for this problem." "The meat seemed to have been boiled till it was a horrible stringy tasteless mash and what should be crispy skin was like a piece of rubber WTH," wrote another. In 2012 it was ranked one of the dirtiest restaurants in New York by Business Insider, which cited "live mice" and "inadequate personal cleanliness."
Yelp/ Jade H
"Ho Mei must translate to the Yiddish 'Oy Vey' or more poignantly, 'Viscous Mush,'" wrote one Yelp reviewer of this questionable Denver Chinese restaurant. "FLEE!," chimed in another reviewer; "AVOID!," another. "The sesame chicken was hard as a rock and tasted like nothing I could identify," another wrote. "The place is dirty. I shudder to imagine what the kitchen looks like. Save your money. Go lick a bus seat to get the same gastrointestinal experience for free." And in 2012, they racked up $7,000 in health code violation fines. Yikes.
Los Angeles is a city renowned for its taco joints, but this one on Hollywood Boulevard, which serves Tex-Mex as well as Korean tacos, very well might be the city’s worst. "Best part was the lettuce, and it wasn't even that good," wrote one Yelp reviewer, and another two got food poisoning from their burritos. Bland, flavorless food, chicken that "looks nothing like chicken," and messed up orders seem to be the norm here. As for the Korean options, the kimchee was greasy, "had absolutely no flavor and just looked like cabbage gone wrong," and the galbi was super-fatty, "dark black," and inedible. They’ve been written up for being "not clean" and in "disrepair," and for keeping containers uncovered.
Yelp/ Anand D, Myles Y
This restaurant, which we’re pretty sure is the single worst-reviewed restaurant on Yelp, also apparently wins the prize for "shadiest restaurant in America." This restaurant has been accused of promising 50 percent discounts but overcharging anyway ("My rum and coke was $18 after the discount," said a reviewer), adding tips automatically without telling the customer, using multiple aliases for an unknown reason, and forcing customers to get cash from their overpriced ATM by telling them that the credit card terminal was down. Reviews read like a comedy of errors: wrong dishes being brought to the same table multiple times, waits exceeding two hours, a "gross" chicken sandwich costing $20, an inferior cut of meat attempting to be passed off as a rib-eye, and a manager who never seems to be there when asked for. As for the food? Burnt burgers, tiny portions, and fried calamari that "looked like leftover onion rings after someone was done with them....just a small pile of cold mush." Recent restaurant inspections (which took some digging to find because it’s listed as "Chef Vincent") turned up improper toilet and hand-washing facilities, food kept at improper temperatures, improper labeling of food containers, and food contact surfaces not kept clean.
Whether it’s called the Colony Café, Chef Vincent at Colony Hotel, Colony Bistro, or Colony Restaurant, it very well might be the worst restaurant in America.