The Worst Yelp Reviews of the Best Restaurants in America

Some people really don’t know a good thing when they taste it

Daniel Krieger

"Don't trust the good reviews on this place because most of these good reviews are written by the owner of the restaurant," one diner said about #1-ranked Le Bernardin. 

Our annual ranking of the 101 Best Restaurants in America rounds up restaurants that nearly everyone agrees are incredibly good. The top ten are especially worthy of praise. Some people, however, don’t agree, and they take to Yelp to voice their complaints. These are the worst Yelp reviews of the best restaurants in America.

The Worst Yelp Reviews of the Best Restaurants in America (Slideshow)

When Yelp first launched in 2004, it made it possible for anyone, anywhere, to have his or her opinion heard about any restaurant. In many ways, this is a good thing. Now, before spending our money at a place we’ve never been to, we can do a quick search and see what dozens — if not hundreds or thousands — of our fellow diners thought about it. For the most part, this is a pretty reliable way to tell if a restaurant is worth going to or not. If 100 people had issues with the service, you can probably expect to have issues with the service, too.

Occasionally, however, there are outliers. Every restaurant has bad nights, and every diner is entitled to his or her opinion, but it’s always interesting when someone dines at a restaurant that’s nearly universally praised and decides that it was bad enough to merit a one-star Yelp review. Their reasons are myriad: some people feel like they’re not getting their money’s worth, some say that they were treated poorly, some find the portions too small, some make the vague claim that the meal was “just okay,” and some write a scathing review simply to complain about not being able to make a reservation.

We scoured the one-star Yelp reviews of our top ten-ranked restaurants in America, and turned up a few for each that make these look like places  that serve meals you wouldn’t wish upon your worst enemy. It’s certainly worth noting that, no matter how acclaimed the restaurant, there will always be people who downright hate it. Take these reviews with a grain of salt, as well as a pre-emptive “[sic].” (We have not corrected misspellings, grammatical errors, etc.)

10. Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills, N.Y.:  409 Reviews, 4.5 Stars

Andy S.: “I never had a more expensive dissapointing meal in my life. It was like the kings underware. The food was not only inedible but fraudulent. Dishes as stated were totally unrecognizable. I called for weeks to get my money back but never was able to get anyone of any accountability on the phone.”

Jeffrey L.: “In a highly artificial and radically manicured 'natural' setting, you pay $85 or $175 for a single floret of organic Cauliflower brushed with oil impaled on a nail hammered into a block of wood set in the center of the table. Next came completely tasteless slivers of Long Island Fluke. Next: a sliver of pork belly fat set on a bed of fava beans (a la Silence of the Lambs). After that, two slivers of capon breast that had the texture of raw human flesh. In the meantime, the bus girl was plying us with basket after basket of potato bread and refilling our water glasses non-stop (hummm...).” 

Food Critic X.: “come on!!! really!!  this is one big scam, the rich are so dumb.  seriously, little itty bitty food with foam and whatever fancy french manhattan bs plating and bs gimmicks, oh its at a farm, who cares, it's stupid mediocre food that's about $30 a bite.  rediculous, where trying to be europeans and we're not, we are americans, we want generous portions of quality unpretentious home cooked food.”

9. Momofuku Ssäm Bar, New York City: 1,750 Reviews, 4 Stars

Dan W.: “PORK BUNS = DISGUSTING!!! I've had pork buns in many different places.  In hong Kong, in flushing queens, nyc takeout it is one of my favorite foods!!!!  BUT...these were BY FAR the worst pork buns I've ever had hands down.  My wife is Chinese and absolutely hates to not finish everything on her plate....after 2 bites of the pork bun she apologized and said she literally just couldn't take anymore.  I completely agree.  The meat was about 90% fat, I don't mean a little fat...I mean pure complete fat.”

Tami G.: “PLEASEEEE help us, pork belly buns, gross, fat, fat and more gross fat, order brisket lunch, help me again, gross solid pieces of FAT, I showed the waitress, who would eat solid fat???, she replied that she would show the manager, BIG DEAL, ruined lunch in NYC, and way to much Dollar for fat.”

Woody V: “At 4.56 PM me and my other 3 friends went to Nomofuku !!!! The guy at the bar told us that they will be open for dinner at 5 pm!!!! We asked him if we can just sit down and wait till the service time !!!! He told us No!!!! I just feel like why that they didn't let the customer sit down and wait!!!!”

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