Restaurant Reviews: Best of the Worst

Santa Rosa California, where I spent the past two decades, is the largest city between San Francisco and Portland. Its population is 175,000, about 50,000 more than when I arrived. Notable citizens of the city, other than me, included Luther Burbank, Robert Ripley, Charles M. Schulz, and champion self-promoter Guy Fieri. His celebrity-driven success made it expedient to sell Johnny Garlic’s restaurant, his starting point before Food Network fame.

But this isn’t about Santa Rosa. It’s about the best reviews restaurant critics wrote about places they thought were terrible. Which brings us to the infamous 2012 New York Times review of Guy’s new restaurant near Times Square.

Bloomberg News compiled its list of the ten best bad restaurant reviews. Fieri only made it to number three, however, behind the Trump Grill and a pretentious Parisian bistro.


Here is the list, from ten to number one. The Bloomberg story has links to all the reviews.



  • 10. Tavern on the Green – Central Park, New York City (Beautiful setting, until the food arrives.)
  • 9. Founding Farmers – Washington DC (Many Vegetable Mushroom Lasagna: “salt must be a vegetable.”)
  • 8. Olive Garden – Los Angeles (“Actually more expensive than good Italian restaurants. [Advertising and McTuscan architecture cost real money.]”)
  • 7. Quattro Passi – London (“Clumsy cooking, trying to make itself look grown up and clever.”)
  • 6. Montana’s Trail House – Brooklyn NY (“Brings Morally Hazardous Appalachian Cuisine to Brooklyn.”)
  • 5. Tao – New York City (“I gave the place 1/2 star. Because people do have fun.”)
  • 4. Harry Cipriani – New York City (Great for people watching, though.)
  • 3. Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar – New York City (“…that blue drink, the one that glows like nuclear waste?”)
  • 2. Trump Grill – New York City (“Cheap version of rich.”)
  • 1. L’Ami Louis – Paris (Snails compared to dinosaur boogers.)

And don’t feel too bad for Guy; his establishment is a dining stop for tour buses.

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