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keobooks's avatar

What is the worst food you ever had at a restaurant?

Asked by keobooks (14322points) December 10th, 2013

I went to a Chinese buffet. The food was stunningly average. I decided to try the sushi, which seemed all either vegetarian or with stuff like imitation crab, so I thought it would be safe. I bit into what turned out to be a “tuna roll”—it was CANNED tuna. So it just tasted like salty wet cat food with rice.

My aunt went to a pub that served pizza—plain or with sausage. It turned out to be canned dough, ketchup, Velveeta slices and the sausages were cocktail wieners.

I went to a diner with a friend. He ordered plain toast. It came to him with mayonnaise on it. He complained and they told him to scrape it off and eat the toast anyway. I swear I think they just hated him. Who puts mayonnaise on toast?

What is the worst menu item or culinary experience you had in an eating establishment?

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48 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

Who puts mayo on toast? People who stlll eat BLT’s for one.

LuckyGuy's avatar

<—- A guy whose favorite homemade food is WIGR, (whatever is getting rotten).
I put mayo on toast if it is going to be part of a BLT.

I am trying to think of the worst food I ever had and nothing comes to mind. I must have a very unsophisticated palate.

Judi's avatar

I ate an entire spaghetti dinner one time and went to eat that last onion and discovered it was a piece of glass! It cut my mouth. It wasn’t the worst tasting meal I ever had but it was pretty scary. I think the worst food was at Applebee’s. That place is full of grossness.
Oh no, I remember the time at MeMe’s Cafe when I realized what looked like pepper sprinkled in my food was actually little bugs.
My husband got a grilled cheese sandwich with lettuce on it once. They were upset when we sent it back because we had not told them to hold the lettuce. Who puts lettuce on grilled cheese????

picante's avatar

Soggy, mushy spaghetti from a neighborhood bistro still haunts me. Also, I’ve had incredibly awful experiences at buffets. Golden Coral is notable for its lack of notability. I agree that Applebee’s can be an awful experience.

flip86's avatar

I ordered some Chinese food once and all the meat wasn’t fully cooked. The teriyaki was raw in the middle, the chicken fingers were raw in the middle and the orange chicken my girlfriend got was also raw in the middle. We got our money back and told everyone we knew to avoid the place. The kicker is that this Chinese place went out of business about a month later.

filmfann's avatar

The worst I have ever had was a lamb curry in a San Francisco restaurant, which was inedible. It looked, smelled, and tasted (I assume) like diarrhea.

Recently, I went to Granzella’s, in Williams, California (a very well known restaurant), and ordered a Salsbury Steak, I think. What came back was obviously a microwaved Banquet TV dinner.

tups's avatar

I once had a hamburger on a highway diner in Germany and after having eaten most of the burger, I realized the meat was completely raw inside. That was gross. I am a vegetarian today.

livelaughlove21's avatar

Hmm…that’s a tough one. I, like @LuckyGuy, have an unsophisticated palate. I eat at Waffle House, if that’s any indication. I can honestly say I’ve never gotten raw meat or a bug in my food at a restaurant before, though.

I know what I like and I have specific rules I use that keep me from having such horrible experiences. I haven’t gone to a new Chinese restaurant since the last one I was loyal to shut down a few years ago. I get pasta at Italian restaurants and I never order steak from anywhere but a steakhouse (and no, Applebee’s is not a steakhouse, South Carolinians). I won’t eat calamari that costs less than $8 per appetizer. I don’t get seafood at any place that has a drive-thru. I find a dish I like, and I rarely stray from it. My husband is even worse about it – if we get Italian, he orders chicken Alfredo. If we go to a steakhouse, he gets a ribeye and grilled shrimp. If we’re at a questionable place, we get the simplest dish they serve. We know what we like and we see no reason to risk our money by taking a gamble on an unfamiliar food item.

The worst thing my husband ever got was a steak at an Italian restaurant. No raw meat, no bugs. What made it bad was that we were in an Italian restaurant. He never did that again. As for me, I once ordered a salad against my will and it was basically bagged lettuce floating in tap water. I wasn’t planning on eating it anyway, but it came with the meal (that wasn’t anything to brag about, either).

tom_g's avatar

There was a Chinese food restaurant I went to that served dinner rolls and butter while you waited for your food. I repeat, dinner rolls and butter. Unacceptable.

My worst experience has to be with a bad bowl of pho that nearly sent me to the hospital and took off a few pounds.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I will eat almost anything, hey I grew up poor, but my worst is probably the local Olive Garden, just nasty and tasted like canned sauce and frozen fish. bleh

Pachy's avatar

Red Lobster’s TV commercials make their dishes look and sound soooo good to the seafood lover in me, but their food is AWFUL. I gave them one last try earlier this year and swore I’d NEVER go back.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@Pachyderm_In_The_Room We go to Red Lobster once per year, during their endless shrimp promotion. The shrimp dishes are tasty and we always leave with enough leftovers to feed a horse. And their biscuits are soooo good. Anything else there is just cheap, nasty seafood.

dxs's avatar

I went to a local place once and ordered chicken cordon bleu. The chicken was raw in the middle…completely pink even to the outside. I just ended up leaving because the place was busy. It’s usually a good place, so I think they were just having a bad night.

glacial's avatar

Like @livelaughlove21, I have rules that keep me from having bad experiences, but… most of those rules are based on experience. So, I know to avoid chain restaurants like Applebee’s and Olive Garden, I know to avoid Chinese buffets, or frankly any non-authentic Asian restaurants. I know that most hotel restaurants look pretty and have nice linens, but serve very mediocre food. I know that if the place looks run down, it’s probably also not clean. I know that if the restaurant is empty at mealtimes, that’s probably for a good reason.

The worst experience I can remember offhand was at one of those generic, sort-of-Italian-but-not-really restaurants. Not a chain, but I’m sure you know the type – they have those big, heavy menus with plastic windows. They’re ubiquitous. I ordered something like pasta with chicken, and received a plateful of butter. Seriously, the sauce had to be half butter – it was congealing on the plate. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a butter fan (I love Hollandaise, even), but this was inedible. These kinds of restaurants are also on my “don’t” list. They’re just never good.

Pachy's avatar

@livelaughlove21, I agree about the biscuits, and maybe I’ll break my vow and try the shrimp one of these days. I do love shrimp.

dxs's avatar

Is Olive Garden really that bad? I’ve never heard anything negative about it…definitely not compared to Applebee’s.

glacial's avatar

@dxs To me, the point is that you can do better at home. It’s just unimaginative, boring food. Which is exactly why they are successful – it appeals to the lowest common denominator.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@dxs I don’t know, ours isn’t that great, not as good as homemade, not as bad as canned food. I usually fill up on salad, a breadstick and wine.

At Applebee’s they have a great Perfect Margarita and an oriental chicken salad, so I stick with what I know is good, since I rarely go out.

@Pachyderm If you like the biscuits, don’t EVER read the calorie/ fat content. Seriously.

amujinx's avatar

The worst thing I have ever eaten in a restaurant was natto. I’m sure there was nothing wrong with the recipe or the preparation, I was just being adventurous and trying something new and found that natto is fucking gross. I knew ahead of time that it is a love or hate it food, but I had to give it a shot.

The worst prepared food I’ve eaten was this local place where I have heard rave reviews about their spaghetti sauce. The sauce I got there looked and tasted like watered down tomato paste.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@amujinx I feel ya on that, I hate all the versions of natto. My Vietnamese friends make it for New Years in colored balls and it’s cold, jiggly and disgusting. Thanks for reminding me of that, blah.

LuckyGuy's avatar

So far, except for the glass, I’d eat everything mentioned – and like it!

I even eat natto for breakfast sometimes. I mix it with a raw egg, a little oil, a dash of mustard and glop it over rice.
Safety tip – Don’t microwave natto. It will stink up the house.

Lightlyseared's avatar

A mushroom starter. It wasn’t bad as such but the full effects of food poisoning had come on before they served the main course.

zenvelo's avatar

Drunken Pigeon.

I had a boss who was born in China, and one time for a major project milestone he took us to a “locals” restaurant in San Francisco’s Chinatown and ordered off the Cantonese menu.

Drunken pigeon was a pigeon that had been plucked and cleaned and then soaked (pickled) in brandy for a week or so. Served whole with head, beak, and feet. Absolutely vile.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@zenvelo What was vile about it, it sounds pretty decent? Just the head, beak and feet being on it or the seasonings or what?

dxs's avatar

@glacial @KNOWITALL You guys must be master chefs, then haha. Anything tastes better than my cooking, though I do use good ingredients.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@dxs I have to admit I’m a pretty good cook, I often dream of opening my own bakery because it actually relaxes me and everyone loves my stuff. And my fried chicken can make a man fall in love honeychile!

gailcalled's avatar

@livelaughlove21: Before you gorge on shrimp, ask yourself what shrimp eat.

“Sometimes shrimp will be in for a special treat. Shrimp are not averse to feeding off of the dead. In fact, for a shrimp, a dead fish or crab is the ultimate meal. If food is scarce, large shrimp don’t hesitate in going after their own kind, and they are one of the few animals in existence that are cannibals, eating their own kind in order to survive”:

“shrimp are bottom feeders. They get most of their food by scavenging the bottom of a body of water. They may eat rotten fish, parasites, and other items that are low on the food chain.” Source

cazzie's avatar

At a restaurant, it was sandy leek soup. (DON’T they know you need to rinse the leeks right through?) It probably wasn’t the worst I had, but it was meant to be a REALLY swanky restaurant so the disappointment was very ‘palatable’... can you say. But my pre-drinner was a martini (a pre-drinner is a pre-dinner drink for the uninitiated.) and at least THAT was really good, so I consoled myself with that.

keobooks's avatar

My grandfather went to a restaurant and ordered coffee. The waitress came back with a dirty cup of it and said “If you don’t like it sweet, don’t stir it!”

livelaughlove21's avatar

@dxs I like Olive Garden a lot. Great salad, yummy breadsticks, good soups, and I’ve never gotten a nasty entree there. Then again, like I said, I find something I like and I don’t try a lot of other things. We chow down on breadsticks, lasagna fritta, chicken gnocchi soup, chicken Alfredo, and either tiramisu or pumpkin cheesecake (if the time of year is right). Yum! And the Andes chocolates you get with your check are a nice touch.

@gailcalled Don’t care, don’t care. Shrimp tastes good – that’s all I need to know.

rojo's avatar

I will have to think on this one. I have fairly low standards; anything I do not have to prepare or clean up after is a good meal in my books.

downtide's avatar

I once went to an expensive Italian restaurant in Manchester and had spaghetti with chicken and pesto sauce which I adore. But there was so much olive oil on it the pasta was swimming a quarter-inch deep in it. Now I like olive oil but half a pint of it on a meal was too much. I sent it back and was so turned off by it I didn’t feel like eating anything else.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@livelaughlove21 I’m sure it varies in different areas, too, you may have a better grade of cooks at yours or something. Ours is little better than Waffle House for realz.

Seek's avatar

I went to Denny’s with my family and bit into a spoonful of cranberry sauce that contained a large shard of aluminium can.

We got our meal for free. I haven’t been back since.

dxs's avatar

@livelaughlove21 Definitely. I especially love the breadsticks. But I do remember that the servers can never get the pronunciations right. When will they realize that fettucine ends in an “eh” and penne isn’t “puhNAY”? Whether they’re a legitimate Italian restaurant or faking it, they can at least put in some effort towards it.

Seek's avatar

^ and forget “pasta fagioli”

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

I once ate at a Mexican restaurant in Bergen, Norway. I was starved for spicy food and had great expectations. It was so bad, it was funny. I suddenly felt like a New York City Italian trapped in a Yazoo City “delicatessen.” I now knew what those poor Yankees had been complaining about.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus Sounds like Mexico, I couldn’t believe they had no tortilla’s and rice and beans, it was all seafood and stuff, I felt so cheated.

Adagio's avatar

I’m afraid I’ve experienced nothing more serious than a tired floret of broccoli that had seriously yellowed, I couldn’t understand how it made it out to the table.

hearkat's avatar

I’ve had a couple of meals that were so spicy they were inedible.

YARNLADY's avatar

I’ve been to Applebees, Olive Garden, and Red Lobster many, many times over the years and enjoyed every time. Golden Corral is the all time favorite for our family dinners.

The only bad experience I can remember is Denny’s desert. The cake was completely tasteless and the whipped cream was nothing but sugary air.

deni's avatar

I once worked at a failing diner and saw some of the worst food go out. It was one of the most embarrassing things I’ve ever done, serving it. Honestly, it was so bad I don’t even want to recall specifics about it. :(

poisonedantidote's avatar

I once worked in a so called “4 star” hotel, part of the deal is that I could help myself to free food. I ate there 1 time, on my first day, and was so blown away by just how bad it was, that I never ate there again.

Things have to be real bad when I don’t even want it for free. It has to be even worse, when the stray cats outside that looked sick like if they were dying from hunger also turn down that food. You would see customers sneak them some food out, the cats always sniffed it but walked away. So tasty they preffer hunger.

If anyone wants a good laugh at the expense of the poor souls he have stayed there, you can read the hotel review here and don’t be fooled by any loose positive reviews, they are left by the staff.

rockfan's avatar

I went to a pizza place called Old Chicago and I ate their chicken salad with avocado, sundried tomatoes and citrus vinaigrette. The vinaigrette tasted like poison, the chicken was shredded and tasteless, the avocado was brown and mushy, and the sun dried tomatoes were too sour and pungent.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@poisonedantidote Wowza! Thanks to Google translate I read some of the reviews. I have never seen reviews like that. How on earth does that place stay in business? Do they give the rooms away for free? I particularly liked the No TV and No Air Conditioning complaints from all the people who stayed there in the summer.

The hotel response gets to be quite repetitive: “We are sorry it did not meet your expectations… We meet all the requirements for a 3 star hotel… blah blah blah….”

poisonedantidote's avatar

@LuckyGuy They basically trick people in to going there, with old photos of when it was nice.

They still try to say it is a 4 star hotel, or at least that is how they advertise it. When you go to complain, you find they call themself a 3 star hotel, but if you look in to it, you find they don’t meet the standards for that, and are actually just 2 star.

I did used to be 4 stars, back in the 80’s it would have been a real nice place, during the tourism boom years. However it has now been reduced to a scam, that gets thrown around from 1 director to another each year like some hot potato no one wants.

If you keep reading the reviews, some will have you rolling on the floor with laughter. The British customers have renamed the place “cell block h”. There is some real funny stuff there, such as “arrived to find puke and a used condom on my balcony, I complained to reception, and it was 3 days later that someone finally arrived with a dry mop, and spread the puke about the balcony making it worse, before leaving again”


I even get a mention in one of the reviews “and the entertainment manager just sits next to the pool smoking cannabis with the life guard all day long.”

Seek's avatar

^ Probably the best place to be in that place. Oi, those reviews were awful.

rojo's avatar

A meal of Mahi-Mahi from Red Lobster made me sicker than a dog for a couple of days once. But to be fair I actually enjoyed the meal while eating it.

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