When you own a restaurant, reviews can make or break your business. And, while some people may love your establishment, there’s always the chance of receiving a bad review that can ruin your reputation—whether that’s from an anonymous diner on Yelp or TripAdvisor, or from a top critic at The New York Times. Here are a few restaurants that had the bad luck (or bad food) to be on the receiving end of scathingly hilarious reviews.
Last year, New York Times food critic Pete Wells took aim at Food Network personality Guy Fieri’s new restaurant in Times Square with a review featuring a series of rhetorical questions aimed at Fieri himself, such as: “How did Louisiana’s blackened, Cajun-spiced treatment turn into the ghostly nubs of unblackened, unspiced white meat in your Cajun Chicken Alfredo?” The review went viral, with hundreds of thousands of visitors to the page. Fieri’s restaurant is still going a year after the critique, though, and diners questioned outside of the establishment claim to enjoy the food.
This review appearing on Bloomberg.com is titled, “Here Are 18 Things to Know About NYC’s Lousy $700 French Dinner.” While there are a few compliments here and there — the reviewer says that The Gallery’s caviar is “game-changing”—the majority of the review is a diatribe about the jaw-dropping prices charged at the restaurant for mostly middle-of-the-road dishes.
An anonymous 4-star review on Yelp for an Indian restaurant doesn’t appear to be negative at first glance. The diner compliments the naan bread, praises the butter chicken, and calls the Three Greens Saag “wonderful,” though many of the descriptions make curious references to the dishes’ laxative effects. It’s not until the end that the reviewer gets explicit: “The meal was delectable, exotic, and incinerated everything in my intestines.” Although he concludes that the food was delicious, he takes off a single star for pricey biryani and for “turning me into a human flamethrower.”
This review of the Chicago branch of the New York restaurant, City Winery, is categorized as “an intervention.” Reviewer Julia Klein says that the restaurant has “the single saddest, greasiest potato latkes” to come out of a restaurant kitchen, the ambience of a Barnes & Noble, and molten lava cake that pales in comparison to the microwaved version she can buy at Trader Joe’s. Ouch.
This Italian eatery is owned by singer Lady Ga Ga’s parents, but according to reviewer Michael Kaminer, it falls far short of her star power. In fact, he poses the view that it’s “the worst thing since herpes,” ridiculing its “kitchen sponge”-flavored focaccia bread, its flavorless eggplant parmesan (“the culinary equivalent of old cars in a massive pileup”), and a nearly $30 lemon chicken dish, adorned only with a shriveled lemon segment. Not exactly the edge of glory.