If there’s one thing guaranteed to send shivers down the spine of even the most draconian chef, it is the sound of an approaching restaurant critic. As any kitchen professional is all too aware, any restaurant can be made or destroyed on the whim or a single reviewer, so top notch performance is a must.
But what about us common folk? For years, we had to be meekly obsequious as the adults exchanged a war of words. This has all changed. The internet has given us the tools to fight back and begin to make a difference, and for the first time, public reviews can shake even the most iconic restaurants. To prove that the people are slowly beginning to take the power back, here is our collection of the funniest and most savage internet reviews of the world’s dining destinations.
1. Holy Smoke - Tripadvisor
Review sites are inherently untrustworthy. That being said, they can still produce some comedy gold. London tapas restaurant Holy Smoke, which was for a time rated as the number one restaurant in the capital by Tripadvisor reviewers, was described by one disappointed diner as a “cross between [a] cheap Spanish brothel, and a brick lane bedsit (sic.)”.
2. Chipotle - Zagat
It may not be at the pinnacle of fine dining and foodie culture, but no one could deny that Chipotle have built a pretty successful brand over the years. That’s not to say that there haven’t been a few disasters. One review of the branch in Gotha, Florida described in vivid detail the “violent sprays” and “laxative fueled explosions of painful diarrhea” brought on by an ill-advised steak bowl. On the plus side, he still gave the restaurant three stars as “the guacamole tasted good”.
3. Per Se - Yelp
Thomas Keller’s New York institution has been widely accepted as one of the top restaurants in the world for decades. Not by this Yelp reviewer. In a wide ranging critique, they described the food as “tasteless, bland, genuinely unappealling”, before adding that, “A Swanson’s TV dinner from a microwave would be a considerable step up”.
4. McDonald’s - Tripadvisor
Fast food brands tend to fare worse than their more salubrious colleagues when it comes to online reviews. While often underserved, there are occasions when the restaurants themselves don’t exactly help themselves. A prime example is the McDonald’s in Chester, New York, who received a one-star review after a customer had a “romantic meal” with his girlfriend ruined when an employee “spat in [his] hair”. He went on to describe the altercation as “CHEEKY”.
5. Jean Georges - Yelp
Another restaurant that has helped shape the New York food scene, Jean Georges has received critical praise from some of the top writers in the country. Not Yelp user Corina C. After her mother was struck in the face by an inconspicuous glass door, Corina was appalled by the reaction of staff, claiming that she felt “treated in cold and inhuman ways”, in what is one of the longest and most epic fine dining rants on the internet.
6. Plum Valley - Tripadvisor
Even if you’re worried about the hygiene of the kitchen, it’s usually safe to assume that the cocktail menu is pretty low-risk territory. Not at Plum Valley in London. One TripAdvisor reviewer was allegedly appalled to find “a dead cockroach in her gin and tonic”. Alcoholic insects apart, the reviewer did add the restaurant’s exterior “looked chic”. Silver linings, and all that.
In a world where every Tom, Dick and Harry can pass judgement at the touch of a button, it can sometimes be difficult to know who or what to trust. Certainly, it seems sensible to take anything unverified you read on the internet with a massive pinch of salt. However, unfortunately for the restaurants that get named and shamed this doesn’t stop angry reactions from being any less funny.