HOME > Chowhound > Washington DC & Baltimore >


What is the WORST meal experience you've had in DC?

Mine would have to be during my first month here an absolutely disgusting sushi meal and vegetable tempura (I know - hard to f up) at Wok N Roll... also the worst glass of house wine I've ever tried. There's nothing worse than old sushi - IMO. Disgusting!!

I know -- the name should have scared me away. But I used to live in NY and the Wok N Roll there was actually pretty decent for the price!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I was going to say Sushi Kaz which would have been our worst meal in DC, we were pretty much just ignored, it's on other posts...

    But the worst meal ever in the DC metro area is at Bistro Europa which was so gross, I couldn't eat it even, and I was trying. The appetizer of calamari was from a bag and had soggy breading, the entree was just inedible in all ways, I ate a bite and then pushed the food around my plate. I think we went home and ate whatever was left in the fridge. And it wasn't cheap. It was so bad even thinking about the experience makes me sick.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ktmoomau

      Bistro Europa is under new management I believe. Hopefully they will clean it up. I remember how disgusting it used to be but I recently walked by and it looks like they are really gutting the place out.

    2. Mine definitely came on my last (and final) trip to Les Halles. I have to admit that I used to love a Monday night there with a hanger steak, frites, and a half price bottle of wine - even if I had to put up with shotty service.

      My most recent venture was highlighted by an elusive waiter whom we saw TWICE (once to take our order and once to flambé the crepe suzette - busboys took the drink orders upon our inquisition, brought the food out, asked if we wanted dessert, and delivered the bill). The food was cold and remarkably untasty when it arrived - the salad too salty to consume, and the fries unmistakably very old and scary looking.

      The best part of the evening came when my chair collapsed mid-bite rendering me embarrassed, shocked, and ass over teacups sitting on the floor. The aforementioned waiter was MIA, and the busboys had to replace my chair and apologize for the inconvenience.

      The icing on the cake, however, was when I checked my OpenTable account to find that I was a “No Show” at Les Halles that evening. What a classy establishment!

      6 Replies
      1. re: aburkavage

        Les Halles was second on my list for worst experience!

        We went there this time last year and my friend said she wanted a glass of white wine, the snotty waitress recommended something standard (sav blanc or chardonnay - I forget) so my friend said sure -- turns out it was a 16 dollar glass of wine!! It was very sneaky to pull that move, when we assumed it was the house white. We got in a fight with her and the manager didn't take it off the bill - but I think he ended up knocking off three dollars or something. Also - the food was extremely sub par. I don't even remember what I had.

        1. re: epicuriousgal

          Les Halles is on my list too. I can't imagine how it stays in business.

          1. re: epicuriousgal

            from my october '07 post about the infamous les halles:

            their fries stink -- literally and figuratively! mr. alka and i ate there yesterday, and the fries they brought were lukewarm and had been cooked in old oil. yuck. then when they brought new fries, i think they were the same fries, but just heated up in the same cruddy oil!

            go there to sit outside and drink Chimay ale. Don't bother with the moules, either. The amount we got yesterday (dinner portion) was not even HALF the size it was last year.

            And the service! we had to wait for a while for the two servers to stop their personal chatting before they noticed us. no, wait, the one facing out SAW us, but didn't bother telling the other waiter that we came in. just kept on chatting, having a good ole time. mind you, there was only one other couple on the patio when we arrived.

            i am totally disgusted with what has happened to les halles. will be a while before i go back. (oh, and their wine by the glass (on the specials sheet in the menu) was $18.)


            i took home the leftover fries (i.e., all of them) for the birds. they would not eat them. nor the squirrels. nor the opossums nor the raccoons. now if raccoons won't eat them......

          2. re: aburkavage

            It's good to see I'm not the only one who thinks Les Halles is so terrible. I had wanted to go since I'm such a fan of Anthony Bourdain (although I know he was the chef at the NY Les Halle, not DC), and I figured it would be a great experience. My husband and I went with a couple of friends, one of which had been to Les Halle and just LOVED it. The service wasn't bad - it was a Thursday night and there weren't a lot of other diners - but the food was horrible. I had French onion soup to start, but it was very greasy. I then had the Croque Messieur, which was also very greasy, the bread soggy, and the ham quite salty.

            I also have to mention my recent birthday lunch at Restaurant Eve in Alexandria. The service left a lot to be desired - it took a good 20 minutes for our soup to come out, she didn't leave our bottle of water on the table and we had to ask her to refill our glasses, she didn't offer salt or pepper (we had to request it), and when asked what the "Eve's Blend" coffee tasted like, she got a deer-in-headlights look and couldn't really explain it (I maybe a coffee snob, but I expect any restaurant that serves their own blend of coffee to educate their servers on the basic flavor profile of that coffee). The whole staff also seemed more concerned with replacing and ironing the table linens than serving us (there weren't that many diners - it was a Monday afternoon, post-lunch rush). I also have to mention the very strange hostess when we first arrived - she had no expression to her face! She looked like she'd just had botox and acted like a zombie!

            The food was mediocre - the soup lacked seasoning, and my husband's steak was overcooked. Unfortunately, he complained after he'd eaten the whole thing (we had been there long enough and he didn't want to wait even longer for them to cook another steak); but the manager started going on about how their steak is "grass-fed" and has a different flavor, which really riled my husband up ("I've had grass-fed steak and I know the difference - this was overcooked!" he said). Fortunately, we were comped for the steak, although I could tell the manager wasn't happy about it. As many excellent reviews that we read about Restaurant Eve, this was a huge disappointment, especially since I chose this place to have my birthday lunch.

            1. re: javachik

              In regards to the hostess, I know exactly what you are talking about. Except when I said I was going to sit in the bar she looked she was going to cry. Probably in pain from said botox.

              1. re: javachik

                Do restaurants usually comp something after a customer has eaten all of it?

            2. Am I the only one on this board who thinks Wok N Roll is good for some cheap sushi? Also, they deliver to chinatown, which is key for us.

              1 Reply
              1. re: KWynn

                For cheap, not very good sushi I like sushi-go-round (also in c-town) better than wok and roll. Not a fan of either though.

              2. I had a really bad experience at Notti Bianche with my boyfriend. It was Restaurant Week but I really don't think our experience had much to do with that. It had more to do with the fish dish I ordered that I probably should have sent back, but didn't know better. I'm fairly certain it was way past its due since fish should NOT smell like that. I poked at it, ate very little and was put off that type of fish for a very long time. A few days later when I thought more about it and was certain the fish had gone bad, I was just pissed that a chef would EVER send that out to a customer and that no one in the kitchen noticed its smell considering the 2 ladies at the table next to us certainly noticed it along with me and my bf. It was so disappointing considering Notti Bianche was touted by Tom Sietsema and lots of others at the time. We found the ambiance bizarre and the food not even worth the price for RW. The service was good though and there were some decent dishes. But I have yet to return.

                But even worst was my experience at i Ricchi. Our service was TERRIBLE! I was around 24 at the time of dining there with 2 friends and our waitress treated us like pions. I tried my best to let her know that I know food and had eaten at some of the best restaurants in DC (as much as you can show that without seeming obnoxious) but it was clear the minute she saw us she thought "Young kids not spending money....screw them." They practically rushed us out the door. They were rather unaccomidating and a little rude to 1 dining companion who had a few food allergies. The risotto was delicious but everything else put such a sour taste in my mouth I will never return.

                On top of all that, the pizza oven seemed to back fire or something, sending waves of smoke into the dining room. They set up a few fans, which made matters worst, especially for the poor folks that had to sit right next to the fans. I have yet to ever hear of a happy customer coming out of i Ricchi. I can't imagine why they are still open. Seems like the perfect spot for the 24 hour New York-style deli I keep dreaming about opening in Dupont :)

                1 Reply
                1. re: Elyssa

                  yeah, i had similar experience at i ricchi. plus, food was WAY overrated. never been back.

                2. The food was forgettable, but the service takes the prize for the worst in the history of Washington area dining - The Serbian Crown restaurant in Great Falls in the late 80's. I'm sure it's gotten better because it definitely couldn't have gotten worse. Never went back.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: HSBSteveM

                    Ditto. Same restaurant, Same timing, Same experience. Also, never went back.

                  2. Years ago, at New Heights. The service was the worst I have ever encountered. We waited forever to order wine. Then, we got our wine...and...nothing else...for 40 minutes. When we finally flagged down our server (who went MIA), she mumbled apologies and brought out huge bowls of potato soup (we were doing low-carbs at the time - so potato soup was nothing we wanted) to give us something to eat while waiting for appetizers. The appetizers arrived after an hour, when our wine was almost depleted. The entree came about 2 minutes after the appetizers. None of it was very good. The entire time we watched tables around us getting food in a reasonably normal fashion. We asked for our check as soon as we ate our entrees. We were really put off.

                    Right after we received the check I spotted who I thought was the manager and called him over. We very quietly voiced our concerns, and he looked at our check, replaced it on the table and said basically that he didn't believe us. He looked at the order time on the check and our empty bottle of wine and said, "you seem to have taken a normal amount of time for the meal. There doesn't seem to be a problem."

                    My second worst was at Cashion's. There was a huge delay in the arrival of our entree, which was explained by our waiter. OK, no problem. We had eaten our appetizers and had wine. He brought out some dish (which we didn't want...if restaurants are going to give you food to tide you over why don't they ASK what you'd like?) as a compensation. The entree finally arrived, and it was fine.

                    However, he then dropped the check almost as soon as the entrees arrived. No offer of coffee, of dessert, of an after-dinner drink...I waited, and waited...and decided to just give it up and pay. I left about a 12% tip, and then went to the bathroom. He stopped me as I was going into the bathroom asking if something was wrong since the tip was so low. I explained that we felt rushed to leave after waiting so long for the entree. I then said, "Why, you didn't ask us if we wanted dessert." When I got back from the loo, he had brought a bowl of vanilla ice cream to my SO. Nothing for me, of course...and SO is NOT a big fan of ice cream. It was just very bizarre. I've never been followed to the loo by a waiter, and never questioned about a tip (as usually we tip well because usually service is just fine). And in a place like Cashions, you expect a better dessert under any circumstances than plain vanilla ice cream. It had to be a server issue, as we've never had that kind of problem there before or since.

                    1. I've seen Wok 'n Roll everywhere. Is it actually a franchise? Even if it is, it's mostly a Chinese food franchise. I'm ethnically Chinese but I go out of my way not to eat sushi at anywhere but real Japanese restaurants.

                      As for real bad experiences around DC - I hate frou frou pizzas like the ones served at Pizza Paradiso.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Ericandblueboy

                        I think that Wok 'n Roll is just a pun that more than one restaurant has used for a name - in other words, not a franchise.

                        In general, I don't think that Chinese restaurants make the sushi rice correctly. However, one exception to the rule about not eating sushi in Chinese-owned restaurants might be Hiro Sushi, near White Flint Mall. I've never had the sushi there (have opted for the Japanese comfort food options such as omurice instead), but Japanese people I know like their sushi.

                      2. Indique Heights in Chevy Chase had to be about my most disappointing local experience in many years, I went with my wife & sister for a Christmas day dinner. Reviews had made it sound pretty good.
                        We made reservations pretty far in advance. We went into a pretty empty place, and they shoved us way back in a dark corner. When we asked for a better table, they moved us over a couple tables, but still not too nice. They then proceeded to ignore us. When we finally were served, the food was luke warm, small portions, and not very tasty. Never again!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: mdfoodlover

                          Indique in Cleveland Park was also a major let down for me and my bf. The service and everything was fine. But we found the food pretty mediocre and the prices high. Also the portions seemed fairly small. We were just ordering a few small plates/appetizer before a movie, but left disappointed. We decided we were sticking to Heritage after our meal at Indique.

                        2. I have two, both in Bethesda for restaurants that are long gone. At one, a seafood place, the waitress all but threw the plates down on the table. Food was spilled and drinks were sloshed, and no apology was offered. At the other, a Greek restaurant (which has since been replaced by a parade of other restaurants), my mother and I were soundly chastised when we didn't take our leftovers. The food had been fine and there was plenty left over--however, we weren't going home for several hours and it was very hot outside.

                          1. I consider myself lucky; for the most part the service I've gotten in DC for the last few years has been very, very good. This might be because I tend towards places that have good reputations, but whatever. Two that stick out:

                            1) Bobby Van's Grill - we were doing a pre-theater prix-fix before going over to see Jim Gaffigan. There were 2 or 3 giant (20+ people) parties that had been seated prior to us. I understand that in that situation the food will take a little longer to come out, and that's fine - I don't like being rushed anyways. However, that doesn't explain why it took an hour to even get our orders in, or why we weren't given utensils or menus or water for the first 15 minutes. Also, in those situations I really do expect the server to come by every once in a while and explain that the kitchen is backed up and the food is coming. Otherwise, you just feel forgotten about. To add insult to injury, my pork chops were bone dry, the sweet potato puree tasted like something Willy Wonka would've made and the apple pie had a very metallic aftertaste. At least Jim Gaffigan was funny!

                            2) Sonoma on the Hill - I really, really wanted to like this place. We sat outside in a patio that they had crammed so many tables into that I couldn't even get my chair out enough to sit down. The pasta dishes we ordered were terrible - the sauce on mine (squash blossom and goat cheese ravioli) tasted like it came out of a can. Who puts a red sauce on a dish with squash blossoms and goat cheese, anyways? Our waiter was a snotty little Hill Staffer wannabe, and the wine jelly on the cheese plate tasted like Franzia.

                            But, two glips out of the dozens of other great meals I've had in the last few years doesn't bother me, I just won't go back to those two.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: reiflame

                              I have to second Bobby Van's Grill - on the one hand, a group of us were there during RW, but on the other- isn't RW supposed to BRING IN new diners, and not completely turn people away?

                              Between an argument about which salad one friend had ordered (I mean, clearly there was a miscommunication, but during RW you only get 2 choices anyways, couldn't they have just brought her the other one?), and all of us that received what was called a filet mignon but definitely was not even close (again, I know it's RW, but if you call a cut of meat filet mignon, shouldn't I be getting what's on the menu??), hasty and reluctant service, I doubt I'd ever go back again for a regular meal.

                              And I couldn't even make up for the poor meal with a Jim Gaffigan show - lucky you, reiflame!! "hottttttttt pocket"

                              1. re: gyozagirl

                                After that meal I think I might have preferred a hot pocket!

                              2. re: reiflame

                                Re: #1

                                You should've had Hot Pockets! :) Love that Gaffigan!

                              3. Ours was at La Tomate in Dupont. It was a nice spring day in April last year and we wanted to sit outside and people watch. We got our table and we were practically sitting in plants - seemed as if they hadn't cut them yet or something - and had a lot of bugs crawling all over the place. We saw our waiter twice over 2 hours - yes, 2 hours, and not by choice. I had to ask the busboy for another glass of wine, for water, for more bread...he was the only person we saw. The food was so below average I would have rather eaten a can of spaghetti-o's. I tried to flag down a manager, but he was too busy schmoozing a table of important-looking people for over 45 minutes and couldn't care less. It was a combination of the worst food and worst service I've had in DC yet. I will never ever return and never recommend it to anyone.

                                Right up there though, is Hamburger Hamlet in Crystal City. It's a tie with La Tomate for worst really. I did a post on it not too long ago, so if you search you can read about all the non-gloriousness that it was.

                                1. Bebo Trattoria in Crystal City. My review here:


                                  I could have made pasty dough just as well in my own darn kitchen.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: link_930

                                    With the exception of the fine service, you are describing our experience at Central. Add on so much noise you couldn't have a convo without yelling. i wouldn't go back if they gave us a freebie.

                                    The worst ever in DC though, would be the little Indian place on CT in Woodley park, i forget the name unfortunately but we sat outside because there were enough other diners out there and we saw servers walking around so figured it would be ok. Well i wasn't. Serviced sucked. You almost had to beg for menus, more drink, etc. Then they served me a thali platter, which i normally love, and i could not eat it. I asked for MILD, and i even said "American mild" and i nearly had to ask for a fire extinguisher to put out the flames. Aside from the heat factor, each little dish was dried out, like it had sat out all day and then was blopped in into the little dishes when someone ordered it. I even ordered more raiti to sooth the heat and still couldn't eat it. i didn' t want to start over because by then i was queasy. Literally. Hubby was almost done w/ his food (he said it was marginal) and when the waiter FINALLY came back and commented on me not eating my food (i would have complained earlier IF he'd ever come back) i said "it was so spicy it made my stomach hurt" and he was like, "Do you want a box?" DUHHHHH! Hubby got the check and we scrammed. And no they didn't comp anything. It was really inexpensive so i didn't insist on kicking up a fuss (which i would have at a nicer place), and by this time i just wanted to get home and get rid of the evidence not to be nasty...but...

                                    Another funny bad experience, while not in DC was when we were at the Princeville resort in Kauai at their fine dining spot. Ate out on the balcony, watching the sun set over Bali Hai. THE most romantic setting i've ever seen. Menu was pacific rim. i ordered miso and just as the waitress came to serve it to me, she somehow tipped it the wrong way and send the entire bowl cascading down my arm, soaking my sweater and skirt of my sundress. Luckily it wasn't boiling hot, but it was hot nonetheless, and she was even more horrified than i was! She offered to have my clothes cleaned but we were leavign the next morning. They did comp my meal though which was proper comp i thought. And she was so contrite, and looked like she was going to cry, that i was comforting her!! The meal was fab BTW.

                                    1. re: link_930

                                      I completely agree. And the atrocious service is unbelievable! I ordered espresso with my dessert and they never brought the espresso. Odd very odd.

                                    2. Last June I made a reservation for my anniversary at Cafe Atlantico. The reservation was for 7:30. The subway was delayed so I knew we were running a little late. We ran from the metro stop to Cafe Atlantico. When we got there the hostess said they only hold reservations for 15 minutes and that we could wait in the bar area and they would seat us when they could. We waited in the crowded bar area for a few minutes. Then I got out my cell phone to see what time it was. It was 7:38. I then approached the hostess stand and politely pointed out that we had not been 15 minutes late, more like 5 minutes. She then curtly answered "well we go by our clock." and dismissed me back to the bar area. While this ridiculous answer was sinking in we looked around at the chaotic scene and decided to leave. We did end up having a nice meal at Oyamel.

                                      1. I don't even remember the name of the restaurant, or at least I've blocked it out. It was in Calverton, in a location that had been through a string of different restaurants - all bad ones. This iteration, it was a billiard place. We were a party of 21 people, and they managed to mess up every single order in some way. I ordered an appetizer of raw vegetables with dip, which was a good thing because the Reuben I ordered was totally inedible. I fought through one bite, then handed the plate back to the waitress and said, 'I'm not going to pay for this.'. That was the first time in my life I ever did that. Afterwards, everybody said that their meals were awful in some way, but I was the only one who sent it back.
                                        That place is gone now, and I don't know what is in its place.

                                        1. holy crap, La Tasca — Arlington. 2 hours wait WITH a reservation that we didn't even get the opentable points for using. teeny-tiny shrimp, overpriced, never even got my water glass refilled. WORST EVER.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: littlew1ng

                                            If this happened recently you should contact Open Table and let them know you didn't get your points. This happened to me once and they fixed the problem.

                                          2. I love the food at Dukem but I'm with you on the service. Disappearing waitresses, broken glasses serving water, etc.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: bylinemjf

                                              I used to live around the corner and would get take out from Dukem once or twice a week. There were two people who worked the cash register, a man and a woman. If the woman was there our food took about 20 minutes and was OK, if the man was there our food took about 10 minutes and was great. For whatever reason the cooks would use more butter & spices if the man put our order in. After this happened about 10 times I quit going in there unless the man was behind the counter.

                                            2. My last experience at Brasserie Beck -- and the lead up to it and the squabble with the reservationist afterward -- guarentees that I will never set foot in that restaurant again. A large group of us booked the chef's table the restaurant advertises on its menu. After numerous emails between myself and the reservationist, and in turn myself and the eight other people dining with us, we set up the table. Unlike other chef's table experiences I've had, this one was boiled down to merely a large table shoved in an alcove by the kitchen. What do you get for pre-booking the table, laying down a deposit, and signing a contract swearing that you will show up on the appointed night? Nothing that you couldn't get on the regular menu. Our group was offered the chance to experience the chef's tasting menu -- a collection largely made up of dishes in the regular menu -- or dine ala carte. Mind you, this was a choice we had to make as a group. Either we all selected the tasting menu, which didn't include Beck's raw bar (arguably, it's best items), or we all selected to dine ala carte. Once we got to the restaurant, we quickly discovered our waiter was not our own. This led to a few members of the group waited up to 45 minutes for their first drink. Again, the chef's table is in front of Beck's open kitchen (four feet max). This gave half the group the opprtunity to stare at the back of the executive chef's head all night (the other half of the group got to stare out the window). At no point did anyone from the kitchen come over to the table. Not once. Not to say hello. Not to say goodbye. Nothing. The icing on this miserable cake came when the restaurant sent us a gift certificate after my wife wrote them a letter detailing our expereince. Despite telling the restaurant that we didn't want a gift certificate, the reservationist who called (not the manager) insisted we accept the $100 gift certificate and call her when we wanted to come back. When the gift certificate arrived, it was for $50 and stated quite clearly that it could not be used on a weekend. I tore it up.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: FlaHopper

                                                Waited for a drink at the bar at Beck's for 20 min. Left. No drink. Never Return

                                              2. Not the worst meal by far, but certainly the most disappointing - Morton's in G'Town for our anniversary. Was served a lukewarm, raw baked potato (their specialty, right?) when I sent it back they said it would be at least 20 minutes for a new potato and asked if I wanted something while I waited. They brought me the hash brown/potato pancake/whatever they call it. Never got the baked potato, but got both the baked potato and the hash browns on the bill.

                                                Funny thing was, Tony Kukoc (the basketball player) was sitting across from us and was served what seemed like a cooked potato between the time I sent mine back and got the hash browns.

                                                Steak was fine, but I'll go elsewhere for the rest of my life...Plenty of options in that category.

                                                1. The fortunately defunct Planet Hollywood. Overcooked salt burger with undercooked cold salt fries, flat soda in a dirty glass, served by an absentee idiot while you're surrounded by deafening televisions and crazy crap on the walls. All for the bargain price of $35.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                    why did you even go to planet hollywood? i remember living in chicago, in river north there was a planet hollywood and a rainforest cafe in more or less the same place. never bothered with either.

                                                    1. re: aaronsinger

                                                      Out-of-town visitors who thought it "might be fun." Yeah, and monkeys MIGHT fly out of my rear, but that's not where the smart money is.

                                                      Come to think of it, Hard Rock Cafe's burgers were terribly salty and I almost went just as deaf, yet they manage to stay in business somehow. Maybe they get their burgers from the same salt mine?

                                                  2. Not to sound nit-picky, but I think it would be better to define what is a "meal experience". Some talk about food, some talk about service...I just think it would be better, just so everybody is on the same proverbial "page". But for me, my choices would be: (1) Sala Thai (I went to the Ashburn branch), (2) Bebo Trattoria (That damn Ceasar Salad...what the hell?), and (3) Sichuan Village (Why the Washingtonian Magazine constantly puts this in their Top Cheap Eats issue, is beyond me). That's purely on food.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: marcbjohnson

                                                      I'd be curious to hear about your experience at Sichuan Village. I've only been once but thought it was fine. I prefer the other places over SV (such as HKP, China Star, Joes), but I thought it was good enough to return.

                                                      1. re: Dennis S

                                                        I'm curious too - I recall I didn't walk in looking like much of a customer (fat anglo guy on a walker, dressed in what looks like a clown suit ... yes, you read that right) but on 3 weekend lunch visits I had personal advice from the cashier and an old Asian lady in the corner, and 3 authentic Sichuan dishes that sent me straight to heaven (the last one taught me to appreciate tofu for the first time, because its blandness was a blessed relief from the awesomely hot sauce!)

                                                    2. Our worst DC meal experience (and among the worst ever) was at Mie N Yu in Georgetown a few years ago. We were ignored for ages, when the waiter finally arrived he was condescending. I think I had tuna - mediocre at best - and the asparagus side was practically raw. Everything was overpriced for the quality. I guess you're paying for the atmosphere - I thought the trip to the bathroom (cool sinks, as I recall) was the highlight of the meal.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: AllyA

                                                        Ah, Mie N Yu is one of the top on my list as well. Two years ago, there for brunch with friends. Got carded with every drink we ordered, an "are you sure? that dish is x dollars" when ordering. Server was snooty and kept calling me "hun" and "sweetheart." BEST way to lose my business, though my friend was too much of a gentleman to leave less than 20%. Grr.

                                                      2. Worst meal experience I've had in DC had to be La Tomate in Dupont Circle. Never been to the place but have noticed it is always filled with tourists and the like. Was in the neighborhood and wanted to sit outside with some coworkers for lunch. Food was outstandingly horrible and service nearly as good. The terrible, bland caprese salad (hint La Tomate - don't refrigerate tomatoes) and the plate of proscuitto that tasted like it came out of a package from Safeway a few weeks ago may have been a hint. But the entrees wont it over, a terrible tiny portion of manicotti with a bland ricotta filling and a tasteless steak. Even the one person I was with who eats anything and finds McDonalds to be a culinary adventure noted "this is bad."

                                                        1. I've definitely had some weird ones here.

                                                          --Japone in Dupont--odd use of mayonnaise and very empty
                                                          --Capitol City Brewing Co.--pretty horrible crab cakes
                                                          --Banana Cafe--hard-boiled eggs in eggs benedict!

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: Xulegirl

                                                            The worst plate of food I've had here was pad thai at Thai Chili (Gallery Place). Really bland/sweet/American -- with broccoli and carrots in it. It was completely inedible. I spoke with the manager and, to the restaurant's credit, he was nice about it and took it off my bill. It can be argued though, that anyone foolish enough to order pad thai in the U.S. gets what he deserves! I should have known better...

                                                            1. re: woodleyparkhound

                                                              woodleyparknound, don't you think it is too big a stretch to go from one very bad "pad thai at Thai Chili " to saying:

                                                              "anyone foolish enough to order pad thai in the U.S. gets what he deserves"?

                                                          2. 1) Cafe Barden's use of tomato sauce in their Etouffe - the service was great though, just a bad decision to stick with a minority view on what goes into Etouffe. The dessert was great though.

                                                            2) Belga's - wait at the bar...and wait...and wait. (ended up going back, and it was okay).

                                                            3) Brasserie Beck's super rude and condescending waiter.

                                                            4) Some restaurant on U-Street close to where Roha/Dukem is - walk in and wait to be seated, and absolutely no eye contact or acknowledge from every person on staff. I was this close ->||<- to breaking a lot of plates.

                                                            5) The waiter @ Oceannaire who decided he could put a bib on my date, without asking her. *stunned silence*

                                                            1 year and 4 months, My main complaints about DC's restaurants

                                                            - Service - Northern charm and Southern efficiency. Slow, non-attentive wait staff. And the businesses never plan their lay outs. (shout to Potbelly, they know how to move a crowd through)

                                                            The dude @ the Good Stuff Eatery has a mural that mocks Ray Kroc, but apparently thinks it's perfectly okay to wait 30 minutes to ORDER, and then another 15 or so to get your food. I guess Hill staffers have 2 hours to get to and from lunch.

                                                            Best waitress i've had, was a young lady from FL serving @ Ceiba. Attentive, pleasant. She wasn't doing me a favor by doing her job. I think I gave her 33%. (up from my usual 20)

                                                            - Cost to satisfaction ratio. I"ve spent a little (the Wharf/Yum's) and i've spent a lot (Oceanaire), but for the most part, I never feel like I get my money's worth. I've got 6 go to restaurants.

                                                            DC deserves good restaurants. And that means more than just having Moules et Frites on the menu, artisanal frozen custard, or a decor designed by Varvatos and IM Pei.

                                                            I never ran into a dysfunctional food culture like this in Dallas, Austin, Houston, New Orleans, LA, NYC or Chicago.

                                                            1. AL Tiramisu. We had reservations (which they admitted to) but no table, then sat us us a table in the tiny bar while our *reserved* table by the fireplace was given to a walk in. Took 20 minutes to bring water, and then another 20 to place an appetizer order. The crowded bar grew unbearable and then even worse when the an incoherant drunk (likely intoxicated from having to wait at the bar for so long for a table) spilled an entire glass of red wine down my back. Then, as we were walking out - me dripping wine - they asked us if we were going to pay for the appetizers that never came. I will NEVER, NEVER go back there.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: scotcheroo

                                                                scotcheroo, that whole episode is maddeningly appalling! i need to start making a list of these horrible places.

                                                                i have to say in your situation, i would've raised hell and/or walked out when they gave me a table in the bar, then gave my reserved table to a walk-in! grrrr.

                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                  Yes is was bad. I'm still obviously scarred. However, it was my birthday and the day was saved when afterward we went to Tosca - reservationless - and they treated us like absolute royalty. It's now my favorite place.

                                                              2. Oh here's another unfortunate one: Farrah Olivia. The food was divine but the atrocious server made me feel as if I wasn't good enough to dine there. Talking down to someone who will leve you a tip is a big no no. I even wrote a letter to the manager and never heard back. We will take our business elsewhere thank you.