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Enough of the praise ... what's the 5 WORST of LA?

  • i

Based on quality/quantity/service/decor and just overall lack of chowhound-ness, here's my slate of 5 worst for los angeless.

From worst to worstest ...

1. Crustacean
2. Chi
3. Mr. Chow
4. Madre's
5. Asia de Cuba

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  1. Good list--can we sub Xiomara and Enoteca Drago?

    1. ipse, tell me about chi? Just saw it featured in the LA Times rest mag and was thinking of trying--at least for a drink...

      1. I'm fortunate enough to have gone to only one of those you listed. Unfortunately, it's your #1 choice for "worstest".

        Link: http://elmomonster.blogspot.com

        1. Trader Vic's - now under the control of Merv Griffin's Hilton food & beverage people who clearly never went to a Trader Vic's restaurant in their lives. The old wait staff is bluntly, unmistakably, ashamed at what is coming out of the kitchen. Only the bartender seems to be able to deliver a smidgen of what the old Vic's was like. A totally necedless self-inflected corporate suicide.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Kim

            Merv sold the hotel a year ago!

            1. re: Kim

              Completely agree about Trader Vic's, hadn't been for years and when I walked in immediately smelled the grease from 40 Years ago and the food tasted like it. I think Merv Griffin sold the Hilton a while back so no longer can be blamed for serving crap.

            2. Border Grill is on my list.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Xericx

                Border Grill is on my list too = I still have the headache I got last time I was there because the acoustics are so appaling. Together with the food. Ugh.

                La Serenata, Pico WLA branch is a horrible translation of the one downtown - portions so small we left hungry and condesending service.

                La Bruschetta in Westwood used to be marvellous but this has hit rock bottom in food and service. Won't go back there and was a client for years.

                1. re: Zoe

                  Ciudad as well. Sloppy, cold food served by punk ass, do nothing servers in a nasty outdoor setting. I may have caught them on a bad night - ate there 2x previous and it was so.so. - but NOBODY gets a second shot after that. Ruined a really nice birthday night out.

              2. Can't list Mr. Chow without including its partner in crime, EuroChow.

                1 Reply
                1. re: PlonkMan

                  Yes, and Eurochow should get a special award for its descent. Remember going there about 1 year after it opened and really liked it...took a group of 8 there last year and was very embarassed to have chosen the place :-(

                2. r
                  rabo encendido

                  1. Sushi Roku
                  2. Sushi Roku
                  3. Sushi Roku
                  4. Sushi Roku
                  5. El Coyote (at least their margies get you drunk)

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: rabo encendido

                    You need to be drunk to eat the food at El Coyote.

                    1. Jerry's Deli - any branch

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: LBQT

                        I could not agree anymore...

                        --Dommy!

                        1. re: Dommy!

                          No no, that Deli near the Northridge Mall makes Jerry's look fabulous...Abe's

                          1. re: Diana
                            t
                            Tha Groovin' Gourmet

                            You're in Northridge and you don't go to Brent's Deli???

                            Far and away the best deli in all of SoCal.

                            And I agree about Jerry's being awful. I was a Solley's fan until
                            my (now) wife introduced me to Brent's. Not long after that
                            Jerry's bought Solley's and dragged it right down the tubes.

                        2. re: LBQT

                          Such a nice menu, such gawdawful food and service.

                          1. re: LBQT

                            A discrace to matzo ball soup everywhere and potato latkes everywhere. Uch...gross!

                          2. Dona Rosa
                            Gladstone's Malibu

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: WildSwede
                              j
                              Jake by the Lake

                              I second Gladstone's. Terrible food and outrageous prices.

                              1. re: Jake by the Lake

                                Getting your leftovers in the shape of a swan doesn't help?

                                1. re: EliseT

                                  Oh God, I forgot about that... I felt like such an idiot walking around with a swan.

                              2. re: WildSwede

                                Dude!
                                Dona Rosa. Definitely. I have given that place four tries. They have NEVER gotten an order right. They seem to be snickering behind the counter. They are rude. Their salsas are ok but what was that black sauce they put on my mojado burrito? THey insisted it was green.

                                1. re: WildSwede

                                  Gladstones:

                                  I agree wiwth the prices, but the view is so great and it's a fanily affair once a year for 25 yrs. A walk on the beach after every meal. Tell the story of how Daddy met Mommy.

                                  The whitefish with a parmesan crust is good. We copied it, so we have it at home whenever.

                                2. This may get me in trouble with some on here, but my five worst dining experiences, in no particular order, have been at (and keep in mind I mean food combined with service and value):

                                  Tama

                                  Giesha House

                                  Barney's Beanery West Hollywood (clean the dang beer lines, please!)

                                  Pit Fire Pizza, North Hollywood (tastes EXACTLY like the little Weight Watcher's personal pizzas, at twice the price.)

                                  Sweet Lady Jane (the balding counter guy was jerk and made me cry by being openly hostile and cruel on Valentine's Day, Jane, who is married to him, I guess, was generally blase about it, I didn't get any cake, and the coffee was horrendous. They made us pay, even after the counter guy attacked me a second time and made un of me in front of everyone for crying. I got my dessert...from Gelson's in West Hollywood, where a guy there opened up the long-closed bakery section to get me whatever I wanted, and did it with a smile on his face and a "happy Valentine's Day".)

                                  8 Replies
                                  1. re: Diana

                                    Barney's does suck, and Tama will sometimes disappoint.

                                    1. re: Diana

                                      Have to disagree on Tama, I go there at least 2-3 times a month and I have never had a bad meal. Good fresh fish, nice specials, friendly service, nice room and ambiance (no ear-splitting noise like Katsu-ya).

                                      1. re: markn

                                        True about the quieter atmosphere..but the fish for me at omakase was only -"eh"-, the service was lousy and the chef ignored me and acted bored that I, a non-regular, was wasting his "great talent".

                                        For what I paid, I felt VERY cheated. I've had better sashimi for a better price served with better attitude.

                                        To each their own.

                                      2. re: Diana

                                        Author, author! Pit Fire Pizza is incredible - in its lame-ness. Who would have thought that dough, cheese and tomato sauce could be this bad?
                                        And re: Tama, in the sushi-riffic Valley, Tama is just not all that special. Seemingly every hound says you need to do omakase at the sushi bar in front of the right sushi chef to get Tama. Anyplace with all those caveats is not worth my hard earned sushi dollars.

                                        1. re: c-bo

                                          There aren't that many caveats...omakase is not expensive and I've never seen the bar crowded (more likely, it's all but deserted.) The problem is that it's not all that amazing. (But its inclusion in this thread isn't fair.)

                                        2. re: Diana

                                          What a shame about pitfire. When it first opened -and they actually grilled the pizza crust- it was really good.

                                          1. re: Diana

                                            Agree on Sweet Lady Jane.

                                            We walked out due to poor, no, actually NO service.

                                            1. re: Diana

                                              I'd actually like to hear the full story on this Sweet Lady Jane/Valentine's day experience! Sounds postively awful.

                                            2. Swill Hut

                                              1. The Viceroy (Just about the worst service around).

                                                Fat Fish (Such a joke).

                                                Blow Fish (I found a huge fish bone in some $15 sushi).

                                                Lincoln Steakhouse (Rip off).

                                                Izzy's Deli (Oy vey. Unequivocally the worst.)

                                                6 Replies
                                                1. re: Frank

                                                  Oy, I forgot about Izzy's Deli. It's a shanda (disgrace)!!!

                                                  1. re: LBQT
                                                    d
                                                    Das Ubergeek

                                                    It's worse than that. It's a shanda far di goyim -- honestly, bacon cheeseburgers?!

                                                  2. re: Frank

                                                    Izzy's...so bad it's a conundrum. How can it possibly be SO BAD??

                                                    1. re: LT from LF

                                                      Izzy and Mr. Chow seem to be taking the consensus cake...

                                                      1. re: Adsvino
                                                        d
                                                        Das Ubergeek

                                                        What kills me is that Fromin's is FOUR BLOCKS DOWN THE STREET and still people go to Izzy's.

                                                        Not that Fromin's is Brent's, but it's a damn sight better than Izzy's.

                                                        1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                          <<<Not that Fromin's is Brent's, but it's a damn sight better than Izzy's.

                                                          Never had a problem w/Fromin's.... Especially over Izzy's. Matso ball soup there is actually decent.

                                                  3. From bad to worst:

                                                    1) Katana
                                                    2) White Lotus
                                                    3) La Terza
                                                    4) The Ivy
                                                    5) Asia de Cuba

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: davesch7

                                                      Totally agree about Ivy, but La Terza? No way. What on earth did you have there that would result in that determination?

                                                    2. I tried to not recreate the lists already posted, but some of the entries bear repeating due to their sublime awful-ness

                                                      (in no particular order)

                                                      1. Cole's

                                                      2. Gladstone's

                                                      3. Jerry's Deli (any)

                                                      4. El Coyote

                                                      5. Fatty's (food is a 9, service is a negative-9 and I refuse to reward malicious rudeness by even considering keeping it off this list just because I like the food)

                                                      1. I'll come back to this, but one word: Sasabune.

                                                        1. 1) Bistro 45 - absolutely the most disappointing dining experience I've had in California.
                                                          Disinterested service, cold Lobster bisque (that is the only dish I remember!), and the much-heralded patio, closed (it was July)!
                                                          2) Spark Woodfire - Loud, with bad food and bad service, too boot. They were out of my first choice entree, the waiter steered me towards the mixed grill. Each of the various types of meat was so tough and overdone that I thought about heading home for a hacksaw. And the portions make the Cheesecake Factory's plates seem parsimonious.
                                                          3) Max - weird waiter, ribs that tasted like the ones at the airport Chili's and rotting mesclun salad, yum, yum!
                                                          4) White Lotus - fusion gone way wrong served with heaps of attitude.
                                                          5) Senor Fred - it can either be delicious or really mediocre, do you feel lucky?

                                                          I would mention Wine Bistro but I hear they have a new chef and things are looking and tasting better than when I last visited.

                                                          1. 1. Crustacean (This takes the cake for WORST)
                                                            2. Eurochow (Followed VERY closely to the one above)
                                                            3. Mr.Chow's (At least you get to see all kinds of famous people here!)
                                                            4. Zen Grill (it WAS in Westwood. I think it switched ownership within the last two or three weeks. Went out of business for a good reason, but at least they don't try to rip you off like the ones listed above!)
                                                            5. McDonald's (I'd rather eat here any day than at the ones listed above)

                                                            1. d
                                                              Das Ubergeek

                                                              I have so many I have to split them into chain and non-chain...

                                                              CHAIN:
                                                              5. Houston's
                                                              4. Jerry's Deli
                                                              3. Pit Fire Pizza
                                                              2. Marie Callender's
                                                              1. Cheesecake Factory

                                                              NON-CHAIN:
                                                              5. Red Moon Cafe or Junior's Deli (tie)
                                                              4. Juliano's Raw
                                                              3. Casa Escobar
                                                              2. Ivy/Ivy at the Shore
                                                              1. Eurochow

                                                              21 Replies
                                                              1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                                Houstons? You've got to be kidding...

                                                                1. re: gj
                                                                  d
                                                                  Das Ubergeek

                                                                  The steak's okay but the service is absolutely horrendous (the one in Century City). Last time we went (which was the last time period) we sat for half an hour with no menus and no drinks before we left.

                                                                  When we left they couldn't understand why.

                                                                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                                    Bad service on one visit and it's the worst chain restaurant in the city? Worse than Wendy's? Olive Garden? Yoshinoya? Acapulco??? Come on.

                                                                    I think it's one of the best-run chains in town.

                                                                    1. re: Ted

                                                                      Houston's is my favorite chain in America!!!
                                                                      I have eaten in that Century City unit too many times to count, and the service has always been exemplary as has the food and wine, compared to the market they are trying to cater to.
                                                                      Based on your list, you would rather opt for Olive Garden, McDonald's, or Swill Hut and Taco Hell than Cheesecake Factory?! Better you than me!

                                                                      1. re: carter

                                                                        Houston's is the best chain anywhere. There's no competition. There are other chains where I'll eat particular items, like Fatburger and even McDonald's if I'm in an airport, but Houston's is a real restaurant.

                                                                        1. re: joe
                                                                          d
                                                                          Das Ubergeek

                                                                          Reasonable people may disagree. Certainly it was not one experience that was bad... back in the Atkins days Mrs. Ubergeek and I ate there quite often and I just can't abide it.

                                                                          I would, actually, rather eat at Olive Garden or Chili's than Houston's, because I get the soup, salad and breadsticks at OG and the burger at Chili's -- and nothing else, and at least the service is friendly. McDonalds, Wendy's, etc. weren't considered because they're not really LA chains. The ones I named are mostly LA (though CF has started to sprout everywhere, unfortunately).

                                                                          It takes a LOT for me to leave a restaurant -- and I don't usually forget. That's actually why I can't vote for Crustacean -- I've never actually eaten there, because between them "losing" our reservation and then forgetting that we were waiting for the next available, we walked out and went and had sandwiches at Nate 'N Al's instead.

                                                                          If it were based on one particular outpost of a chain, though, the Studio City CPK would kick Houston's off that list... my God.

                                                                          1. re: Das Ubergeek
                                                                            d
                                                                            Das Ubergeek

                                                                            (replying to myself... how schizo of me...)

                                                                            coffeebeast, however, reminded me that one restaurant deserves a spot on the horrid-chains-with-outposts-in-LA list... the Stinking Rose.

                                                                            *twitch*

                                                                            That was the place where I stupidly ordered rabbit and literally could not get the meat off the bones it was so dried-out and tough.

                                                                            1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                                              Every one of the names on your list is nationwide in scope, not anything resembling LA-focused. Olive Garden and Chili's have units outside of America. To me, Olive garden is truly spaghetti-O's on casters - absolutely abysmal on a good day.
                                                                              Cheesecake has been nationwide for over 10 years!
                                                                              Go to some of the web sites of some of these chains to realize the scope of their operations. They are growing like weeds in the spring!

                                                                              1. re: carter

                                                                                Don't dis the Spaghetti-Os -- much stronger than anything at Olive Garden. Clarification, referring only to Spaghetti-os w/ meatballs. Spag. w/ hot dog = just as bad as the Garden.

                                                                              2. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                                                I do not agree. We love Houston's and have never been disappointed. Come on, they are the best run chain restaurant chain in the US.

                                                                                1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                                                  There is a disconnect between your eating at a place quite often and not being able to abide it.

                                                                                  I like Bandera even better, but I love Houston's.

                                                                          2. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                                            I, too, once had to wait for 15 minutes without any service at the CC Houston's. I got up, told the manager I was leaving and why. He begged me to stay, and told me that if I did, the meal was on the house.

                                                                            I took him up on his offer - had a great meal.

                                                                            Houstons (and sisters Gulfstream & Bandera) have perhaps the best customer service I've seen in ANY restaurant. If anything is wrong, they will go the extra mile to make up for it and earn your business.

                                                                            Service lapses happen everywhere - it's how they're handled that make the difference. It sounds to me, from reading your post, that you didn't tell the manager why you left. It's a large, dark restaurant - no way management would have any idea why you'ld be leaving unless you told them.

                                                                            Coachboy

                                                                            1. re: Coachboy
                                                                              d
                                                                              Das Ubergeek

                                                                              We told the front desk on the way out, no idea if it was passed along... but it was 8:30 at night and we were starving hungry and pissed off, so we didn't stick around to make sure the manager found out.

                                                                              I've never had a bad experience at Bandera, though... always been seated promptly, even on New Year's Eve when they were jammed full, and their lamb chops are terrific.

                                                                              Maybe we can try the Houston's in SM and see if the service is better. I still can't bring myself to go to the one in CC.

                                                                          3. re: gj
                                                                            b
                                                                            Bobbie Dooley

                                                                            puh-lease! who doesn't like houstons. Some non-chain, supposedly high-end restaurants have a thing or two to learn from houstons - i.e., consistency, exactness and efficiency. Sure, their food is basic, but basic is better if you do it best!!

                                                                          4. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                                            i'm so glad i'm not alone in thinking red moon sucked (i'm actually wondering how they got more than 2 people in there).

                                                                            1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                                              Hey Ubergeek, I've respected your opinion on this post in the past but, how can U put Cheesecake Factory on your list? What's not to like besides the service is sometimes hit or miss but, I think the food there for the most part is alot better than most chains. Not to mention their desserts. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I guess. Including you. Just a little surprised.

                                                                              1. re: Ollie

                                                                                Most of the food is overdesigned, it's almost always too salty, the waits are always interminable, and the real killer is the noise level... the only restaurant I've ever been in that's louder than the CF in Newport Beach is Border Grill in Santa Monica, and at least the food was good there. Since I have a significant hearing loss that manifests itself most prominently when there's a lot of background noise, it's like dining in a subway car full of mimes -- lots of white noise and gesturing. I'm willing to put up with it occasionally for good food, but not for mediocre chain food.

                                                                                As for their cheesecake -- my uncle ran a cheesecake shop in New Jersey, and CF's cheesecake doesn't even register on that scale. Is it good if you're used to Krusteaz-type "cheesecake" out of a box? Yes. Is it good cheesecake? Not really.

                                                                                (I also don't like flavoured cheesecakes so much, so the only thing I ever get is plain... perhaps the mocha almond fudgesicle thing masquerading as cheesecake is a good rendition of mocha almond fudgesicle things masquerading as cheesecakes.)

                                                                                I do have to revise my opinion of Houston's, though -- the one in Century City has improved dramatically since my post over a year ago. I was really pleasantly surprised, especially the part where the prices haven't risen.

                                                                                We had had increasingly bad experiences at Houston's which caused us eventually not to want to put up with it. Happily, they seem to have got past the service issues we were having. I still wouldn't pick it as a destination, but I won't bitch about it when people want to go.

                                                                                1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                                                  Cheesecake Factory Cheesecake simply sucks. It's too light and airy, the flavor is wack, and putting ridiculous flavors in a cheesecake simply can't cover up the lack of cheesecake-making skill.

                                                                                  Horrible Cheesecake.

                                                                              2. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                                                Wow. Junior's the worst? I don't know about their other stuff, but I rate their pastrami sandwich above Langer's, and on a par with Katz's in NYC. YMMV.

                                                                                1. re: Steve Green

                                                                                  Agreed, my mileage is varying here... This is an old thread and I haven't been to Junior's in a very long time, since I don't live on the Westside and very, very rarely need to go to the Westside. I don't quite "get" Langer's -- it's good pastrami, but a deli needs to be so much more than a pastrami sandwich that I don't usually want to go over the hill just to get that sandwich... and I don't think I've been to Katz's in NYC.

                                                                                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                                                    Ah. To me, a deli _is_ their pastrami sandwich, pretty much. Although Langer's bread is excellent, the meat itself doesn't hold a candle to Junior's, IMO. I sure agree with you about the cheesecake at C.F., though. One would think that with a name like Cheesecake Factory, the cheesecake should at least be pretty good, but it's lousy in my experience. Entrees are fair.

                                                                              3. Ivy (tacky on so many levels and food is so mediocre considering price$)
                                                                                Campanile (what is the big deal with this place anyway? It always smells like something is burning in the kitchen)
                                                                                Violet (small menu, tiny portions of unremarkable food, what a joke)
                                                                                Peppone (yuck)
                                                                                Lares (Hello Lares, El Torito called and they want their food back)

                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Clem
                                                                                  d
                                                                                  Das Ubergeek

                                                                                  At Lares you have to know what to order... mmm, chile verde burrito, mmmm potato tacos.

                                                                                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                                                    "At Lares you have to know what to order"

                                                                                    One can say the exact same thing about the restaurants on your list:

                                                                                    Cheesecake Factory does have a great burger, Houston's has more fans here than non, and although I rarely go to either, rhere are even things at Jerry's and Junior's that are okay.

                                                                                    As for Jerry's prominent display on this list, IMHO, the problem with Jerry's isn't that the food is bad, as much as the place just lacks soul.

                                                                                    1. re: Briggs

                                                                                      I've been to Jerry's more than I care to admit (My friends and I keep late nights) and pretty much EVERYTHING I've tried at Jerry's was awful or just barely 'okay'. But my main issue with Jerry's is that for that awful food, they charge SO much. I get a half sandwich and a beer (To wash the taste away) and never get it out for less than 20 bucks!

                                                                                      --Dommy!

                                                                                      1. re: Dommy!

                                                                                        I totally agree. I keep going back because friends insist. Even coffee is expensive, because YOU try to get a refill out of them - it could take an hour.

                                                                                2. l
                                                                                  Lickety Split

                                                                                  1. Cinch
                                                                                  2. Izzy's Deli
                                                                                  3. Jerry's Deli
                                                                                  4. Gladstone's

                                                                                  1. The absolute worst BBQ & dining experience we've ever had was at JAKES ROADHOUSE in Monrovia. I can't think of 4 more at this time because JAKES ROADHOUSE was so overwhelmingly horrible. I'll the other 4 later.

                                                                                    1. 1. C2 aka Swill Hut (TM JudiAU)
                                                                                      2. Ivy at the Shore (though I admit it wouldn't be on this list if the prices were anywhere in the range of reasonable)
                                                                                      3. Wokcano (Century City version. Bad food and the decor is best described at mid-20th century Bar Mitzvah.)
                                                                                      4. Jerry's/Solly's Deli (I miss the real Solly's)
                                                                                      5. Chilis/Olive Garden/Applebys/Macaroni Grill/P.F. Changs (all have big places in Hell's shopping center)

                                                                                      Dishonorable mention goes to Bobby Loco's Baja Grill, turly the worst restaurant I ever made the mistake of entering. It's not number one on this solely because it did us the great service of going out of business.

                                                                                      1. The Stinking Rose was horrible. No desire to try it again.

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: coffeebeast
                                                                                          d
                                                                                          Das Ubergeek

                                                                                          Yikes, yeah, I'd forgotten about that. And it's a CHAIN godhelpusall, they inflict that crap on people in various cities!

                                                                                          It's total chaloshes.

                                                                                        2. a
                                                                                          AroundLAin80Days

                                                                                          Oh my God, reading the answers to this posting is the most fun I have had in ages.

                                                                                          I have gone to a number of Chinese fast food places with food that makes me head straight for the Pepto-Bismol, and they seem that much worse when you consider how many great Asian restaurants there are in the L.A. area. Feh.

                                                                                          1. d
                                                                                            David The Diner

                                                                                            From Worst to Worst. It doesn't matter. They all suck.

                                                                                            1. Iroha or Sushi Dan (on Ventura. Shame on them.)
                                                                                            2. Jerry's Deli
                                                                                            3. Lamplighter (in Van Nuys)
                                                                                            4. Lancer's (in Burbank)
                                                                                            5. Bistro Gardens (for the money anyway. Good at 1/4 the price.)

                                                                                            10 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: David The Diner
                                                                                              d
                                                                                              Das Ubergeek

                                                                                              I debated putting Sushi Dan on the list. Never been to Iroha. The Lamplighter in North Hollywood isn't as bad as the one in Van Nuys, but there are better places to eat (for example, the Tallyrand).

                                                                                              Never been to Lancer's but I pass by it every day. Now I know to stay away.

                                                                                              1. re: Das Ubergeek
                                                                                                d
                                                                                                David The Diner

                                                                                                Sushi Dan -- My wife and I ate some of the worst $12 a piece Toro ever. It was tough, stringy, and did not taste fresh. The entire time I was paying the bill and leaving I was loudly saying "shame on you" to the sushi chef. A new all time low for my behavior in a restaurant.

                                                                                                Lancers -- My wife and I ate a few bites of a meal, paid, left, and ate at McDonalds down the street. The food tasted like the blue paste build-up on brillo pads. Unbelievable.

                                                                                                Iroha, now known as I"NO"ha. Just bad.

                                                                                                1. re: David The Diner

                                                                                                  Many years ago we used to go to Iroha almost every Friday night. They did the most lucious salmon skin hand roll, and the albacore and yellowtail were reliably excellent. Then our favorite sushi chef left (George, IIRC), and Iroha was sold. We tried it once or twice some time afterwards and were horribly disappointed with slapdash preparation and much lower quality fish. Also, the chefs seemed really unhappy, not a good thing. Sad. But the little parking lot is packed with fancy-schmancy cars, so someone is eating there.

                                                                                              2. re: David The Diner

                                                                                                Jerry's - about 10 locations, about two hundred menu items, all of which manage to taste remarkably the same.

                                                                                                You might as well just save time and eat the menu.

                                                                                                1. re: David The Diner

                                                                                                  Lancer's has a decent breakfast. Of course, I guess you could say that of most horrible diners. The clientele always look like Ralph Steadman drawings. Has anyone ever gone into their "lounge"???

                                                                                                  1. re: EliseT

                                                                                                    Ralph Steadman -- That is hilarious!

                                                                                                    I've only been there a few times. The food that tasted like the blue paste build-up on brillo pads was breakfast and that was the last time I ever ate there. I laugh everytime I drive by.

                                                                                                    1. re: David The Diner

                                                                                                      I drive past Lancers every day on the way to work and every day I think of the ghastly reviews it's gotten on this board.

                                                                                                      Now, if only the Tallyrand hadn't sped up its slippage into the chow-twilight... it used to be really good for what it did well, which was turkey dinners and pie, and now the gravy's out of a can and the turkey tastes like heated-up deli meat.

                                                                                                      1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                                                                        I moved to Burbank 3 years ago and I am miserable. Everything is a chain! I would hate to have to move just because the restaurants out here suck so much. Anyways, I don;t mean to hijack this thread...I just miss Hollywood so much.

                                                                                                        1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                                                                          EliseT, you need to embrace the Valley -- while Burbank isn't exactly a dining destination, just over the borders in Glendale and North Hollywood are some of the best ethnic eats LA has to offer -- and all within 10-15 minutes' drive of Burbank.

                                                                                                          1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                                                                            OK...I will start a new post to not hijack this one. You can help me out.

                                                                                                  2. Sure can't argue with your list and would add Dolce, Lucques, Ivy at the Shore, Il Grano, l'Orangerie and so many more I can't think of in the 10 seconds it took to come up with these!

                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: JBK

                                                                                                      You would include Lucques and Il Grano as on your list of the 5 worst, huh? Many have them on their 5 best lists-there is something wrong with your pictures! I hesitate asking what your 5 favorites are, but will any way!

                                                                                                      1. re: rmc

                                                                                                        Re Lucques and Il Grano, I interpreted the original question as meaning the entire dining experience and so included the above on my list, and hey, you don't have to agree, after all, it's just my opinion, and I will stick to it. I doubt either one of those two joints will have to close because they don't have my patronage.
                                                                                                        And I don't have a "best" list, just places I like that are good, most of which are in the Jonathan Gold frame of reference.

                                                                                                      2. re: JBK

                                                                                                        L'Orangerie's "foie gras creme brulee" is at the top of the "scariest foods I have ever eaten" list. Their amuse bouche was some kind of foam. Then as soon as someone "important" sat near us, we were ignored for the rest of the meal. The coffee I ordered never showed up, there was no offer to take a dessert order.

                                                                                                        I'm so glad I'm not the only one.

                                                                                                      3. PATINA - I have been three times now and just don't get it.

                                                                                                        JERRY'S DELI - Yuck

                                                                                                        GORDON BIERSCH (sp?)

                                                                                                        GRACE - wasn't terrible, but it sure was not worth the money or the accolades.

                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: Tom P

                                                                                                          Was wondering when someone would include Patina. No arguement here.

                                                                                                          1. re: Griller141

                                                                                                            absolutely agree with you.
                                                                                                            patina is a huge disappointment, every time.

                                                                                                        2. 1. chains besides fatburger
                                                                                                          2. chic hot-spots
                                                                                                          3. satellites of places that themselves were okay
                                                                                                          4. places that claim fusion but mean con-fusion
                                                                                                          5. asia de cuba

                                                                                                          Link: http://www.ablowtothehead.blogspot.com

                                                                                                          1. j
                                                                                                            Jake by the Lake

                                                                                                            1. Gladstone's - I used to go for one reason: their she-crab soup but they took it off the menu!

                                                                                                            2. Sagebrush Cantina - how did this one miss the list?

                                                                                                            3. Todai - I've had better sushi from the supermarket.

                                                                                                            4. Applebee's - Their burgers are so overdone, they look and taste like hockey pucks.

                                                                                                            5. Chuy's - how can a place that smells so good be so bland?

                                                                                                            1. 1. Canter's
                                                                                                              2. El Coyote
                                                                                                              3. Marmalade (at the Grove)
                                                                                                              4. Maggianos (had to go for a work function but was still shocked)
                                                                                                              5. Gladstone's

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. re: jkate

                                                                                                                Why bestow such distinction to two Grove hotspots without mentioning the rest?

                                                                                                                Cheesecake Factory, the Farm, Morels all pale in comparison with the eats just next door at the Farmer's Market. I'd gladly eat one of those sunny-side-up-on-pizza-dough loreks than suffer through the "experience" of the Cheesecake factory.

                                                                                                              2. I'll put mine in two categories...

                                                                                                                Worst of the worst (meaning, food was pretty much inedible):
                                                                                                                1. Cafe 50's (we actually walked out on the sight of the food alone... it was awful)
                                                                                                                2. Jerry's
                                                                                                                3. Hamakawa (most stringy, fishy, unfresh sushi ever)
                                                                                                                4. Gingergrass
                                                                                                                5. Gladstone's

                                                                                                                Worst for the price/expectation (very disappointed in the food, even more so given the price):
                                                                                                                1. Lucques
                                                                                                                2. Minibar
                                                                                                                3. California Canteen (it's like Lean Cuisine on a plate for $30 a pop)
                                                                                                                4. Vida (same as California Canteen)

                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: Colleen

                                                                                                                  - Cafe 50's (we actually walked out on the sight of the food alone... it was awful) -

                                                                                                                  Did you pay for it?

                                                                                                                  1. re: Helen

                                                                                                                    We told the waiter we just couldn't eat it. He seemed to understand, as though it had happened before.
                                                                                                                    He didn't charge us, and we left a nice tip...

                                                                                                                2. 5 being worst …
                                                                                                                  1. Patrick’s Roadhouse – altho consistently messing up toast is not as easy as it seems.
                                                                                                                  2. Harold & Belle’s – the Grubs have tried & tried over the years & NEVER have had a memorable dish.
                                                                                                                  3. Maxwell’s Café – see Patrick’s above & throw in undrinkable coffee.
                                                                                                                  4. El Cholo – where to start? Where to start?
                                                                                                                  5. Buggy Whip (aka the Burning Horse) – It just doesn’t get any worse.

                                                                                                                  Special chain honors to the Stinking Rose for taking a dubious formula & executing it pathetically.

                                                                                                                  1. TABLE 8

                                                                                                                    the lamest service ever (oops see Tantra review)
                                                                                                                    extremely over rated quality
                                                                                                                    yuck

                                                                                                                    TANTRA

                                                                                                                    made Table 8's service enjoyable

                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: Ads

                                                                                                                        The server (older gent with a classy mustache)
                                                                                                                        treated me and my date like we were children and when I asked what import beers they had he asked if I had a prejudice against domestic, I continued to appease his sarcasm and then he said "you know what Ill bring you a pint you will like, let me surprise you",, soooooo.... Im thinking hmmm maybe some nice Belgian ale is on its way... so he brings me a glass pint with a Budweiser logo on it and then he says to me this is Anchor Steam, have you ever had it ?? Ok that ended this particular topic !
                                                                                                                        I had the fresh cod which came out almost cold and without any sides.....ok I was hungry so I ate
                                                                                                                        now the waiter ignored us for the rest of the evening and when it came time for desert I was hoping for some pick me up caffeine jolt, which I asked for a cappucino and he commented "darling our drip ain't working right now" His maneurism was also high on the sassy side and trust me Ive put up with some bland service but for me to drop $150 for a dinner Id exept a bit class and if not that at least some quality.
                                                                                                                        Again this is my personal experience and it might be a completely isolated incident but it turned me off and I dont have a single desire to ever go back !!!

                                                                                                                        1. re: DK 101

                                                                                                                          LOL on the Budweiser logo....I can't even imagine Table 8 buying them. I have heard bad things about the food, but not the service thus far.

                                                                                                                    1. I'm surprised nobody has thrown in Tam O'Shanter Inn. Worst fish and chips I've ever had.

                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: Robb

                                                                                                                        Tam O'Shanter has awesome sandwiches in their bar -- freshly carved roast turkey and roast beast. And one of the BEST burgers I've ever eaten in Los Angeles.

                                                                                                                        I tried to avoid this thread, but knock the 'Tam, and I had to put my two cents in.

                                                                                                                        1. re: DanaB

                                                                                                                          agree with danab. the TAM is a great place to go for the sandie bar (prime rib on a kaiser roll) and a fresh glass of guiness, harp or bass ale.

                                                                                                                          i find the food in the dining room a tad on the salty side, but it's an institution.

                                                                                                                      2. What a fun post! I'm rolling in it like a pig in mud.

                                                                                                                        1.Chez Melange - Redondo Beach (the name says it all - no focus,pretentious and bad food)
                                                                                                                        2. Broadway Deli - Santa Monica (worse than Jerry's!)
                                                                                                                        3. Joseph's - Hollywood (the best place for people who don't like to eat)
                                                                                                                        4. Thai Dishes - all of them - yuckie
                                                                                                                        5. Chains (especially Buca di Beppo and Olive Garden)

                                                                                                                        Elissa

                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                        1. re: Elissa

                                                                                                                          Chez Melange used to be my mother's favorite brunch place, but they went downhill and we stopped going there. They used to do things like give me "creminis" when it said "shiitakes" on the menu.

                                                                                                                        2. Kate Mantillini in Woodland Hills. Bad, overpriced food and expensive watered down drinks.

                                                                                                                          1. Not in any particular order
                                                                                                                            1. Pacos Tacos
                                                                                                                            2. Portos Bakery
                                                                                                                            3. Versailles
                                                                                                                            4. Spring Street BBQ
                                                                                                                            5. most chain restaurants

                                                                                                                            I know there are others...but I just used what came to mind first.

                                                                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: Tari
                                                                                                                              d
                                                                                                                              Das Ubergeek

                                                                                                                              Portos Bakery?!

                                                                                                                              Their non-sweets aren't wonderful but I can't imagine them being on a worst-5 list (unless it was Worst 5 Places For Ridiculous Lines).

                                                                                                                              1. re: Das Ubergeek
                                                                                                                                r
                                                                                                                                rabo encendido

                                                                                                                                Agreed. Or perhaps "Worst and Most Inane Ordering System Known to Man". Or "Worst Eatery for Obssessive-Compulsive Control Freaks". Or "Worst and Most Chaotic Way to Spend Your Pre-Coffee Sunday Morning".

                                                                                                                                So incredibly aggravating. But their pastries and cakes are so damned good, I keep going back....

                                                                                                                                Porto's
                                                                                                                                (818) 956-5996
                                                                                                                                315 N Brand Blvd
                                                                                                                                Glendale, CA 91203

                                                                                                                                1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                                                                                                  A couple of weekends ago my bf and I made a special trip to try Portos Bakery because we had heard such good things about it and that their cuban sandwich was the best. It was definately not worth the drive. It was actually the worst cuban sandwich I had ever tried and the mariquitas were cold and not as good as what I am use to. We didnt try any of the bakery items...but I will never go back again.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Tari
                                                                                                                                    d
                                                                                                                                    Das Ubergeek

                                                                                                                                    Yeah, the Cuban sandwich is no great shakes. The bakery items and coffee are why the big long lines, not the hot food... bleah, who wants to eat food that's been sitting under a heat lamp for six hours?

                                                                                                                                    Love their bakery items though, enough to stand in that ridiculous line for it.

                                                                                                                                2. re: Tari

                                                                                                                                  I order the Cuban sandwich at Porto's in Burbank early in the morning. It is unbelievable! Fresh, crusty bread and the perfect mix of meats, melted cheese and condiments.

                                                                                                                                  I also love their Cuban cake with guava filling, though some of their other sweets are bland.

                                                                                                                                  The one in Burbank is much better organized than the one in Glendale.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: EliseT

                                                                                                                                    Agree -- the one in Burbank has the advantage of having started fresh, and I've never had to wait more than 10 minutes in line, whereas in Glendale it can easily be half an hour or more.

                                                                                                                                    I had the medianoche for breakfast with a cortadito the other day... it was OK, I guess, but wasn't anywhere near Miami standards. That said, when they have warm-from-the-oven chocolate croissants, they are WORTH the diabetic shock!

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                                                                                                      The trick in Glendale is to take a number, then go for a walk. Go window shopping. Even if you are late and have number 30 and they are on number 50, they will take you right away.

                                                                                                                                3. Worst in Valencia / Santa Clarita:

                                                                                                                                  Sushi Katana
                                                                                                                                  Pho 2005
                                                                                                                                  Mojitos

                                                                                                                                  1. GREAT post--very funny

                                                                                                                                    Here are mine in no particular order:
                                                                                                                                    1. Citizen Smith-awful in every way--rotten food, nasty service, attendant in the very tiny bathroom... a disaster

                                                                                                                                    2. Balcones de Peru-haphazard service, disgusting food ( except the cevice)

                                                                                                                                    3. Campanile-I have NEVER had a good meal there, even when I went with friends of the chef. Total hype

                                                                                                                                    4. Patina Grill or whatever that place is between the Ahmanson and the Chandler--pre-wrapped stuff?? and expensive

                                                                                                                                    5. Little Door-the door is nice-nothing else is

                                                                                                                                    For the record I agree with those of you who don't get Grace or Lucques... me neither. I also was very disappointed in Ortalan--pretty food, mediorcre service, and enough with soups in test tubes. I felt like I was hving dinner in Dr. Jekyll's lab.

                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: mangia

                                                                                                                                      Where is Balcones de Peru? THANKS

                                                                                                                                      1. re: running pig

                                                                                                                                        It's on Vine and Sunset.

                                                                                                                                        Actually Vine and DeLongpre...

                                                                                                                                        It's more than easy to find.

                                                                                                                                    2. OOO..I forgot:

                                                                                                                                      Jar--the fried clams were good, but the rest? HoJo's revisited.
                                                                                                                                      Bad service and no ambience whatsoever. So bad we decided it wasn't our anniversary and went someplace else the next week.

                                                                                                                                      My husband did have a wonderful meal there ONCE. Pork shank, which was not on the menu the night we went.

                                                                                                                                      Expensive, too.

                                                                                                                                      1. In particular order:

                                                                                                                                        1. Asia de Cuba
                                                                                                                                        2. Killer Shrimp
                                                                                                                                        3. Chin Chin
                                                                                                                                        4. Todai
                                                                                                                                        5. Sushi Roku

                                                                                                                                        There are not many that I don't like, however, these are absolute "No's".

                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                        1. re: vivien

                                                                                                                                          I totally agree with Chin Chin. I just don't get it, it's not chinese food.

                                                                                                                                          And the worst fast casual Chinese is Pick up Stix.

                                                                                                                                        2. Every all-you-can-eat restaurant other than Indian and Thai would have to go on this list.

                                                                                                                                          1. No list is complete without mentioning The Ivy.

                                                                                                                                            1. Jerry deli
                                                                                                                                              noah bagel
                                                                                                                                              Juniors
                                                                                                                                              patina

                                                                                                                                              1. In no particular order...

                                                                                                                                                Sushi Roku- ridiculous trying to pass this off as quality sushi
                                                                                                                                                Bravo Cucina- worst cioppino I've ever had
                                                                                                                                                Tony Roma's- I'm not a barbeque fan to begin with, but...
                                                                                                                                                El Torito- aaaahhhhh!
                                                                                                                                                Rib Ranch

                                                                                                                                                1. Mama D's in Manhattan Beach. Never before has a fake smile been so wide and never before has Chef Boyardee been up-sold this much. Crappy food, annoying service, long lines -- it's the trifecta.

                                                                                                                                                    1. jerrys deli
                                                                                                                                                      katsuya
                                                                                                                                                      katsuya
                                                                                                                                                      katsuya
                                                                                                                                                      sushi roku
                                                                                                                                                      asahi ramen
                                                                                                                                                      katsuya

                                                                                                                                                      1. the thing with chin chin is that it is just bad food, not that it isn't authentic chinese food.
                                                                                                                                                        i really don't mind california-chinese food.
                                                                                                                                                        i don't require that all chinese food be the authentic chinese that is found in the san gabriel valley.

                                                                                                                                                        still, i can't stomach chin chin. it's just bad food

                                                                                                                                                        1. Ok, I know you asked for 5 but here are 2 and I owe you the other 3.
                                                                                                                                                          Roscoe's C and W. Overpriced flavorless chicken as well as the waffles (Try the Proud Bird on Slauson 5 blocks west of Crenshaw if you want real chicken and waffles)
                                                                                                                                                          El Tepeyac - Bland food. The hollenbeck is huge but it is watery and lacking any texture. They distract you with the size. For flavor, go to El Taurino on Olympic and Alvarado.

                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: El Comelon

                                                                                                                                                            Completly disagree about Roscoe's. The chicken is ok, but those waffles are realy amazing and what keeps me coming back.

                                                                                                                                                          2. I think it's safe to say, EVERY restaurant will be on one list or another, either as a "best" or "worst."

                                                                                                                                                            1. - Lucille's gets my vote for horribly overpriced and bland bbq.
                                                                                                                                                              - George Patrelli's is pretty scary (ground chuck burger be damned).
                                                                                                                                                              - I don't think i'm ordering the right stuff at Guelaguetza. They have a margarita there that tastes like barbeque. It is just nasty. The other part is that many moles are too sweet for my taste.
                                                                                                                                                              - Kincaids in the south bay gets by on the view. The food was very mediocre, and they expect you not to notice.
                                                                                                                                                              - PF Chang's kills me. Like mustard and soy sauce is really a secret. Their food is barely Chinese, and way too salty or charred.

                                                                                                                                                              1. Great lists so far, but NO mention of Bucca di Beppo?????!!!! The most god-awful chain of all!

                                                                                                                                                                And, Spumoni on Montana continues to amaze me, in a bad way -- why is that place always so packed?

                                                                                                                                                                Chin Chin was a great call, upthread.

                                                                                                                                                                To add to the list of "good" restaurants that are bad: Brass Cap

                                                                                                                                                                1. Whoever mentioned Noah's Bagels, that is Northern California chain, not LA based. I do agree that they do a horrible bagel.

                                                                                                                                                                  However Jerry's deli is a completely L.A. based abomination. I'll grant you that.

                                                                                                                                                                  I don't get why everyone just loves bashing L.A. when other cities have it so much worse.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. O let me count the ways... in no particular order. They're all just bad.

                                                                                                                                                                    Sisley at Westwide Pavilion. (I should've known better than to think it might be better than mall food.)
                                                                                                                                                                    Jerry's, naturally. (In a word, latkes.)
                                                                                                                                                                    El Cholo.
                                                                                                                                                                    Eurochow.
                                                                                                                                                                    Izzy's. (Urine smell.)
                                                                                                                                                                    Yankee Doodles on the Promenade. (Yes, I actually ate there.)
                                                                                                                                                                    Stinking Rose.
                                                                                                                                                                    Trader Vic's.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. I have to say I am not a big fan of Becaon. I think it is highly overrated. Also I think the food at Ford's Filling Station is underwhelming, although the atmosphere is fun.