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Restaurant Everyone Hates But You

So after gleefully reading the "Restaurants Everyone Loves But You" I thought we needed an opposite thread. What is a restaurant that everyone seems to really dislike, but you for some particular reason really like it.

I know Chowhounders may be a little loathe to admit they like places that other people consider places they hate, but here is your space to rant.

For me:
I like Lauriol Plaza- not for badly made Mexican food, but for some of the great Cuban/Puerto Rican dishes they have. I think most Chowhounders hate this place...

I also like Sticky Rice which most sushi lovers hate, but I like some of their weird rolls. (I will admit though that the Richmond location is much better) I also like Cafe Asia for simple sushi and some of their other dishes, like their Chinese ravioli.

I also like Citronelle which a lot of people hate. I really love it though. I love the spoofs and the rich flavors.

So what are places that everyone tends to hate-on that you love and why.

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Citronelle
3000 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20007

Lauriol Plaza
1835 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

Cafe Asia
1720 I St NW Unit Frnt, Washington, DC 20006

Sticky Rice
1224 H St NE, Washington, DC 20002

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  1. For me it's Kramerbooks and Afterwards. It's my go to neighborhood spot. I've dined there so many times I know what's good on the menu and what to avoid in general. I can sit there alone, with my book, order some dinner or a coffee and pie (they have great desserts!) and no one is bothered by me or treats me like a lesser patron because I'm a single diner. Their beer list is different enough to keep it interesting and the waiters are more or less attentive.

    I don't pretend that it's a high end gourmet meal. But the menu changes regularly and there are some pretty tasty items to be found. Plus there is outdoor seating and they are open 24 hours on the weekend...what else can you ask for?

    1 Reply
    1. Btw...what is Chinese ravioli?

      9 Replies
      1. re: Elyssa

        They are little dumplings filled with pork in a spicy sauce. Probably something completely made up for Americans, but I like them.

        I love Thai Terrace a little Thai restaurant by my house. No one ever talks about it and yes Bangkok 54 and Thai Square are like less than a mile away, but I can walk here, the food is good, and they will make it spicy for me.

        -----
        Thai Square
        3217 Columbia Pike, Arlington, VA 22204

        Thai Terrace Restaurant
        801 N Quincy St, Arlington, VA 22203

        Bangkok 54 Restaurant and Bar
        2919 S Columbus St, Arlington, VA 22206

        1. re: ktmoomau

          Are you from Boston? Up there, what are called dumplings in most parts of the country are known as Peking ravioli (which itself is odd since they were popularized by "Szechuan" restaurants). Sort of the counterpoint to another New England favorite, American chop suey. Kinda funny when you think about it.

          They always reminded me of kreplach. 8>D

          1. re: Bob W

            No from extremely western MD where there was one Chinese restaurant when I grew up until it burnt down and was never rebuilt. Maybe that is why I like it :)

            1. re: ktmoomau

              I lived for a year in Frostburg, and I can't imagine anywhere less friendly to a Chowhound, or Chinese food, for that matter. But I loved my stay there!

              1. re: Ziv

                Man I grew up in Loch Lynn and on Deep Creek and what is sad is there is less now then there was when I was little. I always liked the Italian place in Frostburg was it Guiseppes?

                1. re: ktmoomau

                  Good call! I forgot about Giuseppes! I only ate there twice because I was way impoverished, but the food was pretty traditional American/Italian and it wasn't bad. We had a good time both times we went, but our choice was usually Foxes Pizza for strombolis or Duncans for #4 with gravy on the fries.
                  Deep Creek will always mean Zumps and Silver Leaf, if I am remembering the names correctly. They were both good solid places with a few pretty good items on the menu. Loved that lake!

                  1. re: Ziv

                    Silver Tree... that was my uncle's families restaurant which was sold. Too bad because it was one of the best restaurants there. McClives which was good also sold. The problem is that lake property is so valuable it doesn't pay for a lot of people to keep their restaurants.

          2. re: ktmoomau

            girl i'm on board with you about thai terrace. not my favorite thai restaurant in metro DC, but so convenient for ppl in orange line arlington. and so reasonably priced too. AND they're the only place that makes garlic chicken garlicky enough for me.

          3. re: Elyssa

            At Cafe Asia they are basically wontons in chili oil. Very tasty but a little sweeter than the spicier Peter Chang version when he was at TemptAsia a few food eras ago. Sigh!

            -----
            Cafe Asia
            1720 I St NW Unit Frnt, Washington, DC 20006

          4. Hmmm...

            I love Teaism, even after having crappy food there a couple of times (out of dozens, though!). For me, it's the only unique thing about the DC...

            I like that Almaz Ethiopian restaurant better than Dukem (both on U Street), but I haven't eaten Ethiopian in ages, for some reason!

            I like Bangkok Joe's in Georgetown. Yeah, there's better Thai elsewhere, but I've liked everything I've ordered there the 3 or 4 times I've eaten there.

            Cafe Asia in Rosslyn was okay, esp. their calamari. I'm typically not a fan of "pan-Asian" places since I'm actually Asian, but their food has flavor, which is a lot more than I can say about every other pan-Asian place I've ever been to.

            Ditto the Cheesecake Factory, though the portions and healthiness of the food is kinda ridonk. Kinda REALLY ridonk.

            And I gotta say, I'm a fan of The Olive Garden, especially since the area is lacking in good Italian-American places!!! :o)

            -----
            Teaism
            2009 R St NW, Washington, DC 20009

            Bangkok Joes
            3000 K St NW Ste Lbby, Washington, DC 20007

            Cafe Asia
            1720 I St NW Unit Frnt, Washington, DC 20006

            U Street Cafe
            1301 U St NW, Washington, DC 20009

            Olive Garden
            3480 East West Hwy, Hyattsville, MD 20782

            4 Replies
            1. re: yfunk3

              Let me say this about Teaism ... they make a great Salty Chocolate Oat Cookie.

              Of the things I've tried, everything else seems just OK -- not great, not bad.

              -----
              Teaism
              2009 R St NW, Washington, DC 20009

              1. re: yfunk3

                You think Teaism is the only unique thing about the DC restaurant scene?

                And if you think Olive Garden is the only good Italian-American restaurant in the area, let me save you! Go to Filomena. Classic red sauce Italian. Much, MUCH better! Plus the pasta is actually freshly made in house.

                -----
                Teaism
                2009 R St NW, Washington, DC 20009

                Olive Garden
                3480 East West Hwy, Hyattsville, MD 20782

                1. re: Elyssa

                  Yes, re: Teaism. But it's just an opinion. I like the food scene here, but I find it hard to favor it over other cities/areas I've been to. Maybe it's just the cynic in me.

                  And I never said the Olive Garden was the ONLY good Italian-American restaurant in the area. I just said I think the food's pretty good, especially for the price. Just like I like a lot of junk food and fast food. It tastes good to me, so I like it and can't bring myself to criticize much about it if it didn't end up costing me much.

                  In fact, in terms of value while dining out with a group of 4+ people, the Buca di Beppo in DuPont was pretty damn good, as well. I think my group of around 8 people paid less than $10 each for our entire meal and didn't even finish all the food.

                  I'm not hard to please, it seems. :o)

                  -----
                  Teaism
                  2009 R St NW, Washington, DC 20009

                  Olive Garden
                  3480 East West Hwy, Hyattsville, MD 20782

                  1. re: yfunk3

                    I'd probably stick with the chains before dropping money to eat at Filomena again- the red sauce was so sweet- ick.

              2. I like Aladdin's, Burke or Shirlington. I can get a nice healthy inexpensive meal that I think is very good. The menu is extensive and there's good food for winter and summer.

                A&J's in Annandale. I can't get over the pages long menu but I enjoy most of what I get there. Hand cut noodles, pork and mustard greens, woodear mushrooms, etc. I love the brunch items, scallion pancakes, dojang.

                Boardwalk Burger and Fries outside of Kingstown (Alexandria, VA area). I think it's better than most of the Five Guys, very similar layout.

                It's funny you started this thread as an opposite to the one about hating restaurants people love. I was thinking of starting an "opposite" thread about restaurants that live up to the hype.

                7 Replies
                1. re: chowser

                  Hahahaha I wouldlove to see what restaurants lived up to the hype, but would definitely respond- go for it! (I think Againn lives up to the hype, but I don't know how much hype it gets)

                  1. re: chowser

                    Let me add on--IKEA. I don't know if it's the food or the prices that I like more but it's fun to go there for a meal. And, I'll confess that if we're going on vacation heading south, we plan for that to be our first breakfast. For 99 cents, we can get a decent meal.

                    1. re: chowser

                      IKEA was my favorite treat growing up. We went to the Pittsburgh location and I always got swedish meatballs. I still love the place.

                      1. re: chowser

                        We love the IKEA meatballs. We make a trip there just to by the frozen bags to use at home. They also have great cheap salmon caviar.

                      2. re: chowser

                        A&J?

                        Really? People don't like A&J? It's probably the best, most authentic, Taiwanese joint in the District. I mean seriously, Between DC, Baltimore and perhaps all of Maryland, there isn't another place to get a Taiwanese rice roll (fan-twan) except for maybe Bob's Noodle 66.

                        If nothing else, people should cherish A&J (at least in the DC Metro) for its singular ability to fill a culinary niche.

                        1. re: ipsedixit

                          When I first came here (both CH and DC), I avoided A&J's because there were quite a few CHs panned it. But, I tried it, eventually, and was surprised at how good it was. BTW, if you're in the area and crave a fan-twan, the little cafe at the back of Great Wall grocery makes the best one on the area. I haven't had one in a while but it was very good, nice soft sticky rice, good filling. Not quite home made but brought back memories.

                          1. re: chowser

                            I hardly ever make it out that way, but it's good to know about the fan-twan at Great Wall Supermarket.

                      3. Judging by all the hate for Restaurant Eve's Tasting Room, I'd go with that. I love the place.

                        On the flipside, I like IHOP. Simple food, snappy service, no attitude, and they don't stick you with a bill for the month's rent. The sandwiches are actually not bad, so long as you tell them to hold whatever "sauce" they tend to drown it in, be it mayo, Ranch, or half a gallon of cheese.

                        -----
                        Restaurant Eve
                        110 South Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: monkeyrotica

                          I like the harvest nut pancakes at IHOP. Given the scarcity of decent breakfast places in NoVa, IHOP isn't terrible. I'll take it over Silver Diner or Friendly's any day.

                          1. re: chowser

                            IHOPs crepes are also suprisingly good. And don't get me started on Silver Diner. Apparently, people want to go to a diner for "heart smart" reduced fat/sodium menu items because they suffer from flavor intolerance. Bewildering. At least IHOP tastes like something, even if some of it tastes bad. Bad is still "a flavor."

                            1. re: chowser

                              Definitely second the harvest nut pancakes at IHOP. They are really the best!

                            2. re: monkeyrotica

                              I haven't run into too much hate (strong words!) about RE Tasting Room on Chowhound. I certainly don't see much here about people saying it is a place everyone hates but you.

                            3. How about Anita's? Love those breakfast burritos. Really good chips and salsa, too (far from a given around here).

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: Bob W

                                Oh dear God, really? The last time I went, I was excited since I had not been near an Anita's in many years (this is the Tyson's location, btw). My enchalada or burrito or whatever was topped with processed cheese, you know, the kind that has a plastic veneer when it begins to cool down.
                                I thought the salsa tasted like ketchup.
                                The meal was nothing more than cheap landfill.
                                The food was incredibly poor. And I used to like the place. Now, I'd only recommend it if you're shitfaced at 2a.m. That way when you puke it up, you're not going to regret it.

                                1. re: monavano

                                  That does sounds pretty loathsome. My experiences with Anita's are limited to the "downtown Chantilly" location so it may be a case of YMMV.

                                  1. re: Bob W

                                    I can imagine the food varies a bit with the locations. At least now I don't pine for having a location near me.
                                    (I didn't mean to impugn your tastes with all that snark!)

                                    1. re: monavano

                                      Not a problem -- I have actually heard anecdotally that there is a lot of variation among the Anita's outposts.

                                      There's certainly a lot of variation and disagreements regarding the various Clyde's. We have always liked the Reston branch and did not like Tysons at all -- others feel exactly the opposite. Last night I actually ate at the Old Ebbitt Grill for the first time. What a mob scene -- tourists everywhere! It's a Clyde's with a really nice oyster bar. In fact, the fried calamari was not as good as what we've gotten at several other Clyde's. The Wellfleet oysters were delicious, though.

                                      -----
                                      Old Ebbitt Grill
                                      675 15th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005

                                      1. re: Bob W

                                        OEG is a restaurant that doesn't garner a lot of foodie love (except for the raw bar), but I like it a lot. Great burgers. So, there ya go!

                              2. McDonald's for their $1 coffee and McDouble burger. Pretty good and cheap snack for $2.

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: dpan

                                  My $2 McDonald's lunch is a small salad and a fruit-yogurt parfait.

                                  And I don't care about the people who grew up out west and miss In 'n Out Burger. I like Five Guys better.

                                  1. re: dpan

                                    Man, who doesn't love that Dollar Menu? My kids love the McNuggets and the ice cream.

                                    I confess to liking McD's oatmeal too even though in comparison to, say, Au Bon Pain's, it doesn't measure up. But when I take my kids for breakfast at McD's, that's what I get.

                                    1. re: Bob W

                                      Caribou Coffee has a good oatmeal. I find it a little sweet, as with most outside prepped oatmeal, but it's hearty.

                                      1. re: chowser

                                        Thanks chowser. I need to try CC's oatmeal -- Starbucks's is meh.

                                      2. re: Bob W

                                        I don't. You get exactly what you pay for - salt and grease on dough. Very nutritious for kids.

                                      3. re: dpan

                                        I love MickyD's coffee, and their egg mcmuffins and breakfast burrito (which gives me heartburn, yet I still eat it).

                                      4. I love Fuddruckers. I can't fathom why anyone would choose Five Guys over it.

                                        They're rolling out some new types of burgers (I think "elk" is one) in the near future, which I'm pretty excited about.

                                        10 Replies
                                        1. re: Garlic Guy

                                          Oh man, that free "cheese" sauce for the fries... that and the chicken fingers with as much honey mustard I want....that's why I love Fuddruckers. :o)

                                          1. re: Garlic Guy

                                            I like the fact that at Fuddruckers, unlike Five Guys, you can get the burger cooked to order--medium, rare, or medium-rare. Being able to order a beer with your burger is another plus.

                                            1. re: monkeyrotica

                                              I don't know which ones are staying open, but Fuddruckers filed for bankruptcy protection, and is closing many stores.

                                              1. re: DanielK

                                                Silver Diner's declared bankruptcy multiple times over the years, and they're still in business for some reason, unfortunately.

                                                1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                  Like I said, I don't know what stores are closing, but they have announced that some definitely are with the reorganization.

                                                  I wasn't commenting on the quality, just the potential availability.

                                                  1. re: DanielK

                                                    The on Dupont is closed. But I walked by the Fuddruckers in Chinatown and it was open (and packed) this afternoon.

                                                    1. re: Elyssa

                                                      imho, they'd be fools to close down the Gallery Place Fuddruckers. I've gone many times, and there's NEVER been a time when I've seen that place hasn't been less than 50% full (during off hours, too). The location is just too damn good and the food is too "standard". It's also family-and-tourist-friendly.

                                                      1. re: yfunk3

                                                        But full does not equal profitable. Lose money on every sale, but make it up in volume. Thanks, Yossarian.

                                                        1. re: DanielK

                                                          Hey - that sounds like where I work, though it's eLearning and web sites rather than food.

                                            2. re: Garlic Guy

                                              fuddruckers...oh lord, that bun, so good!

                                            3. Crispy and Juicy. Yeah, there's definitely better pollo out there, but there's a C&J right around the corner from my house, the staff is always friendly, the place is always clean and the food is consistent (if not crisp).

                                              1. I vote for Buca di Beppo...but I absolutely hate Lauriol Plaza.

                                                -----
                                                Lauriol Plaza
                                                1835 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

                                                1. I haven't tried fried chicken at any of the upscale places in the area, but I would rather get mine from Popeye's or Royal Farms.

                                                  -----
                                                  Royal Farms
                                                  , Middle River, MD 21220

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: 4X4

                                                    I thought Popeye's was fairly universally loved. At least it is among the folks I know.

                                                    1. re: baltoellen

                                                      Popeye's chicken used to be a favorite when you had to look pretty hard beyond the wall of fast food places in order to find a restaurant serving fried chicken that was wasn't in a building that should be condemned. Now there are a number of civilized places that serve upscale fried chicken that is in many ways better than Popeye's. But if I have to eat fast food fried chicken, Popeye's is dependable mediocrity.

                                                  2. I like Lauriol Plaza/Cactus Cantina. It's not 5 star dining, but its better than other mainstream mexican/tex-mex options (Austin Grill, On the Border, Rio Grande, etc).

                                                    Also like Mama Lucia - the strip mall Italian restaurant all over Maryland suburbs. Good food, huge portions, reasonable prices.

                                                    That's Amore is also a favorite despite closing many locations over the years.

                                                    -----
                                                    Rio Grande Cafe
                                                    231 Rio Blvd, Gaithersburg, MD 20878

                                                    On the Border
                                                    8230 Gateway Overlook, Elkridge, MD 21075

                                                    That's Amore Restaurant
                                                    10400 Little Patuxent Pkwy Ste G5, Columbia, MD 21044

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: wysguymd

                                                      I'm with you for Mama Lucia's (at least for pizza) - the one in Rockville makes a nice pie.

                                                      1. re: reiflame

                                                        Yes, we like Mama Lucia's too, but ONLY the Federal Plaza (Rockville) location. The others are far inferior.

                                                    2. Guapo's. It may barely qualify as "tex-mex", much less mexican, but if you are in the mood for cheese-covered items, or fajitas, and margaritas, it hits the spot.

                                                      -----
                                                      Guapo's Restaurant
                                                      4515 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20016

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Doh

                                                        I like Guapos too - their fajitas with the "mexican butter" are great. I think the general consensus is that Guapos does ok tex-mex (although some people like lumping tex-mex in with Mexican and they're two totally different things).

                                                        -----
                                                        Guapo's Restaurant
                                                        4515 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20016

                                                      2. I liked Rosa Mexicana (Nat'l Harbor). I thought the food was delicious and the restaurant/view was very nice.
                                                        As far as chains go, I like Ruby Tuesdays for their salad bar. The location in Kingstowne has a nice bar that's kept clean and well-stocked.

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: monavano

                                                          The guacamole at Rosa Mexicana is quite good I have to say.

                                                          1. re: monavano

                                                            I agree. Rosa Mexicana at National Harbor was surprisingly one of the best Mexican meals I've had in a long time and I fully expected to hate it based on reviews.

                                                            1. re: Mississippi Snopes

                                                              Beware expectations. They can really make or break a meal/movie/anything else.

                                                          2. Steak & Egg Kitchen, in all it's cramped, greasy, barely-passed-health-inspection simplicity. Getting in and out alive is literally a crapshoot.

                                                            1. I totally agree on the pork at Lauriol Plaza. I was told that the owners are cuban. Not sure but the pork is tasty.

                                                              -----
                                                              Lauriol Plaza
                                                              1835 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

                                                              1. Everyone hates Chili's, heck, I even hate Chili's, but they have the best fried onion bloom of anyone out there. I will always go there for that, it is like a siren calling me in.

                                                                1. I Ricchi. Something here has changed recently, a new philosophy or something. All the food we had was outstanding, wines list by the glass is excellent - some real gems - and the service was friendly and efficient. No attitude at all. And outdoor seating - I like the place now.

                                                                  1. Olive Garden for the eggplant parmesan (I like that it's not bready and that it *is* crispy!) & the red sauce is pretty good. My husband liked the Tuscan potato soup. We were using a $50 gift card he won (and we got two visits out of that card by going at lunchtime :) And Fuddrucker's for their grilled burgers on the most delicious buns (I cannot handle Five Guys greasy, fried, & not too flavorful burgers and incredibly greasy French fries).

                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                    1. re: anova

                                                                      You're entitled to your personal opinion about Five Guys burgers, but if you've been getting incredibly greasy French Fries, you're going to the wrong Five Guys or you don't have the chutzpah to take them back and ask for some fresh hot fries. I only get fries at Five Guys maybe once every three visits because of the excessively large portion, and occasionally I'll get a dud batch. I'll ask for a a replacement and it's always been fine.

                                                                      Hint - dump the cup into the bag so they don't steam in the cup. That makes them limp.

                                                                      1. re: MikeR

                                                                        You've had a better experience than I have. My experience, at several Five Guys, has been more like Anova's. I usually find Five Guys fries to be disgusting masses of oil and grease clinging to an otherwise fairly tasteless potato stick. I've essentially stopped going to Five Guys largely for that reason, though I also agree that the burgers aren't that good there.

                                                                        As for your hint, usually they hand me a paper bag filled with fries, with a cup uselessly buried somewhere underneath. I honestly don't know why they bother giving you a cup, since you have to work your way through roughly 2/3 of the fries before you even get to it.

                                                                        1. re: Garlic Guy

                                                                          The quantity of fries in an order is my only complaint with Five Guys. When I get them, I dig through the bag to find my burger, remove it, then lay the bag on its side, tear the top side open, and spread the fries out on the paper. The paper does get somewhat oily, but I'd expect that. When I make French fries at home, I drain them for a couple of minutes on some paper towels. If you get a batch that isn't fresh out of the fryer and has been sitting in a metal tray under a heat lamp for a few minutes, I guess those on the bottom might have absorbed all the oil from the ones above. If I get some like that, I bring them back and ask for another order next time the pull a basket out of the fryer.

                                                                          Where have you been finding these greasy fries? I most often go to the one (Virginia) on Gallows Road in the shopping center just south of Lee Highway (I know, I should be going to some of the other chowhound spots in that shopping center) and the one on King Street at Beauregard a bit East of the Skyline complex.

                                                                          1. re: MikeR

                                                                            King St @ Beauregard and Fayette St in Old Town Alexandria are the two Five Guys I frequent most, and I've never had an issue with greasy fries at either one.

                                                                            1. re: MikeR

                                                                              The Five Guys I've been to have been (first time) once in Manassas several years ago, and then the last few years at West Ox Town Center in Fairfax and each time I was standing at the counter waiting for my order and saw the fries being removed from the fryer and loaded into the bag just prior to being handed to me. So they were fresh...but greasy and not all that tasty.