I mean worst tasting. I’ve eaten restaurant food that had me throwing up afterwards, but didn’t taste so bad on the way in.
There was a chicken soup in a little Montana hole in the wall place that I have remembered for forty years. You know that old gag from the Three Stooges where Curly pours boiling water through a raw chicken and serves it? Yeah, that happens in real life, in Montana anyway.
Other hideous cafe offerings that you could go full Gordon Ramsey on?
Two decades later, I still remember the fettuccine Alfredo that was way too heavy on the nutmeg.
Do drinks count or does it have to be food?
A local Greek restaurant where my wife and I go for dinner occasionally once had a drink special on Greek Margaritas. Basically, margaritas made with ouzo instead of tequila. It tasted like NyQuil. I took about two sips and couldn’t take any more.
Food-wise, it was probably an Ethiopian restaurant that my wife and I tried once. I got some sort of chicken dish and spent most of my meal picking out chicken bone shards.
I still recall the worst pizza I ever had, it was in Italy. Perhaps I just didn’t know how to order it correctly, but it sucked. They say even bad pizza is good, not this one. It was like a hunk of cold cheese on a stale piece of bread with minimal sauce. I was by myself and don’t speak Italian at all, so perhaps they were just playing a joke on the tourist.
@Si_Amigo, agree about the bad pizza! At least you had an excuse. I voluntarily went to a Cici’s Pizza and put something in my mouth that was called “macaroni & cheese” pizza. It was like bread wet with warm milk…no, not even that good.
At a now-deunct campus eatery, I got a teriyaki chicken plate that was so terrible and non-food-like that I had to keep tasting it because I just couldn’t believe it was that vile.
“Sausage” pizza in Georgia, in the 80s.
It has Hot Dogs on it.
I was at a cat show in Philadelphia years ago. There was a concession area where I bought a hotdog and some macaroni salad. My first mouthful of macaroni salad immediately registered wrong. I spit it out into a napkin, where I realized there was a huge, white hairball…
Salmon from Bubba Gumps in San Francisco. From my table I could see the Pacific Ocean, home to some of the best salmon I have ever eaten. The restaurant served farm raised Atlantic salmon. It was white, had no pink in it at all. After complaining to both the waitress and one of the cooks, the manager comped our bill.
Two memorable bad experiences.
I had a hamburger at Friendly’s, and as I was rearranging the lettuce/tomato topping, a bee crawled out and collapsed on my plate.
I ate at a restaurant the week before Gordon Ramsay showed up to fix it. 'nuff said there.
I used to regularly eat at a pizza place that was owned by a family friend. They actually had really good pizza, no complaints there.
The son liked to experiment, which sometimes turned out okay, but one day, he gave me this thing that had peanut butter, chicken, and I think chocolate on it. That was something truly horrendous.
Now, it’s not the worst thing I’ve been served, I’ve been in some places that served me something inedible, but it was the worst thing that I actually ate.
In Zurich, Switzerland, traveling with a coworker, late night McDonald’s. It was the only place open that took credit cards. We had just arrived that day and were only going to be there a couple days so we were avoiding buying Swiss Francs. I got some fossilized chicken wings and ‘fries’ that were sort of dissicated potato wedges with a scant sprinkle of Lawry’s seasoned salt, both terrible. My companion declared his Big Mac ‘god awful.’
I don’t work with him anymore but we joked about that meal for years after.
A couple come to mind that aren’t terrible but bear mentioning:
On vacation in northern Michigan my wife and I were driving through a small town looking for a place to eat lunch. I saw a local mom ‘n’ pop type diner with a cute name, something like “The Cluck ‘n’ Moo”. I had had good experiences in the past with home-cooked food in local small-town diners like that, so we went. I ordered a chicken sandwich. It was not cheap; it cost more than say, a McDonald’s chicken sandwich. What I got was, no exaggeration: a piece of chicken the size of a fun-size candy bar, with a piece of wilted lettuce the size of a postage stamp, on an ordinary plain hamburger bun, that, small as it was, dwarfed the tiny piece of chicken and lettuce. No condiments added except a single packet of mustard on the side.
In a neighborhood not far from me there are a cluster of authentic-looking independent Mexican restaurants. I went to one of them, looking forward to some authentic Mexican food (it was called a Taqueria, so I figured must be authentic, right? It attracted a mostly Spanish-speaking crowd and played Spanish-speaking shows on a TV). I don’t remember the entree I got, but the bowl of ‘salsa’ they brought me was as watery as tomato soup, with no visible solid vegetable pieces in it, had a weird muddy brownish-red color, and had a strange, ‘off’ taste like it was stale or rancid or something. It was like they played a joke on me by mixing ketchup with dishwater.
A breakfast at Denny’s. The usual omelette, home fries, and toast. But they used so much salt that it wasn’t edible.
I don’t like a lot of salt in my food, but for this, think of the saltiest thing you ever tasted and double the amount.
May not be the worst thing I ever ate, but I was in a hospital cafeteria that served something like sweet-and-sour chicken that was so awful I had to stop at a good Chinese restaurant that evening just to cleanse my palate in a way.
About 30 years ago in a dirty late night diner once. It wasn’t the taste of the food, but the awful smell of the place.
I worked nights then and we went out to “lunch” at 1 AM-ish and someone insisted on going here because “of all the hot chicks that go there” after a night of bar hopping. Though I was really hungry, my appetite was killed…murdered…gored and dismembered by the overpowering smell of a filthy dirty grease-trap smell. The kind of smell you might notice spewing from a kitchen vent outside a greasy spoon.
I was actually gagging. I just Could. Not. Get. The. Food. Down.
Oh yeah, and my clothes absolutely stunk of the same stench for the remainder of the night.
I love cheap-ass teriyaki but there was one place (chain actually) where a took a second bite because I couldn’t believe it was that bad. I was right; it was worse.
I have blissfully forgotten the details of the three worst Chinese food dinners I’ve ever had, in Millinocket, Maine, a small town in Scotland and in Salina, Kansas (the first hint something was off was noticing a bottle of ketchup on the table).
It looks like the Salina Chinese food place has closed, but another such restaurant there has a…curious online review.
“Have to pay extra for eggroll or racoon unless you order their daily special. Not a super loaded plate. But it does feel you up.”
Now that’s what I call a fresh raccoon.
I went to a restaurant in London many years ago that specialised in posh chicken. A gimmicky theme.
As an aperitif, they had ‘chicken shots’, which wer described as vodka and chicken broth, or something like that. Well, you know when you’ve roasted a chicken, and let it cool for a bit, and it forms this congealed gunky stuff around the base? Well, this shot tasted like that, slime included. With vodka.