Our readers seem to feel that we just LOVE everywhere we go to dine; not true. We see ourselves as the "Casper the Ghost" of reviewers. We are the kind and gentle restaurant critics...most of the time. Our philosophy is to bring you new and wonderful generally high-end experiences in dining and hotels, not to trash places. However, every now and then we just can't help ourselves when it's genuinely earned, and in this case, we are bringing you the top 10 stinkers, well deserved and well earned. Enjoy and run for your lives!

#10 Stinker:

West Hollywood

Located in a charming cottage environment, the food is actually excellent here, but the service is terrible.  One night we arrived and no one was there to seat us; turns out the hostess was too busy having a personal conversation at the bar and was perturbed when we asked to be seated.  Another night we couldn’t get anyone to ask us if we wanted a drink, and when we finally grabbed a waiter 15 minutes after being seated, he apologized by telling us that the neighboring table had a phone call from someone who was in a car accident, and our waiter just fell apart at hearing about accidents.  The last experience (yes, we were gluttons for punishment and went back again), the food took forever to arrive while the owner/ Chef socialized at the tables.  Please get back in the kitchen and do what you do best.

#9 Stinker:

Le Paon
Palm Desert

We actually have enjoyed this restaurant, and the décor is stunning, especially for the desert.  However, after appearing as regulars at this lovely fine-dining spot above El Paseo Drive, one night we brought a bottle of Dom Perignon to celebrate a girlfriend’s birthday and fully expected to pay a corkage fee; they refused to uncork our Dom at any price.  We sat at the table like idiots with the bottle at our feet and felt very bad the entire night.  Considering it was summer in the desert and there were about five tables with diners, standing on ceremony caused us never to return and their “policy” earned them a place on our Stinker list.

#8 Stinker:

The Ohiri
Le Taha’a Resort
French Polynesia

This island is amazing, and you feel like Gilligan when on it, especially when staying in an over-water hut.  The brunch at Le Vanille is pretty fabulous, but le buck stops there.  The food is just average, and at the fine dining restaurant, the waiter stunk from body order so badly that we couldn’t breathe when he delivered food to our table, winning a position on the Top Stinker list.  When we complained about food and B.O. to the Resort General Manager, she looked shocked and told us no one has ever complained about the food before; then the people standing behind who overheard our complaints said to her, "yes, we complained to you yesterday about the very same thing".  Hmmmm. Bon chance et ou est la douche.

#7 Stinker:
Palm Springs

Tradition, tradition, tradition... some traditions are best remembered and not experienced.  Turn on the lights and the place is probably scarier than a haunted house on Halloween, and the waiters serve and look like ancient Zombies.  We hear brunch outside is terrific so we’ll be brave and come back to see if it's any better.

#6 Stinker:

Studio City

It’s new and it shows, but not in a good way.  The owners are never around and the insane asylum is being run by the patients.  Aside from mediocre fare, the service sucks (except for Chris who is the equivalent of Marilyn living amongst The Munsters).  The third experience there we told the waiter that the burger had come out in the past medium-well, so when ordered at medium-rare we expected it to come out that way.  When it came out medium-well again with a steak knife stuck through the bun and meat, we wanted to stick the knife through the chef’s head.  We asked the self-appointed “Manager” to let us show the Chef, but he told us the Chef didn’t speak English.  When we later asked him how the wait staff managed to communicate with him, the Manager said he lied to us because he didn’t want us talking to the Chef. Wow.  We guess the owners are not showing up because this place will be something else soon.

#5 Stinker:

Palm Springs

Right in the heart of the walking part of Palm Springs, it’s a pleasant spot for people watching and to have lunch.  However, when we asked for the manager and 15 minutes later when she finally showed up, we told her that the oysters were tiny (and expensive).  She replied "all oysters are tiny".  We shared with her, au contraire, that the Oysters served up at the Fisherman’s Grill right around the corner were big, plump and delicious.  It was then that she offered us one free oyster. Despite the insult, it was still a lot of clams for little oysters.

#4 Stinker:
Ray's Original Pizza
New York City

Of all of the Pizza joints in all of the world, we had to come into this one?  New York City is known for its pizza pies, but this tourist Mecca is known for their bad pizza.  It’s almost as good as Sbarro down the street.  Stay away, stay far, far away.

#3 Stinker:
E Baldi
Beverly Hills

“Who had the…(fill in the blank)”.  After being asked for the millionth time by the waiter who just took the order, “who had the water”, we said, “don’t you write this stuff down?”  The indignant waiter said, “This is how we do it in Italy”.  Hello Mr. E baldi, we’re not in Italy any more, and certainly not at your prices.  When our guest sent the pasta back because it was not cooked enough, but it still ended up on the check, we were told by the owner’s wife, “pasta is expensive.  The Chef tasted it and he thought it was fine.  It’s called al dente in Italy”.  Hello, we won’t be making a “dente” in this place again.

#2 Stinker:
25 Degrees (inside the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel)

People really love this burger place, but after our disastrous experience with six friends we’ve never been back.  Every burger came out at different times, undercooked or overcooked; they weren’t particularly good either. Adding insult to injury, instead of picking up the check for an awful evening, they reduced our check by 50% to try to "make up to us".


#1 Stinker:
Coupa Café
Beverly Hills

This place takes the cake.  The food is mediocre, the service is bad, but why does it earn #1 on our list?  The owner tried to make up for the bad service by asking, “Do you like chocolate?”  When we answered yes, he rushed over three desserts which then ended up on our bill.  When we asked the owner why, he said he wasn’t in the business of giving away free food.  Then he started screaming at us, told us that the entire experience was captured on video tape and told us to never come back.  The street and restaurants are jammed with people, but not at Coupa Café.  Gee, we wonder why?

...we're not done...

#1 Stinker Hotel

Westmark Anchorage Hotel

It’s pretty difficult for us to come up with “stinker hotel” experiences since most of the exclusive luxury hotels we seek out do it with finesse, style and experience; but there were no “luxury” choices in Anchorage and we wound up staying at this place brought to you by the Holland American Cruise line folks.  We’re not sure if it was the rubber blanket, the bright-white curly-fluorescent light bulbs in the lamps, or the wafer-thin bars of detergent soap that got us going.  We asked to see the General Manager, and about ½ hour and 2 requests later she finally agreed to see us.  When we took her up to the room and showed her our complaints, she didn’t have much to say.  When I picked up one of the disgusting soap cakes and asked her to wash her face with it, she exclaimed, “I wouldn’t put THAT on MY face”!  However, we’re pretty sure we could see Russia from our window. 

We promise to be much nicer next time when we bring you one of the hottest new restaurants in the country.

Michael and Scott
The Dining Duo  

Posted by The Dining Duo | 7:41 PM | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 comments »

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  1. Donna // March 19, 2012 at 7:58 AM  

    Great bad reviews. You should do these all the time so we don't have to have any "BAD" dining experiences!! Yoy can have them for us!!!

  2. Anonymous // March 23, 2012 at 9:50 AM  


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