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The Worst American Restaurants in Europe

You hear it all the time that international cuisine in America is not authentic, particularly when discussing Olive Garden and Taco Bell. Well, we know that, but the argument also comes up about the mom-and-pop ethnic restaurant on the corner. Turn that idea around, and you have to wonder whether other countries have "American" restaurants. Yes, they do -and they can say a lot about how the world views American food. CNN has reviews of the worst attempts at recreating the American dining experience in Europe. American Dream in Paris leads the list:

Rude service. A patronizing menu of “American” specialties. An interior that takes kitsch to a nauseating level, with an over-abundance of cheap tchotchkes throughout, and for some inexplicable reason, a basement dedicated to Japanese manga.

***

The fries taste stale and the shakes are sweet to the point of undrinkable. The menu full of overpriced blandness is served on dishes made to look like paper plates.

We get it. American food is often rightly mocked for being oversized, dripping in grease or just plain tasteless.

But to make an entire restaurant out of the joke isn't funny.

Have you ever been to any of the restaurants on this list? Or to any "American" restaurants in Europe? Link  -via Alltop

PS: They're not all bad. CNN also lists the best American restaurants in Europe. Link


Living in Southern California, there are many Mexican restaurants which are labeled as not being authentic. The most derided is, of course, my favorite. So, when I took a native-born Mexican girlfriend there for the first time what was her reaction? She cried because the food was so good and declared the refried beans to be second best only to her mother's. Authentic does not equal good.

The restaurants in this article might be horrible *and* authentic.
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I always thought that McDonald's is what most non-Americans think of when they're asked what is the quintessential American food.

A couple decade ago or so, when the first McDonald's opened in Jakarta, Indonesia, and I was there on a visit, my extended family asked if I wanted to eat there because they thought that's what all Americans eat on a daily basis. Going to a McDonald's was a special treat for them.
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I believe that some of these places should send their head cooks to the US for a week. I was in a US chain hotel in Copenhagen that served what they called a traditional American continental breakfast buffet (among other items), the scrambled eggs were soupy (was no ketchup in sight) , the bacon was rubbery (in looks and taste), the sausage looked more like a mini hot dog uncooked and they had something they labeled as scrapple (looked more like burnt french toast with a green tint).
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Restaurants in China that serve "Westernfood" always mess up the details. I've seen:
- Grilled cheese sandwich that was buttered on the inside, so the bread was dry and charred. Nobody told the staff they're supposed to butter the outside.
- Worst hamburger in my life came with about 1/2 cup of mayonnaise smeared on it. Nobody told the staff how much mayonnaise is supposed to go on a burger.
- Same hamburger had a thick slice of apple on it.
- Breakfast consisting of toast, served with little pats of foil-wrapped butter. But the waitress would take the butter pats right out of the freezer and serve them when the toast was done. It's impossible to spread frozen butter, but the Chinese don't eat butter, so they didn't know. Or care.
- Nachos made from corn flakes. They didn't understand that corn chips and corn flakes, although made from the same thing and similar in texture, aren't interchangeable.
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In my travels many years ago I found KFC to be dead on match for American food (plus I was impressed by the Asian Colonel Sanders standing out front). TGI Fridays was adequate, but the Cheers in Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) was lacking a certain satirical charm. (...and if you want to pay the most you can for a Whopper and a Coke, I suggest the Burger King stand inside Paddington Station, London.)
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