It's a favourite game in Mr. & Mrs. R's household: Guess the Review. Especially the very good reviews of bad restaurants in guides like Oman2Day, Time Out and Oman Explorer are great fun.
Now that the Oman2Day Restaurant Award campaign is in full swing again, we thought of our own award: Oman's worst restaurant with a good review in the guides. We will share our Top 3 with you, and here's the honourable #3:
Time Out is very right in saying that it is "not the food that is the star of the evening" at Trader Vic's, but that doesn't stop them from stating the restaurant "continues to delight diners and drinkers" and "you have all the ingredients for a perfect party." Oman Explorer is just as positive: "Dining here isn't cheap, but for a good night out, it's worth it." We disagree. In our opinion Trader Vic is nothing more than a cattle hall where you pay a premium to have good ingredients wasted. Horrible sauces ruin pieces of prime meat, other dishes are uninspiring, overly salt, and have a special quality of being dry while fat. Thank goodness for the cocktails. You need them to forget the food.
While we are hardly keen on paying another visit to Trader Vic, it is still a decent choice compared to our #2:
According to Oman Explorer, this "award-winning restaurant is ideal for a candlelit dinner for two," and serves "delicious Italian food." Oman2Day urges us to "try the calzone", which we did: a disgusting piece of misery. In all fairness they also state the following: "A very popular place at one time, the restaurant is slowly working its way back in favour." We guess this is an understated way of saying the place is run-down and past its prime. Sad interior, food that makes you cry and a 'wine bar' that's unworthy of the name, O Sole Mio is our proud number 2.
Our #1 left us baffled when we read the reviews after our visit. We ended up in Alauddin Restaurant one evening when we were in desperate need of something to eat after shopping at Home Centre. We ordered some Indian dishes and had a good laugh at the naan bread that looked and tasted as if the chef wiped the sweat of his forehead and kneaded it into the bread. Quite untasty. The rest of the dishes weren't much better (pre-chewed saag paneer anyone?), and we weren't surprised that not many people bothered to find a seat in the seriously dated restaurant. But we were clearly wrong, because according to Oman2Day "there is good reason the company has survived so long," and Oman Explorer tells us that we should "arrive with high expectations of a gastronomic good time (...) a Muscat must." It's a good thing we didn't read this beforehand. Oman Explorer is so convinced by the restaurant's qualities that it states that "you'll be hard pushed to find someone who lives in Muscat and hasn't enjoyed food from Alauddin." Here we are, you found us.