Thanks to everyone who submitted a dining horror story for a chance to win at $50 gift card to China Grill. While all the entries are worthy of entry into the Worst Dining Experience Hall of Fame (not an actually thing, but we're working on it), there was one that clearly stood above the rest.
Yes, Bella-Carolina Z. survived being fed a non-vegetarian meal, underage drinking, and possible molestation to come out the winner.
Read her full ordeal -- unedited -- after the jump.
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When I was in high school I went to a Model United Nations conference in Chicago, where there is a large eastern European population. My family is from Romania, so after the conferences I looked up a Romanian restaurant and trekked out to it with my friend and my boyfriend. The place looked shady from the moment we got in. It was empty except for one table and some horrible man was singing on a stage with another horrible man playing terrible keyboard behind him. I shrugged it off as standard Euro-trash entertainment and we prepared ourselves for an interesting evening. I was vegetarian at the time, but being very familiar with Romanian cuisine, knew more or less what to order and made suggestions to my friends. Our waitress was a nightmare. She was Hungarian and spoke neither English nor Romanian so communication was a disaster. She made an effort to answer our questions about the menu, and although she looked very confused when I asked her if the gravy on the stuffed mushrooms was made with chicken stock, she answered 'no' with surprising confidence. She would also finish every phrase she said with the word 'please.' You'd think this is polite, but at one point she even said "Thank you, please," demonstrating her feeble grasp on the English language. My mushrooms finally arrived and were obviously made with chicken stock. Fed up, I walked myself to the kitchen and asked the Romanian cook about it, and she confirmed my suspicion. The manager of the restaurant found out he had Romanian-speaking patrons and quickly came to our table to greet us, which seemed friendly, until it got creepy. He briefly left and then returned to our table with a long, clear tube of liquid. He said it was 'holy water.' I knew by this he meant it was tuica, a tremendously potent plum liquor. All of us were underage high school students. I explained this to him. He still insisted we drink. We had to politely refuse numerous times. He continued conversing throughout the meal, mostly with me as I was the only Romanian at the table. At the end of the meal, he offered us a ride back to the subway station in his car. If a relative offers you a ride, you take it. When a creepy middle aged guy tries to force alcohol on minors in public and then get them in his car, you run for your life. The worst part was, since he said all of this in a language only I understand, my friends were oblivious to the manager's frightening behaviour until I quietly rushed them out of the restaurant after paying the bill. I never thought I would be able to say that I left a restaurant sincerely afraid for my life. Now I never ever go to a restaurant without reading a review.