Restaurant Workers Share The Menu Items They'll Never Order For Themselves

Kasia Mikolajczak
people eating at a restaurant
Unsplash | Alex Haney

How often do you eat out at restaurants? For us, it's not as frequent as it used to be. But we, too, like to indulge in an outing once in a while. However, as it turns out, not everything you get in a restaurant is a safe bet.

A recent Reddit thread asked restaurant staff, "What's an item on a menu that you'll never order and why?" and let's just say I was super intrigued by what they said. Check it out.


bowl of soup on a rag and cutting board
Unsplash | Victoria Shes

"Unless the place is known for homemade, soups. They're mostly either canned or frozen. Just not where I want to spend my dining out dollars."

Oh, my! You don't say. Did you know about this? I had no idea so thanks for the tip.


onion rings on a black plate with salad and dipping sauce
Unsplash | Farhad Ibrahimzade

"Appetizers, just out of spite. I love onion rings, but paying $13 for an order because they’re served as a tower is ridiculous. Apps are now the price as entrees at some places."

I too noticed that. That's why we usually skip appetizers from now on.

Specialized Items

Fran Drescher saying "True Dat."
Giphy | NBC

"Stuff that really should only come from a restaurant that specializes in it. Like a special sushi side menu that only has two items, or a lone BBQ item on a menu that's otherwise totally different is sussy. Anything that's purely a status gimmick just to show off that you spent for it. Gold leaf is definitely a turn-off."

That makes sense, no?


calamari on ice
Unsplash | John Cameron

"For me, it's calamari and prawns, especially if it's listed as an appetizer. My first job as a prep cook was at a place that served this. We'd get bags of prawns and those frozen blocks of calamari. I would spend hours cleaning and breading. I got pretty good at shelling and deveining prawns with one run of my pairing knife, but I still hated doing it. And fingering the calamari hoods to pull out that plasticy spine and then making sure it was the spine and not just a bit of frozen ice because of course I have to process it while it's not completely thawed. It's the thing I've hated doing the most out of every task I've ever had to do in a kitchen (cooking or cleaning), and I refuse to order it when I see it because I remember how much it sucked."

Just thinking of that is turning my stomach, haha.


mixed salad on a white plate
Pexels | Pexels

"Salad that I didn't process and prepare myself, I simply don't trust anyone to wash the leafy greens as thoroughly as I want them to be washed."

And you can get sick from bad salad so easily too, no? So it's always a gamble.

Grilled Proteins

grilled steak with fried on a white plate
Unsplash | Tim Toomey

"At this point, I hardly order grilled proteins like steak, pork chops, lamb chops, etc. from a restaurant anymore, I simply have a better time enjoying those items when I cook them myself."

I feel quite the same. A lot of restaurants these days don't take the required time to cook these to perfection.

Filet Mignon

filet mignon being served with "You're a rare breed" written on the screen
Giphy | Outback Steakhouse

"Filet Mignon. Tasteless and overpriced (generally). Also, almost any Wagyu cut over six ounces — it blows your palate out."

Ah, see what I mean? That's what I'm talking about. I rather just buy a nice cut of meat and make it myself.

Well-Done Steak

steak and veggies on a white plate
Unsplash | Vladimir Gladkov

"And in a similar vein..."I've heard that if you order a well-done steak you'll get an older cut of meat whose less-than-fresh qualities can be hidden by a longer cook time."

Ah, I get it. That's one way to cut the cost, huh?


burger, fries and coleslaw on a wooden board
Pexels | Pexels

"I had to prep gigantic portions of it at one of my first jobs and it was just gross. Never got over it."

Haha! I hear you loud and clear. Here's one salad that should always be made fresh, no? Sadly, that's often not the case.


cartoon character eating from a buffet
Giphy | LAIKA Studios

"Anything off of a buffet or salad bar or whatever. It took covid to make me realize exactly how gross the general population is when there are no consequences for being so gross. I’ve had multiple people genuinely not understand why it was a problem to take the spoon from a seafood dish and use it to get some Mac and cheese or whatever. I’ve seen people lick the utensils. I’ve seen people reach in with their bare hands to get a biscuit. I’ve seen kids getting their own food and all the perils that come with that."

Okay, that's gross.

Plant-Based Meat

Unsplash | Food Photographer

"Plant-based meat. Smells like cat food and looks like it, too."

Haha! I can't stop laughing at that. I've had some plant-based meat options, and it wasn't that bad. It actually tasted pretty good, but I can see how that can go south.

Chicken Wings

order of chicken wings with dipping sauce in a basket
Unsplash | Erik Mclean

"Chicken wings. Way overpriced. My air fryer and box of frozen wings are just as good."

And I just had chicken wings from a food truck the other day. They were pretty expensive, but I don't regret getting them. To each their own, hehe!


Michelle Tanner from Full House gorging on pasta

"Pasta, unless it's made in-house and is a specialty of the kitchen. I can't justify paying $15+ when a box of pasta costs 2 bucks."

Yup! I feel the same exact way. I only get pasta at places that specialize in it, period.


sushi rolls on a plate
Unsplash | Vinicius Benedit

"I won't get sushi at an empty sushi place, or on a Sunday or Monday before dinner time."

I totally agree with the first one but I admit I haven't heard about the Sunday or Monday before dinner time rule. That's a good tip, huh?

Spicy Tuna Roll

spicy tuna rolls
Pexels | Pexels

"For spicy tuna sushi rolls, places often take old, less fresh tuna and add spices to cover up the bad flavor. Stick with regular tuna rolls."

Oh, no! A spicy tuna roll is my favorite. Shucks! I guess I need to find a place that makes it fresh every single time.

Eggs Benedict

egg benedict
Unsplash | bady abbas

"Who knows where that hollandaise sauce has been."

Yikes! I've often wondered if the hollandaise sauce is really a good option to get, and now I'm even wearier of it. Do you get what I'm saying? It can easily get old, or if not properly stored, you can get sick of it.

Ranch Dressing

hands holding plate with salad and ranch dressing
Pexels | Pexels

"Mine for years was ranch dressing because it was one of my first tasks at my first kitchen job. I took one look at the recipe (four gallons of mayo, two gallons of buttermilk, five packets of ranch dressing seasoning) and said, 'Well, that looks awful.'"



mussels dish
Unsplash | Crystal Jo

"We get them fresh from the fishery, and still throw out 5% while cleaning them. Five minutes after rinsing, cleaning, draining, and portioning, there's still around 2 centimeters of nasty-looking brown mussel [expletive] in the container. A day after, the container is 1/3 full of that same salty, nasty muddy-looking [expletive], so they have to be drained and rinsed again (and more dead ones thrown out). Even when properly cleaned, rinsed, and drained, while they're cooked they leak that same [expletive] into the pan, so you gotta be extra careful seasoning the dish because that nasty juice is salty as all expletive]."

I knew there was a good reason why I don't ever eat mussels.

Wow! This is quite eye-opening, no?

woman driving a car saying "Better safe than sorry."
Giphy | ABC Network

I have to admit I've guessed a few of these already, but it's good to get some validation about what foods you should avoid when eating in restaurants. I hope I didn't totally kill your appetite. Sorry about that, but as they say, it's better to be safe than sorry, no?

Are there any foods you tend to skip while dining out for whatever reason?