Chefs Are Sharing The Red Flags You Should Look Out For In Restaurants In Viral Post

If there’s anyone in the world qualified to point out the red flags in any given restaurant, it’s a chef. Which is why an AskReddit post by u/pizzwhich29371 asking chefs to reveal the red flags the rest of us should look for when going out to eat racked up over 14,600 comments, most from the pros themselves. Read and learn, friends.


When the menus are super dirty and never cleaned, that means everything is super dirty and never cleaned.”—SoMuchBsHere


“If a restaurant has a one-page menu that’s usually a pretty good sign, it means their line cooks have become specialists and can usually nail all the dishes listed.”

“Conversely, if a restaurant has a giant, multi-page menu that’s a gigantic red flag. The longer the menu the better the odds that you’re paying to eat a boiled bag frozen meal.”—fancyfrenchtoilet


“If a restaurant has a HUGE menu…it’s all frozen.”—utahjuzz


“If the area is busy but the restaurant is empty, that’s usually a bad sign.”—AAiBee


“I have a family member who’s worked in multiple different restaurants, and they always advise me never to get drinks with ice because too many places don’t keep their ice machines cleaned because it’s so often overlooked compared to other kitchen equipment.”—AllyMarie93


“If you order a meal that should take a long time to cook and it comes out very quickly. It’s been pre-cooked.”—marahsnai


“The first thing they told us in culinary school when you’re learning the basic rules for food safety standards is if you enter a seafood restaurant and smell fish, leave.”—XxcontaminatexX


“If employees try to argue with you about food quality in order to dissuade you from sending something under cooked back, just leave. It means they have a cook who can’t take criticism and your chances at getting a sneezer are greatly increased.”—A_pencil_artist


“Ask where your oysters come from. If they don’t know, you don’t want them. Works for most seafood.”—heroesforsale


“Carpet. Yeah it’s quieter and doesn’t get slick, but it is one of the most disgusting things I’ve ever seen. I saw them pull it up when they remodeled (and put in more carpet). Vacuuming only goes so far in a restaurant and I know they never, ever shampood it.”—eyebrowshampoo


“Pastry chef here. As much as people say avoid specials, I can’t speak for everyone but at least in desserts/breakfast pastries, if you see something new its worth trying. Chances are it’s something the chef has been working on for weeks on their own time, there’s a lot of love and effort put into it.”—robotran


“Most often, lemons for water are really gross and dirty.”—randyjacksonsarmpits


“When there are pictures of food on the menu that clearly aren’t from the restaurant.”—PanicAtTheMetro


“A $4 steak is not a good steak.”InuMiroLover


“Stay away from buffets and salad bars. A lot of the time it is the same stuff that just gets refilled over and over. Super gross.”—hugsfrombugs


“No matter how well managed a buffet is, it can never be sanitary. It is not reasonably possible to run a sanitary buffet business.”—contrabardus


“Cook for a small Mexican restaurant here. I always look for how the staff interact with each other. If they all seem to enjoy being there, and coordinate well, more often than not it’s because everything is running smoothly and they have a good system, which usually means they know what they’re doing and you can expect good food. That’s how it always is for the smaller, family run restaurants I frequent anyway, which I believe always have the best food.”—ruizpancho


“‘Catch of the day’ restaurants better have a lake or an ocean within a 50-mile radius. If they are advertising fresh-caught Alaskan salmon and you aren’t in Alaska, chances are that shit is not fresh.”—ComedyCookingFitness


I’ve worked in restaurants for over a decade. A couple years in the kitchen and the rest as FOH. If your server’s response to “how is the [item]” seems disingenuous, that’s a big red flag.

We know what goes on in the kitchen, we know the complaints, and we know which items to stress over when we deliver them. Servers who pause or seem uncomfortable with that question generally equates to a menu full of stuff we wouldn’t eat even as a free shift meal.”—kjimbro


“Seeing fruit flies. Fruit flies are an indication of a dirty kitchen.”—bucklepuss


“In culinary school, every single chef instructor says the same thing: If it’s misspelled on the menu, that’s on purpose. It’s so they don’t have to sell you the real thing. A prime example is ‘krab cakes.'”—splinkyyy


“Don’t order fish on Sundays. Most places get their fish deliveries on a Monday and on a Thursday. Fish goes off fairly quickly, and on a Sunday it’s really not great.”—thefabulousbomb


“I look for dust. Dust on the ceiling tiles or in the air-conditioning vents. I also have a habit of running my finger along chair frames after I sit down to check for dust.”—biology_is_destiny


“If a pitcher of water touches your glass, it has also touched everyone else’s glass. Also, if you can’t see them pour your water, there’s something wrong.”—CausticMoose


“How does the place actually smell? Does it smell like good food? Then it likely is. But if it smells like perfume or something sterile? That could be a sign that they are trying to hide something unpleasant.”—CrossFox42