Chefs Share 20 “Red Flags” Signaling That You Should Probably Avoid This Restaurant
When going out to eat, all of us want to have the best experience possible. However, sometimes that experience is ruined by poor quality food or even worse – a night spent in the bathroom due to food poisoning. And to help you avoid that, chefs on Reddit are sharing useful tips that will help you spot a shady restaurant in a heartbeat.
A while ago, one Reddit user asked chefs to share some “red flags” that people should look out for when going out to eat, and received numerous useful answers that might help you save your money and health. Check out some of the most helpful answers in the gallery below!
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If a restaurant has a HUGE menu…it’s all frozen
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When the menus are super dirty and never cleaned, that means everything is super dirty and never cleaned
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The first thing they told us in culinary school when you’re learning food safety is: If you enter a seafood restaurant and smell fish, leave
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We have a sushi place me where the chef gives you free samples of future dishes. This usually means they take pride in their work and want to see peoples reactions before committing it to the menu.
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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
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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’
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If the area is busy but the restaurant is empty, that’s usually a bad sign.
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‘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 [thing] is not fresh
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No matter how well managed a buffet is, it can never be sanitary. It is not reasonably possible to run a sanitary buffet business
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This is late but I clean kitchen exhaust systems. If you walk in a restaurant and can smell grease walk out. That means the place isn’t clean. From the exhaust system to cooking equipment.
We clean some places where grease drips off the hoods onto cooking surfaces.
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Ask where your oysters come from. If they don’t know, you don’t want them. Same for most seafood.
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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.
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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
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Most often, lemons for water are really gross and dirty
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Used to work in a fancy kitchen. Any place that is charging more than $25 for a chicken entree is a goddamn scam.
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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.
Also, the standby if the menu is a book, it’s probably not great.
The biggest thing to keep an eye on though imo is the staff. If there’s pissed off people, get out as fast as you can obviously. If everyone is kinda apathetic and not talking to each other much, get out. That’s also a shitty environment, everyone is probably really passive aggressive, and that’s going to show. If people seem genuinely good with being there even if it’s busy or if there’s playful ragging going on, that’s where you want to be. The better the staff gets along, the better everthing in the place runs.
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Watch the wait staff. If the majority of them seem disgruntled or upset, things probably aren’t great. They probably don’t care about your food if they aren’t being treated fairly.
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When my boss (the owner) used to host and people would complain to her about the hour wait on Saturday night at 7pm and then threaten to leave, she would tell them, “If the restaurant you choose does not have a wait on a Saturday night, you may not want to eat there.” And then turn her biggest sh*t-eating grin on them
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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
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Pro tip: Look up the health inspector reports for your county.