Woman in a cafe laughing with a cup of coffee.

10 Foods Restaurants Get Wrong All the Time

In the age of online “how-to's” and reality cooking shows, one would think mastering culinary perfection would be easy. Unfortunately, bad food is nowhere more evident than in the unpredictable world of dining out.

Although paying for a cooked meal can offer convenience, the pursuit of simple delights like fluffy mashed potatoes, crispy pizza dough, and juicy hamburgers often feels like chasing fleeting dreams.

Rescue your taste buds from mediocrity by learning what foods people think restaurants never get right.

French Fries

French fries served in a fast food
Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

One comment hit the spot: “They’re either weirdly soggy or too dry and crunchy. My personal favorite fast food fries is probably WingStop b/c even though the texture may vary the seasoning makes up for it. McD’s would be #1, but they don't really have that secondary point [like the seasoning] to compensate for the variation in cooking quality.” Some complain about undercooked or overcooked fries, while others appreciate specific fast-food chains for their unique seasoning.

BBQ

Facial expression of man eating with disgust grilled sasusage outdoor. Vegetarian feeling pain and suffering trying meat. Pork is bad. Recycled dead animal. Tasteless fried food. Adult male biting
Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

This comment pretty much sums up most of the BBQ in the Midwest from my experience: “Lotta nasty BBQ out there drowning in sauce to try and cover it up.” Opinions vary on BBQ, from preferences for specific places to criticism of restaurants named after states not known for BBQ.

Onion Rings

Onion Rings
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“I can usually tell by how the breading looks. The biggest issue I always have is the onions end up so tough that after the first bite, you end up ripping the whole thing from the breading.” The struggle with onion rings is real. They either fall apart, I burn my tongue, or, like this user comments, they come out rubbery and tough.

Caesar Salad

Homemade Healthy Romaine Caesar Salad with Dressing and Croutons
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“It either has barely any dressing, or it's so drenched in dressing that it pools at the bottom of the bowl.” Criticisms about Caesar salads focus on the inconsistent dressing levels. My suggestion for any salad is to get the dressing on the side. The problem is that not all Caeser salad is made fresh and, therefore, already has the dressing added. 

Calamari

Homemade Breaded Fried Calamari with Marinara Sauce
Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

“Calamari. Often overcooked into rubber. At least here in the Midwest.” Midwestern struggles with seafood quality are laughable. If you want good seafood, you have to go where there is seafood. Much like the onion rings, fried calamari is going to be overcooked or just sloppy. 

Omelets

Herb omelette with chives and oregano sprinkled with chili flakes, garlic panini toasts
Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

“I straight up refuse to order an omelet at a restaurant. They're usually overcooked and almost always disappointing.” Omelet disappointment is a common theme among users, with some preferring to make their own to ensure quality.

The trick I have found to improve my omelet and egg cooking is to add a little butter and salt to the pan. It seems to help the egg “float” above the heat.

Grilled Cheese

Grilled Cheese
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“Don’t get Reddit started on grilled cheeses. Hence the rant being copy-pasted.” Ok, first off, it's a cheese toasty…you don't actually grill the cheese part, do you? Regardless, this passionate food topic seems to spark a lot of debate.

Again, much like the omelet, add a bit of salt to the pan before laying down the bread. Also, my trick is to turn the heat to medium but place the bread in as the pan is warming up. Trust me, this is one food item the Midwest gets right!

Hashbrowns

Plain Hashbrowns
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“When you ask for them well done, they just burn the outside and leave the inside raw.” Complaints about undercooked and greasy hashbrowns are shared, specifically mentioning Waffle House's consistently good hashbrowns.

I don't know about you, but it seems some folks think a hashbrown is a steak. I never even knew you could get hashbrowns made to order.  

Pad Thai

Chicken pad Thai dish of stir fried rice noodles with a contemporary presentation.
Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

“Many places make it way too sweet. It’s hard to find Pad Thai that isn’t just sugar noodles.” Criticisms of excessively sweet Pad Thai are shared among many, with some sharing preferences for alternatives like tofu or seitan.

Poutine

Cheese Fries
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“Poutine. It's trendy to stick fries, with cheese and a sauce and call it that, but you can't really substitute any of the ingredients and have it taste anywhere near the original.”

While I agree with this reader that cheese sauce on fries doesn't equate to traditional poutine, I have to say, it's still delicious. That being said, the necessity of specific ingredients like fresh cheese curds and the right kind of sauce certainly sparked a few vivid comments from readers.

Coffee

Coffee cup and beans
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“Coffee is rarely good in a restaurant.” Complaints about the quality of restaurant coffee are widespread, with some sharing experiences of brewing fresh coffee during their shifts as waitstaff.

As someone who spent way too much money on my home coffee machine, I can seriously relate to these complaints. I get there are those who like burnt diner-style coffee, but not this guy.

To me, it's an art to get coffee right, and while you can find it everywhere in European restaurants, good luck getting it here in the States. Best to stick to the homebrew or your local coffee shop.

Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pot Pie
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“Chicken pot pie. Do they really think I don’t want top AND bottom crust?” Yeah, that's an odd one. What's a pie without the crust? This complaint about the lack of both top and bottom crust in chicken pot pies makes me laugh. I would pay for half if I am served half.

Huevos Rancheros

Huevos Rancheros
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“Raw corn tortillas do not taste good for one thing. There is an art to it.” The art of making huevos rancheros seems to come down to the tortilla part for this diner. I am no expert on my huevos racheros. Mine typically come out to be scrambled eggs with salsa on top. But one thing we all can agree upon is that corn tortillas are difficult to use…mine always just fall apart. 

Savoring Success, Tasting Failure

Image of woman about to try a cooked meal with check standing behind her looking worried.
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In the culinary quest, here's a compilation of reader-disapproved foods that restaurants frequently fumble. While more gastronomic missteps may lurk, give eateries a second chance – we all have off nights. Extend kindness to your server; they're food couriers, not magicians in the kitchen.

Source

This article originally appeared on FurBallFun.

Author: Corey Turner

Title: Journalist

Expertise: Pets, Nature, Project Management

Corey Turner is a journalist, conservationist, outdoor enthusiast, and passionate pet owner. Corey founded FurBallFun in 2022. He's known for his honest pet product reviews and guidance for navigating pet behavior, health, and nutrition.