If you're concerned about getting the best possible bite for your buck, dining out can
How can you guarantee a good meal, considering the wide array of menu items available?
Fortunately, professional chefs love to gossip about the restaurant industry, offering up
handy "Do's and Don'ts" for puzzled diners.
Here are a few restaurant foods you should steer clear of, according to the pros.
Truffles and caviar
If you tend to enjoy the finer things in life, you may be better off savoring them at home.
Luxury food items have a higher markup and are almost never worth the extra cost.
Chef Tim Carey told Salon:
"I avoid high-end ingredients like white truffles and caviar, because as a chef, I can get them
wholesale for much cheaper.
However, for guests, they may find that these ingredients are less costly outside of a restaurant
at retail stores."
So if you love this high-end fare and simply have to have it, source it yourself and eat
it at home.
The markup just isn't worth it.
Another item not worth ordering, but for the opposite reason, is the simple wedge salad.
Chefs don't bother wasting a good night out ordering something they could easily and cheaply
prepare at home.
We talked with celebrity chef Ariane Resnick, and she said
"You're literally paying over ten dollars for a chunk of iceberg lettuce, often with
prefab commercial dressing."
If you love a big salad for dinner, order one with a bit more imagination and quality
ingredients worth the markup.
Or stay home and eat all the wedge salad your heart desires.
Chef Kayson Chong told Reader's Digest it's best to also skip the house salad.
"I prefer to have something special that a chef created with seasonal products and interesting
I like experiencing new and exciting things to eat when I go to other restaurants, not
something I can find easily anywhere."
Valentine's day menus
For many couples, Valentine's Day dinner is a pretty big deal.
You have to make a reservation weeks ahead of time, and if you happen to forget until
the day before, don't even bother trying.
The irony is that Valentine's Day is actually the worst time to try out a new restaurant.
The preset Valentine's menu is never a good move, and chefs avoid it.
Gordon Ramsay told Town & Country:
"Valentine's day is the worst day of the year to go out.
Busy kitchens with tons of diners means you don't get the true feeling of the restaurant.
You should be cooking on Valentine's.
What's more romantic than a meal cooked for your partner with a good bottle of wine?"
"I just want to kiss my wife."
Unless you're allergic to a specific ingredient, one chef says it's best to never ask for substitutions,
especially at a high-end restaurant.
Chef Christopher Faulkner told Delish:
"Unless you are allergic to something, never sub-out one ingredient for another on a composed
In a trusted restaurant, the chef knows what he is doing, and a great marriage has been
Chef Ryan Ososky told Reader's Digest he steers clear of chicken while dining out because
it's typically overcooked.
Chef Phil Pretty, however, doesn't mind ordering chicken in restaurants, as long as it is not
He told Salon:
"I would never, ever order Chicken Parmesan.
It's always frozen before cooked and tastes like a gross version of chicken nuggets."
Anything, if the bathrooms are filthy
If you're trying out a new restaurant, don't be afraid to check out the bathroom before
According to Anthony Bourdain, if the bathroom looks bad, the kitchen probably looks worse.
He noted in his book Kitchen Confidential:
"I won't eat in a restaurant with filthy bathrooms.
This isn't a hard call.
They let you see the bathrooms.
If the restaurant can't be bothered to replace the puck in the urinal or keep the toilets
and floors clean, then just imagine what their refrigeration and work spaces look like."
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