HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >


Is Monday a bad day to go out to eat dinner?

My wife and I took a couple of her coworkers from Australia out for dinner on a Monday night. We went to a local restaurant that has a pretty good reputation, where we had eaten before and had enjoyed the food before. This night we arrived about 7:00 and there were very few people there. Anyway, we ordered a bottle of wine which was out of stock and went with a second choice. We each ordered our food and it was pretty prompty delivered, but one of our Australian friends noticed a hair on her plate, but did not make a big deal out of it, and as I began to eat my hanger steak, I realized that it was pretty much cold. Though no one made any complaints, and compliments were made of the food I was really kind of disappointed in the experience. The waitress was not very up on the food or preparation,she took plates away before we were all through eating, and delivered the check while we were still eating dessert. I have read reviews of this same restaurant (I think) where the owner came out and spoke to customers and food had been very satisfying and the experience good, but that was a Friday or Saturday night.
Again my question; Is Monday a bad day to go out to eat dinner?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. A lot of places close and/or give the frontline staff the night off...

    Thursday-Saturday is "prime time" in all places.

    Of course eateries in hotels and other "traveler oriented" places have to go with a 7 day schedule...

    My guess is that some one was away AND you had some bad luck -- an off night happens to almost everyplace. When the most season staff/supervisor is away it makes things look worse than they are.

    1. In my experience Monday isn't a bad night to go out to eat. Back in the day when Dh and I were dating, Monday was often our "date night" because our daughter had 4H meetings and it was convenient. In fact in some cases, it's been better because it's less crowded (especially at 'regular' places) and in general it's often a better all around experience than say Saturday night going out can be.

      1. If I can find a place that is open, I enjoy going out to dinner on a Monday night(I typicall have cooked alot over the weekend, and enjoy the break), I have never really noticed a decline in service, or quality, but then again for a Monday night meal I am not going out for fine dining(I would rather go on a non work night where I can truly relax, and enjoy myself).

        1. Some of our favorites aren't open on Mondays; except during the summer but the handful that are open we frequent on Monday specifically because it tends to be quieter and we feel the chef/cook/servers are able to be more attentive. It is also a night when I can hear my dh talking; rather than talking over fellow diners.

          1 Reply
          1. re: HillJ

            I am with you when it comes to eating out on a "quite" night instead of "the weekend". I like to eat lunch at 11:00 am or 1:30 pm for that same reason. One would hope that on a slow night staff would try a little harder since things are a bit slower. But then, as it was said, everyone has an off night and I would never condemn a place after just one less than satisfying experience.

          2. Definitely depends on the restaurant. My favorite Indian place has wonderful food Thursday through Saturday, but I've learned to avoid it Monday through Wednesday. It's like a whole different restaurant. It's disappointing, but I live with it!

            1. Well, it depends on what you eat. If you are eating foods that don't have to be freshly delivered within the past 24-48 hours, then you're probably OK, but you might want to avoid certain specials designed to move foods that are past their prime.

              It's really a matter of having a sense for when the restaurant got its deliveries of what. For example, does it get fish delivered on Mondays before dining hours? If not - if its last fresh delivery was on Friday, for example - skip the fish.

              The best days to dine are usually Tuesday through Thursday, because foods have been delivered fresh and the restaurant is not overburdened by the weekend church of customers.

              11 Replies
              1. re: Karl S

                As I understand it, unless the restaurant is out in the boonies, deliveries can be made pretty much 7 days a week. I can't see why not. As for fish being more than a day old at a restaurant, do you all really think the fish you buy at the supermarket is any fresher? In all probability it's older. I sometimes dine out on Mondays and have never seen a big difference from the rest of the week except that it's easier to get a table.

                1. re: Karl S

                  Tony Bourdain started his out-of-the-kitchen career with his "Kitchen Confidential" book and the warning "Never order the fish special on Monday", because the chef orders fish Thursday for Friday delivery, it sits in a reach-in cooler with the door opening and closing for 3 days, and anything that doesn't get sold during the weekend goes onto the menu as the "Monday Special". Even if the chef orders fish for Monday delivery, it's weekend leftovers from the fish merchant. Yecch. I'm iffy about fish even when I know my sources.

                  1. re: podunkboy

                    The last couple of restaurants where I worked had meat, fish and produce delivered every other day. Most restos only order what they know they will sell and prefer to run out of something rather than serve something "old".

                    That's not to say that certain things didn't get re-purposed. I would have no problem ordering a fish entree on Monday. But maybe not a fish soup...

                    1. re: podunkboy

                      Wow, Kitchen Confidential had a lot of that kind of drama, huh? Wouldn't be a very entertaining book without all that drama, now would it? (btw, what year was that written?) I wish people would stop quoting it as gospel. I'm with Mojoeater. As for everyone who swears they get sick 10 minutes after eating fish on Mondays, at lunch -- hate to break it to you, but food poisoning isn't nearly that fast. Time to look at what you ate at your Sunday dinner.

                      1. re: purple bot

                        I'm a bit offended that you would suggest that I don't know what I am talking about. I cooked my Sunday evening meal and I have never had anyone get sick from my food in 52 years of cooking. I did not have breakfast; just coffee.
                        If you read what I said, it says I started getting sick within ten minutes of leaving. That means that from the time I started eating till then, an hour had elapsed. It started with feeling really full, bloating, then belching, gas and finally diarrhea about two hours after I started eating.
                        There's nothing fishy about what I have said.
                        I appreciate all the input and suggestions from others!

                        1. re: Scargod

                          I don't want to take "sides", but after much research of this topic, I have to say it's extraordinarily difficult to self-diagnose food poisoning.

                          Many different microbes take days of festering before they make their presence felt, making it very difficult to figure out where you got sick in the first place. There are virtually zero foodbourne pathogens that you feel the effects of in an hour.

                          1. re: invinotheresverde

                            If not an hour, not much more. I see (?) that I have been deleted again, but twice I have been sickened by shellfish, as in on-the-floor-retching, before the occasion ended. I avoided clams for 17 years, but I'm back in the saddle again.

                            1. re: Veggo

                              From Web MD: "Symptoms of shellfish poisoning begin 4-48 hours after eating"

                              That's not to say your body didn't immediately reject the food for whatever reasons, including allergy. But a reaction within an hour is not food poisoning.

                              1. re: Veggo

                                It CAN happen, but as I mentioned, it's extremely, extremely rare.

                                1. re: Veggo

                                  I'm certainly not trying to downplay your experience, but that really sounds like more of a reaction to something in the food rather than bacterial/viral infection or ingestion of some other type of pathogen

                                  1. re: pollymerase

                                    You are the last to post so I'll reply to you. I did not eat shellfish. I had, in order, soup, then my entree. I had coconut milk and chicken, Thai soup, as in Tom Kar Gai. It was warm, not hot. Not over 150 degrees. I know this because I have a Raytek, Mini-Temp, laser guided, instant thermometer. I use it to test my coffee every other morning when I take leftover coffee out of the microwave. My mouth knows the difference between 145 and 160.
                                    I make Tom Kar Gai at home, as well as many other Thai, Vietnamese and Indian dishes. I do not have any reactions form these types of foods and I prepare them fairly authentically.
                                    I had one glass of cold chardonnay. Next I had a thick salmon steak, which was swimming in a coconut based, red curry sauce. It had been grilled at some point but was not terribly hot. On the plate was cold asparagus, brocolli and carrots. No telling how old they were. I had a side of lukewarm rice. I thought it odd that I felt very full after eating less than half of the salmon. That feeling just got worse...
                                    I'm not an expert. Perhaps it was from the rich soup, on an empty stomach. I usually don't have these kind of issues. As I said, I prepare this kind of food at home all the time. I make chili and all kinds of spicy, rich food.
                                    I read that some bacteria can cause a reaction in five minutes to an hour. I don't understand the naysayers. Sure, some bacteria take longer...

                      2. Somewhere along the line I heard that you don't order fish on Monday because it's left over from the weekend. I've never gotten that out of my head! And, I'm sure that the crew is different and perhaps the best chef is off.

                        1. I was looking for a thread similar to this because, here, in downtown New Haven, CT, many restaurants are closed on the weekend and Mondays. It is sometimes hard to find a better restaurant open during this period.
                          I ate lunch at a "open seven days a week" Asian restaurant a week ago, on Tuesday, and enjoyed it. It enjoys a good reputation. Yesterday (Monday), I ate there again for lunch and may have been rolling the dice because I had a "fish special" and it was Monday. This was not a cheap special; it was $18.00.
                          I was starting to get sick within ten minutes of leaving. I soon had diarrhea...

                          So I ask the same question as the OP, in a different way: Does the first meal, after a restaurant re-opens carry any higher risk than other times? If Sundays are slow and many places closed on Mondays, is Tuesday lunch at a place (with these hours), riskier than at other times? Are specials usually a sign of pushing older inventory? If Thursdays through Saturdays are the big restaurant days, would a smaller place (for example), not order fresh fish or meat till around Wednesday or Thursday?
                          I've never worked in a restaurant so I'm not sure what is common practice. Karl S, are you speaking from experience in the trade?

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Scargod

                            I think this is a matter of geography too... I'm from suburban central New Jersey and many, many restaurants in that region are closed on Mondays. (Not just New Jersey, but I know for a fact that restaurants in suburban Philly (Bucks County) and other areas in the region follow this pattern as well.

                            Now that I've been living in Los Angeles for 12 years, I've rarely (if ever) found a restaurant to be closed on Monday.

                            Mr Taster

                            1. re: Scargod

                              About 5% of those who order fish on Monday experience diarrhea before the day is out, and about that same percentage can spell the word. You hit the daily double. While you ride the porcelain pony, you should be reading the Daily Racing Form and hitting a horse track tomorrow.....

                              1. re: Scargod

                                Call me skeptical, but I'm pretty sure that you didn't get sick from bad fish. Food poisoning takes several hours to kick-in. The preparation of the dish might not have sat well in your digestion tract, but that could have happened with the freshest fish imaginable.

                                Not all specials are created to push old food. A lot of restaurants might have chefs that do a daily special based on fresh ingredients. The management might also want to push a special item if they know they are going to have a high volume of a specific clientele.

                              2. well, dating someone that works in the industry makes sun/mon dining almost exclusively all we do! Since, she is working all the "primetime" nights. Anyways, I have almost the exact opposite experience! We usually get above average service, and well prepared food. Add in that fact that a lot of places have special offers on those nights(for example, one of our favorites has half off 750ml bottles of wine on mon! makes them damn near retail!) Its basicly going to eat on the "home teams" night! Industry people tend to treat other industry people with a little more care.....IME

                                1. I notice a lot of places locally are closed Monday night. Went out for drink & appy last night (Mon) w.the girls and it was just all around lousy. Could have been the place. They ran out of wine too!

                                  Sorry you had a bad experience :o(

                                  2 Replies
                                    1. re: invinotheresverde

                                      Yeah, probably not a sign of a good restaurant to begin with.

                                  1. if the restaurant is incredibly busy at the weekend then I would have thought Monday's deliveries would be pretty fresh as they would need to restock. However I do not think either meat or fish is going to be fresh when delivered on a Monday as it probably was at the wholesaler from the previous Friday.

                                    1. Back in the dark ages when I worked in the restaurant industry, dinners on Sunday and Monday were by far the slowest of the week. So guess what nights the "A" team took off?

                                      With less chaos in the kitchen, the executive chef figured that a sous could handle things just fine. The more senior (and generally better) waiters got management to schedule them for Sundays and Mondays off, since less business = less tips. With the bar less busy, a newer bartender could keep up with the demand. Etc., etc.

                                      There are good things about going out on Monday night. You'll usually get a table right away, and if you get a good server you'll probably have more of his or her undivided attention. Likewise, if the folks in the kitchen are competent or better, they'll be less rushed and more likely to get everything just right for you. On the other hand, you may be eating in a deserted dining room, so you don't get the vibe that a hopping place has. And you run an increased risk of being the victim of amateur hour, in either the front or the back of the house.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: alanbarnes

                                        all valid points.

                                        The "amateur hour" reference is the reason i dont typically go out on fri/sat. Just not from a service and food standpoint, but from the standpoint of all the other patrons. A vast sea of clueless diners usually decend on restaurants on the weekends!

                                        1. re: alanbarnes

                                          Excellent! We rarely go out on the busy nights or the weekend. We like Tuesday through Thursday and try to stick to that.
                                          We don't like it when it becomes a "zoo" and things slow to a crawl. You either have to get into the spirit of it or get pissed off. I certainly think that (at many places), you get your best "money's worth" during Tuesdays through Thursdays.

                                          1. re: Scargod

                                            Our favourite nights to go out is also Tuesday thru Thursday. On the rare occasion we go out for dinner on the weekend, we usually do early (17:30).

                                        2. Never eat the Monday meatloaf special!!

                                          1. i go out on mondays all teh time. never had a problem that i can recall

                                            (now the cheese in kashmir, and the chicken in the casablanca train station - those were a different story)

                                            1. I've never heard of this theory before, but I suppose there could be some truth to it. Coming off of a busy weekend, the staff could be a bit tired, and when there are few people in the restaurant and little to occupy the time, it's easier for servers to get in the mindset of thinking they don't have to work very hard. The same is true of the cooks. I used to work during the week at a restaurant that stayed open all day, and one of the most frustrating times was the 2-5 stretch when very little was going on. Theoretically, the kitchen should be on top of things during these hours because they have nothing else to do. In practice though, it usually means longer ticket times and food that isn't prepared correctly because they're in the middle of changing shifts or they feel like they have "down time" and don't have to pay as much attention to what they're doing. Another possibility is that the servers and cooks that night weren't the best the restaurant had to offer. The best cooks and servers are going to be the ones who work through the weekend, can handle the high volume, and are the most knowledgable and experienced. The people working Mondays can often be the ones who don't make the cut for the busy weekend shifts.

                                              Also, the weekend is going to be when most of the wine is sold, so it's not completely surprising that they didn't have the wine you ordered (particularly if it's a popular one) since it typically gets re-ordered during the week. Lastly, the owner was likely not there on Monday. Mondays aren't typically high-volume days, and if it's a privately owned restaurant, he was probably there all weekend when the greatest number of guests come in and the greatest amount of oversight is needed. In corporate chains, a lot of GMs also take Mondays off because there's not much going on and they've been working all weekend. Even the people in charge need a day off here and there.