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The best and the worst days to dine out ?

I have heard Tuesday is a better day to dine out than Sunday.Tuesday is when the food is ordered for the week. That's what I hear. And Sunday they are cleaning out their fridge. Any truth to this ?

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  1. Anthony Bourdain says Tues through Thurs is when the chefs are on their game, food is freshest and they know their customers are there for food, not just to get out socially, so they're on their game to deliver. Sun and Mon the worst. And any sauced fish special is meant to cover up lack of freshness on Sun and Mon.

    1 Reply
    1. re: mcf

      I would have to agree with that statement. If the restaurant is super busy you may get two deliveries, but in most cases just 1 per week is enough.

    2. I imagine it's easier to get a reservation on a Tuesday than a Friday, but I can't say that I've noticed better or fresher food on any given day. I think it would depend upon the resto, how often they get deliveries and when the "good" chef's night off is.

      The absolute worst days are probably Valentine's and Mother's days.

      1 Reply
      1. re: iluvcookies

        Totally agree about those holidays, also restaurant weeks are disappointing, cattle calls with less than ideal representations of food and service in otherwise good spots.

        I'm pretty sure Bourdain said the "good" chef is likely to be off on Sunday/Monday, IIRC.

      2. I am reminded of the Philadelphia restaurant critic who wrote a book called "Never Eat Out on Mother's Day". (Also Valentine's Day.)

        1. Worst days to dine out are holidays. Any holiday.

          4 Replies
          1. re: ipsedixit

            I would disagree about Thanksgiving, believe it or not. I've eaten several very wonderful meals at restaurants on Thanksgiving Day: for some reason, that appears to be a holiday that is the exception to the rule (with Christmas as the only runner- up, perhaps surprisingly). But St Valentine's Day, Mother's Day and New Year's Eve* are terrible.

            * One exception: Provincetown MA - there's a fantastic atmosphere at the end of the world, as it were, as most of the nearly-yearround restaurants prepare to shut down for a month.

            1. re: Karl S

              but on Thanksgiving day - never order the 'traditional' special

              1. re: Karl S

                I once had a terrific meal on Christmas Eve, at an Italian place. I remember being surprised that it was open, much less that the food was as good as or even better than their usual high standards. And the place was packed, with large families. I asked the owner if Xmas eve was always that successful and he grimaced and said that unfortunately from his point of view yes. he said he always wanted to take the day off but they were located next to a large Catholic Church and apparently pre and post Mass dinners had become a tradition for a number of the parishioners. One never knows.

                As for me more generally, I dislike crowds and thus try to avoid Saturday nights, unless we eat early.

              2. With the exception of Chains......if you are relying on the chef to personally cook your order, or at the very least, over see the kitchen's production....then you need to find out which day he has off. I don't dine out on holidays, Friday or Saturday evenings. Some of my best meals have been on Sundays.

                As for the the notion Tuesday is better than Sunday because the Food is ordered on Tuesday....the earliest it would be prepared, is the next day, so that though is really meaningless......and for the record, Chain restaurants can receive orders every day of the week if needed.......and good restaurants will order fish daily as needed.

                The bottom line.....good restaurants clean out their fridge every day....by offering specials, which are often considered the best meals of the day by many.....not just on Sundays. The worst food and service....always on a Friday or Saturday evening.

                3 Replies
                1. re: fourunder

                  People that dine out on Holidays should remember that most people working on the holidays hate the fact that they're being forced to work those days, thus the service is a bit chilly, and the food can be a bit rushed. Add the symphony of screaming kids, looks of horrified parents, and you get the picture. I am guessing that is why Vegas went back to the adult theme. And left the family theme to Walt Disney

                  1. re: keithlb1

                    some don't mind working holidays actually. it's an excuse to NOT be with your family, it's usually a set menu, so easier and you're guaranteed volume. for many years i volunteered to work thanksgiving for exactly these reasons.

                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                      Also, not everyone lives near enough their families to care. When I lived across the country from my family, I liked working holidays, especially the days around Christmas. Took my mind off being away from them.

                2. This really depends on cuisine.
                  I wouldn't dine out and order fish/seafood on Sat, Sunday, Monday due to lack of fresh deliveries (unless I'm eating right on the shore where the chef buys from local boats every day).
                  Monday is out for Italian in my area, as the bakeries don't work Mondays, and the breads and desserts won't be fresh. Most authentic Apizza restaurants will be closed as well (got to get a day off after working 6 in a row).
                  I find that Thursdays have been great all summer, as this is when we have our local farmer's markets and local chefs pick produce instead of getting it from the wholesalers.

                  The best days to dine out are when I don't want to cook, the worst days to dine out are those that my wife wants to cook.

                  14 Replies
                  1. re: bagelman01

                    In NY/NJ.....all the best bakeries are 7 day operations that service restaurants, delicatessens and supermarkets with Fresh Italian Bread and Rolls daily.

                    I can certainly understand wanting fresh bread, but unless I knew that any particular restaurant or food business used a specific bakery for their bread or products...I would not assume all bakery deliveries on Monday are not possible, or made. Regardless of where anyone lives, I'm sure the delis, supermarkets and restaurants get fresh baked products for their customers The Produce Market where I shop actually gets two deliveries every day.....one at 8:30 AM and another in the afternoon at 3:30PM. I see restaurant people shopping here for their businesses all the time.

                    1. re: fourunder

                      I live in NY, where it's rare for bakeries to be open on Monday, IME. Particularly the good ones. I'd be hard pressed to find a bakery I'd want to patronize open on a Monday.

                      1. re: mcf

                        Way back when I worked in the commercial baking business (35+ years) we were closed Mondays, and the Sunday shift ended very early. The merchandise that went out on the wholelsale trucks Sunday night for early Monday am deliveries to restaurants was actually 18 - 20 hours old when it was delivered. The rest of the week the baked goods being delivered at 6am had been baked between Midnight and 2am.
                        In my area of south central Connecticut I would be hard pressed to find a bakery open on Monday, excluding supermarkets where they bake off frozen product.
                        The bakery I worked for the one of the originators of frozen bake off, I know a number of restaurants who keep bakeoff goods in the freezers to use on Mondays, but it's not as good as fresh made and baked.
                        Unlike Fourunder, I am not just referring to Italian Bread and Rolls, but good Jewish Rye and Hard Rolls, as well. But the Italian bakeries and Pizza places in this area generally are still closed on Monday.

                        1. re: bagelman01

                          Unlike Fourunder, I am not just referring to Italian Bread and Rolls,...


                          I can certainly understand wanting fresh bread, but unless I knew that any particular restaurant or food business used a specific bakery for their bread OR PRODUCTS....... I would not assume all bakery deliveries on Monday are not possible, or made. Regardless of where anyone lives, I'm sure the delis, supermarkets and restaurants get fresh baked products for their customers....


                          and neither was I....but really, are you going to compare your experiences from 35 years ago as being relevant today for every market area?

                          1. re: fourunder

                            Both and and bagelman are referring to the metro NY area, which is where you seem to be as well. Bakeries are closed on Monday.

                            1. re: mcf

                              Here are a few bakeries that are pretty well known....even famous.... and one not more than 10 minutes from my home.....Two are open on Monday's ....and every other day as well....for wholesale and retail....the other is wholesale only

                              Eli's wholesale is available 7 days as well




                              Sullivan Street Bakery supplies an Italian Deli and Market a few hundred feet away on the same street in Englewood, NJ. Eli's supplies a well known market in Fort Lee, NJ 5 more minutes away.

                            2. re: fourunder

                              Not talking about every market area, I was specific about south central CT, where many bakeries that make good bread and rolls and supply restaurants and caterers are still closed on Mondays.
                              Many restaurants, particularly Italian and Italian (as opposed to Greek owned) pizza places are also closed on Mondays.
                              Talking 2012, NOT 35 years ago.
                              and since you don't live everywhere, you can't be sure of the practices in every community.

                              But as I have observed, it doesn't matter what I post, you always seem to chime in and object to my information.

                              But, since you mentioned Italian Bread and rolls, here in Trumbull, the preeminent Italian baker is Luigi's which is closed Monday, the preeminent Italian Restaurant is Marisa's closed Mondays..

                              1. re: bagelman01

                                But as I have observed, it doesn't matter what I post, you always seem to chime in and object to my information.

                                Unlike Fourunder...


                                but to be serious.....are there any Pizzerias that are open on Mondays in your area? If so, than are you suggesting they only use 1-2 day old bread for their service or hero sandwiches? By suggesting all or most of the business are closed, don't you think you do them (the ones that are open) a disservice if the information is erroneous? I don't have to live in your area, or any other for that matter to find that hard to believe. My problem with your information is you do a disservice to those hard working businesses who are open, and are trying to make a living without someone making blanket statements to the contrary....that they are either closed or serving non-fresh items.

                                Just as I don't live everywhere and have not been everywhere and do not know everthing....neither do you and there are many exceptions for any information or argument.

                                1. re: fourunder

                                  You think folks are reading this and staying home destroying businesses because of a post on CH?

                                  It's possible to overstate the impact here, yannow. Just sayinzall.

                                  1. re: mcf

                                    The people staying home are not destroying the businesses....any posters making broad statements that they are closed...... are the ones doing the damage, or potential harm.

                                    1. re: fourunder

                                      I think that's quite a stretch.

                                      1. re: mcf

                                        You've stated bakeries are closed on Mondays.....let's say you owned one of those bakeries that were open on Mondays....I'm sure you would feel differently if someone was speading the word you were closed and losing potential customers who wanted to stop by, but had the notion you were closed based on reading it here . Whether it's a stretch or not.....the information would be incorrect.

                                  2. re: fourunder

                                    Just as an example 3 of my favorite places for Apizza in New Haven, Sally's Pepe's and Ernie's opnlt make and sell Apizza, No heros, grinders, subs, bread with a pasta meal, so it doesn't matter if they couldn't get fresh bread from the Italian wholesale bakery on a Monday.
                                    It's all very geograpy-centric. What is the normm in one place may not be in another.

                                    1. re: bagelman01

                                      Fair enough, but ........

                                      How about Ralph and Rich's.......

                                      Franco Gianni...

                                      Old Towne......

                                      and BTW....Marisa's is open on Monday for Dinner Service.

                      2. If there is a "regular" set of days off for the executive chef it would be Sunday and Monday. These are also day's when the restaurant will not be getting certain fresh items, like fish. Of course, in larger restaurants, the executive chef seldom cooks anyway. Restaurants are always trying to clean out the fridge of anything that has the potential to go bad regardless of the day of the week so be wary of the "fish" special although no good restaurant is ever going to serve bad food so some specials really are special.
                        I like to go on a fairly busy night but not overwhelmingly busy for the kitchen like maybe Thursday. I think cooks are more on their game at a certain speed, not too slow, not too fast. And stay away on holidays and restaurant weeks. Cooks hate tbose and you should too.

                        24 Replies
                        1. re: bobbert

                          <Restaurants are always trying to clean out the fridge of anything that has the potential to go bad regardless of the day of the week so be wary of the "fish" special >

                          I must be missing something, because this makes absolutely no sense to me. Say I go to a restaurant that has salmon and tuna on its regular menu. It also has monkfish as a special. Why would I be wary of the monkfish? Did the restaurant buy it last week, let it sit around until it starts to spoil, and then suddenly decide to cook it?

                          1. re: small h

                            Bourdain says to specifically be wary of the highly sauced or otherwise disguised fish special, particularly Sunday's and Monday's offerings.

                            1. re: mcf

                              Bourdain says a lot of things, but that particular one doesn't answer my question. If there's salmon on the regular menu, and I see that the specials menu includes salmon cakes, pasta with salmon cream sauce, and salmon chowder, I might well conclude that someone's trying to unload a mess of extra salmon. That's a very specific case, though, and not one I've encountered often.

                              1. re: small h

                                It's not that you should "never" eat a fish special, it's that you should be very leary of any disguised fish special and moreso on certain days of the weak. Unless you work in the kitchen, you don't know for sure what the condtion of the fish is, the suggestion is meant to improve your odds.

                                1. re: mcf

                                  I guess you could live your life that way, especially if you usually eat at sketchy restaurants. I choose to trust that a restaurant isn't using sauces solely to cover up spoiled food. After all, you also don't know what the condition of the meat is, or the potatoes, or the garlic. Seem silly to limit your paranoia to fish. Additionally, the date the fish was delivered tells you nothing about the date it was caught - for all you know, it's been sitting in the distributor's warehouse for ages.

                                  1. re: small h

                                    It's a pretty big myth nowadays that the Daily Special is code for using up leftovers.

                                    Just as often the Daily Special is what the kitchen or staff found available at the market that day, or otherwise got a good deal on.

                                    That said, I'm not touching the Bread Pudding Dessert Special ...

                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                      I'd steer clear of the chili, too, while you're at it. (I have long suspected this myth to be myth. I've also been washing mushrooms under running water without incident for decades.)

                                    2. re: small h

                                      I was citing Bourdain, no need for snark about my habits, thanks.

                                      1. re: mcf

                                        I sometimes write "you" when "one" is more correct, because "you" feels more conversational to me. So I wasn't snarking about your habits, just hypothetical general habits.

                              2. re: small h

                                And the rest of that sentence read " although no good restaurant is ever going to serve bad food so, some specials really are special." so sure, the chef may have seen this great looking monkfish at the market that morning and got some inspiration. Actually, with fish I would probably be more inclined to have a special fish that was not on the regular menu rather than the salmon in a different preparation than normal. That might be an Indication that they ordered too much salmon or didn't sell as much as normal. What would you use as tonight's special? The just arrived sole that will be ok for several days or the salmon that, although fine for now, might be nearing the end of its life expectancy and might no longer be ok to serve tomorrow? If you're in business to make money, throwing out food tomorrow that you could have sold tonight is not the way to do it.
                                I think we all do the same at home. We eat the "old" turkey or bread or drink the "old" milk before we open a new package or bottle. We might even cook something tonight because we "have to" before it goes bad. Why wouldn't a restaurant (where regularly throwing product away could put them out of business) do the same?

                                1. re: bobbert

                                  <Why wouldn't a restaurant (where regularly throwing product away could put them out of business) do the same?>

                                  I'm confused. Upthread you wrote that this was something we ought to be wary of. If it's something I'd do at home, why would it trouble me that a restaurant also does it? It seems to bother you that restaurants serve food that will go bad someday - maybe tomorrow! But if the food is still fine tonight, who cares?

                                  1. re: small h

                                    Freshest is better than *still safe*, and in a restaurant, you're paying a significantly higher price. The advice was about getting the best meal for your money, not how to avoid an ER trip. :-)

                                    1. re: mcf

                                      Thank you:)
                                      IMO, "still fine tonight" is a far cry from "just off the boat this morning" especially when I'm paying top dollar.

                                      1. re: bobbert

                                        "just off the boat this morning"....
                                        this rarely happens, unless you are near an active fishing community Most seafood can be up to a week old (or longer) before you get it.....even at the best of restaurants.

                                        1. re: fourunder

                                          I think it was used as an illustrative expression, not as a literal description (though in my area, it well could be).

                                          1. re: fourunder

                                            What mcf says. I do live in Portland Maine where day boat scallops were probably fished during the last 24 hours and clams were dug yesterday as well. Most "fishing boat trips" last days or even weeks so I do agree that fresh off the boat this morning might have been caught several weeks ago.

                                        2. re: mcf

                                          Fair enough. However, there's a disturbing undercurrent to this sub-thread, with its suspicion that restaurants are trying to put one over on customers and sneak sub-par food onto their plates. I completely agree that it's a good idea to avoid a restaurant when it's mobbed with people (like on Valentine's Day) or when the A team isn't working. But why would I elect to eat at a place that I thought was trying to cheat me? Wouldn't I just go somewhere that I could sure would always strive to put forth its best effort? I guess if I were stranded somewhere without options, this strategy would be useful. But I can't recall a single instance in the last decade or so when that's been an issue for me.

                                          1. re: small h

                                            I wouldn't really sweat it at any really good restaurant as they will never serve "bad" food. I'd tend to be more careful at places that are not busy, maybe off season, and especially if they have a large menu. When there's 8 people in the place and there's a choice of 10 different proteins what are the chances that these are all as fresh as possible? Busy places turn over stock regularly and rapidly therefore things tend to be fresher.

                                            1. re: bobbert

                                              Agree completely. Which is why I would be *more* inclined to order the fish special (particularly if it's not a kind of fish that the restaurant has on its regular menu). Because I would assume it had arrived recently. And that's exactly the point I was making in my original reply to you.

                                              1. re: small h

                                                Sorry that I might have missed that point in the original reply - might have saved us a bit of typing. My point on this particular issue is that restaurants will go to great lengths to avoid throwing product away, short of serving "bad" food (bad as in it might make someone sick, not to be confused with something that might not be as "fresh" as possible). Finer restaurants will throw out perfectly good product that might have lost some of its freshness but I can assure you. that is factored into the cost of each meal as well.

                                                Back to the original question, I think Thursday is the best day to eat out.

                                            2. re: small h

                                              "Fair enough. However, there's a disturbing undercurrent to this sub-thread, with its suspicion that restaurants are trying to put one over on customers and sneak sub-par food onto their plates."

                                              I think you're over interpreting. I don't see that inference in this thread.

                                              1. re: mcf

                                                <I think you're over interpreting. >

                                                Wouldn't be the first time. Probably won't be the last.

                                    2. re: bobbert

                                      Restaurants are always trying to clean out the fridge of anything that has the potential to go bad regardless of the day of the week


                                      all fresh produce, meat and fish have the "potential" to go bad. good chefs are not fighting against a tiny window of rottenness. they know how to purchase judiciously so the walk-in isn't a cooler of despair.

                                      as a restaurant lifer, i prefer late lunches, or early dinners. i get too stressed out being aware of looming mayhem. i dislike going on saturdays because of the crowds as well as the "type" of crowd. these are most often the special occasion peeps.

                                      and you would not catch me dead eating out on valentine's, new years, etc. even though the money can be great, i also try not to work them. just ugh.

                                      1. re: hotoynoodle

                                        NY's eve is the one holiday I will eat out, but early in the evening, before celebrating quietly at home.

                                    3. I've never worked in a restaurant, so maybe this is an obvious question but... why do all restaurants have to order food on Tuesdays? Wouldn't ordering before the weekend make more sense since that's when the volume of customers presumably occurs? That said, I rarely go out on Fridays or Saturdays since I don't like crowds and eating out is usually a last minute idea, so we don't often make reservations. I've never noticed a difference in the quality of food specific to certain days of the week.

                                      12 Replies
                                      1. re: Hobbert

                                        It's not that food is ordered on Tuesdays. It's that for many items, the end point of fresh distribution occurs on Tuesdays. That tends to be less true for Sat-Mon, and especially Sun.

                                          1. re: Hobbert

                                            i have worked in restaurants over 20 years and NEVER worked in one that gets food delivered once a week. my career has been in fine dining and food comes everyday. yes, even sunday. orders are placed at the end of service, via voicemail, to purveyors, who show up the next day. et voila.

                                            where do you people eat that food comes only once per week and most of it is verging on fetid? if bourdain ordered once per week, he was a lazy, shi**y chef.

                                            1. re: hotoynoodle

                                              Bourdain was commenting on common industry practices, not what he did.

                                              1. re: mcf

                                                And he was writing a sensationalistic book that's over a dozen years old. The restaurant and restaurant supply scene has changed a lot in that time. If people eat out a lot and can sense a perceptible change in quality on a given night, that's one thing, but I eat out frequently (and visit a number of places regularly) and have never felt like I was served substandard anything.

                                                1. re: ferret

                                                  "Substandard" is a very subjective term. I think the point was simply to improve one's odds of getting the best chef (not Sunday or Monday) and the best meal, not as over interpreted, fool proof "if you go on this day you'll be served crap."

                                              2. re: hotoynoodle

                                                I'm willing to bet that not every purveyor delivered every day but I agree that good restaurants will get multiple orders per week but may stagger it if only for logistic reasons. Fish on Tuesday and Friday. Meat on Wednesday, etc. Then there are the mushroom foragers who show up whenever. Many places will require a day or two notice for a tasting just so they have time to get anything special in. I've also seen many a chef in uniform at the local supermarket when they've run out or they may borrow something from a nearby restaurant.

                                          2. re: Hobbert

                                            Since the weekend is the busiest time of the week in the food business, ordering after the weekend allows the restauarnt management to inventory stock and see what sold and in what quantities. Traditionally, Monday was either a day off for the executive chef who worked all weekend, or many restaurants were closed. Wholesalers get deliveries in during the day on Monday, or early Tuesday morning (after the weekend hiatus) and Tuesday is a good time for their sales staff to call accounts and let them knbow what is available, on special, etc.

                                            1. re: bagelman01

                                              I suppose there may exist restaurants with tiny dining rooms and large storage areas that only get one delivery per week, but that is not the case in the types of restaurants I've worked in. None of our suppliers deliver on Sunday, but we get produce delivered every other day, often multiple deliveries from different farms or specialists. We get meat and fish several times a week (most days), dairy and dry goods usually twice a week.

                                              Regardless, there are few foods that spoil in a few days if the source and the handling are good. If that salmon was fresh out of the water a day or two ago, it will keep just fine for a few more days on ice in our walk-in, and even a few more since we vacuum seal it. If a restaurant is getting fish on Saturday that shouldn't be sold on Monday, it was either old to begin with or handled very poorly.

                                              Come on, hounds, few of us grocery shop every day and we all know that most food keeps for a while. Don't we?

                                              1. re: babette feasts

                                                ...and there comes a time in every household or restaurant where something will inevitably go bad and end up in the trash. To prevent this at home, "yes kids, we're having chicken AGAIN tonight". To prevent this in a restaurant " tonight's special is a pan seared salmon served with seasonal vegetables all of which will be thrown out tomorrow if you folks don't eat it tonight". They usually leave out the last half of that sentence.

                                                1. re: babette feasts

                                                  Yeah, no kidding right?

                                                  I may be wrong, but I believe I have seen refrigerators in restaurant kitchens. Sometimes more than one. Freezers too!

                                                  1. re: babette feasts

                                                    I was not suggesting only one delivery per week. In my experience in the restaurant, catering and resort hotel businesses, we got bread deliveries 6 days per week and food/produce/meat/fish/dairy on Tuesday and Friday