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Your Biggest Restaurant Menu Pet Peeve

So what are the things on restaurant menus that you just don't like. Print too small, misleading dish names/descriptions, no prices listed, etc...anything. What don't you like?

One thing that comes to my mind is menus that list KOBE beef.

Before late 2012, actual Kobe beef had never been allowed into the US...yet you still saw the name proudly listed on menus. As of today there have been either 5 or 7 TOTAL Kobe beef cattle (carcases) imported since the ban was lifted in 2012. That isn't alot. LoL (I just checked my facts, and there have been 8 carcases imported into the US).

As a matter of fact, the US imports in 2012 were not only the first in the US...but it was the first time Kobe had been exported ANYWHERE in the world outside of Asia!

So...what's your "beef" with restaurant menus?

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    1. re: sandylc

      THIS!! bad spelling or typos!!! nearly everyplace prints in-house now. this is utterly inexcusable. i want to come back in my next life as a menu fairy and fix them!

      also, lack of vintages of wine lists and no prices on cocktail menus.

        1. re: hotoynoodle

          Agreed! Typos are 100% inexcusable.

          1. re: CindyJ


            Even immigrant-driven, ethnic spots?

            1. re: ipsedixit

              Okay, okay -- there are certain places where I'm more likely to tolerate typos -- not excuse them, but tolerate them. It takes but a few minutes to have someone proofread a menu; to not take that time comes across as a shrug of the shoulders and an implied attitude of "It's good enough." Truth is, maybe it is good enough... and maybe it isn't. But it's better to err on the safe side. I'm not faulting someone for having less-than-perfect English; I'm faulting them for not caring enough about the impression that typos may leave with their customers.

              1. re: CindyJ

                I hear ya on the caring enough part, but sometimes some people (because English is like their 3rd or 4th language) just don't even know they are making typos.

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  It does bug me in a place that has had menus professionally printed. I never hold it against the owners, but I do get disgusted by the lack of professionalism exhibited by the designer who laid the document out.

                  1. re: MGZ

                    Yes, if it's Per Se or Alinea, then by all means, we should throw a tissy-fit.

                    But if it's Grandma's Punjabi Kitchen down the street, eh, not so much.

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      Actually, I think Grandma deserves just as much respect (if not more) from a designer she's paying as that accorded to Mr. Keller. As I noted, I don't blame the owners, just the designers and printers.

                      1. re: MGZ

                        How can Grandma expect perfection when the Plume can't even get the spelling on the wine list printed correctly?

                        1. re: MGZ

                          I was assuming Grandma did *not* have her menus professionally designed/made, unless you consider Kinkos a "designer" ...

                        2. re: ipsedixit

                          I am with you on this.

                          Now, a typo at an ethnic restaurant might be fodder for Jay Leno, but not for me.


                        3. re: MGZ

                          When the restaurant owners are that lacking in English proficiency, chances are they are patronizing printers that are from the same recent immigrant network with the same or slightly better level of English proficiency.

                        4. re: ipsedixit

                          If English is a restaurant owner's 2nd or 3rd or 4th language, then he/she has to know that there are likely to be errors in a self-written menu. Look at it from another perspective -- if you owned a restaurant in Brazil, and if Portugese was not your first language, wouldn't you want someone who was fluent in that language to review your menu?

                          1. re: CindyJ

                            Maybe. But that's easier said than done.

                            Trust me, I've been there. It's not that easy to get a menu right when that menu is not written in your native tongue.

                            1. re: CindyJ

                              That's usually my argument. Most people know their approximate level of proficiency whether it be in another language or just with spelling of their own language. Adults take care of this by having someone who is better at it than they are take a look at it.

                              1. re: sandylc

                                What I've seen is that a non-English speaking chef/owner will get the ESL relative to do the proofreading.

                                1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                  That's like the near-sighted leading the blind.

                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                    Darn my Personal Policy about Rec's.

                                    If this were fB, I'd certainly Like your comment.

                                2. re: CindyJ

                                  Maybe they could hire a Madison Ave ad agency, to do the menu?


                                3. re: ipsedixit

                                  Those people should know automatically that their menu requires a proofreader with native-English ability.

                                  1. re: Tripeler

                                    Why? To satisfy spelling-obsessed chowhounds? For many immigrant owners, funding comes from within their own immigrant community, not one of the big banks. Same goes for operating advise.

                                    Jennifer 8 Lee has a good chapter in her Fortune Cookie Chronicles about a young Chinese couple trying to operate a restaurant in small town Georgia.

                                    Immigrant Advantage also delves into the immigrant communities and support systems.

                                    I suspect menu proof reading is much lower on their priority list than ours.

                                    1. re: paulj

                                      Not only is menu proofing for English accuracy low on the priority totem-pole, but many immigrant driven restaurant owners focus more on proofing the menus for their own native language, and audience.

                                      The English translation oftentimes is simply an annoyance they put up with.

                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                        The point is, ipse, that, in the same way a lawyer should proof the words he puts in a paper for the benefit of his client, a designer/printer should do the same. People doin' their jobs is just that - people doin' their jobs. If a restaurant hires someone to type out, design, and/or print their menu, I find it awful that the folks doin' the work for 'em do such a sh*tty job.

                                        1. re: MGZ

                                          But you're assuming that the restaurant actually "hires someone to type out, design, and/or print their menu."

                                          Where do you get that assumption from?

                                          1. re: ipsedixit

                                            I'm not making any assumptions, I'm merely sayin' that when I see a menu that has been professionally printed, I think it's a sh*t move, on behalf of the designer/printer, to not proofread. Fundamentally, the professional is taking advantage of the ignorance of the client. I say this based upon the fact that when Mrs. Z designs/lays out any text, she (and sometimes I too) check grammar, spelling, syntax, etc. Hell, if your gonna charge someone for your services, perform your services properly.

                                            1. re: MGZ

                                              I walk in to Kinkos and go to the counter and
                                              hand over a menu printed from my computer.
                                              A service printing person{SPP} comes up to me and says something.
                                              Hesitantly I nod and hand over a note that says:
                                              "My uncle wants 100 copies, each laminated"
                                              The SPP shows me 2 or 3 types of paper, I point to the one that looks the least expensive.
                                              SPP says something to me, loudly, and takes my original.
                                              Mere minutes later SPP returns with a slightly toasty stack of papers, all laminated.
                                              SPP writes numbers on a piece of paper at the register and I pay in cash, exact change.

                                              I never expect the SPP to read what I've handed over.
                                              It looks professionally printed to me.

                                              1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                                "It looks professionally printed to me."

                                                Not to me.

                                        2. re: ipsedixit

                                          Yes, like the translation of the Chinese manuals for various items, that I own.

                                          I try to cut them some "slack," I mean give them "a break," and get by.


                                4. re: ipsedixit

                                  I prefer a Chinese restaurant that has typos on their menu. I'm convinced that many times they are done on purpose because it is what is expected.

                            2. re: sandylc

                              ugh. Yes. I don't know about anyone else, but my expectations take an immediate dive when I see "Ceasar" listed under the salad options.

                              1. re: sandylc

                                I saw the headline and this was the first thing that popped into my mind as well.

                                1. re: sandylc


                                  or mis-translated menus. At this noodle shop, the Japanese clearly stated "bukkake udon". Well, of course the first part was eliminated in the English translation to stifle the chuckles coming from the young uns.

                                  1. re: HungWeiLo

                                    Diver scallops and day boat scallops. There aren't enough certified divers in all of North America to cover these restaurant's demands. Who are they kidding? And the day boat scallops. Not enough commercial vessels in the sea to go out only for one day. One caveat being (I believe) is the scallops harvested on the last day of the fishing trip are marked for the 'day boat' pricing.

                                    1. re: chefdaddyo

                                      Like wild ______whatever. Mushroom, blueberry, anything except a fish.
                                      Really, did somebody go out into the woods and find them.

                                      1. re: TroyTempest

                                        In chain restaurants, yes but during that brief period on the summer when ME wild blueberries are in season I want to know. Nothing worse than assuming that is what you will be getting and they are nit, are clearly imported from somewhere else. I'll put up with "wild" when its true.

                                        1. re: foodieX2

                                          Here in Austin, TX, I kind of doubt that we get real Maine wild blueberries. ;-)

                                          1. re: TroyTempest

                                            And probably few "Fresh Diver Scallops," unless they have transplanted Scallops into the Colorado River, or Lake Austin.


                                        2. re: TroyTempest

                                          Like wild ______whatever. Mushroom, blueberry, anything except a fish.
                                          Really, did somebody go out into the woods and find them.


                                          At Snuffleupagus Restaurant in LA, they have an entire tasting menu dedicated to domesticated mushrooms, but only when in season.

                                          There's also some fabulous specials made with night train scallops. Sweet, bursting with flavor.

                                          1. re: TroyTempest

                                            There are morel mushroom hunters in Minnesota who do actually go out and pick wild morels and sell them to high end restaurants. It is only for a few weeks in May, but this year went into June because we had a late, wet spring. I think they are paid about $50/pound.

                                        3. re: HungWeiLo

                                          In light of that ..I love your handle!

                                        4. re: sandylc

                                          I agree, and also poor grammar and punctuation. There is no reason whatsoever that a restaurant should not have their menus proofed and corrected before printing. IMO, it is part of the first impression a place makes and also conveys an attention to detail (or lack thereof) that may carry over to their food and service.

                                          If daily specials are written on a white board or chalk board, I can understand how something might slip by....and also with a daily special printed page. I still don't like it though.

                                          1. re: jlhinwa

                                            I've seen the words "Terry Yaki" printed in a giant banner in a mall food court some years ago.

                                            This was in Portland, OR - so teriyaki is not "exotic".

                                            It was owned by barely-speaking-English Koreans, so it wasn't someone trying to be "ironic".

                                            1. re: HungWeiLo

                                              Terry Yaki could have been running for City Council.

                                          2. re: sandylc

                                            I tried to skim through the replies before I replied. I really can't stand it when menus describe items as "cooked to perfection."

                                            1. re: mn_praline

                                              That's the worst description I can't stand. Usually to describe steak. At the bottom of the menu in any kind of restaurant they list a requisite steak (usually for the patrons that are very "picky" and just want a plain steak), so the description is "cooked to perfection". It works for them, not so much for me, who almost never orders a steak. And I still can't figure out what "cooked to perfection" means!

                                              1. re: Gastronomos

                                                I agree, and try my best to communicate MY "level of perfection," then hope for the best.


                                              2. re: mn_praline

                                                The people who use expressions like that must be using Random Cliché Generator software.

                                                1. re: mn_praline

                                                  What would a sushi restaurant put, maybe "uncooked to perfection"?

                                                  1. re: TroyTempest

                                                    Probably something like 'perfectly fresh' or prepared to perfection'.

                                                1. re: tardigrade

                                                  Or infinite detail of where the food originated, such as the farm where the animal was raised or the bay where the fish was caught. Whatever next - GPS coordinates?

                                                  1. re: PhilipS

                                                    Could you exclude oysters and clams from >>the bay where the fish was caught<<.

                                                    My take is, shellfish get most of their flavor from the habitat they're harvested.

                                                    1. re: RedTop

                                                      For seafood, i agree with you Red. I think for all fish, it would be nice to know. It is often assumed that, especially if on the coast that the fish is local. Of course as i say that i realize that if it's not local they are less likely to tell you where it is from.

                                                      1. re: RedTop

                                                        "My take is, shellfish get most of their flavor from the habitat they're harvested."

                                                        So, would you call that "MER-oir"?

                                                        1. re: CindyJ

                                                          CJ, you sent me straight to Google.

                                                          Evidently, the word IS "merroir."

                                                          1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                                            NO WAY!!! I thought I was being clever!

                                                            1. re: CindyJ

                                                              Serendipity rears its ugly head again!

                                                    2. Menu descriptions. It's hit and miss for me when I order.When the food comes,I'm really liking this. Or I ordered the wrong thing. Not a big deal. It comes with the territory.

                                                      1. everything you mentioned in your first paragraph.
                                                        (since i don't eat beef, i don't really care what they call the stuff.)

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. Make that outside of Japan and Macau, the latter being the only place outside Japan where it's exported.

                                                          The Kobe one is particularly egregious, because real Kobe beef is a very specific ingredient and insanely expensive, even in Kobe. So by calling in Kobe and justifying it based on the fact that it came from a related breed of cow raised in the US, they can quadruple the prices, easily, without having to shell out for actual Kobe beef.

                                                          In general, my biggest beef would be with menus that don't list prices.

                                                          Mis-spellings don't bother me - after eight years in Asia, if an English menu is good enough to figure out what is being served, I'm happy.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                                                            Kobe is being exported to Macau, Hong Kong, and the US...with the most going to Macau.

                                                            1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                                                              "Mis-spellings don't bother me - after eight years in Asia, if an English menu is good enough to figure out what is being served, I'm happy."


                                                              Ten years in Asia for me. If I can figure out what it is, I'm pretty happy. :)

                                                            2. Similar to what emglow mentioned above, when there are NO descriptions.
                                                              This is notorious in sushi restaurants when they essentially have the japanese name sounded-out in english.

                                                              1. I hate menus where there is low contrast between the ink and the paper - and the light is dim. Luckily I carry a tiny superbright flashlight in my pocket.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: rich in stl

                                                                  Contrasting colors (red print on black background, yellow print on white background, etc) that are hard to read and cursive font.

                                                                2. Menus in a foreign language without English translation. Even if I can get along in French or Italian, this is beyond pretentious. This includes having a 'Chinese only' section.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: mwhitmore

                                                                    I'll defend the Chinese-only menus.

                                                                    Years of experience of taught Chinese restauranteurs to hide the "interesting" items away from the general public. No restaurant owner wants to see the inevitable Yelp review where a diner complains about how his sweet-n-sour chicken may have been "contaminated" by whatever meat they use in "husband wife lung slices" and vows to never return; 1 star.

                                                                    1. re: mwhitmore

                                                                      I've been to some places with an English menu (but no numbering system) where the non-English speaking waiter had no idea what I wanted.

                                                                      It helps that I can blab in a few languages, though when I'm not familiar with the lingo, such as in Tbilisi, the chef lets me wander into the kitchen to point out what might be good for dinner. Hint: in Tbilisi, pretty much anything tastes good.

                                                                    2. Adopting Italics as a normal style. This is most common at French restaurants. To me Italics means emphasis (but I personally prefer quotation marks on a menu, which Thomas Keller uses). Some restaurants would use normal font for the dish's name, and italicize the entire description, so that most of the menu is italicized and it's very annoying to read.

                                                                      1. "the things on restaurant menus that you just don't like."

                                                                        Fingerprints, grease, food residue, snot......need I go on?

                                                                        I'll not lift and look at a filthy, greasy menu that is placed on a table by an unobservant restaurant employee.

                                                                        Then there is the menu content which may have things I find annoying; such as: no prices, incorrect spelling, lack of descriptions, etc. But if I never open that filthy menu, I'll never know.

                                                                        1. Menus (or anything else) with Every Word Capitalized.

                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                          1. re: WNYamateur

                                                                            Spelling errors drive me nuts. I can live with a typo, though it really says something that the person typing up the menu can't be bothered to let someone who can spell proofread the thing. But, the inability to spell the ingredients that are being highlighted in a restaurant's dish gives me no confidence that the kitchen has a clue what they're cooking and how to handle it deftly. It's Caesar, not Ceasar or Caeser! Calamari, not calimari. Broccoli, not brocoli, brocolli or broccolli. Zucchini, not zuchinni. Please, check with the dictionary before attempting to spell any ingredients that have become part of the English language. Foreign ingredient misspellings I can forgive. I'm really just complaining about basic food and menu terminology.

                                                                            1. re: 1sweetpea

                                                                              "marscapone". "carmelized".



                                                                                1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                  "carmelized" - :::::gritting my teeth:::::

                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                    Surely this means 'in the style of Carmel, CA', no? (grin)

                                                                              1. re: WNYamateur

                                                                                WHAT'S WRONG WITH THAT?

                                                                                - sorry low hanging fruit, you know

                                                                              2. Incomplete descriptions - not that every ingredient should be
                                                                                listed but if it is a major or unusual component of a dish I
                                                                                think it should be mentioned.

                                                                                For instance, I cannot eat black pepper - it simply overpowers
                                                                                any other flavor for me. Ordered a pork tenderloin and it arrived
                                                                                with a heavy pepper crust which had not been listed. Totally
                                                                                ruined the dish for me.

                                                                                In another case, ordered fried green tomatoes and they
                                                                                arrived with a "sauce" of goat cheese which was not in the
                                                                                description. I love chevre but know many people do not
                                                                                care for it.

                                                                                1. Specials and cocktail menus without prices. A couple of times over the past year we have had nasty surprises when ordering a special or cocktail that were priced way above the averge menu price. Yes, the responsibility to ask was on me but I didn't expect a $75 entree special at a place with an average entree of $25-$35.

                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: cleobeach

                                                                                    I am REALLY with you here. It is not hospitable to force a guest to beg for prices on the specials. It seems to me that the intent is to either trick the customer into a higher-priced selection than they would usually order, or else a way to belittle/embarass the customer. Neither scenario makes for a lovely dining experience.

                                                                                    1. re: cleobeach

                                                                                      Bingo. It's a flagrant slap of inhospitality in what is a hospitality business. When a restaurant does that, it screams WE WANT TO FLEECE YOU.

                                                                                    2. How about pronunciations by the waitstaff?





                                                                                      Frankly, I've heard these mispronounced so many times that I'm getting confused!!! ;-/

                                                                                      1. In addition to most of the other comments:

                                                                                        Too many fonts & font sizes.
                                                                                        3 are enough-- headings, name of food, description

                                                                                        Regional/national adjectives:
                                                                                        French Cheese doesn't tell me much.
                                                                                        Southern BBQ sauce also means nothing.

                                                                                        Cutesy, restaurant-created adjectives/names.
                                                                                        Our Historic Lager and Heirloom Tomato Brewschetta just like Uncle Tony would make.

                                                                                        42-part menus, each a different size.
                                                                                        The regular menu.
                                                                                        The drink menu.
                                                                                        The Wine list [although this should be separate]
                                                                                        The specials insert.
                                                                                        The desserts insert.

                                                                                        1. Too many offerings! It takes too long to read, it's difficult to decide amongst so many dishes, and a little voice in my head tells me that they can't possibly do a good job or use fresh ingredients when they have so many options.

                                                                                          28 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: sandylc

                                                                                            Went to a viet. restaurant last night that i like, but could have cut their menu in half. Instead of 3 entries Prawns with flat rice noodle, prawns with egg noodles, etc., just list it once and give me the noodle choices.

                                                                                            1. re: TroyTempest

                                                                                              No menu should list any dish(es) or item(s) as "world famous" unless the restaurant has truly won an award from the "world fame society". Rarely does the truth reveal that more than that just the restaurant's own regulars have acknowledged the dish or item as being worthy of any accolade. Just call it a patron pick, staff fave or must-try and leave it at that. Nothing makes me laugh harder than reading the word "famous" on the menu of a restaurant that hasn't been open long.

                                                                                              1. re: 1sweetpea

                                                                                                Ha. Similar to sports. Why does the baseball team who wins the "World Series" become the "World Champion" when only teams from the U.S. participate?

                                                                                                1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                  Thank you! Finally someone said that:)

                                                                                                  1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                    Agreed! I've often thought about the NFL for the same reasons!!!

                                                                                                    1. re: chloebell

                                                                                                      YES! I am tired of dear hubby talking about when "his" Packers were world champions!!!

                                                                                                      1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                        Well, who do you think could beat them, the Costa Rica national team? :)

                                                                                                        1. re: TroyTempest

                                                                                                          I guess you kind of have a point? (Scratching head)

                                                                                                    2. re: sandylc

                                                                                                      Toronto is now part of the US? Wow.


                                                                                                      1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                        I thought that Toronto had a baseball team?

                                                                                                        1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                          Or worse, Miss Universe, when no other planets in our solar system, let alone all the other solar systems, participate....

                                                                                                          1. re: Isolda

                                                                                                            I know, because those klingon women are HOT!

                                                                                                            1. re: TroyTempest

                                                                                                              Well, "beauty IS in the eye of the beholder," or maybe "eyes," depending on which area of the Universe, you are talking about.


                                                                                                          2. re: sandylc

                                                                                                            Well there are the Toronto Blue Jays!

                                                                                                            1. re: cosmogrrl

                                                                                                              Does "Miss Universe" play for them?


                                                                                                            2. re: sandylc

                                                                                                              The World Series was originally sponsored by the World Newspaper. Paper folded. Series continues.

                                                                                                                  1. re: BobB

                                                                                                                    I love me some Snopes. Even lost a friendship over it. Sometimes the truth hurts.

                                                                                                                1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                  The best players in the world are in the MLB, it's not like these are national teams. No professional team in the world would have a chance against the World Series winner.

                                                                                                                  The same is true of the NFL, also mentioned in this thread. Find one single American football team in the world which would even have a chance against the worst nfl team. Ain't happening.

                                                                                                                  1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                    Sandy, I missed your question until now...

                                                                                                                    The when the World Series was created (the modern start in 1903) there were no other countries that were playing baseball, at least not in any organized, team fashion. The World Series actually dates back to the 1880s and at some point back then it was referred to as the World Series.

                                                                                                                    The world of baseball only existed in the U.S.

                                                                                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                      The Japanese had team baseball in the late 1800s

                                                                                                                      1. re: jgg13

                                                                                                                        I just looked it up and you're right. Baseball in the U.S. back then was concentrated in the northeast. The teams travelled by train. I can't imagine a World Series with the U. S. vs. Japan back in the day. The travel time between ballparks would have been weeks.

                                                                                                                  2. re: 1sweetpea

                                                                                                                    There's a place I go to a lot that has a dish that they call "Almost Famous."

                                                                                                                    1. re: 1sweetpea

                                                                                                                      I don't even want to see 'famous' on a menu. Unless they are serving Famous Amos cookies, but that's a different reason for not eating there.

                                                                                                                  3. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                    I'll completely agree with you there. What is with restaurant owners who seem to want to include every food item they ever dreamed of on a menu? It totally sends up a little red flag to me. Concentrate on fewer items, and focus on making them amazing, and I will come back over and over again!

                                                                                                                  4. Not necessarily a "menu" issue but I hate it when the server recites the specials and does not include prices. Even more so when you ask and the prices are considerably higher than the average entree. We were at a place recently where the special pasta cost around $12 more than most of the others and it did not include any perceived "expensive" items like shellfish, shrimp, truffles, high end beef, exotic mushrooms. Nothing to indicate it would be 40% more.

                                                                                                                    When items are listed at "market value/price" but the server has to run around finding out the price. If you are not going to list the price at least make sure your staff knows the price at the start of every shift.

                                                                                                                    1. Most of what you said, and awkward descriptions or no description to tell. Even though I know what this is, how do normal people understand what "okonomiyaki" is? (Japanese fried pancake, sort of like a small pizza).

                                                                                                                      Misleading descriptions, as you've said, are also very annoying. The one problem many French restaurant goers have is the restaurant listing genuine truffles on their menu...and they're not actually French-grown truffles, they're the tasteless, boring Asian type.

                                                                                                                      No price listing present. I've learned that if the consumer has to ask what the price is for X item, then it's automatically assumed to be too much money.

                                                                                                                      A menu that is difficult for me to read has 100% chance of being impossible for my parents to read.

                                                                                                                      1. Apparently, I have number of beefs, now that I sit and think about it. In random order:

                                                                                                                        1. Too busy and disorganized to read, especially when items are not put in logical groupings.

                                                                                                                        2. Spelling, grammatical, and punctuation errors and inconsistencies.

                                                                                                                        3. No prices. Also, using "market price" on a fresh or special sheet. Surely if it is a daily item, the market price is known when the menu is printed.

                                                                                                                        4. Item names that do not tell you what you are eating.

                                                                                                                        5. Menu listings that are too brief, again leaving the dish a mystery. They list three or four ingredients only without stating how the food is prepared or which ingredient is the main one.

                                                                                                                        6. Ridiculously long descriptions, especially if they contain a bunch of fluff that doesn't actually say anything about the food.

                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                                                          "beefs with the beef?. beef with the fish ?...(lol) hope you get it...

                                                                                                                          1. re: PHREDDY

                                                                                                                            Lol indeed! :-). There is some crazy stuff that shows up on menus!

                                                                                                                            Ooh, I know, we could have a hall of fame (or really, hall of SHAME) thread with the worst of the worst.

                                                                                                                            1. re: PHREDDY

                                                                                                                              This is The Critic's job:Carping about the beef, and beefing about the carp.

                                                                                                                          2. It's about time we had another menu peeve thread. That last one
                                                                                                                            was half a year ago and only 200 posts long

                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                            1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                              Ha! I was waiting for someone to bring that up. paulj, you were a likely candidate for the job!

                                                                                                                              Every thread is unique.....

                                                                                                                            2. Pretending that aioli isn't mayonnaise infused with garlic.

                                                                                                                              Calling mayonnaise made with other flavours "aioli." Mustard Tarragon Aioli, anyone?


                                                                                                                              Another place to weigh-in about mayo:

                                                                                                                              1. Any time that I see "Sauteed in white wine" (fill in the blank with any water-based liquid) my teeth are on edge and my expectations/hopes drop.

                                                                                                                                Dear Chef/Menu Writer,
                                                                                                                                It is scientifically impossible to saute anything in a water-based liquid since it will only reach 212 degrees F which is not hot enough to "saute". It might be braised, it might be simmered but it will not be sauteed.
                                                                                                                                Thank you,
                                                                                                                                A disappointed diner

                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                1. re: Sherri

                                                                                                                                  Sauteed protein with sauce of wine, etc, would make more sense.

                                                                                                                                2. Dirt and drops of food. If you can't clean your menus, replace them.

                                                                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: Isolda

                                                                                                                                    Yes, the menu with drips of water and bleeding ink which you have to share to put the words together.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                      Panino/panini!!! If you're only going to receive a single sandwich on your plate, it's a PANINO. Two or more and panini is an accurate term. This little rant is making my husband sound like a broken record.

                                                                                                                                      Please don't capitalize ingredients, unless their names are also places, i.e. Dijon, Camembert or Pyrenees. I'm always stymied when something like pheasant gets a capital P or the M in avocado Mousse. Just because the term is French doesn't mean it gets capitalized.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: 1sweetpea

                                                                                                                                        I've always felt Pancakes House or Waffles House would be more appropriate since they obviously have more than one. ;-)

                                                                                                                                          1. re: grampart

                                                                                                                                            Well, "The International House of Pancakes is the one consistent thing in my life." [Honky Tonk Freeway, uttered by Carmen Odessa Shelby/Beverly D'Angelo.]


                                                                                                                                          2. re: 1sweetpea

                                                                                                                                            Very good point, I don't think I've come across any menu that uses panino and panini correctly other then the heading for a section of different panini.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                              Panini is an English word borrowed from Italian. Panino is an Italian word that is rarely used by English speakers - unless they spent their junior year abroad in Rome. :)

                                                                                                                                      2. Steak...$36..."Cooked to Perfection!"
                                                                                                                                        WTF is "Cooked to Perfection!"??????????

                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: Gastronomos

                                                                                                                                          For $36 it had better mean cooked to my desired degree.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: JoannaNYC

                                                                                                                                            Oh. Is THAT what "cooked to perfection" means?

                                                                                                                                        2. My biggest restaurant menu pet peeve is what is NOT on the menu -- namely, specials AND their prices. I don't want to hear them recited (and then repeated because I've forgotten what they are) and I DON'T want to have to ask the price of each one, although I've taken to doing that simply to be obnoxious about it. AND, when I do ask the price, I don't want the server to have to "go check on that" because they don't know the price.

                                                                                                                                          Also, the word "fresh" -- which implies that everything else on the menu without that adjective is NOT fresh.

                                                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: CindyJ

                                                                                                                                            And if the reciter of the specials does not have a good command of english. We go to a spanish restaurant and have never ordered one of their specials as we never understood what was being recited even after asking for repeats. So easy to add a daily print out of specials to the menu. Daily printed menus are also much less of a germ concern that big leather ones that have been around for years?

                                                                                                                                            1. re: CindyJ

                                                                                                                                              although I've taken to doing that simply to be obnoxious about it.



                                                                                                                                              your server is simply doing his/her job. some management prefers specials to be recited because it ostensibly leads to more interaction with the guest. if you're busy not paying attention, that's your problem.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                                                                                It's not that I'm not paying attention. It's that I'm being asked to memorize the details of maybe 2-3 appetizers and a half dozen entrees, their preparation, accompaniments and garnishes. And we can argue the merits/drawbacks of including the price along with the description all day long. I don't want to be surprised when the check comes and sometimes I AM influenced by the price of a menu item. When the special salad turns out to be $16 while most other salad/app selections are in the $7-10 range, I'm happy to have that bit of information before I place my order.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: CindyJ

                                                                                                                                                  The outrageously overpriced, secretive amount special, my pet peeve. I expect a fish special to be priced similarly to other fish dishes on the menu, veal comparable to other veal, risotto with a protein similar, etc. Nothing like a doubled the price surprise at the end of the meal. One of my favorite places does this, only thier exceptional food keeps us going back.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: JoannaNYC

                                                                                                                                                    i eat out A LOT, all over the us and europe. i have never had this "special" sticker shock issue. ever.

                                                                                                                                            2. Menus with pictures. Hate that management assumes we need visuals to understand a menu.

                                                                                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: ola

                                                                                                                                                It's marketing, not understanding.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                  Actually, it is understanding.

                                                                                                                                                  Pictures esp. at restaurants with food you're not familiar with (eg ethnic cuisines) are very helpful

                                                                                                                                                  I had no idea what fuul was, but a picture sealed the deal on what I was ordering that morning (hint it begins with an "f" and has double vowels).

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                    I was thinking more of a IHOP or Red Lobster. On the other hand when I'm in the food court at HMart (Korean), the pictures are a big help in helping me understand what I'm ordering.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                      Yup, at certain ethnic places I appreciate the pictures, even if they are bad pictures, as long as they are fairly representative of what you get.

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: ola

                                                                                                                                                    The only way I could eat out when I lived in Japan was because they have those fabulous fake dishes in a cabinet and you can just point to what you want. Certainly helps anywhere you don't speak the language or recognize the names of the dishes.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Chatsworth

                                                                                                                                                      I love in the movie, Big Bird in Japan where he says he and Barkley want "that one and that one" while the waiter tries to get them to come inside and eventually has to hand over the fake food which Big bird tries to eat until they bring the real food and then he FINALLY realizes it. Great scene!

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: ola

                                                                                                                                                      Do you also not like the plastic examples of the menu items in the front window?


                                                                                                                                                      1. "Excessive" "use" "of" "quotation" "marks."

                                                                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                                                                                          Irrational use of apostrophe

                                                                                                                                                          e.g. Duck leg's in red wine sauce

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: 512window

                                                                                                                                                            I cannot image what is the possessive of a duck's leg might be. Maybe my English teachers could have helped me?


                                                                                                                                                                1. re: JoannaNYC

                                                                                                                                                                  OK. We got that, along with pigeons' feet, quail feet and chicken feet, when in London a few years back.

                                                                                                                                                                  I'll pass on the fowl feet - or maybe the foul feet.


                                                                                                                                                          2. "Seasonal Fresh Fuit" which always turns out to be the same melon cubes with grapes. Same with veggies - "Roasted fresh seasonal vegetables" is always yellow squash, zucchini, and maybe a carrot.

                                                                                                                                                            Agree with overuse of quotation marks - The house-made pepperoni gives this dish a "kick"! Why is kick in quotes?

                                                                                                                                                            (Incidentally this always irritated me about the comic strip B.C.)

                                                                                                                                                            Not specifying if you're talking about red or green bell peppers. Red peppers are ambrosial. Green peppers are all that is evil and unholy in food - one tiny sliver can ruin a whole dish. This is a trick question for the servers as well - they NEVER know the answer to this one.

                                                                                                                                                            Prices listed incorrectly - everything on the menu might go up $.50 or $1.00. That's fine, but you have to update and not make me feel like a Scrooge for arguing over that small amount. It's not that I don't want to pay it, it's that you misled me.

                                                                                                                                                            Being out of everything. Being out of the special is fine. Maybe one other item - I mean deliveries don't show up sometimes. Food spoils, maybe someone spilled or dropped something. It happens. But one night at a local place, they were not serving four (out of 12) entrees. They just kept saying they were out of that. If you aren't going to make it every night, don't print it on the menu.

                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: NonnieMuss

                                                                                                                                                              Why is kick in quotes?

                                                                                                                                                              Because the house-made pepperoni doesn't have a "kick." They're being "ironic" "IN QUOTES."

                                                                                                                                                            2. A long-time pet peeve, which apparently I share with Jeremiah Tower, is "bleu cheese" on a menu, especially when the cheese in question is, say, Point Reyes Blue, or Maytag Blue, or any American, Danish, English, Italian... (you get the idea)... blue cheese. And somehow the people who write "bleu" never pronounce it that way (which is not the same as "blue" in English).

                                                                                                                                                              Other than that, my expectations vary depending upon the restaurant. At a mom and pop type place where the owner's first language is not English, I really don't care about misspellings.

                                                                                                                                                              One thing I do expect is that if a restaurant is listing a traditional dish on the menu, where the diner would normally have certain expectations about how it is made, but is taking great liberties with the dish, and including non-traditional ingredients or techniques, then this needs to be specified on the menu.

                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                                Great point about taking liberties with a dish. I've had house corned beef before that tasted nothing like corned beef.

                                                                                                                                                              2. When a description includes mention of something that is only served on the plate as a garnish. Don't advertise your entree as "xyz with grassy knoll farms asparagus and spring greens" when it's served with garnished with two asparagus tips and one microgreen.

                                                                                                                                                                Also when it's a very dimly lighted restaurant, and the menu is impossible to read with its pale green ink on ivory paper, or some absurd combination.

                                                                                                                                                                Massively giant menu books in a restaurant with tiny bistro tables.

                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: cmahlum

                                                                                                                                                                  Reminds me of how generally afraid I am to order a veg centric dish in most cheaper restaurants. Then I miss out on places that do it well, like the corner cookhouse in newport- shitty eggs Benedict in place of an amazing looking spinach omelette.

                                                                                                                                                                2. When the description is not what shows up on your plate. I especially irritates me if an ingredient listed on the menu is not included and the waiter, oh we are out of that. Example last week order chicken sandwich with avocado and when it made it to the table no avocado. So at that point you have to have a meal that is not what you ordered or wait for something else.

                                                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LBinFL

                                                                                                                                                                    not included on the plate after expressly being listed as a main ingredient on the description of the dish, followed by "oh, we're out of that." I'm also out of money to pay for this. Go F yourself is my usual reply. Yes. I've done that. And I wish more would. Too common.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LBinFL

                                                                                                                                                                      Mine is the opposite side of the coin - when they do something "different" to a standard food and don't tell you. My favorite sandwich place lists on their menu: "Chicken Salad - with onions," only to find that it's also chock full of roasted red peppers and some sort of hot chile. I can't eat spicy foods, so I end up having to throw it out when I forget their "secret recipe" before I order. "Ham and cheese" should mean "ham and cheese," not "ham, cheese and ancho anchovy mustard sauce."

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: thursday

                                                                                                                                                                        I agree with on that Thursday. Was trying a new diner and ordered the hashbrowns with my breakfast. What I received were home cut fries that were more chopped peppers than potato. Just the smell of them over powered everything else on the plate. I did check with the waitress, and yes, I did receive the hash browns. "That's just how we make them here."

                                                                                                                                                                    2. I never understood the practice of listing the desserts on the main menu, and then the waiter taking the menu away after ordering the main course. I don't always know what I'm going to want for dessert before I even eat dinner, and I'm certainly not going to memorize all the desserts beforehand either.

                                                                                                                                                                      8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Whisper

                                                                                                                                                                        You have reminded me of how often the server almost gets grabby with the menus. It's as if they only have a few and have to get yours back to give to someone else.

                                                                                                                                                                        EDIT: And sometimes it is the drink menu they are grabbing for - ???? Don't they want to sell more drinks?

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                          Especially when the menu contains some historical information about the restaurant, or the owners, or something worth reading!

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: tardigrade

                                                                                                                                                                            Yes! Sometimes I am very interested in reading all of the details.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                              Me too! And I can't stand it when I sit down, am handed the menu AND wine/coctail menu by the hostess. Then, immediately my server comes over and says, "Can I start you off with a cocktail/wine?" Um.......can I LOOK at it first, please? Lordy, who's in a hurry now?

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: chloebell

                                                                                                                                                                                That one doesn't bother me, I usually know what I want, assuming they have a full bar and I appreciate getting my drinks quickly. If I'm in the mood for wine or a specialty cocktail, it doesn't bother me to ask for another minute to look at the menu. I'd much rather ask for more time than sit around waiting for someone to offer me a drink!

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                            I often have to fight, to keep the wine list at my side. What, do they only have ONE copy?

                                                                                                                                                                            While my memory is good, I cannot commit 200 pages of wine list to it, and will probably order a second, or third bottle for my table.


                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                              A waiter once told me they take away the menus so the diner cannot change their mind about their order. This was in reference to casual places, not high end. Sometimes I like to look at the menu after we've ordered just because it is so extensive I like to read the descriptions and wonder how in the world they can make money by stocking all of that food. Then I realize it is all frozen food from Sysco.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                For "Chef's Tasting Menus," I greatly appreciate the ability to follow along. Same for the "Sommelier's Pairings."


                                                                                                                                                                          3. Agree with many of the peeves listed here - most of which are ongoing issues with menus.

                                                                                                                                                                            My most-hated current one is the 'short single words description'

                                                                                                                                                                            "Halibut.wild ramp.OR hazelnut.lemongrass"

                                                                                                                                                                            "asparagus.morel.beet.smoked chili.lime.soft egg"

                                                                                                                                                                            "sweetbread.seaweed.fried macadamia nut.shoyu"

                                                                                                                                                                            How do those kind of descriptions tell me what the dish will really be like?

                                                                                                                                                                            It is certainly a trend, and I see it far too often.....


                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: gingershelley

                                                                                                                                                                              Its a reaction I believe to the overly explained dishes that needed an english professor with a focus on food to decifer. Compounded by too many culinary school graduates with no skill making. Simple. Food. On. Plate.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. Inadequate or nonexistent descriptions. I like to know what I'm eating, not just that it's chicken or beef. Give me something to go by. And, for that matter, accurate descriptions.

                                                                                                                                                                              Something on the menu that clearly what it really is not. Caesar salad, for example, is not made with head lettuce, pickling cucumbers, unripe tomatoes, red onions, and a sweet lemon dressing. It really isn't, and it doesn't matter how many times you call it a Caesar salad, it still isn't. <---Not making this up.

                                                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: TroyTempest

                                                                                                                                                                                    I wonder if the Ceasar Salad is called a "Czar Salad" in Russian.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. I hate it when the online menus don't include prices.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Drives me nuts when the graphic layout of the menu doesn't acknowledge the lighting level of the restaurant. If you have the lighting level of a hospital cafeteria at noon on a sunny day you can get away with grey letters in 5 point italics of a stylized font against an Anesel Adams picture of a snowfield in the moonlight. When you are at Bistro Chez Chez Chez, and it has one tiny candle in a pierced silver case in the middle of the table and a downlight that is about 25 feet above you, that menu becomes useless I don't care which pair of glasses you brought.

                                                                                                                                                                                    There is nothing more ridiculous than watching a table of people borrowing each other's glasses while trying to read a menu by the glow of their cell phones. I've even known people to call up the on-line menu on their smart phone while sitting at their table so they can actually see what it says.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Check out the shredded chicken. "Would you like a side of vaccine with that?"

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. I come slightly unglued when I am given the menu, the drink menu, the "specials" menu, the wine/beer menu. Four menus??!! Ugh!

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. I call them "shopping list" menus, and they have become very common around my area. They go:

                                                                                                                                                                                          beef, cauliflower, kohlrabi, sprouts

                                                                                                                                                                                          No description of cooking style, type of cut, anything.
                                                                                                                                                                                          Way to make a waiter stand at a table for 10 minutes providing descriptions!

                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: cronker

                                                                                                                                                                                            Last week, we got two "Tasting menus," two "Sommelier's pairing menus," an a la carte menu, plus a 200 page wine list. Yes, lots of menus, and lots of reading, but we were not rushed to make our selections.


                                                                                                                                                                                          2. I hate it when they label the menu items in a foreign language. I'm in Cleveland, Ohio not Florence, Italy. I can't roll my R's and pronounce any of this stuff correctly when trying to order.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. the menu with the same two or three things slightly changed.
                                                                                                                                                                                              Fried flounder fillet on sandwich. Fried flounder fillet plate. Broiled flounder dinner.
                                                                                                                                                                                              Clams oreganata. Clams casino. Clams on the half shell.
                                                                                                                                                                                              Steak. Steak pizzaiola. Steak with brown gravy.


                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Katie10

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Another few.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Fresh ______
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yes, thank you. I would prefer my food not to be off or stale.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Seasonal ______
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Great, I didn't want those out of season vegetables that have been at the back of your freezer for three months.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  And, from being in the industry, menu descriptions that I can safely call bullshit on.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  House-made chocolate truffles.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  These must be made in the same house that supply 80% off all restaurants in the area.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hand Cut Frites
                                                                                                                                                                                                  The frozen ones you buy in the 15kg bag, you mean? Still, maybe someone did use their hand to cut them in the factory.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Freshly Shucked Oysters
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Believe me, they rarely are.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Chefs Secret Sauce
                                                                                                                                                                                                  The secret is he has mixed two jars together.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Whereby 1kg of juiced oranges has been diluted with 8 litres of bottled concentrate and water.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  There are many more. Most menus with the word "market" don't mean that anyone from the kitchen has actually visited a market recently.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: cronker

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Luckily my two favorite restaurants in Harrisburg are doing freshly shucked oysters (I have seen the chef shucking in the open kitchen) and freshly squeezed orange juice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: cronker

                                                                                                                                                                                                          <<Hand Cut Frites
                                                                                                                                                                                                          The frozen ones you buy in the 15kg bag, you mean? Still, maybe someone did use their hand to cut them in the factory.>>

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Well, maybe the person watching the machine DID have hands, but I would doubt that they EVER touched a single piece of potato, unless it got hung up in the machine.


                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. "Market Price". That may have made sense when menus had to be printed at a print shop but with the cheap availability of printers, menus should be up to date. The same goes for wine lists. I hate to order a bottle then be told they're out. There's no excuse for that unless maybe it's late in the shift.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. HOME-MADE.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          No, it isn't. If you are trying to tell me you made it in-house as opposed to buying it commercially and just sticking it on the plate, well, say that. Made in-house. You did NOT make it at home and bring it to the restaurant in your Glad storage boxes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          And the term has taken on even more baggage since the Amy's Baking Company fiasco where she made a huge point of touting her gorgeous home-made desserts turned out to be purchased from other bakeries.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Depending on the level of the restaurant, I expect most of the food to be made in-house. I can buy and microwave my own frozen dinners, thank you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. I'm surprised one of my pet peeves has not yet been mentioned. It bugs me when a menu has black marks on it obliterating a menu item no longer served. Print up new menus.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. I usually just get a laugh out of misprints and the like. The two things that I absolutely hate are 1) no prices on drinks (or food) and 2) No description of the food item. I've got a few things I just can't (or won't) eat. I like if the menu description tells me what is coming so I don't have to either quiz the waiter/waitress to death or end up with something I won't like.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. When only one person at a tablr of 6 gets the special menu. This happens amost every time at a place friends and I frequent often. They have a big stack near the hostess stand but seem reluctant to give a table more than one. We have started picking up extras when we enter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Bad descriptions. Not fond of the trend right now toward lists of ingredients and NO description of what has actually been done with them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I am especially not fond of being surprised by 5-spice as the primary flavoring, as happened once with a dish named 'sugar and spice.'

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Most menus have typos. A friend and I used to have a game--the winner was the first person to spot a problem on the menu. We rarely went away disappointed. Some are hilarious, like 'Human style' instead of 'Hunan style.'

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: foiegras

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Well, get ready for the future.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Each ingredient will have an entire report attached to it - every ingredient. You will get maybe 5 pages of US Gov reports, even if the ingredient is minor. To describe a salad with olives, sardines and Thousand Island Dressing, will require three large books.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    You want Cioppino? Well, get ready to read the entire Encyclopedia Britannia. You ain't seen nothing yet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    One will never be able to walk into a restaurant again, unless they have a culinary scientist in tow.