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Have you ever left a Restaurant...

Have you ever left a Restaurant when the dish you went there for is unavailable? I went to this eatery in NYC with a party of three. We ordered and something prompted me to ask if they had this specific desert. They told me no and that their sister restaurant only carried it now. I wanted to leave as that is what I went there for. The rest of my party got a bit annoyed at me as I told the wait staff to cancel my order. Yeah I know I overreacted a bit but my palate was set on that desert-it was a signature dish of theirs. I now make it a point to call ahead where I am dining to make sure they have what I want. Has this ever happened to you-the unavailability of a dish that you were looking forward to? I know most would order something else but I was stubborn that evening.

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  1. The only time I've left a restaurant after being seated is when service has been atrociously slow -- either because no one came to take an order after waiting a long time or after placing an order if drinks and/ or apps were not delivered, again after a really long wait, with no acknowledgement or explanation from the server or manager.

    1. At a sit down place (and especially when with other people) no - but at various to-go/take away places - all the time. One place in particular was a Yemenite late night place I used to go to post bars. The dish I'd always order they wouldn't always make after midnight, and so it really depended on who was working and how busy they were.

      I can think of endless take-away situations, but not for sit down.

      1. I've only left a restaurant on one occasion and that was because service was so slow that no-one had even taken an order.

        I don't think I've ever been to a restaurant with the intention of only eating a specific dish.

        1 Reply
        1. No. In fact, I've had two experiences where the restaurant was out of everything we ordered, or an ingredient or component of each dish we ordered, until we hit on what apparently was the Magic Combination and were served.

          This happened once out-of-state when I was a kid travelling with my family; Dad would NEVER have left -- bad manners, in his view. We had to reorder for my mom after her BLT was delivered with only lettuce, tomato, and mayo by a waitress who said sheepishly, "We're outta bacon too."

          The other was a local joint some years back. My wife and I took visiting acquaintance to the place, which was fronted by a then-popular local meteorologist. They, too, were out of nearly everything -- including, a few months later, out of business.

            1. re: Janet from Richmond

              me too. That seems a bit self-centered.

            2. Better than 30 years ago 9 coworkers and I went to restaurant to send off a couple that was leaving the area. We arrived well before the lunch hour, and we were the 1st people in the dining room. We gave our desired orders to the waiter when there still no other people in the dining room.

              Then the lunch crowd started arrive mostly as couples. We patiently waited to be served when we realized all these other people were receiving their lunch entrees. We waited for about an hour before our entrees started arriving. We all thought the service was extremely terrible.

              We ate our meals, paid our bill, BUT WE DID NOT LEAVE A TIP. As we left the restaurant the waiter came running after us to ask for his tip. We told him that his service did not deserve a tip. He could have had the chef or cook start preparing our meals sooner when he saw that we were sitting at the table twiddling our thumbs, and when we made a request that our meals be served before those who arrived much later than us.

              I have never had another experience like that one since that time, and when my wife and I go to a restaurant for dinner, we leave a tip of at least 20%.

              2 Replies
                1. re: hotoynoodle

                  And Thirty years ago!! In great detail!

              1. Alone I'd leave. With others I might cancel my order and just drink water (my beverage of choice). But I would never make a scene or try to rush the rest of the group.

                8 Replies
                1. re: viperlush

                  I think having one person cancelling his/her order and sitting just drinking water would be awkward for the rest of the group.

                  My wife can be a terror at a restaurant. She is into low-carb, no-gluten, grass-fed or wild-caught, preferably with kale. Often she will proclaim "there's nothing for me here"... but she does order something when I press her to be sociable (though she gets back at me by ordering the most expensive thing on the menu!).

                  1. re: drongo

                    That's why I said I might. Depending on my mood, who I'm with, how hungry I am, etc. Fortunately/unfortunately(?) as a tall thin female people that dont know me well assume that I don't eat much. So its almost expected that I don't eat or just pick at food. Those who know me know that between a sensitive stomach and headaches, its not unusual if I abruptly decide not to eat or even leave the table. And my bf knows that I can be extremely stubborn and will cut off my nose to spite my face.

                    1. re: drongo

                      Ugh my mom does this. She likes the attention (certainly not implying your wife does), so we've taken to ignoring her and enjoying our meal. It seems to annoy her :)

                      1. re: Hobbert

                        I think my wife's secret motivation is that we now usually let her pick the restaurant so we don't hear the "nothing for me" comment!

                        1. re: drongo

                          Sometimes it's easier to just give up...

                      2. re: viperlush

                        I did not make a scene nor did I rush the rest of my group. I just sat there sipping on my drink. The rest of the group ate their food and enjoyed themselves. I learned a great lesson that night.

                        1. re: Ottojr

                          My guess is your group learned a great lesson as well.

                      3. I once left a restaurant after ants crawled out from the bread basket and when fruit flies swarmed the bottle of wine the server just opened. I let the server know and I was out of there. Both were signs of an unclean establishment.

                        1. Over dessert?
                          No.

                          If a dessert I want is not available I simply order coffee or an after-dinner drink during that "course".

                          Not eating ~anything~ throughout the meal, while others dine would be seen as hostile/passive-aggressive.

                          Group dining is not really about the food.

                          8 Replies
                          1. re: pedalfaster

                            I guess my irritation was that I was the one who suggested this place raving over this dessert. I had been there before when they did serve it. Like I said I have grown up since then and handle things differently now.

                            1. re: Ottojr

                              Maybe your friend, who suggested this dessert, over hyped it and in turn your expectations were set very high.

                            2. re: pedalfaster

                              I agree group dining is not about the food. However, I would have no issue not ordering anything if nothing on the menu appealed to me. Eating food which you don't like us just silky and wasteful.

                              Anyone In your group who is offended by this has serious issues.

                              1. re: DukeFan

                                I think in a big group, it's fine, but if you're in a group of just 2 or 3, not eating is bizarre. It's very attention seeking and uncomfortable for the others. If I go out with a couple girlfriends and our plan was to have a meal together, it would be strange if one person just sat there sipping water while the rest of us ate a meal.

                                I can't imagine there's nothing on a menu you can find to enjoy. Beyond that, I'd lose my mind if I was hungry at meal time and sat at a table watching people eat. No idea how people do this.

                                1. re: Hobbert

                                  its only attention seeking if you make a big deal about it. If others make a big deal about it, it is on them.

                                  I remember one time we went to a local lunch place famous for its cheesesteaks last year with about 5 or 6. It was a Friday in lent and being catholic I know from prior experience that they offered a fish sandwich.

                                  When we got there, they were out of fish. Others asked if we wanted to leave, but I said no and we enjoyed each other's company, no big deal.

                                  1. re: DukeFan

                                    Your lent example is very different than the OPs. You had no choice but not eat. The OP placed his order and as an afterthought asked about dessert. When told he can't have what he wants he reacts like a spoiled child and cancels his meal to prove a point. I don't blame his group for being annoyed.

                                    The whole thing is beyond my scope of understanding. I can't imagine canceling my entree because a specific dessert is no longer available. I assume he liked what he ordered for his meal so clearly there was something he liked. I get being disappointed but to expect the whole table, who have already ordered to leave over a non existent dessert seems incredibly immature.

                                    1. re: foodieX2

                                      It is similar in a way because we both went for a specific dish. The difference is that I didn't have a hissy fit. (even though I arguable would have more right too.)

                                      The reality is, crap happens. Its about how you deal with it. If the choice is between not eating and actually spoiled and impacting other people's experiences, I'll choose the first option.

                                    2. re: DukeFan

                                      Like foodieX2 said, that's entirely different. If your religious beliefs prevent you from eating, that's one thing. Although I'm Catholic too and I've cobbled together meals out of sides.... Sipping water while everyone eats because you just can't bear to eat anything but that one dish is childish to me.

                              2. I wanted to leave. We sat in the Tap Room section where they have a lighter menu available and was thinking about those sliders all day.
                                When we were seated we were told only the regular menu was available so my sliders were out. I was getting up to leave and my husband was mortified and we stayed. But, the waiter was great and the chef made me my sliders! The waiter got a great tip!

                                1. I would never subject a whole party of people to the whims of my "palate"

                                  If I was alone, and had traveled to a specific place for a specific thing I may walk out but otherwise I would (even if terribly annoyed underneath) hide my disappointment and move on - in theory the meal is about people and company as much or more than the menu.

                                  1. We left once, after being seated and perusing the menu, when the waiter informed us that due to a recent change in ownership the place wasn't yet licensed.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Nudibranch

                                      Apropos of nothing related to this thread... as a biologist, I'd like to commend you on your chowhound moniker! (Never eaten one though.)

                                    2. Yes..........
                                      Mrs. B and I went to a restaurant for a specific dish. it happens to be the only dish we like on their menu. When placing our order the waiter informed us that they did not have that item that evening. We said thank you very much we'll be back another time when you have it....and walked.
                                      We weren't part of a group and saw no need to sit though a meal that wasn't anything we wanted to eat.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: bagelman01

                                        I totally get that. I would leave in that case too.

                                      2. Yes, About eight months ago in SF. I was with two other friends. To busy to give us a menu or take a drink order. I'm not asking for them to wait on me instantly , I am the king. I guess your were a little preoccupied with your buddies. Do your job please. Later.

                                        1. I've left many times on my own (to the point of asking if something is available when first entering if that's what my mind was set for), but would never subject anyone else to leave if the dishes they wanted were available. Especially not a large group; hmm, not even my wife and son. Oddly enough, I've ended up discovering other dishes in my tiny self-sacrifice that I've craved thereafter. Sorta like buying an album (I'm old) and finding great songs on the "B" side.
                                          There have been rare cases that nothing was good, but then tomorrow is another day.

                                          1. Have you ever left a Restaurant when the dish you went there for is unavailable?

                                            No but have been tempted to do so. My husband loves a certain fish dish at a restaurant an hour from our house. He has wanted to leave upon learning it was unavailable but I overruled due to hunger and driving distance.

                                            OP - I can understand your dessert desires. My mother was so obsessed with her favorite dessert she would call ahead to the restaurant to reserve it and upon arrival would have the hostess go to the kitchen to make sure it was set aside for her.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: cleobeach

                                              Thanks because everyone in my party knew we were only going there mainly for the desert otherwise we would have gone somewhere else for dinner. Their food was ok.

                                            2. This happens fairly regularly when restaurants don't update their online menu. What looked interesting and drew me to the restaurant isn't on the menu when you arrive - but I've never left for just that reason. I suppose I could, but finding another restaurant nearby that has what a I want and has a table available isn't so easy - I guess that's why I never left.

                                              1. yes, we've left due to that. but off shoot was, where we ended up wasn't any good and should have stayed at original place and had what they 'did' have to offer instead of us being annoyed enough to leave.

                                                1. Hopefully you've learned that cutting off your nose to spite your face is not worth it and only hurts you.
                                                  There are legit reasons to leave, but that's just not one of them.

                                                  1. I overheard my waitress tell another waitress after taking our drink order that she wasn't in the mood to deal with a pretty, blonde thing. .
                                                    I got up and told her I was flattered but I'm not a 'thing' and I'm NOT going to deal with her idiotic talk out of her ass and left.

                                                    Wanted to go to another restaurant but my swollen head wouldn't fit through the door.
                                                    ; )

                                                    1. I have, OTOH, walked out of restaurants a few times after a collective decision - two in memory were a sidewalk café in Florence where we were hoping for just light salads and Panini (which were somehow available at the counter but not at the table) the only offerings for the seated were very overprices and over wrought heavy entrees on a sweltering hot day it was a no go- the other at Morgan's Pier here in Philly after being ignored long enough to visually compare the prices on the menu with the looks of the food on adjacent tables - in both cases there were some knowing looks before someone broke the ice - and dining parties agreed - there was no reason to stay.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: JTPhilly

                                                        I've walked out of a few for various reasons.

                                                        We went to a Greek restaurant which looked pretty good from the outside. The obligatory azure blue and 'white-white' paint job.
                                                        It was dinner time. The place was empty. We ought to have left then. After waiting to be seated for five minutes when we were seated someone cranked up the music system to full blast. 'Chinese music' don't you know.
                                                        We were sitting at a table for four. I noticed the not a single piece of cutlery matched!!!!!!!!!!
                                                        Someone had picked the cutlery up a Value Village I guess.
                                                        We waited for someone to bring us a menu for another ten minutes. I finally got pissed off and as we were walking out the door the full blast music was completely turned off.

                                                        1. re: Puffin3

                                                          Good call.
                                                          DH and I dropped into a local ethnic place last week and every cell in my body wanted to leave.
                                                          It was cheap, I ate a little, and we left.
                                                          No food poisoning, thank goodness.

                                                          Some "hole in the wall" places are just that: a hole.

                                                      2. Yes. A few years ago, we went to a local joint on a Saturday night, place had recently been sold & remodeled, so we figured we'd try it out. Nothing appealed to us on the menu, so we decided to order burgers. We were told they didn't serve burgers at dinner time. This wasn't a fancy joint, just your normal bar/grill. We said ok, thank you, finished our drinks & left & went elsewhere for dinner. Place was out of business within 6 months.

                                                        1. I sorely wanted to leave a restaurant once after hearing the owner in the kitchen yelling at someone I presumed to be his wife. But we had already been served. Awkward, doesn't even begin to describe it.

                                                          1. Years ago, I ate out often and it became a silent observation to see how long the wait staff would greet our table and the timing of our dishes. One night my cousin and I decided to eat at this restaurant on 42nd St. In the big Apple. We were seated and noticed how busy the restaurant was. We sat there for twenty mins while the wait staff went all around us, even serving people that came after us. After twenty mins my cousin said "Are you ready to go as we have sat here long enough." So we got up to leave and the Manager noticed that we were leaving and asked what happened and we told him we had waited twenty minutes.He told us to stay and that dinner would be on the house. My cousin said no we had been there long enough. I have to say I was interested in how long it would have been before someone came to us.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: Ottojr

                                                              Ya and what the wait staff may have 'added' to your entree between the pass and your table.

                                                              There was one restaurant we never even entered before deciding not to eat there.
                                                              Revelstoke about twenty two years ago: Drove into restaurant parking lot. At either side of the front door/main entrance was a used toilet. One baby blue the other light pink. Both the lids were up. I think they may have been used as planters.

                                                            2. I've left a restaurant because they didn't have a certain beer. A SE Asian place was advertising Beer Lao and when we ordered they told us they hadn't had any in months. The two other beers on the menu weren't great with Asian food so we went elsewhere.

                                                              1. Yes, if on I was on my own. Sometimes the other choices don't appeal as much as my first choice. Why eat and pay for something you don't want?

                                                                1. I walked out of a Japanese restaurant once as they were out of rice. And I wanted the rice bowl. Was that the right call?

                                                                  1. We have a fantastic greek chef in town and had heard he was now heading up the kitchen of the city's Greek club, he had revitalised the menu, modernised the decor, and they had opened up the private clubs restaurant to non-residents. Sounded perfect.

                                                                    We headed over, we knew the building well, as it was on road home. In through the main entrance and headed up to the restaurant. It was a bit odd our reservation wasn't in the book, but we were lucky there was one spare table. It was odd walking through the restaurant as all the diners were Chinese of a similar age, it also felt quite old fashioned, including the Greek band in traditional dress. The water and menus arrived and we found it was a set three course dinner, of high street greek standards for a very cheap price.

                                                                    It slowly dawned on us we must be in the wrong place, a place that catered for tourist coaches and all the diners were in the same party. We made a quick exit much to the disappointment of staff. We then looked at the address for our booking and discovered it was on the street behind the building we were in and the club had two entrances.

                                                                    We found our booking, in a hipster Greek restaurant full of the beautiful people of Sydney dressed up to the nines, lots of designer sleek furniture, and hard surfaces so very loud. Lots of great dishes on the menu (but at a price) and the food was only really just OK. Plus the service was really up itself. We still wonder if the first option may have been better - the real deal Greek....!

                                                                    1. I've left once due to non-existent service. After sitting for 15 minutes with no one acknowledging our presence after making eye contact with several staff members, yes we got up and left.
                                                                      Left once due to my favorite diner being out of biscuits and gravy. We are regulars there so told the owner/ server that no hard feelings, I just have to have some b&g! (I was pregnant at the time). Now we go earlier when the craving hits.