7

votes

Are you disappointed with dining out?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 19, 2012 at 1:42 AM

I went out with my dad, on Father's Day, to P.F. Changs, since they have a gluten-free menu and can cook things in broth instead of oil. This was the worst meal I have had in the two years since going paleo, hubby and dad agreed! I remember I used to enjoy this silly chain, but everything was EXTREMELY SALTY, the meat was rubbery, little spice, green onions were sad, portions were overpriced, egg-drop soup was warm and revolting! I could've cooked a superb version at home, and next time I will. Hubby felt cheated, and complained and lamented the whole night about how he wished I would've cooked, instead. It was balderdash! We were hornswaggled:) So, have you been sadly disappointed by your former fave eateries, since making all of your own paleo meals?

6714718e2245e5190017d643a7614157

on April 23, 2013
at 01:35 PM

+1 In my city, some hole in the wall Chinese restaurants have good seafood dishes for good prices.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 01, 2012
at 11:40 PM

No, not really but that's only because I tend to go places I know I won't be disappointed with. As much as people don't like to hear it, menu price is often a good indicator of whether or not the dining experience will be a worthwhile. Also, knowing one of the bartenders and the maitre d at your favorite places goes a long way.

5e63e3fa78e998736106a4a5b9aef58c

on June 20, 2012
at 06:21 PM

Oh, Red Lobster is the *worst.* I've always been fortunate enough to live in places that have amazing seafood--San Diego, San Francisco, and now Seattle--so I never set foot in a Red Lobster until maybe three years ago. It was a friend's sister's birthday, and that was her favorite restaurant, so there we were. AWFUL. And I was still eating junk, then! I can't imagine what I'd think of it now.

C326acd0ae246a39c5685f2ba72e3136

(1631)

on June 20, 2012
at 12:10 AM

OMG IM WITH YOU!! A double cheeseburger without the bun.... Magic.

19acef0aed67ef8dc1118d8e74edb349

(2954)

on June 19, 2012
at 11:21 PM

Food has no flavor tasted worse than cafeteria food. Frankly, I hope the restaurant goes bankrupt.

19acef0aed67ef8dc1118d8e74edb349

(2954)

on June 19, 2012
at 11:20 PM

Mexican restaurant where all the food is greasy and gross because they use vegetable oils instead of lard. "Refried beans" were watery beans dumped from a can, not even fried or mashed, just plain beans dumped from a can. Sigh...

4929a87e3f7438f18a0afbdde291ed5e

(752)

on June 19, 2012
at 06:32 PM

Lyndsay, I'm that crazy bi*%$, too. I even bring my own salt (Real Salt) if I am forced to eat out at a restaurant vs. cooking at home. Why would I pay so much money to dine out ($50/couple - minimum!) when I can get a decent amount of groceries at Whole Foods for that??

D1908552223e8a97b17f02a90cf795bf

(487)

on June 19, 2012
at 04:22 PM

It depends on where you go. I'd say chains and type of restaurants will tell you what type of food to expect before you walk in. I cannot even walk into a McDonalds, Denny's, or I Hop like all of my college friends, but I sure do enjoy the bone marrow that comes with the veal at a Hyatt restaurant that I work as a server. Reading articles about the restaurant and their "mission statement" give you good indications.

F9638b939a6f85d67f60065677193cad

(4266)

on June 19, 2012
at 03:44 PM

I get the cobb salad and don't put dressing on it. I don't eat at too many chain restaurants. Never been to Red Robin. So far this strategy has worked okay. If I go to a fast food restaurant, I'll get a burger, not a salad, because of the preservative they put on the lettuce.

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on June 19, 2012
at 01:26 PM

Yup. Went to a so-called "New York-style diner" and had the most disappointing latkes ever. I've made better at home! Seriously, they had no flavor at all. Wtf?

34b560c8b9ce660d7839fb7e29d7be89

on June 19, 2012
at 12:22 PM

I love seafood and few restaurants in my area feature decent fair. I was sooo expecting to enjoy myself, I'd heard that the cheddar bay biscuits were the *cat's ass* so I figured I see what they were all about while I was at it. For the money I think I'd have been happier with some Thai food or a crappy steak or a little bloating from good Mexican restaurant.

0e395acc856e3353f3f5892e6b09b0e7

(1227)

on June 19, 2012
at 12:17 PM

I don't eat chicken, but recently a visiting family member wanted to go to Chick-Fila because they don't exist in Minneapolis. Wanting to please her, I joined the rest of the family on a jaunt to Decatur GA Chick-Fila and was quite pleased with the fresh green salad which I ate with squeezed lemon. Everybody was happy.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on June 19, 2012
at 12:10 PM

Red Lobster - Surely the most over rated of all the awful chains. The absolute lowest quality for the price. I couldn't stand it even when I ate closer to SAD. For some bizarre reason, half my co-workers elected to go there for every work dining out event. The other half of us shuddered.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on June 19, 2012
at 12:03 PM

Local Asian restaurants have been the best as far as flavor for me, especially Thai and Vietnamese since the food is fresher tasting.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on June 19, 2012
at 12:01 PM

Yes, almost all the chains dishes now taste awful to me too. I can get a steak and broccoli or a sweet potato and it's usually ok. It's hard to get the freshness and quality I'm used to. Even at the steakhouses, you know that the meat is raised in deplorable conditions. There are few local restaurants that I eat certain dishes at that I like - a Vietnamese place with "Shaking Beef" and a steak salad at a local diner(!).

34b560c8b9ce660d7839fb7e29d7be89

on June 19, 2012
at 11:27 AM

I don't know about that, obviously the dressings are usually less than ideal but sometimes even the veggies have that waxy weird texture similar to that bland bagged salad that seems to stay crispy for far longer than any other lettuce does.

Cccb899526fb5908f64176e0a74ed2d9

(2801)

on June 19, 2012
at 07:44 AM

In my experience, Jamie, the problem usually stems from the dressing rather than the salad components itself. Just ask for dressing on the side or none at all.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 19, 2012
at 04:59 AM

Arent most peoples salads loaded with vegetable oils and sugar?

26b0f1261d1a0d916825bd0deeb96a21

(5798)

on June 19, 2012
at 02:52 AM

I'm that crazy bi*** who busts out a bottle of coconut aminos from her purse!

1096aa84d006fe967128ffbd37e8070e

(1002)

on June 19, 2012
at 02:47 AM

You CAN wreck a salad....just try one at Red Robin. Yuck.

26b0f1261d1a0d916825bd0deeb96a21

(5798)

on June 19, 2012
at 02:34 AM

and you could've made this at home for half the price ;) And you can come to my house to serve this for me :)

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14 Answers

7
Bfa1c9eacfc94a1b62f3a39b574480c6

(3700)

on June 19, 2012
at 03:58 AM

P.F. Chang's...I'm not surprised you were disappointed. I find that aside from super-highly rated restaurants, I can make things that more delicious, simply because I start with the freshest, most delicious (most of the time) ingredients. When you become so aware about food quality, simple preparations and developing two or three levels of flavor is all that's needed to make something of restaurant quality. Season of course, using quality kosher/coarse salt, or fleur de sel for finishing (texture). Obviously, restaurants out to make a profit most likely are not sourcing their ingredients locally or from farmers' markets.

Most of the time, it doesn't feel like restaurant quality at home because most people don't plate things. I just dump it all on a plate and go at it. None of that pastry-ring, salmon resting on a bed a veggies stuff. Rawr. Devour.

Real food should shine in a minimalistic preparation.

Next time you got out, make a real treat by going somewhere really nice, or something you've been wanting to try!

6
5e63e3fa78e998736106a4a5b9aef58c

on June 19, 2012
at 02:44 AM

Yes--and this is especially true at chain restaurants, or any other place where half the menu came in boxes on a Sysco truck. When the default oil is soybean, when there are grain-based fillers in all the food (i.e., pancake batter in Denny's omelets), and salt is virtually the only spice used, it's just not worth eating out. Everything tastes weird to me now. If I'm stuck eating in one of those places, I order a salad with lemon wedges instead of the soy or canola oil based dressings.

I do fine at the better steakhouses--the ones that serve really good cuts of meat and know how to prepare them. And while I only rarely eat at very expensive restaurants ($80-$100 per person for dinner and up), the food is usually excellent because nothing came out of a box--fresh, quality ingredients and food carefully made from scratch make all the difference.

And I'll go for sushi, too. There are plenty of good sushi places around here, and what can they possibly screw up?

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on June 19, 2012
at 12:03 PM

Local Asian restaurants have been the best as far as flavor for me, especially Thai and Vietnamese since the food is fresher tasting.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on June 19, 2012
at 12:01 PM

Yes, almost all the chains dishes now taste awful to me too. I can get a steak and broccoli or a sweet potato and it's usually ok. It's hard to get the freshness and quality I'm used to. Even at the steakhouses, you know that the meat is raised in deplorable conditions. There are few local restaurants that I eat certain dishes at that I like - a Vietnamese place with "Shaking Beef" and a steak salad at a local diner(!).

26b0f1261d1a0d916825bd0deeb96a21

(5798)

on June 19, 2012
at 02:52 AM

I'm that crazy bi*** who busts out a bottle of coconut aminos from her purse!

4929a87e3f7438f18a0afbdde291ed5e

(752)

on June 19, 2012
at 06:32 PM

Lyndsay, I'm that crazy bi*%$, too. I even bring my own salt (Real Salt) if I am forced to eat out at a restaurant vs. cooking at home. Why would I pay so much money to dine out ($50/couple - minimum!) when I can get a decent amount of groceries at Whole Foods for that??

4
34b560c8b9ce660d7839fb7e29d7be89

on June 19, 2012
at 11:44 AM

I hit up Red Lobster with some buddies after a day of climbing and abstaining from eating anything else--fully expecting to indulge in a little culinary hedonism, I even decided to eat some of those cheddar bay biscuits. Awful! All of it appetizers, biscuits, salad, lobster, prawns, everything even the unsweetened iced tea. It all tasted overly processed, salty and poorly cooked. I don't know what they brought me to dunk my lobster tail in but it was not butter. I left hungry, unhappy and far from satisfied, with a wallet $30 lighter. I can definitely cook a far better meal that is more filling and satisfying, for less money too. I still go out on occasion but more for the social aspects and I choose to indulge myself in other ways.

34b560c8b9ce660d7839fb7e29d7be89

on June 19, 2012
at 12:22 PM

I love seafood and few restaurants in my area feature decent fair. I was sooo expecting to enjoy myself, I'd heard that the cheddar bay biscuits were the *cat's ass* so I figured I see what they were all about while I was at it. For the money I think I'd have been happier with some Thai food or a crappy steak or a little bloating from good Mexican restaurant.

5e63e3fa78e998736106a4a5b9aef58c

on June 20, 2012
at 06:21 PM

Oh, Red Lobster is the *worst.* I've always been fortunate enough to live in places that have amazing seafood--San Diego, San Francisco, and now Seattle--so I never set foot in a Red Lobster until maybe three years ago. It was a friend's sister's birthday, and that was her favorite restaurant, so there we were. AWFUL. And I was still eating junk, then! I can't imagine what I'd think of it now.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on June 19, 2012
at 12:10 PM

Red Lobster - Surely the most over rated of all the awful chains. The absolute lowest quality for the price. I couldn't stand it even when I ate closer to SAD. For some bizarre reason, half my co-workers elected to go there for every work dining out event. The other half of us shuddered.

6714718e2245e5190017d643a7614157

on April 23, 2013
at 01:35 PM

+1 In my city, some hole in the wall Chinese restaurants have good seafood dishes for good prices.

3
F9638b939a6f85d67f60065677193cad

(4266)

on June 19, 2012
at 02:22 AM

I only get salads at chain restaurants. You can't really wreck a salad too much. The last real restaurant meals I've had include sushi and a VERY fancy restaurant where I had lamb and chanterelle mushrooms and squab and mussels stuffed with bacon and pinot noir and there was a cheese course and a dessert course where I had chestnut mousse with apricot sauce and meringue crust and the whole meal for two people was $200. Now that's a meal to remember.

0e395acc856e3353f3f5892e6b09b0e7

(1227)

on June 19, 2012
at 12:17 PM

I don't eat chicken, but recently a visiting family member wanted to go to Chick-Fila because they don't exist in Minneapolis. Wanting to please her, I joined the rest of the family on a jaunt to Decatur GA Chick-Fila and was quite pleased with the fresh green salad which I ate with squeezed lemon. Everybody was happy.

Cccb899526fb5908f64176e0a74ed2d9

(2801)

on June 19, 2012
at 07:44 AM

In my experience, Jamie, the problem usually stems from the dressing rather than the salad components itself. Just ask for dressing on the side or none at all.

26b0f1261d1a0d916825bd0deeb96a21

(5798)

on June 19, 2012
at 02:34 AM

and you could've made this at home for half the price ;) And you can come to my house to serve this for me :)

F9638b939a6f85d67f60065677193cad

(4266)

on June 19, 2012
at 03:44 PM

I get the cobb salad and don't put dressing on it. I don't eat at too many chain restaurants. Never been to Red Robin. So far this strategy has worked okay. If I go to a fast food restaurant, I'll get a burger, not a salad, because of the preservative they put on the lettuce.

34b560c8b9ce660d7839fb7e29d7be89

on June 19, 2012
at 11:27 AM

I don't know about that, obviously the dressings are usually less than ideal but sometimes even the veggies have that waxy weird texture similar to that bland bagged salad that seems to stay crispy for far longer than any other lettuce does.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 19, 2012
at 04:59 AM

Arent most peoples salads loaded with vegetable oils and sugar?

1096aa84d006fe967128ffbd37e8070e

(1002)

on June 19, 2012
at 02:47 AM

You CAN wreck a salad....just try one at Red Robin. Yuck.

3
4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

on June 19, 2012
at 02:19 AM

YES. Every single time! It only sounds good in theory but then... waste of time and money. Only exception for me has been a few places with great salads.

2
782d92f4127823bdfb2ddfcbcf961d0e

on June 19, 2012
at 09:16 PM

BP (Before Paleo) I hated to cook. Now I prefer preparing my own food. I know what is going in it and I don't have to worry about upsetting my stomach. Lately, I've been eating out about once per week and I almost always find it disappointing. If I order a salad I have to remember to ask to have the ubiquitous croutons left off. Side veggies are almost always carrots, zucchini or summer squash, and broccoli (can't eat the broccoli--FODMAP's). I don't even want to think about what oil is used to cook everything in!

I'm going to Iowa City later this week for my son's birthday. He just started eating low carb so I hope we will find someplace decent to eat!

2
58d456f4c4d551a697e65ada8c32ad4f

on June 19, 2012
at 05:58 PM

We went out to one of our family favorites for Father's Day and yeah, not that great. Of course I didn't get my usual steak frites because it came with regular fries. Instead I ordered an awesome sounding ahi salad with pomegranate seeds and all sorts of tasty sounding stuff. But, they were out of ahi and asked if tuna was okay, the tuna was over cooked, no pomegranate seeds, it listed broccoli but only had 2 small stocks in it, and the salad was like $16 and it was slightly bigger than my boyfriend's side salad. And of course my family is all "is there anything here you can eat?!"

I prefer eating at home, I can spice things the way I want, more veggies, better cuts of meat. And, if my meat is over cooked, I can only blame myself.

2
10cadc0a2dff90c849c6d088832be324

(741)

on June 19, 2012
at 12:10 PM

Ive found the only way I can eat out is to find a "real food" restaurant. The longer it takes for my food to come the better. They are fewer and further in between but when you find one hold on to it. It'll cost you more than a regular place but you get what you pay for and then some.

2
1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on June 19, 2012
at 04:27 AM

I am disapointed with eating out almost all the time. My favorite food out is a seafood salad with balsamic on the side...

2
7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on June 19, 2012
at 04:14 AM

Yes, I prefer the food I make at home: fresh and in the proportions of meat and veg that I like. Some restaurants do offer fresh, seasonable produce and fresh, good quality meat and fish, but then they oversalt everything (and their proportions are off). It's crazy.

It's the same thing as going to a rock concert: the music is really good but the volume is so loud you can't really hear or appreciate the music.

1
E3d94ade13110237db50b944f89e98bd

(245)

on June 19, 2012
at 11:57 PM

I travel a lot, and agree that you will get a decent meal at a real food restaurant. I had three stellar meals in Chicago recently, all pretty close to strict paleo. The trick is to go to a high quality restaurant where they understand and care what they put on the plate, and where you can have an intelligent conversation about any substitutes you might require.

I always start with requesting they point out the gluten free options, then substitute as needed from there. The waiter should know what's in the sauces and be able to recommend substitutions if necessary.

For a quick meal, sashimi is an easy win. I use Yelp! to find the good places. Ethiopian food was a nice surprise on my last trip. I ate beef and lamb with greens for 3 days straight and it was awesome.

I can't stand commercial salad dressings any more (I swear I can taste the soybean oil) but a good fresh salad with a bit of crumbled blue cheese or feta works for me (no problems with dairy here).

1
5e5ff249c9161b8cd96d7eff6043bc3a

(4713)

on June 19, 2012
at 11:29 PM

I'm sorry but Five Guys still tastes amazing. I try to hate it, and I hate how it makes me feel, but I can't hate something so delicious.

C326acd0ae246a39c5685f2ba72e3136

(1631)

on June 20, 2012
at 12:10 AM

OMG IM WITH YOU!! A double cheeseburger without the bun.... Magic.

1
3ab5e1b9eba22a071f653330b7fc9579

on June 19, 2012
at 12:13 PM

Fast food is still fast food, they can't really make it healthy for you, at nice resturaunts I have much less of a problem. If you are going to indulge just go for it.

To answer your question though, yes I am a little ruined, but it is not directly because of dietary restrictions, I live in an area where there are SO many choices, it is easy to find something healthy. I am ruined because most of the time what I get at a resturaunt is mediocre compares to what I can cook at home

1
7e1433afbb06c318c4d90860d493c49d

(5959)

on June 19, 2012
at 11:26 AM

The only time I'm not disappointed with dining out is when I go to a restaurant that is good enough that they can cook better than I do. I love my own cooking, and I don't live near any truly great restaurants, so I only eat out about once a month.

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