Chefs of Reddit share the red flags you should look for before eating at a restaurant
Let’s be honest, we all love eating out. Seriously, if you get it right, it tastes great, there’s no clean-up and you can always chuck in a cheeky beer as well. But, the flip-side of that is that there’s nothing worse than eating out at a restaurant and feeling like you could have done a better job at home. So, in the interests of helping out the average blokes and sheilas who love a bit of Ozzy Man, we figured that these red flags from the chefs of Reddit would be pretty bloody helpful for you when looking for somewhere to eat.
Obviously, one of the first things you want to know is that your restaurant is hygienic. Deadset, no one needs a fair whack of salmonella or E. coli on their food. And that’s one of the major things that chefs – and food inspectors – point out about any restaurant.
Sick waitstaff. If restaurant owners encourage their waitstaff to work while sick (or don’t help to find a replacement), you can count on getting sick too. – thick_andy
Salt shaker. If the holes are clogged and the top is dirty, that thing has been refilled 100 times without washing. – faployst
I was employed by a national pest control service, and the salespeople told me if the dining room is dirty or gross – do yourself a favor and walk out cause their kitchen is gonna be much dirtier.
There are also roaches at expensive restaurants, the same as there are at cheaper places. Its the restaurants that don’t clean kitchens properly, that attract pests and have continual problems. – BringMeTwo
Former Health Inspector here:
If there’s a self serve soda machine go ahead and take a napkin around the inside of the Sprite/clear-soda-available nozzle. If your napkin comes out pink, brown, or orange SKIP THE SODA.
A Sprite nozzle should come out clear. If it’s pink or orange then it’s slime mold (it’s actually a bacteria, but that’s what we called it). If it’s brown, it’s likely cola. But if the cola nozzle was put on the sprite dispenser and is still brown you know the nozzles aren’t being cleaned properly.
Also go ahead and look closely at the ice chute. I see green algae in those a lot.
EDIT: I knew someone would teach me something today! The slime mold is a Protist, not a bacteria. Still not quite a mold, closer to a fungi. Almost. Microbiology is rad, everyone.
EDIT EDIT: OR a bacteria called S. Marcescens! Neato!
EDIT3: maybe Rhodotorula! A yeast! This is likely what all my subway commentors are seeing (subway still bakes its own bread right?). – Stumblekitty
The next thing probably relates more closely to the quality of your food. If the serving staff don’t seem happy, there’s not much chance they give a monkey’s about your experience. Just think about all those times you’ve not been happy at work. You’ve phoned it in, so why wouldn’t these guys?
Not a chef, but ex-restaurant manager. How happy is the staff? Do they seem like they like their jobs? If the staff are miserable, you’re not going to get quality food or service. It’s worth seeking out restaurants that treat their staff well. If they’re treated well, they’ll treat you well. – ohno
If your meat or pasta, for example has dry spots as if it was left out to dry for a good time, the kitchen is not properly covering/ storing their prep correctly. The walk in is most likely not taken care of.
Edit for clarity: on let’s say chicken, its still raw. Someone leaves it out, it forms a skin looking almost like jerky. Chewy, an orangeish/yellow color. That spot wont go away because someone has cooked it. Same kind of thing with pasta but the pasta is always pre- cooked, waiting for you. There is no reason for your sensitive products to be left uncovered for that long. – Spoonedkittens
One of the other ones that seems to crop up a fair bit is whether or not the restaurant’s trying to do a few small things well or whether or not it’s trying to cook bloody everything. Apparently, it comes down to whether it’s manageable to cook it fresh or whether it’s got to be microwaved.
Not a chef but my best-friend is and he says a large menu. Chances are a lot of things on a menu means that they are frozen. Also, it’s difficult to train people to be good at making 40 different things so the quality is going to suffer.
EDIT: Yes, SOME places like Chinese restaurants that are different combinations of about 30 fresh ingredients are an exception. – michaelad567
Does it sound like it could be 2 or more restaurants?
Example, sushi and pizza at the same place. They cant do either well. – rukasu83
Former barista and assistant manager here:
If the restaurant has a coffee machine visible, take a look at the steamer. If it’s covered in white, means they don’t clean after frothing the milk.
Most likely they don’t run steam after heating up the milk, meaning that there is residual milk inside the nozzle of the steamer, which gets burnt and generates bacteria. Don’t order coffee in there. Also most likely the cloth used to “clean” the steamer from time to time is disgusting and used for more than just wiping the milk out of it.
A restaurant with a good philosophy about health and safety cleans the coffee machine every night. – fernanzgz
Final thought: Well, we don’t know about you, but we’ve definitely learned something today. If you’ve got any extra pointers for us, load ‘em up in the Facebook comments and share the knowledge. Until then, hooroo, ya big legends.
Just in case you missed it, here’s one of Ozzy’s latest commentary videos…Ozzy Man Reviews: Epic Bear Fight