The Worst Restaurant Experiences Imaginable

October 11, 2023 | Violet Newbury

The Worst Restaurant Experiences Imaginable

Dining out can be quite a memorable experience, but not always in a good way. From dealing with hot-headed staff to unwelcomed additions to their meals, these folks share some of the worst restaurant experiences they’ve had. Check, please!

1. Terror In My Taco

I was having a chilled-out meal with my buddies at this quaint little family-run diner down the street from my place. We were enjoying some really good tacos, soaked in sauce. As I was nearly halfway through my meal, I made a shocking find with my spoon. 

A roach's leg was peeking out. It matched the color of the cooked taco meat. The moment I saw it, I just had to get out of there. I was on the verge of throwing up. The only thing nastier than finding a roach in your tacos is finding half a roach.

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2. Duped At The Olive Garden

A few years ago, I decided to propose to my girlfriend at Olive Garden. I handed the engagement ring, worth around $350, to a waitress to place on our drink's straw. BIG MISTAKE. When our drinks arrived, we learned the waitress had left due to illness. The ring was nowhere in sight.

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3. Skewered At The Greek

My friend and I often went to this Greek spot called "The Amphoras". They did so well they opened a second place. The original spot was a bit dark and cozy, right next to a bakery. Back in the 70s, it was one of the few spots open all the time. By the 90s, though, there were lots of places like that.

Their staff? Well, it was hit or miss. Some were awesome, others not so much. And some, especially late at night, were just plain odd. They'd wear these fancy "uniforms". The new location went for a cool "southwestern meets art deco" look when it first opened. They faced money troubles and had to renovate a few times. 

One day, during these changes, I was there. My buddy wanted to get lunch, but since I already ate, I just got a sundae. The noise from the kitchen reno was pretty loud. But then, I bit into something hard in my sundae. It was a metal shaving. And there were more throughout the rest of the sundae. 

I told the waiter, "Hey, there are metal shavings in my sundae". Instead of being shocked, he just said, "Okay?" I said, "Can I get one without metal bits?" He snapped, "You want it for free? Is that it? Think you're clever?", then ranted in a language I couldn't catch, maybe Greek. The manager noticed the scene and came over.

After I explained, the waiter yelled at the manager. They went back and forth in a heated argument. The waiter got so mad he threw his tray and stormed into the kitchen. Suddenly, there's yelling in Spanish and loud crashing sounds, like a big fight. Everything went quiet. Folks were peeking into the kitchen trying to figure out the chaos. 

After a bit, the manager came out. He said, "I'm really sorry for all that. Your meals are on the house. But I need to ask you to leave, I'm going to let that waiter go and I'm worried about what might happen next". As we were heading out, I overheard, "Did he seriously lock himself in the freezer??"

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4. Vanished Without A Word

In the early 90s, I found myself at the Spaghetti Warehouse in Cleveland's Flats. I was with a few colleagues; we were in town for work related to a steel mill. That evening was a rare outing for our tight-knit group of four, and we sat inside what seemed like a train car compartment. Throughout our meal, there was playful banter between our waitress and one of my coworkers.

Bread was served from a woven basket. Attempting to slice a piece, the waitress inadvertently cut through the basket and into the base of her fingers. She hurriedly excused herself, leaving us puzzled. Only later did we spot the blood trail inside our compartment, leading us to believe she had informed her peers.

Time ticked by, and after nearly 25 minutes without seeing our waitress, a concerned manager inquired about our experience. It wasn't until we highlighted the blood that the gravity of the situation hit her. Remarkably, this incident marked one of three occasions where my server either left mid-shift or resigned, unbeknownst to the establishment I was dining at.

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5. Bungled Burritos

So, we booked a table for five at this new Mexican restaurant. When we walked in, the place was packed. They gave us this tiny table that could barely fit us five big guys. A waiter soon came by to take our drink orders. Considering the crowd, we ordered six Coronas and four Heinekens, hoping to avoid waiting for refills. 

After a bit of a wait, our drinks arrived. I took one sip of mine—and my heart sank. All the drinks were room temp and the Coronas didn’t even have limes. Anyway, we were there for a quick meal before a night out. We ordered some standard Mexican dishes, nothing fancy. 

Fast forward 40 minutes, and we're noticing that not much food is coming out of the kitchen, even though it's busy. Just as we were thinking of leaving, our food shows up. It's barely cooked, the servings are laughably small, and there’s no space on our tiny table. We had to move our drinks and stuff just to make room. 

My buddy bit into his burrito and immediately spat it out. It was frozen solid in the middle. I checked mine, and it was just slightly warm. We told the waiter, who seemed pretty nonchalant about it, and sent our food back. We waited another 10 minutes. The folks next to us left without even paying because they'd been waiting forever for their food.

Our food came back, and they'd just microwaved our original burritos. You could even see where my friend had taken a bite! We were done. We paid for our drinks and told the cashier we wouldn’t pay for the food. They said, "Sorry you didn't like our service, but since you ate three meals, you need to pay for them".

We weren't having it. Unsurprisingly, that place shut down in just a few months.

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6. Full Of Fungi

So, my husband and I were dining out. I double-checked with our waitress if a dish had mushrooms since I'm allergic. She assured me it didn’t, but guess what? When it arrived, it was loaded with mushrooms. I asked her if maybe there was a mix-up or if she misunderstood my order. I mean, I clearly mentioned my allergy, so I was really confused. 

She suggested, "You could just pick them off". Feeling frustrated, I went to the front desk to speak with the manager. I explained the whole mushroom mix-up, emphasizing my allergy. And, to be honest, I was probably more polite about it than I needed to be. 

He suggested swapping meals with my husband. But my husband had ordered stuffed mushrooms. Clearly, that wasn’t gonna work. Trying to lighten the mood, I joked, "The dish looks amazing. But I doubt you’d want an ambulance blocking your entrance if I had a bite!"

The manager, looking a bit annoyed, took away my plate and, for some reason, my wine glass too. My husband carried on eating, and we both had another glass of wine. But when the bill came, they charged us for six drinks and double for my meal. 

My husband thought about challenging the bill, but we decided to just pay for what we consumed and leave. It's the only time we’ve ever skipped leaving a tip, but then, we've never had such a terrible experience either.

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7. This Place Was To Fly For

I once visited the posh wine bar located in our historic downtown district, and I splurged on a rather expensive glass of wine. When it arrived, I was taken aback by a fruit fly and something resembling an egg floating inside. I politely requested a fresh glass. Without a word, she returned with another glass and left abruptly. 

To my shock, I discovered it was the exact same contaminated glass. Upon calling her over, I informed her the fly was still present. She seemed rather annoyed, and suggested that I should just remove it with my fingers and continue with my drink as such incidents were quite common and not a big issue. Safe to say, I never returned.

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8. I Won’t Brie Back

Almost a decade ago, we tried out a fresh brunch spot in Chicago. Surprisingly, we were the only customers, which was quite odd for such a bustling city. The waiter, who happened to be the owner, was really persistent about us trying certain dishes on the menu. It started to feel awkward. 

Upon arrival of my ham and brie omelet, a quick bite revealed that the brie cheese was encased in the wrapper, complete with the label. We patiently waited for about 15 minutes for him to reappear, and I pointed out the problem. His reaction was jaw-dropping.

He snatched up the plate without uttering a single word, went back to the kitchen, and promptly started yelling at the chef so intensely it made me worry about our overall safety. With no sign of anybody for a while, we decided to just head out.

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9. This Dinner And A Show Was A No

My dad and I decided to check out this dining theater spot in NYC. I was 14, and as soon as we stepped in, the place gave off a dodgy vibe. It looked super short-staffed, and the few employees present seemed pretty miserable.

The place was messy with wrappers everywhere, and no one attended to us for a solid 15 minutes, so we seated ourselves. We had good memories of this place from my younger days, so we thought, "Hey, maybe the food and show will make up for it". 

My dad, being his jovial self, tried to joke with one of the actors mingling with guests. But the actor didn't engage and seemed super out of place. And that was just the start. Service was painfully slow. While waiting, my dad went to the restroom. Out of nowhere, the actor comes over, sits in my dad’s spot, and goes, “Does your dad embarrass you?” 

Caught off guard, I replied, “Not really". And he's like, “I’d be so ashamed with a dad like that". What?! It would be funny if he wasn’t completely serious. And he was only interacting with kids, avoiding adults entirely, which was super unsettling. When our food finally came (after what felt like forever), it was...meh. 

My pasta had zero flavor. Dad's patty melt tasted stale. The "show?" It was basically just the oddball actor chatting with a mummy prop for a few minutes. I know this whole thing sounds like some wild dream. I really wish it was, but nope, it actually went down like that.

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10.  A Glutton For Gluten-Free

We hit up this place and, man, the service was a mess. The place was practically empty, yet we waited ages just for menus. And then, different servers kept double-checking our orders. Took forever—like over an hour—to get our orders. But that wasn't the worst part.

Our server was a piece of work. My buddy has celiac disease, and this was around when everyone was hopping on the "gluten-free" trend. So, I kinda get why servers might be a tad skeptical, but this guy? He was beyond irritated. Every time he spoke to my friend, he was super snarky. 

When my friend asked about a gluten-free option for a meal, the server brushed him off, saying he'd check after taking our orders. Fast forward to when the food finally arrived. Our server, with an attitude, tells my friend, "No gluten-free version for you. Just eat it as is," and just left the plate and walked off. It was truly unbelievable.

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11. Our Service Was Discounted

So, I headed to this American fondue spot in Centerville, Ohio, with eight of my pals one Saturday night. We had these Groupons for a cool group deal, and I kinda think that's why our service was painfully slow. Honestly, it felt like they were giving us the cold shoulder on purpose.

We sat there for three whole hours waiting on our food. Took them an hour just to bring our first drinks, and they totally forgot our second round. Now, I'm usually the guy who over-tips—even 15% for meh service because I get it, servers gotta make a living. But this was the only time I ever felt okay leaving zero tip at a restaurant. It was that ridiculous.

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12. Proof Of Purchase Please

I went to pick up a takeaway order once, but it took some time for them to get my food ready. After I received my order, I paid using my credit card and left. However, as I was stepping outside, the server/hostess ran after me and claimed I hadn't paid for my meal. I reassured her to verify the credit card payment slip. Her reaction was really strange though. 

She informed me they'd discarded it and insisted I rummage through the rubbish to find it. Even though the restaurant served good food, I decided not to return again after that incident. Interestingly, the place eventually shut down.

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13. They Nailed The Burritos

My friend chipped a tooth due to a wooden nail hidden in his burrito. Despite trying to charge us for that meal, they offered us coupons for free meals in the future. However, we declined. We left our details with the manager on duty, and the following day my friend received a call from the company's main office. 

They not only paid for his travel to their headquarters but also arranged and paid for an appointment with a dentist to fix all his teeth. Nonetheless, I found it cheeky of them attempting to make us pay for the meal, even though it had a wooden nail in it.

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14. Clean Up Your Act!

There was this tiny Chinese spot downtown that I absolutely loved. It was a bit worn down and only took cash, but man, the food was amazing. It wasn't about vibes or decor; it was all about killer dishes.

Now, it wasn't the tidiest place, but the food made up for it. That was until this one day. I was waiting for my order when a really sick-looking homeless guy walked in. He had a nasty cold or something—his nose was a mess, and he was coughing like crazy. 

He was in bad shape and asking people for some change or a meal, which someone gave him. That's when it hit me: I wasn't sure they'd clean up well after he left. Looking around, I noticed how dusty the vents were and that the silverware stand seemed untouched for days. Cleaning just didn't seem like their thing. 

I couldn't go back after that. Every time I thought of the place, I'd just think of how clean it might be—or not.

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15. Her Salty Attitude Did Her In

We used to love this Italian spot run by a grumpy old guy who'd rib everyone. It was all in good fun, and the food was totally worth it. But when he retired and his daughter took the reins, our experience went south. The first time we visited under her management was a disaster. 

My husband wasn't super hungry, so he went for a soup and salad. He asked for no tomatoes, but his salad was practically swimming in them. He didn't fuss, just avoided them. Then came the soup. After one spoonful, he nearly spat it out—it was ridiculously salty. And we're not usually picky about salt. This soup tasted like someone accidentally dumped a whole shaker in.

She came over and asked how the soup was, and my husband gently told her it was too salty. Without asking, she tasted it with his spoon and agreed. She took the soup away, but didn't offer anything else in exchange. Somehow, even after agreeing the soup was off, she pegged us as the bad guys.

The next time she checked on us, she threw shade about the salad, saying, "Don't like tomatoes?" Mind you, my husband specifically asked for no tomatoes and didn't make a fuss about the tomato overload. Later, she went to the bar and clearly started gossiping about us. 

We could hear her talking and laughing with the regulars, with "salt" and "tomatoes" being the buzzwords. Even as we were leaving (and we still tipped her, mind you), she called out, "Maybe pick a different soup next time if you're that sensitive to salt!" followed by laughter from her and her buddies.

Unsurprisingly, the restaurant shut its doors just a month later.

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16. A Husband’s Sacrifice

My wife fell terribly sick after dining at a high-end restaurant in Vermont. The restaurant didn't accept the blame, and neither did the dozen or so family members we were with. They insisted that the restaurant was top-notch and suggested her sickness might have been from something else she ate earlier, causing her vomiting. 

To prove them wrong, I decided to eat a portion of her meal. Sure enough, within an hour, I was seriously nauseous, straining not to vomit and have a bowel movement at the same time. Take my word for it: never, ever opt for seafood in a state without a coastline.

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17. Dining Room Diaper Station

A woman chose to change her baby's diaper on a restaurant table, despite there being a clean, designated baby changing area. Another diner confronted her about this, sparking an unforgettable response. She reached into the dirty diaper with her bare hand, picked up a heap of baby poo and smeared it across the inquirer's face, the table, and her seat. 

All the while, she was yelling insults and curses. In the midst of this, a different customer punched her, knocking her to the floor before leaving the place. Soon after, the authorities, an ambulance, and Child Protection Services converged on the scene. What made things worse was that the management tried passing the cleaning task to an untrained employee. 

Already short-handed, he simply resigned on the spot.

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18. Where Did All The Grown-Ups Go?

We dropped by a quaint family-run Mexican place around early afternoon, but oddly, we were the only customers. A young girl, maybe 13, seated us, but she looked a bit surprised to see guests at that time on a Saturday. Not long after we settled in, two young kids, definitely under 10, came from the back and sat right behind us. 

They had a tablet blaring a children's show so loud that we couldn't even hear our own conversation. We thought someone from the kitchen would come out to address the noise, but no one did. The same young girl brought us water and chips, and didn't seem bothered by the noisy tablet. 

When she tried to take our order, she was so soft-spoken or maybe just shy that we couldn't make out what she was saying because of the background noise. I ended up just ordering a soft taco to go. Strangely, we never did see any adults the whole time we were there.

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19. Winging It

I ordered chicken wings, but sadly half of them were grossly undercooked. I mentioned it to our server and, to their credit, they didn't charge us for them. But the real horror story was still to come. As I was smack in the middle of a conversation, something bounced off my face. 

To my shock, I looked down to find a cockroach as big as my hand casually lounging on my arm. I have a crazy fear of bugs, so, naturally, I let out a scream you'd hear in a horror film. In my terrified state, I managed to fling the nasty thing off me while still screaming. This horrifying experience then triggered a panic attack, which in turn set off my asthma.

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20. Done With Denny’s

Back in high school, after a late lacrosse game, my buddies and I were starving. Most places closed at 10 PM, and it was already 9:30. Not wanting to be those late-night customers, we headed to Denny's since it closed at 1 AM. We walked in, and it was empty, like ghost-town empty. 

After waiting about five minutes, someone came over to seat us, but weirdly, at a table that hadn't been cleaned. She took our drink orders, which were just waters. After handing over the menus, we said we'd need a few minutes to decide. We waited, and ten minutes later, we still didn’t have our waters. 

Remember, we were the ONLY customers. After another wait, our drinks finally arrived. We ordered right away when she asked. She promised our food would be ready in 15 minutes. Well, 15 minutes turned into 30, then 40. By 10:20 PM, our stomachs were growling, and patience was wearing thin. 

Another chunk of time passed, and by 11 PM, still no food. We had to call our waitress over. We said we'd find food elsewhere and to cancel our order. She actually tried to make us pay for the meal we never got. We stood our ground, refusing to pay for super-delayed food. We left, and let's just say, that was our last time at any Denny's.

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21. What A Mess

We sat there for what felt like forever, at least an hour, just waiting for our first drinks. Meanwhile, it looked like a little party with the bar owner and his buddies, hogging three out of the four staff. And then, when our food finally showed up? Total chaos. They dropped nachos all over me.

And if that wasn't enough, when our way-too-late check arrived, the hostess decided to crack a joke, hinting that I was a sloppy eater. I was so frustrated. That day marked the first and only time I left a $0 tip with "terrible service" scribbled on it. I half-expected to find hidden cameras because the whole thing felt like a bad prank show.

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22. Dissed For My Love Of Disney

I was about 14 when my dad and I popped into a local breakfast joint. I had my heart set on a Mickey Mouse pancake because, well, whipped cream and fruit on a pancake sounded perfect. But when I tried to order it, the server, in a strong accent, asked how old I was. 

After hearing my age, she told me, "You're too old! No Mickey Mouse pancake for you!" My dad tried to understand the big deal, but she kept insisting. It would've been easier if she'd just mentioned it was for younger kids. The good news was that my dad and I ended up laughing about it later, so the day wasn’t a total loss.

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23. A Soul-Crushing Experience

I visited a soul food spot in my area with my toddler one day before the lunch crowd hit. The place was empty, but the older couple running it seemed too engrossed in a hushed argument to notice us. After waiting a bit, the guy asked if we needed a high chair. I nodded. 

What followed was a full-blown shouting match between him and his wife, the chef, about fetching the high chair. She brought it down with a bang, telling her husband, "I cook, I'm not your SERVANT". I tried to order fried chicken next, but that set off another argument in the kitchen about who forgot to prep the chicken. A pan even flew across the room. 

I decided that was my cue to leave, especially when their disagreement seemed ready to spill out into the street. They shut down not long after, but the place stayed vacant for two years. Now, it's just an average Mexican fast-food spot.

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24. Your Time’s Up!

I live in Melbourne, and while we're known for top-notch customer service, my experience at Okami's was a letdown. During the pandemic, they had a reservation system with one-hour slots. You'd arrive when your slot started and had to leave by its end. We sat at a table far from the counter, and there was this noisy family nearby.

Every time we tried to get a waiter's attention, that family would grab them first. As a result, our service was super slow. My girlfriend and I were frustrated since we hardly got any attention. It got to the point where we had to forgo dessert because our hour was almost up and we were still on our mains.

Just as we were wrapping up, with most other diners gone, a waiter came over, shoving his watch close to my face, tapping it. I wish I'd spoken up, but both of us avoid confrontations. We just paid and left. We did leave a negative review on Yelp, and even now, thinking about it gets me worked up.

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25. The Big McRip Off

I was at McDonald's once, even though I'm not really a fan, but I was hungry. The place was empty, so I thought I'd get my food quickly. After ordering and paying, I waited...And waited. Then, another customer walked in, ordered, and got their food in no time. I was still waiting. Finally, someone approached me asking if I wanted to place an order.

I told them I was still waiting for my food. Their response made my blood boil. Turns out, they'd lost my order. The manager looked puzzled and couldn't find any record of it. After nearly 30 minutes of waiting, I just decided to leave. The worst part? They never refunded my money. So, they might've misplaced my order, but they sure didn't forget to keep my cash.

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26. Post-Pandemic Pain

I once dined at a restaurant in a small town with five of my friends. This was during that odd phase in 2021 when things were almost back to normal during the pandemic, but not quite. Turns out, most restaurants in the town had closed that week due to a Covid breakout, so this spot was packed.

With only two waitresses handling a full house, it was an hour before they could even take our orders. And while we were ordering, this lady came over and scolded us for being served before her group—as if we had any say in it!

It was another long hour before our food started arriving, and not all at once. I got this personal pizza that was charred on one side. But I was so hungry, I ate it anyway. I left a big tip out of sympathy for the waitresses, but man, that was a rough meal out.

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27. Not Worth The Hype

Everyone raves about Viking Lobster Company because it's BYOB. For our first anniversary, my wife and I decided to give it a try. It's in a sketchy neighborhood, and we had to reserve by phone since they don’t take walk-ins. Oddly, they called back to confirm our reservation instead of doing it on the spot.

The building looked super run-down. The menu prices seemed reasonable for what was on offer. We both went for the lobster feasts which came with a salad. But man, waiting 45 minutes for our main course was weird, especially since there were only two other couples there. And one pair had arrived after us. The "feasts" were laughable. 

It seemed like everything—scallops, fish, lobster tail—had been wrapped in foil and then just dumped on our plates. Big letdown. It felt like they just prepped these meals in advance and cooked them in these foil packets. The fish and scallops tasted metallic, not spoiled, but you could tell they were cooked in that foil.

The silver lining? Our waitress was great, and being able to bring our own booze was cool. But things went south when my wife left a polite but critical one-star review on their Facebook. The owner's response was petty and passive-aggressive, hinting they'd remember us next time. Not that we'd ever go back.

After digging deeper, we saw that the owner always fired back at any review under three stars. Totally unprofessional. That night set us back over $200, and I won't be recommending them to anyone.

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28. Steak ‘N Wait

I remember hitting up a Steak 'n Shake some time back. As we walked in, I noticed the kitchen grill was packed with burgers. They got us seated, took our orders, and then... nothing. We sat there for more than an hour, twiddling our thumbs. Finally, we flagged down a waiter to see what was up, and they told us they were short on staff.

We waited another 30 minutes before we'd had enough and decided to leave. As we headed out, they rushed over, apologized, and asked if we could hang on just five more minutes. In the end, they handed us our food to go and even slashed our bill in half.

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29. Left In A Pickle

When I was around eight, my mom brought me to a sandwich shop to meet her coworker, Annie, who also taught at her high school. The tables were loaded with big bowls of pickles, which Annie and my mom seemed to really enjoy. I, on the other hand, couldn’t stand pickles, and still feel the same. 

When Annie grabbed the last pickle in the bowl, she found a nasty surprise—a used cigarette butt. Annie was known to have a bit of a sailor's mouth already, so you can guess the kind of language that poured out. To shield me from learning new words I hadn't heard before, my mom immediately ushered me out of the shop. 

Not too long after that, the restaurant ended up closing down.

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30. Running To The Loo After Some Bad BBQ

When my dad and brother visited, we decided to grab dinner at Erberts and Gerberts, a sandwich place we'd all heard about. Dad and I went for the BBQ brisket sandwich, while my brother chose something different. Honestly, the sandwiches were a letdown. After dinner, we split up and I headed home.

Next morning, I woke up with my stomach growling—nothing new, I'm always a bit hungry. But then, it turned pretty intense. Thinking, "Uh-oh, this can't be good," I dashed to the bathroom. What ensued was hands down the worst bout of diarrhea I've ever had.

Afterwards, I called my dad to reschedule our day. My brother answered, telling me that dad was going through the exact same ordeal. We were pretty sure those sandwiches were the culprits. Safe to say, we're never eating there again.

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31. Left Out In The Cold

While on a sightseeing trip with 30 others, we decided to have dinner at a bustling restaurant. We squeezed into a large table and waited for our orders to be taken. I kept it simple—a glass of water and a cutlet with fries. Drinks were served, but mine was missing. When I brought it up, the waitress rolled her eyes and left in a huff.

Half an hour later, everyone had their food except for me. No water either. I tried talking to the waitress again, but she snapped, "Can't you see we're swamped? You won't go hungry!" She then stormed off and seemed to make a point of avoiding our table.

Thankfully, my group shared their dishes with me. Yet, when it was time to settle up, the waitress tried charging me for the food I never ordered. We firmly told her that wasn't happening and left.

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32. Met With A Chili Reception

I've got allergies to spicy foods, mushrooms, and nuts. My friends and I decided to have lunch at this upscale pub. Even though they had a limited menu, there was a steak sandwich that seemed like it could be tweaked for me.

I told the waitress about my allergies, even gave her a written list, and double-checked everything when we paid. Well, my sandwich came with everything I had asked to be removed. I caught the waitress's attention and went through the whole allergy spiel again, giving her a new written list to show the kitchen.

Time ticked by. My friends were almost done with their food, and mine was still MIA. I asked the waitress about it, and after a wait, she finally returned with my sandwich. But they only removed the salami, not the chili jam. With everyone else done eating, I asked the waitress for a refund. 

She tried to persuade me to wait for another sandwich, but by then, I was over it. I left the place in a huff and later emailed them about the ordeal. The manager's response? “We do our best with food allergies, but sometimes mistakes happen," and didn't offer a refund. Now, whenever I drive by that place, I can't help but roll my eyes.

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33. An Uninvited Guest

So, a few years back, I decided to grab a bite at this neighborhood Indian restaurant. The place was pretty quiet, with just a few couples dining. Not long after we sat down, this random woman strolls in—and she just parks herself at our table. 

Before we could say anything, she's sipping our wine and going on and on about... well, who knows what? Even though the place was mostly empty, everyone noticed the commotion. Conversations faded, and soon, the whole place was in a hushed buzz. I tried to be polite, telling her, "Look, we're not sharing our meal or wine tonight".

I then signaled to the waitress, hoping she'd help, but she just dashed into the kitchen, leaving us hanging. The rest of the diners were watching the drama unfold, probably relieved they weren't in our shoes. Then things got even weirder. She started talking about having "connections" in some cult and how she could track us down. 

Thankfully, my buddy put his foot down, telling her she could leave the easy way or, well, the not-so-easy way involving a window.

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34. Abandoned At The Airport

I was on a solo trip with a layover at this super busy airport. I popped into a restaurant to grab a bite and chill for a bit. I ordered chips and guac and a Modelo after a 15-minute wait. Soon enough, my chips were gone, and I was ready for another drink. But man, trying to get the server's attention was like pulling teeth.

She kept passing by, even with nothing in her hands, and totally ignored my attempts to flag her down. I swear she went out of her way to avoid looking my way. It got bizarre when she sat down with a friend at the table next to mine for lunch. I mean, she knew I was there, right? I just wanted to order more and pay.

So I packed up, headed to the server's station to pay, and yep, that got her attention real quick. She looked pretty rattled when she saw I had left. I just gave her a little wave from the counter. We didn’t exchange words. She handed me a pink gel pen to sign the bill and walked off. 

I signed, didn't leave a tip, crumpled the receipt, and, not gonna lie, I kinda flung the pen under an empty table. I've been in the service industry myself and never thought I'd pull a move like that, but wow, that was something else.

Terrible Customer ServiceShutterstock

35. The Butter-Fingered Waiter

I was at this Tony Roma's in Vegas. It was getting late, but they were still open for a bit, and honestly, we didn't have many other options. We got seated and handed menus. Despite being the only guests, it took our server a good ten minutes to show up.

We'd already picked what we wanted, but as soon as we ordered drinks, he dashed off without even waiting for our food order. Not long after, he's back with our drinks, and oops, he spills my wife's iced tea. At least he stayed long enough to take our food order this time.

Soon after, he brings out our mozzarella sticks, and then drops one. He just picked it up and walked away, no offer to replace it or anything. By this point, my glass was empty, but he was outta there too fast for a refill. When our main dishes finally arrived, I joked to my wife to move, expecting another spill. Well, I was right. 

The coleslaw that was supposed to be with my wife's meal ended up on the table. And again, no offer to make it right. At least I got to ask for a refill. I had ordered this crispy chicken sandwich, which was supposed to have cheese, but when it came? No cheese in sight. I pointed it out when he brought my drink. 

He took it away and returned with a cold piece of cheese on my now cold sandwich and fries. At that point, I just wanted to get out of there. And then our server vanished. After waiting forever, I had to ask the host for our check. The manager came over, and when we told her everything, she just said, "Oh, I'm sorry," and walked off. 

I was hoping for a discount after all that, but nope! Full price, even for the stuff he spilled. I was so frustrated that I emailed Tony Roma's main office about the whole ordeal. All they said was, "We hope you visit us again soon!"

Worst Restaurant Experiences EverShutterstock

36. Meat Mixup

I was waiting tables at this upscale steak and seafood spot. This couple walks in, and the husband's like, "I want the prime rib as rare as you can make it". Cool, got it. I serve them their order. Not long after, another couple sits right next to them. The lady from this second pair orders a sirloin steak. But here's where it gets messy. 

The first guy, after tasting his prime rib, decides he wants it cooked a bit more. By now, he's already chowed down half the steak and the sides. So, I take his plate to the kitchen. A few moments later, I'm serving the second couple their food. 

When I head back to the kitchen, the prime rib for our first guy is ready to go. But it's not a prime rib anymore; it's a sirloin. And to top it off, the chef took the half-eaten prime rib, slapped it on a fresh plate with new sides, and that's what our second couple was munching on. Now, I've got a situation. 

I had to break the news to both tables and my boss. In the end, we comped steaks for both tables to make it right. What a night.

Worst Restaurant Experiences EverShutterstock

37. Crushing It On New Year’s Eve

I was at The Common Man in New Hampshire for New Year's Eve. It's this fancy place but with comfort food vibes. I was coming back to our table with a couple of plates of cheese, crackers, and fruit from their snack table. I grabbed two because my boyfriend isn't a fan of navigating the packed tables, especially since he's a big guy.

I accidentally bumped into a chair a couple of tables away. Being polite, I was like, "Oh, excuse me," gave a quick smile, and went back to my seat. Even though the place was buzzing, we settled into our drinks, appetizers, and main courses, genuinely enjoying ourselves. Just as I was about to finish my meal, things took a wild turn.

This lady leans over and goes, "Excuse me, are you done with that?" I assumed she was staff, so I replied, "Oh yeah, I'll take a box, thanks". But then, she holds up this CRACKER and just smashes it onto my plate. 

She said, "You dropped this when you bumped my chair. You should've picked it up. Could've been a mess on the floor". And she's grinning ear to ear, adding, "Happy New Year!" before heading back to her table. My boyfriend and I just sat there, baffled. It was like something out of a movie.

It’s Over For UsPexels

38. A Doggone Embarrassing Dinner

We had this Vietnamese restaurant near our workplace that we absolutely loved. They served amazing food at good prices, and the spicy beef dish was everyone's favorite. Some folks in the office, trying to be funny, nicknamed it "spicy dog".

It became sort of a thing to ask, "Hey, up for some spicy dog today?" Especially among the managers, so no one really confronted them about it. One day, a bunch of us went there for lunch.

Now, none of us actually used that joke, but we'd heard it enough times at work. As we were placing our orders, one of my coworkers, probably without thinking, said to the waitress, "I'll have the spicy dog. Oops, I mean spicy beef".

He turned all shades of red when the waitress, looking unamused, replied, "Sir, we don't serve dog here". It was so quiet you could hear a feather drop, and I swear I wanted to vanish right there and then.

Worst Restaurant Experiences EverShutterstock

39. No Way Satay

My husband and I had this Thai spot we loved and visited weekly. They even knew us personally. During one of these regular visits, we were dealing with some heavy stuff. My mom had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer and the treatments weren't working. Hoping to lift my spirits, my husband suggested lunch at our usual place. 

We weren't really in the mood to eat, so we just pushed our food around. Then, my husband made a disturbing discovery. He found a seasoned cockroach in his meal. We were too shocked and he felt too awkward to mention it to the staff. When they offered takeout boxes, we politely declined, leaving them puzzled. 

We paid our bill, walked out, and never returned.

Employers Secrets factsShutterstock

40. A Series Of Unfortunate Events

I hit up a Mexican restaurant with six of my friends, and man, was it a comedy of errors. First, the waitress took orders from just two of us and then disappeared. We were left scratching our heads.

Eventually, we managed to get someone to take the rest of our orders. But when the food arrived, only one dish from the initial two orders came out, and another had a mistake. To add to the confusion, they served us a dish no one ordered.

With a football game on our agenda, we decided not to chase down staff for corrections and just ate whatever they brought. Even got a surprise margarita, which, well, we drank. But the cherry on top? 

When the bill came, they tried to charge us for everything, even the mix-ups, and slapped on a 20% auto-tip. We just put down what we felt was fair in cash and headed out.

Creepy experiencesPikrepo

41. A Fasching Failure

When I was in my early teens, my parents and I, along with another couple, decided to try out this German restaurant during their version of Mardi Gras. Even though we had a reservation, the place was jam-packed, and we ended up waiting an hour just to get a table. 

Once seated, it felt like we were on a slow-motion replay: an hour for drinks, another for appetizers, and another long hour for the main courses. But that was just the tip of the iceberg.

The waiter kept returning to tell my dad they'd run out of his dish. After the fourth time, my dad listed three other dishes, hoping for at least one of them to be available. While all this was going on, people were just upping and leaving. Four hours in, and we were just digging into our main courses.

To wrap up our epic dinner saga, we waited yet another hour to get the bill. By the time we were ready to head out, we were the last souls in the place. Turns out, most folks had just left without paying.

Worst Restaurant Experiences EverPexels

42.  Take A Bit Out Of This One

So, I tried out this hip cafe once. While munching on some bread before my main dish arrived, I spotted a piece that clearly had a bite taken out of it. I showed it to the waiter, and, weirdly enough, he gave me this nasty glare and wouldn't serve me anymore. I ended up just explaining the situation to the manager and left.

I'm still puzzled about the waiter's reaction. I was pretty chill about the whole thing, even though it seemed like they were just recycling leftover bread for new customers.

Worst Restaurant Experiences EverShutterstock

43. Holiday Burn

I once hitched a ride with a friend out of town for Thanksgiving. Before hitting the road, we joined his grown-up daughter and some of his pals for a meal. Unfortunately, the waitress accidentally spilled steaming soup all over my hand, hair, and clothes, with most of it landing on my hand.

While it burned and stung for a couple of days, it wasn't severe enough for a doctor's visit. But what really got to me was his daughter, who was almost 30, bursting into laughter amidst the stares from pretty much the whole busy restaurant. I felt a mix of anger and embarrassment. To top it off, they didn't even offer to cover my meal.

Worst Restaurant Experiences EverShutterstock

44. There Was Something Up Her Sleeve

I once had dinner at Buca di Beppo for my girlfriend's party. When the bill arrived, I tucked in three $100 bills, then, second-guessing my tip, I added an extra $20. I left the money on the table and went to fetch the car. When I circled back, nobody from our group was outside yet.

I was about to drive off when I spotted someone from our party flagging me down. They filled me in on the chaos inside. It seems the waitress saw only the $20 when clearing our table, jumping to the conclusion we'd skipped out on the bill, even with our large group. 

My dad stepped in, certain he'd seen me place the $300 inside. Despite his insistence, she claimed there was only $20. The situation intensified, and considering my dad's sizable presence, they brought out their biggest waiter to handle him. This whole dramatic scene was unfolding just a few steps from the exit, surrounded by other diners.

The tension reached a climax before the waitress took another look and, sure enough, found the $300. All she said was, "Oh". We later reached out to their corporate office, getting a full refund and an additional $100 in gift cards.

Worst Restaurant Experiences EverShutterstock

45. Crying Over Broken Glass

I was dining at Teton Steakhouse in Jackson, where they had this salad buffet. My girlfriend bit into her salad and, shockingly, found broken glass. We immediately alerted the manager, but he just whisked the plate away, acting like it was nothing. He didn’t even inspect the salad buffet for more glass.

Feeling the need to step in, we gave a heads-up to other diners about the potential hazard. We couldn't bring ourselves to eat anything else after that. And to add salt to the wound, they still made us pay the full bill.

Worst Restaurant Experiences EverShutterstock

46. We Made A Clean Break

I used to love this Chinese food joint, but one time they somehow mixed in a large piece of brass scrubber with my fiancé's lo-mein. She was so upset, she nearly got sick. When I returned the food and asked for our money back, they just suggested making a new dish. I was too frustrated to accept that and left knowing I'd never eat there again.

Sadly, the restaurant was already on the decline, and this incident was the last nail in the coffin. They eventually shut down.

Worst Restaurant Experiences EverShutterstock

47. Management Was Out Of Order

My wife and I went to a restaurant and both ordered chicken parma. After about 20 minutes, only her meal showed up. She finished eating and I was still waiting. When I asked our waitress where my food was, she claimed I never ordered anything. I was like, "Why would I come to a restaurant and not order food?"

She stuck to her story and the manager backed her up. After a bit of back and forth, I had an idea. I told them, "Give me five minutes". I popped over to McDonald's next door, grabbed a Happy Meal, returned to our table, and ate it right in front of them.

Adorable crushShutterstock

48. Getting Physical Over Some Fish

A couple of years back, I was at a restaurant with my friend. She was thinking about trying a new dish but emphasized to the waiter about her severe shellfish allergy, mentioning it could be life-threatening. The waiter checked with the kitchen and said it was safe to order. But when her dish arrived, it had fish in it. 

She quickly sent it back and chose a familiar dish. When it was time to pay, we saw they had charged us for both dishes. My friend pointed out the mistake, but the waiter argued with her. We decided to leave the right amount on the table and head out. But as we were leaving, chaos ensued.

The waiter began shouting, and a man, possibly the owner, rushed from the kitchen. He blocked the exit and started yelling in another language. Things escalated as he followed us outside, even accusing us of theft. He became aggressive, but when my friend began dialing for help, he backed off. We later reported the incident.

Worst Restaurant Experiences EverShutterstock

49. A Showstopper At The Mall

We often visited an Italian restaurant that had outdoor seating on a pedestrian mall. They'd simply place tables outside and mark their area with a rope. As we sat facing the mall, there was a large group in business attire at a nearby table, right next to the walking area. Out of nowhere, an elderly woman with no teeth approached. 

She suddenly lifted her shirt, playfully resting her chest on the shoulders of one unsuspecting man at the table. He looked shocked, thinking someone had just put their hands on him. I'm still not sure if that was the most entertaining or the most shocking "dinner and a show" I've ever witnessed.

Worst Restaurant Experiences EverShutterstock

50. Giving It All Away

So, during a family Christmas dinner at this upscale place, I decided to go with their club sandwich while the rest of the fam chose their dishes. Everyone got their meal and was almost done eating, and I'm still sitting there, plateless. 

About 30 minutes later, the waiter comes up and says, "Oops, we accidentally gave your sandwich to drive-through customers. Twice!" And then he’s like, “Can you wait another 15 minutes?” Definitely not cool.

Worst Restaurant Experiences EverShutterstock

Sources: Reddit,

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