Dinners From Hell offers true stories about restaurant dining disasters written by diners, servers and chefs.

We've all had those dining experiences when things went dreadfully wrong. Perhaps it was a social blunder, an obnoxious diner, a waiter or waitress with an attitude, a temperamental chef, an embarrassing faux pas, or a food or beverage incident. Find out what others have had to endure by reading stories about dinners gone bad.

I remember Singapore. I learned a lot there. For one, Jack Sparrow doesn’t know Jack Shit about Singapore. In five years of working there I never once saw a tight corset, let alone it removed publicly with zeal and gusto. Quite the opposite, it’s a place of lawfulness. It’s a place of fearsome efficiency. And it was the place where I had the worst restaurant shift of my life.

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I am a server at a busy pub. It is oftentimes not unusual for a server to have 5-6 tables and a big party all at once. However near the end of the night, the hour before I got off, the pub slowed down and I was sort of on autopilot and not really paying attention to details, which is actually quite rare for me. So a party of 4 walks in; they are a pair of older couples and were actually very nice. They were very easy about their drink order and prompt with ordering food too. I went through the motions of serving them, checking up, refilling, etc. They were all smiles and telling me everything was wonderful every time I checked up on them, so I thought everything was fine.

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I had a table tonight that told me my service was horrible. Now I won’t try to say that I did nothing wrong, because I could have been more on top of things, but I still feel as though they overreacted.

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A federal judge walks into a restaurant with a martini… Wait, that’s not a joke, that happened the other night. Not only is it a violation of my liquor license, it’s just gauche.

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Waiter Walks Away

April 12, 2015

in Diner Stories

I am a server in a Mexican restaurant. We have a night where our enchilada plates are half price, so we do not allow coupons on the enchilada dinners. I misunderstood my manager and thought that we didn’t accept them at all on that night.

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While working at a Greek restaurant we always gave a complimentary cup of Avgolemono soup, a classic lemony chicken orzo soup, free before the meal comes. Our restaurant is on the east coast, and one night we got an especially uppity group who came in and ordered gyro platters, insisting that the correct pronunciation was “Jai-Row” instead of “Yee-rho” as we have heard from countless thousands of real Greeks who eat there. When their complimentary soup came out, one of them took a taste and motioned me over with the utmost of urgency.

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I went to my favorite Vietnamese restaurant as I typically do when I’m in Maryland. It was off to a bad start as soon as I walked in the door. It’s freezing this time of year so I didn’t want to sit near the door. I asked to sit in a booth and was told that somebody was already sitting there. No biggie. I sat elsewhere and waited for a waiter to take my order.

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I work at a new restaurant in Downtown Los Angeles (DTLA). It’s awesome. The manager and two owners are amazing, fun guys who love people. They just do. They are genuinely interested in every person – customer or employee – who walks in that door. In fact, we became friends within 10 minutes of meeting each other, and I work for them (or, as they say, I “work with” them). The mood at the bar/restaurant is generally light, fun, and happy. The bartenders do some flair. The owners have a laugh (and a drink) with guests. Employees are all best friends. You get the idea.

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Tipping Doesn’t Seem to Improve Service

January 10, 2015 Tipping & Etiquette Stories

I’m one of those English people who doesn’t particularly understand “tipping” just because we don’t do it here (or very seldom!).

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Boisterous Diners Broadcast Personal Business

November 30, 2014 Diner Stories

My family had an experience at an Atlanta pizzeria the other night that you’re going to find unbelievable. The food was good, and the service was great, but the four people sitting in the booth across from us were another story! This happened on 11/23/14 from approximately 6:25-7:30. Their server was a blond woman and […]

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