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 customer, 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 work in an iconic family restaurant in Austin, TX. During the holidays, a lot of tourists visit the city, especially at Christmas time. This past Saturday, just before Christmas, the restaurant got slammed at lunch time. The hostess sat a family of 13 people at one table, followed by another table with 4 people celebrating their senior father’s birthday, and a booth with an impatient middle aged woman and her elderly mother.

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Ignored by Waitress

October 26, 2018

in Server Stories

My friend, her 11 year old daughter and I went to a local village today for their Scarecrow Festival, a tradition that we’ve been enjoying for about 7 years. Before getting started, we went to one of the restaurants for lunch. Now it’s important to note we didn’t go last year due to the weather.

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This incident took place a few years ago. I used to work part time as a waiter in the restaurant of a moderately priced hotel in my hometown here in England. I was 16 years old at the time, just trying to earn a little extra money during my classes.

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So three years ago my family and I were on vacation in Orlando, Florida. Since we live in the northern US we decided to enjoy the fresh, delicious seafood this state had to offer. Unfortunately, “fresh” and “delicious” seafood was not the case at one restaurant we went to, a “family-friendly” buffet style restaurant in the southwestern corner of Orlando (not too far from SeaWorld). It looked like a nice place to eat as we drove by, so we parked and went in.

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This happened to my best friend and me about a year ago at an Italian themed restaurant that prides itself on customers being “family.” This is one of our favorite restaurants and we’ve never once had a problem there until this experience happened.

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This happened a few years ago during my first trip to India to meet my East Indian fiance’s parents. They lived in a busy, but non-tourist part of Gujarat. They were lovely people and one evening took me and their son out to a wonderful restaurant which was unaccustomed to foreigners.

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I love my family. Not a common way to start a culinary horror story, but I just want to make that clear. I love my siblings, no matter how silly or thoughtless or just plain idiotic they are.

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My friends and I, having finished rather lengthy and troublesome group work, decided to reward ourselves by going out to dinner at a decent restaurant nearby. It was about 9.30pm when we get to the restaurant. Once we walk through the door, we heard kids screaming. I was feeling a little apprehensive, but my boyfriend gave me a hug and asked that our party, since we were in college and liable to curse and discuss inappropriate topics, be seated far from children. The hostess said no problem and all six of us were led to our table.

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Food Disguised to Fool Diner

March 8, 2017 Food & Drink Stories

My husband and I, along with another couple, dined at a 5 star Italian restaurant to celebrate a birthday. We had been to this restaurant one other time and very much enjoyed our experience. We like to order plenty of appetizers to share while waiting for our dinner and all was very good.

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Foreign Object Found in Burger

February 28, 2017 Food & Drink Stories

Recently, I had a girls’ night out with my mother, my sister, and my two grandmothers. We went shopping, saw a movie, and then went out to dinner at a local chain restaurant (full-service, mid-priced, not just some fast food joint). This restaurant is one of my family’s favorite places to go.

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We Shouldn’t Have to Pay for That

February 24, 2017 Diner Stories

What do you mean we have to pay for the food that we ordered? What do you mean that you’re not going to comp us for our own ignorance in thinking we had to pay for the food we ordered?   You’re supposed to give us free food out of fear of being Yelped about, […]

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Free Meal Leaves Customer Feeling Awkward

February 18, 2017 Accident & Mishap Stories

This isn’t a “hell” story, but I thought it would be interesting to share nevertheless. A couple of years ago, my parents and I (all adults) spent a three week vacation travelling across the USA, so naturally we visited many restaurants and diners along the way, and this is one that stood out.

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