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.

Back in the 1970s Tampa didn’t have many high-end restaurants. There was one restaurant that tried to appear to be upscale. Men were required to wear jackets; waiters wore tuxes. The funny thing was, the restaurant was located inside a Holiday Inn motel!



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My mother in law and I went out to lunch at a restaurant we’d been to in the past. I ordered chicken salad and she ordered a BLT. When it came, I started eating it and in the second half of the sandwich I bit down on something hard. I picked it out of my mouth and here was a bone in my sandwich. I flagged down the waitress.



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I work as a cashier at a barbecue chain in the northeast. I had been recently hired and was only working my 5th shift. The menu is simple as everything is a la carte, UNLESS you choose to get the combo.



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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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Cultural Challenges and an Unexpected Guest

July 30, 2017 Insect & Animal Stories

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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Passive-Aggressive Brother Ruins Dining Experience

July 9, 2017 Tipping & Etiquette Stories

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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Gang of “Monkeys” Engage in Food Fight

April 14, 2017 Kid Stories

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 […]

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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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