1/25/2012 11:07:00 AM

The 10 Most Annoying Restaurant Trends

The time has come! Since our most popular post of 2011 was The 10 Most Annoying Restaurant Trends, we’ve decided to give you the latest batch of restaurant-world developments that really get under our skin. Which one of these irks you the most? Get ready to hit the comment button to chime in with your thoughts.

1. Dogs in Cafes/Outdoor Restaurants
Sometime during the early aughts, toting around your dog in your purse became acceptable social behavior (along with texting during dinner and talking about Twilight). As a result, it seems more and more restaurants started bending health code rules to please overly entitled "pooch pushers" who insist on dragging their smelly mutts around with them 24/7. Don't get us wrong, we love animals, we just don't need to eat dinner next to them. Still not convinced that this trend has gone too far? There are restaurants now offering doggy menus. (We rest our case.)

2. Tables Ridiculously Close Together
Unless you have a 22-in. waist à la Lara Flynn Boyle, squeezing out of your seat is nigh impossible in most restaurants these days. We appreciate that eateries are often dealing with high rents, tiny spaces and a need to squeeze as many seats into a space as possible - but seriously, guys, could we space the tables out a little here? Not to mention that if restaurants want to keep their glassware intact, putting tables four inches apart may not be the best move - it’s almost impossible to get out from a banquette without knocking over the next table’s entire place setting in the process.

3. Overzealous Wine Pouring
If there’s one thing we definitely don’t need help with, it’s pouring our own alcohol. We hate when servers are constantly topping off our glasses (clearly in an effort to sell more booze) when they’re already mostly full - leaving our wine/beer to get warm and stale in the process.

4. Designer Ice
While bigger, fewer ice cubes help keep drinks cool without watering them down, we're really not a fan of those giant ice blocks that knock against our teeth as we’re sipping. Also note to restaurants - no one needs an ice cube in the shape of a dodecahedron.

5. Enormous Wine Glasses
What’s with the humongo glasses? We realize a bigger glass makes for tastier wine, blah blah blah, but when the table is barely 12 in. across, those gigantic wine glasses leave little room for the more important stuff - the food! Plus, using bigger glasses makes the wine pours looks smaller, which can’t be a good thing in terms of pleasing customers.

6. Ketchup Snobbery 
We don’t care if your homemade ketchup was hand-squished from eight different types of artisanal heirloom tomatoes. With a burger and fries, just give us good old-fashioned Heinz. "A" for effort, guys, but we cringe hearing things like this: “Oh, we don’t have ketchup but we do have our homemade organic red pepper jam.” Um, no. We also hate when a restaurant is too snobby to provide regular ketchup at all! Meanwhile they're serving burgers, fries and other commonly ketchup-ed items. Lame.

7. Sparkling, Flat or Filtered Tap?
Is this a trick question? We realize that the dreaded water question must be asked - but seriously, there’s gotta be a better way to phrase it, because restaurants that make their servers say this seem to be trying to trick their customers into ordering a pricey bottle of water. If we want bottled water, we know how to ask for it.

8. Unisex Restrooms
Restaurants with unisex bathrooms are just asking for a lawsuit (or some raunchy bathroom situations at the very least). It’s one thing if it’s a unisex, single room kind of situation, but personally it really weirds us out when we’re doing our business in the stall and we see a member of the opposite sex washing their hands just outside. Awkward!

9. Excessive Punctuation/Lower-Case Letters in Restaurant Names, Menu Items
Wh.at is up wi.th all the pe.ri.ods? When you’re trying to look up a restaurant name that happens to have a few extra periods thrown in, the excessive punctuation can make it a little bit tricky. Also, when restaurants type up their menus in all lower-case (often with a period after each price), do they think it makes the cost seem more reasonable? Let’s face it, guys, you’re not fooling anyone. Period.

10. Wood-Infused Food
Lately "wood" is having its moment in the spotlight as some rustic New American restaurants are offering dishes prepare using various "wood infusions," some going as far as to spotlight a different type of wood each day. Interesting idea, but in reality the food comes out half-cooked and smelling like a humidor.

240 comments :

  1. This is the worst article I've ever read. Kelly, when I dine out I care about the quality, taste, and presentation of the food. Atmosphere is important too, and I happen to like intimate spaces. And while we are on the topic of ice - yes - I would like mine shaped like dodecahedrons. Ice shaped like Marcus Bachmann's face could be fun, too.

    Phil Hamzik (@philhamzik on twitter)

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  2. I would not really classify these as trends but merely annoyances at restaurants. I do agree with some of these particularly the pouring of wine. It absolutely drives my bonkers when I go to a restaurant and they try to pour half of the bottle in a glass. I have politely asked on numerous occasions to leave my glass but will still have to be on guard with these over zealous pourers. There is nothing worse than having to hold your glass in both hands for fear the it will topple over. If I choose to drink more I will, but rushing me will only want me to leave that much quicker.

    Cynthia (@cynthiavass)

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  3. I agree on all points except the ketchup issue. All big name-brand ketchups are packed full of high fructose corn syrup. All of them. When I go out to a restaurant, I want to eat *real food*, not genetically modified, chemically altered sugary crap. If a restaurant makes their own ketchup, I really enjoy trying it out. But if there's a bottle of Heinz on the table, I avoid it like the plague. If I wanted to eat high fructose corn syrup, I'd go to the junk food aisle at the grocery store and save time and money. At a restaurant I expect better than cheaply made junk food.

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  4. Jesus, go back to Shari's then. I'd rather have my dog, and a big glass of wine.

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  5. I love designer ice. It's the most exciting thing that has happened to fine dining since the invention of the fork.

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  6. Lists of things that are annoying about restaurants suck quite a bit too. Love your industry.

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  7. I can't stand noisy restaurants. If I go out with friends, I want to hear what they are saying. A noisy place doesn't mean things are "happening" there. It means the restaurant is too loud, and I won't return.

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  8. Some of these 10 are annoying. But, far more annoying is seeing 6 out of 10 people dining with others are playing with their smart phones. Add the new trend to pay no attention to acoustics when designing an eatery. Isn't one of the pleasures of dining out with people supposed to be the conversation. These two are far more annoying than large wine glasses!!

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  9. First list, from 2011, pretty funny and ultimately cool.

    Second list on the same topic from 2012: Annoying.

    Are you folks so bereft of ideas, or so close to deadline, that you have to recycle an old idea that creates a list like this? Somebody got PAID to write this?

    Me and my dog will read an actual article on another site...

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  10. I have no problems with dogs in restaurants (see France for details) and most dogs smell better (and talk less) than many of the obnoxious people I run across in restaurants -- including high end ones!

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  11. I was hoping for a list of dog friendly restaurants on the connecting link. When I travel in summer when I cannot leave my dog in the car, I would like to get some decent food.

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  12. although i find kelly's writting style to be humorous she clearly knows nothing about the hospitality industry......

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  13. Having the host/hostess peer over the computer monitor at you like you are from some alien land if you arrive separate from the rest of your group is rude to say the least. To further alienate me, he/she says "I'll seat you when all your party arrives." When you live in a highly urban traffic-packed area, it's difficult to arrive at the same time and even worse to have to stand waiting for "the rest of the party" especially if the bar is full or unavailable. The table's been reserved; why can't we be seated separately?

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  14. Ridiculously priced "sides" which should be standard. "Oh, did you want bread with that spaghetti?" Hell yes. "Oh did you want a baked potato with that steak?" Damn right.

    Inappropriate music? Anything goes in a bar, but at one of the most expensive meals of my life Gilbert O'Sullivan was whining "Alone Again, Naturally." Almost skipped the entree.

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  15. For anyone who finds some of these to be annoyances, you better eat at home, and certainly not plan a trip to Europe!

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  16. wow with so many annoying trends, why pick on the wine glasses? it's taken us this long to get to the point where we can have decent sized and quality glassware instead of the jelly jar stemware of the recent past. at least the glasses are big and your wine can breathe on your tiny table. leave the wine glasses alone!
    i'm annoyed when the tables are too close together. no one wants someone's butt in their face passing by your table when you're trying to eat. but i'm particularly annoyed with DARK bathrooms. okay, the restaurant can be so dark you can't see what you've ordered, but it's best if i can see what's going on in the bathroom.

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  17. Of all the issues I disagree with on this list, I have to say I disagree most with #8. If more places had unisex rooms, I hope people would get over these assumptions about "raunchy bathroom situations" and awkwardness. What's really awkward are the places with cutesy nonsensical room labels that leave patrons guessing which they're expected to use, such as fish/bird or cactus/boot.

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  18. That's just a flat out weak article. Work harder.

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  19. Today I ordered a glass of tap water (instead of my usual iced tea) and the server brought a glass that was so small I would have trouble rinsing my eyeball! I know that restaurants want to push high-income liquids, but what's up with the mini water glass?

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  20. Here's a trend that I wish could make the "GREAT TREND" list - how about establishing "kid-free" zones? Cell phones and loud conversations are annoying enough, but toss in a couple with a kid or two and the entire evening of fine dining is lost!

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  21. Dining without my dog while out for a stroll in my neighborhood or on vacation? I think not...has the author of this article never been to Carmel, California? Numerous fabulous restaurants, great service, extensive wine lists, and they cater to people and their dogs...'nuf said....;-)

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  22. just be happy that you have so many great choices that you can avoid the places that annoy you. i'm not a dog lover but the most fun i ever had at dinner was a no name place in paris where the owners' dog came and shared my food with me. big wineglasses? great! tables too close together? make new friends. come on. and - if you don't like kids, go to dinner at midnight or stay home. we love our kids.

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  23. I am beginning to see more restaurant checks with recommended tips based on a percentage of bill. Furthermore this tip is on top of taxes. Since when should the government be tipped? This takes away the entire purpose of a tip...to reward the establishment employees for service well done. No tip would be appropriate for lack of attention and service.

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  24. Where have all the editors gone? A good editor would have spared us all this inane rant.

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  25. Overpouring is my big beef. We found the solution one night when my companion and I heard the man at the next table say to the server:"We'll pour it ourselves. End of problem and happy dining thereafter!

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  26. Bored with this article. Half of these things are +'s of going to a restaurant, and the others are things that I'll deal with if a place is worth it. If I really want plain old heinz, I'll go to a place I know serves it. I don't like dogs, so I'll just avoid place with doggy menus.

    The only one I can really get behind on here is excessive punctuation in the name. I get frustrated by things that are hard to google!

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  27. What ever happened to not clearing one person's plate when the other is still eating? I'm tired of telling overzealous staff not to take away my plate when others are clearly not finished.

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  28. THESE ARE NOT BAD AND I LIKE HAVING DOIGS AT CAFES...THE MOST ANNOYING TREND IS NOT SEATING YOU UNTIL YOUR ENTIRE PARTY IS THERE---LOUSY LOUSY LOUSY--MANY OF US ARE DOING BUSINESS WITH CLIENTS AND CLIENTS SHOW UP WHEN THEY CAN AND THEY DONT WORRY ABOUT BEING ON TIME---WHY CANT I BE ALLOWED TO SIT AND DRINK AND EAT UNTIL THEY ARRIVE----I STOP GOING ANYWHERE WITH THIS POLICY--I.E. AVRA

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  29. My particular pet peeve: Having a reservation but being forced to wait in a crowded entryway or jostling bar area because all of your party are not yet there. Could be 5 out of 6 standing, waiting, denied being seated because number 6 isn't there yet; the "helpful suggestion" to wait in the bar is annoying and does nothing to solve the annoyance factor.

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  30. Yikes- Not sure why so many folks are so fired up and cranky. I take this as entertainment and tongue in cheek observations... Some of them were right on.

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  31. Really! This is the worst "list" of the year. You know what i hate? Food snobs that try to come off as anti snobs!
    Try again.

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  32. I am disappointed that zagat would publish this article.. It's a real turnoff to dog lovers.

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  33. This is a very poor article. It's about the food, stupid.

    We actually seek out dog friendly places to stay and eat. We prefer them as they tend to not be pretentious. If they offered a dog menu, we'd consider it, but we usually feed the dogs before. Our Irish Wolfhounds are not 'smelly', thank you. Often the humans are far more 'smelly.'

    Unisex bathrooms are typically the optimal solution for a small restaurant that has limited space. Again, the focus is on the food, not who's who in the bathrooms. Get over your sexual bias.

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  34. I agree. This article is more annoying than any of the aforementioned trends. Who is this Kelly? Just an easily "annoyed" person (can't really call her a "writer") with a lot of gripes. Come on Zagat, You're better than that. This is hardly worthy of a suburban pennysaver.

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  35. Many of these are valid, but I'm surprised that the most distressing trend of all has been omitted --namely, noise. It's next to impossible to enjoy a quiet meal anywhere, except perhaps at an ethnic restaurant such as Indian or Japanese. And no, I don't necessarily want to impose silence upon everyone or expect restaurants to be as quiet as a morgue; but I do expect to be able to hear someone sitting next to me without earstrain. High ceilings, wood paneling, bare floors, and various other architectural fashions may provide dining rooms that are elegant to look at, but most of them are raucous hells. Restauranteurs favor such features because they encourage rapid turnover. Diners are certainly not tempted to linger in such places once they've consumed their meal; but a more intelligent option may be to forego dining out altogether -- at least, until restaurant owners are a bit more attentive to the comfort of their patrons.

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  36. Don't forget about the overuse of bacon

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  37. Along with many of the other commenters, I highly resent the anti-dog stance of this article. I take my dog everywhere I go and I'm fortunate to live in Los Angeles where many of the restaurants are dog-friendly. Sorry if you don't like dogs Kelly, but get over it! My dog is cleaner and better behaved than most of the kids I see in restaurants.

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  38. How annoying is it to have calories listed on the menus, and how goofy is it to see large letter "A" signs in the windows of a restaurant? And speaking of goofy, how weird is it not to be able to enjoy our God-given right to smoke in bars and restaurants anymore in NYC?

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  39. Dogs to not belong in restaurants. If you want to be with your dog stay home.

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  40. The only valid complaint is #2.
    There is no reason for dogs not to be welcome in outdoor cafes and if you want tomato-flavored corn syrup, go to McDonalds.

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  41. I feel like smacking waitpersons who ask me, "Are you still working on that?". I don't "work" on food, I try to enjoy it, but you sure as heck are not doing a good job helping me by asking that. Who the hell "works" on food, unless they're getting paid for it?

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  42. Guess what "dog lovers" there are people out there who are highly allergic to dogs. I am highly allergic to dogs and I have never dined in a restaurant with dogs inside but have been to restaurants with people who try to HIDE their dog under the table outside when there are signs that say "no dogs on on the patio". Yes I am the person who will point the "hidden" dog to the server and say loudly, "I'm allergic to dogs". If I don't point it out I will sneeze, get hives, and have a miserable day. It would be great if restaurants recognized those of us who are allergic to dogs, and not offer a dog menu. If I ever go to a restaurant that does I will walk right out, that is so awful.
    Also, co-ed bathrooms are super nasty!
    The problem with tables too close together is that eventually you will get a butt right in your face or hovering over your table as you try to enjoy your meal. Yuck!

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  43. My pet peeve in restaurants is noise. Part of the pleasure of eating out is the conversation with my friends. In most restaurants today you can't hear the person sitting next to you and certainly not the one across the table.

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  44. Ummmm.... I was excited to read this article. I don't agree with any of Kelly's comments. I suggest more research in the future for such articles - and talk with diners around the country (not just in the bible belt).

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  45. The writer of this article is a moron. My dogs are very well behaved and I like to bring them to resturants with outdoor seating. You wouldn't know they were there unless you were actually sitting with us. Snobs like the writer should just dine in their pet un-friendly hovel.

    Kirk Miller, Brooklyn

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  46. Did Zagat actually pay this person Kelly to write this crummy article?

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  47. I am annoyed when restaurants have small tables and load them up with crap like candle holders, condiments, and menus, and then they use large dishes too. Consider the space when setting tables, and choose your dishes accordingly.

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  48. I love seeing dogs in restaurants--it makes me feel like I'm in France. Unfortunately, Atlanta restaurants don't allow dogs. So sad.

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  49. Though I don't have a dog I like to see dogs in a cafe, nice. Much better than some kids. Also not mentioned but to me annoying... You never know how much wine you get in a glass. ..also annoying when the specials are recited the cost is not mentioned and so you have to ask.

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  50. It seems like lately every server has been trained to ask "How are those first bites tasting?" Ick. Too "clever" by half - it's like being asked "Can I have your autograph" when signing a credit card slip. What's wrong with "How is everything?"

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  51. Dropping the credit card printout into the only wet spot on the table and expecting me to TIP and sign it with an ordinary pen.

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  52. My ultimate dinner out would be a balmy evening in SoCal on a patio with a Labrador at my feet sipping a good Cabernet out of a huge glass. To each his own!

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  53. This is both inane and offensive. I'm pretty shocked that Zagat OK'd htis one. As for #3, you only buy more wine as fast as you can drink. If you have a gut reaction to drink whatever is in your glass, you have a drinking problem. Good service means never having to reach over the table, grab the bottle, and pour your own wine. As for #8, there are a growing number and presence of transgendered and transsexual people, many of whom feel uncomfortable in gendered bathrooms and even more of whom are stigmatized when entering the gendered bathroom to which they feel they belong. Unisex bathrooms do a great service to people who do not wish to claim hourly which gender they feel they are or which gender they think society thinks they are. So, please, Kelly, learn a little bit about the world before you decide that everything is an inconvenience to you after you've had your 4th bottom-shelf margarita for the night!

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  54. I would rather eat with my dog than sit at these new "communal" tables. What's up with that? If I wanted to have dinner with strangers I'll eat at Port Authority.

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  55. This article has just caused me to unsubscribe.

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  56. I love dining with my dog. Why does she have to stay at home? She is too dirty for a restaurant? Have you seen what goes on in the kitchens? My dog is cleaner than all the hands that your food prior you eating it. Whoever wrote this silly list has obviously never been to France where well behaved dogs are welcome to almost all the restaurants and no, nobody gets sick from it. I am always jelous of those pooches and their owners while I am there.

    I certainly prefer a glass of wine, dining with my dog and shaped ice to reading this stupid list.

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  57. If your "Uncle Ed", your child, and/or your dog cannot behave, leave them at HOME. Any of the above are NOT welcome to roam the restaurant or otherwise disturb other patrons. The suggestion to tell your server "We'll pour the wine ourselves" is great.

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  58. I'm just gonna pile on and say this article was a complete waste of both ours and the author's time. I live in Paris, and I love that dogs are allowed en terrasse, though I can't get used to the small space between tables. But people there speak so softly that you aren't disturbed by their conversation even though it's super close. And they do NOT bring their kids out for fine dining, but when you do see children in restaurants, you better believe they are well behaved (it's almost spooky how different from American kids they are). I'll say that my #1 peeve is the lack of regard for noise level when designing new restaurants -- soft surfaces, people, please!

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  59. Obviously the author has a fear of dogs. In almost all other countries - particularly throughout northern Europe - dogs are quite welcome in restaurants and grocery stores and almost everywhere else. In the Palo Alto area (e.g. Stanford Shopping center) dogs are quite welcome and almost invariably better behaved than many of the people.
    Smelly - well I'd take the generally almost unnoticeable odor of a dog over someone with too much perfume or aftershave, or the stale obnoxious odor of a smoker even without a cigarette polluting the environment -one smoker can stink up an entire small size restaurant.
    And noise - how about putting obnoxious drunks who always need to talk about 10db louder than necessary outside and letting the quiet dogs inside.
    Yea for dogs - down with obnoxious, narrow minded reviewers.

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  60. I totally disagree with #1 about dogs. A well-behaved little dog in a bag is generally much quiter than a small child, and also probably cleaner, better smelling, and less of a hazard, health-wise or otherwise. I have never seen a little dog in a bag throw food around.

    I say let's have more restaurants that take dogs and not little, ill-behaved little children.

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  61. If you want the hand-crafted boysenberry ginger aioli on your burger and fries, that's just fine with me. I'll have Heinz. Just make it an option, that's all. (I'm looking at you, Father's Office...) Amen to the author for finally pointing this out.

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  62. Wow, a whole lot of cranky people on here taking swipes at Kelly...anonymously. If, you're going to bitch-slap the writer...at least have the stones to leave YOUR name.

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  63. Excessive noise (including ridiculously loud music!) and cramped, uncomfortable seating are at the top of my list. I try desperately to avoid these, but all too often someone else has chosen the restaurant. Yes, please, lets have more restaurants suited to conversation! Why dine out if you can't have a relaxed conversation with your companions?

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  64. I work in a restaurant in Manhattan. We don't even offer ketchup.

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  65. Most annoying is the loud music so that you can't carry on a conversation.
    Next is waiters who remove one person's plate before all are finished with the same course. It's just plain bad manners.
    Thirdly, waiters can ask if you would care for more wine and then pour.

    The catsup, dogs, ice cubes are not worth mentioning. Really!

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  66. I would rather sit next to someone's "smelly mutt" than most peoples smelly children.

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  67. I don't agree with the dog issue. I don't know of any restaurants that allow them in the L.A. area, but if I ever find one, I will definitely become a regular customer. My dog is well behaved, smells fantastic, and is a great companion. This is a dog friendly area and it would be a huge success if a restaurant could find a way to circumvent the health law on this issue. And, if you don't like it, don't go there!

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  68. Well behaved dogs should be allowed in all restaurants. If the pooch is smelly, it should have a bath. Dogs are allowed in fine restaurants all over Europe, so why are Americans so hung up on it?

    And ditto - people's children running amok in public are a MUCH bigger problem that should be addressed.

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  69. I agree dogs do not belong in resturants nor do they have any buisness being in a store unless it's a seeing eye dog! I don't drag my pet monkey to the resturant nor my turtle, Pets should be left at home while dinning or shopping and really... an Irishwolf hound in a resturant cut me a freaking break (while I park my horse up at the bar)

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  70. I love the list! All you haters are the reason the list exists.

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  71. LOVE dog in restos, but only as a main course.
    HATE loud, obtrusive music. My life does not need a sound track.

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  72. I should add for those who don't like dogs at restaurants please don't go to Carmel, CA.
    Carmel is VERY dog friendly so it would be a shame to see you all puckered up in horror and disgust at having to be near a well behaved canine. The same goes for almost all of the hotels there too. So please stay away.

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  73. i agree that dogs shouldnt be allowed into the restaurant for health reasons (ie allergy, fur getting into food, infestation, etc) however i do support to a limit extend allowing dog outside on patio. people with allergy can simply sit inside the cafe.

    i used to get annoyed with restaurants upping their price on special occasion day ie. valentine and now my solution is to simply go out the day before or after, or make at home

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  74. zagats! so out of touch! and so uptight.......

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  75. Unixex bathrooms are long overdue--why should women be the only ones to stand in line? It would be nice if everyone cleaned up after themselves...but in this era of self centeredness probably unlikely.

    Most restaurants don't have plain old yellow mustard, either, which happens to be the best on French fries...who cares about ketchup when you can have yellow mustard?

    As for dogs, Americans (and our health departments) are way too anal about the purported health risks of animals. I haven't heard of anyone getting food poisoning, the flu or AIDS from a dog...

    Restaurants need to train their staff to not grab people's plates the second the last bite enters their mouths...this is mistakenly thought to be good service.

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  76. I have eaten at many of Zagats top 10 in a number of cities around the world. In most of those i did not find any of the annoying trends mentioned here. So, just get over it, and get out of the suburban shopping malls and you wont find screaming kids, mis-sized wine glasses, crowded tables. I am jaded, at age 63, and value service over food any time. So, start with Zagats Top rated places and keep an open mind. Also, some of the best food and service is not in the Top 10 . Just don't expect a great dining out event with your screaming kids. But teach your kids what a great dining out event is. Raise the bar for all diners!

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  77. I found the article to be entertaining and for the most part spot on.

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  78. This is a very lame article. The writing is sub-high school. What idiot o.k.'d this crap ??

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  79. This article is so bad it does not even merit commenting on how bad it is.

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  80. Zagat is lowering its standard by giving air time to these annoyances. Stick with the best, top-rated and you will minimize the annoyances.

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  81. Reading this article made me roll my eyes in a big way, and actually makes me wonder if I need to subscribe to Zagat's e-mail list. Wine glasses that are too big? Really? Too small and the glass looks cheap, too big and it... takes up too much table space? Come on Goldilocks, give me a break.

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  82. Dog-friendly restaurants make our neighborhoods more pedestrian-friendly. If a dog behaves badly, then throw it out - but sadly I have tolerated loud, sloppy, poorly groomed and even dirty/malodorous human customers in restaurants, and they don't get ejected. I also second the gripe of one of the previous posts regarding music. What's with that? Even in places where the conversation sound level is already deafening, they have a music soundtrack on top of that. For sheer hell, try an outside patio table at Frida in the Americana shopping center in Glendale, CA, where the restaurant's mariachi recordings mix with the Sinatra Big Band Muzak that's piped in throughout the shopping mall.

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  83. Please leave Fido at home. I see people dragging their dogs to a restaurant and all I can think is....how lonely are these people? Either that or you feel guilty because you have a dog in the city and you don't spend enough "quality" time with poochie so you drag the beast to stores, markets, Macy's....and restaurants. Enough.

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  84. Annoyed by dogs? How annoying. And I can live with the rest of your list too without losing any sleep!

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  85. I really don't know what restaurants your 30 under 30's have been dining in, but out here in sunny California, we still don't pay for bread, we really do like pop-ups - (there are many rising-star chefs who don't work in / own/ can't afford their own established restaurants, yet can cook as well as or better than the aforementioned 30). I have yet to receive a glass of water without ice (huh?), and really don't mind minding my own business at a communal table.
    Keep trying, though. Eventually you'll find something humorous AND true.

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  86. To the people that don't like unisex bathrooms. The ones I have been in are only for one person..you go in...lock the door...no one washing hands or in the bathroom with you. If you have ever had to assist a person of the opposite sex, in a wheelchair, or on a walker, into a bathroom...you would say hooray for unisex, single person bathrooms.

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  87. I wonder how many of these "annoyed" Anonymous posters are actually the same person...?

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  88. clearly Europeans have no idea what they are doing, what with the dog friendliness. not. kelly. your article sucks. you write like a highschooler. who the hell did you blow in zagat to get these stupid articles printed. Are you really trying to advocate your idea of "fine dining" and high fructose corn syruped ketchup in the same article?

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  89. You missed the touchy server - stop touching me in a caring way! Just take the order and serve it in a competent way. I don't want to establish any sort of relationship with the server.

    I agree with your point about "pushing" the wine. Professional servers - mostly found in Europe - seem to be able to nurse a bottle of wine for a table through to the end of the meal.

    "Tap water" can be "processed" now to allow for "flat" or "sparkling." Keep up!

    Anonymous in Rancho Mirage

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  90. A great article saying many of the things that have needed saying for a while. Well written, light hearted and humorous, brief and to the point. Those who enjoy going to restaurants to enjoy a good meal, company and atmosphere cannot but appreciate it.

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  91. We need more dog friendly dining choices. The pets are much better behaved than most of the patrons.

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  92. Although I dine out at least weekly, I've never encountered any of the items in the article. My only item for such a list is noisy restaurants. My favorite regular place, unfortunately now closed, was Anna's in west Los Angeles. Folks, there, paid attention to the excellent food, and they kept their voices down.

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  93. You are definitely American,based on your statements. Get real andcenjoy your meal.

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  94. I thought this was really funny.

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  95. I am amazed that none of the complainers mentioned the habit of servers popping up at your table several times during your meal to ask the inane question, "Is everything all right?" thus interrupting an interesting conversation you were having with your fellow diners.

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  96. By far the WORST trend I have seen in restaurants is the inclusion of a large TV in the dining-area, silently screening rubbish constantly. This is a sad trend in Bombay (Mumbai) India where I live; and true to Indian form, has probably been faithfully copied from places abroad. It would be acceptable in a sports bar, whose patrons would want to know the score of the latest game (whichever that happens to be) but in a supposedly "fine-dining" restaurant??
    Not only does a screen lower the "tone" of the establishment but it is highly intrusive, killing conversation and taking away one's focus from the food on the table. I actually wrote a letter to the management of one such eatery (Royal China) explaining this....and there was no response or change in their policy.
    SUCH a pity!

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  97. If anything on this list annoys you about a restaurant, don't go back. End of problem, no need to whine or write about it.

    If you feel compelled to warn others about the ketchup, you can write it into your review -- I'm sure your fellow ketchup nazis will appreciate it.

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  98. Terrific article! Agree with each point you made.

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  99. An excellent list! Keep hammering these things home and restaurateurs may well get the message that it's the customer that's king.
    Plus...no animals in any eatery, upmarket or otherwise, EVER EVER!...unless of course they're dead and on your plate.

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  100. I found this article to be really enjoyable & amusing. I personally feel that in my experience most ppl were sensibile to bring dogs that were well behaved. Thx for the laughs!

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  101. It seems to me that overzealous wine pouring marks the server as "anxious-to-please" rather than pushing more wine, although that is inappropriate, as well. I have to admit that I am really annoyed by the sparkling water question, too -- you should receive seltzer or club soda (for free, just like tap water) if you ask for sparkling. If I want San Pellegrino, I'll ask for it by name. And I also agree there is no excuse for crowding in the tables. I certainly would not return, maybe I wouldn't even stay past the first cocktail in a crowded place. I usually don't even venture out to restaurants on Friday and Saturday nights because of the noxious and noisy experiences to be expected.

    Richard Huhn

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  102. I'd rather eat with a dog at the next table, than somebody's bratty kids!! I'm trying to have a relaxing meal, and all I can see and hear is a mother constantly yelling at her misbehaving kids and threatening them with no dessert, and then watch them all devour their sundaes. A least follow through with the "no dessert threat! It will get you out the restaurant that much sooner!!!

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  103. None of these things are really a big deal at all, I can't believe we waste our time on these little nuances when there are people who don't get to eat let alone eat out at a restaurant. I know that's a typical thing to say, but what really is more important.......

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  104. It's not the dogs I object to--it's the dog's owner.

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  105. You have a problem with dogs? and not kids??? I would rather sit next to someones dog then their child who is throwing food all over the floor!

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  106. For me you missed a really big...have some type of dress code. I hate going to a nice restaurant with big prices and having someone there in jeans and sneakers. We need to bring back some class. As for dogs in restaurants, if we taught our dogs to behave, this wouldn't be an issue. I've never seen problems with this practice in France. And the same with children. Discipline them so they sit quietly and talk instead of running around. Dress and parents who let their children run around and yell in restaurants are my issues. I try to avoid children friendly restaurants for this reason. Are there any adult only restaurants with a dress code?

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  107. I grew up in Germany and welcome dogs in restaurants - too many "germophobes" here.
    Agree with the gynormous wineglasses which have been around for too long; they look ridiculous, make drinking from them awkward and need to disappear.
    As far as the unisex bathrooms....come on, really?? You freak out because someone of the opposite sex washes his/her hands in the same vicinity as you do your business?

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  108. the worst problem in restaurants, in my opinion, is loud music playing in the background. I go out with friends so that I can talk to them, not scream at them over the noise.If we want to listen to music, we can stay home and put on our own...

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  109. don't like dogs in cafes stay out of Paris

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  110. I own a few successful casual restaurants and I'm a big believer in giving the guest what they want if at all possible. I insist on Heinz ketchup but offer an alternative! The snobbery and egos of chefs and owners are what kill most places but these qualities and also make for some great food! My pet peeve is a place that refuses to put Splenda in their sugar caddies because it costs too much. Give me a break!! It's a small thing but annoying!

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  111. You left out waiters taking your plate from the table while your table mates are still enjoying their meal. Let's not rush us and show now!!

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  112. Love reading all of these comments! Feisty!

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  113. I really hate it when you do not receive clean utensils for each course. Why take my dirty fork off my finished plate and place it back on the tablecloth instead of giving me a fresh one? sheesh.....

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  114. I would agree in general this list and most of the "Anonymous Said" However, Children allowed to play like a restaurant is a playground have bad,unattended parents. The danger is everywhere...waiter with a tray of drinks or a tray of hot food...parents would be raising hell when they need to take a second look at their conduct. Parents need to be accountable for their lack of control over their children in restaurants.

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  115. Close Tables! Worse is in the airport. I travel a lot. Try to maneuver a carry-on between tables a person can't fit between. Then, where do you put it? Ughhhh

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  116. I definitely agree with the rush through approach. I understand making more money if you turn over the table, but my husband and I like to have leisurely meals. We have taken to ordering one course at a time to avoid the rush. And if the waitor/waitress manages to deal with our time request gracefully, we reward well in a tip to accommodate for not allowing the table turnover. The customer should have the say, not the restaurant.

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  117. What's really annoying are articles listing someone's contrived list of what idiots think are annoying, go complain on FB to your other silly friends and here's a thought...stay home.

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  118. Here's another pet peeve. When the restaurant is fairly empty, but the hostess seats you right next to another party so that you're each sure to hear the other table's conversation. Why don't they spread people out when they have the option to do so? Is it that they're trying to spread out the parties among the waitstaff (a good objective), but the tables belong to particular waiters and waitresses (a dumb way to meet that objective)? If that's the case, then they're making the mistake of putting their needs above the customers' needs.

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  119. You missed a few:

    Wait staff with oppressively unappetizing tattoos, piercings or dentition. I don't know what is worse, but there is a difference between self-expression and grossing me out with body art. And if you have Bubba teeth, work in the back.

    Book-long descriptions of specials. I really just want to hear what is on the plate, not how it was harvested, the astrological sign of the chef and the provenance of the spices.

    The surprise special price. Wait staff should tell you the price of specials. When the average entree is $30, and the special is $75, you should not learn that when the check comes. It is rude, and it makes the host a sucker when a guest orders it without realizing he or she is being a burden.

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  120. object to noise,are you still working on that? and several times,Is everything allright.

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  121. I agree with everything except the dogs. Most dogs behave better than people. My number one gripe is the noise factor. I would love to able to talk to my dinner partner and not have to shout over insane and stupid noise some people call music.

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  122. The list is good, but needs the addition of noise, removing plates before everyone at the table is finished and leaving dirty utensils to be used for the following course.
    What I don't like are the rude comments made above about the list and Kelly. Where are manners?

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  123. How about something worth mentioning?
    Like ripoff limited menus on holidays at ridiculous prices!!
    I won't eat out Valentines Day this year!!

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  124. Lots of cranky people out there.....kind of fun....

    my big peeve is splooshing water or tea into my glass without bothering to ask. Especially tea; normally it is at its best when it is about half gone. In Europe they just set a carafe or bottle of water on your table. For some reason the hospitality industry thinks that splooshing is good service. I end up covering the top of my glass whenever I see them coming (you would think they would get it after the first time)....

    I like dogs, especially outside. Adds a touch of humanity, plus it is fun. Screaming kids we can do without.

    They actually make catsup/ ketchup without HFCS now. Several brands.

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  125. Hilarious! Saying anything against dogs is a real no-no, Kelly, and you are now public enemy #1. How dare you say anything against bringing animals into eateries? What's next, pet rats? Snakes? At least John Wayne tied up his horse outside before he went into the saloon to eat dinner. LOL

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  126. Some of the article hit home and the rest was drivel.

    The most bothersome to me is the server continually topping off everyone's wine glass. It's purpose IS to sell more wine. I always tell the server that we will pour our own, and at times have had to get a bit rude about it.

    Dog hairs on my ass are particularly offensive. Animals should NOT be allowed in restaurants. I don't care if it is Paris Hilton come to dine.

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  127. " Add the new trend to pay no attention to acoustics when designing an eatery." Amen to that. But it's not a new trend: there was a cover story in NY Magazine about restaurant noise levels back in the 80s.

    Also, I'd no idea dog owners were such a tetchy and defensive lot.

    My pet peeve, also mentioned above: server over-attentiveness. You don't have to come by during each course and ask me how things are. If they're not good, believe me, I'll tell you. And it's not like by reminding me I'm having a good time I'm going to leave a bigger tip.

    "Don't forget about the overuse of bacon." Sorry, these words do not make sense together.

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  128. I find the most annoying trends in restaurants as follows: #3 Having televisions on: Unless its a sports bar playing a specific sporting event, with either the sound on, for say, a really important home team game or closed captioning and the sound off; having 12 tv's playing 5 different programs is just distracting. #2 Music that is too loud and/or overly themed. Not everyone likes hearing Country Western music that enjoys eating barbecue. We may not necessarily need to hear everything Sinatra ever recorded while eating Italian-American themed food, and we'd all benefit from being able to hear our table conversations vs. piped in music. Which leads me to the #1 annoyance of all time: Christmas music. All December long I hunt for places to sit, eat and relax outside of my own home that DO NOT blare that #1 propaganda of consumerism that permeates our collective subconscious nearly everywhere we go, known as Christmas Music. I just want to eat in peace without hearing about Peace. It's the only music that never changes year after year, the same songs come out, earlier and earlier. Until I inevitably start cringing on November 1st when the first bar of Frosty the Snowman is piped through the sound system at my local gas station. It has to stop, its a form of brain washing that may end up causing me to wear headphones and text my dinner mates from now on if I need to eat at restaurants in late fall and early winter in the future. It may sound rude, but I've been the only table at a restaurant with a party of 10, someplace I frequent often, and asked them to change the music, but was told no. Who is being rude there?

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  129. Brilliant. I just did an acrobatic move to get up from my dinner table the other day and I will never, ever want to enter a restroom where there are men looming around. As a woman: we are taught to kick guys in the balls who loiter in any area considered private for us.

    Brilliant list. Loved it.

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  130. I totally dislike it when your server asks you "how is everything?" when #1 you haven't picked up your fork or #2 you have a mouth full of food. The dining room is so dimly lit you can't see the menu. Or placed next to a little youngster throwing their food around at your chair or on the floor. Listening to an extremely loud conversation at the next table
    When an 18% gratuity is added to a check for five people. I can understand this on eight or more. Checking on your beverage when it is half full. And to be seated next to the "clean up" station where the servers bring all their dishes etc to scrape and separate their trays.

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  131. How could you say that my poor little pomeranian shouldn't be allowed to eat with me!?!

    On a serious note, someone had mentioned the ketchup thing and how it is packed full of High Fructose Corn Syrup. This is to you oh, opinionated one- I don't think Kelly was saying they should get rid of home made ketchup all together, just offer Heinz for the people who want it. I don't recall ever reading a pamphplet that said it was the restaurants job to ensure we are eating appropriately... Quite the opposite actually.

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  132. I do not own a pet but Dobkin's grouse about dogs is beyond ridiculous. I'd rather share restaurant/bar/cafe space with a well behaved canine than some of the crude, rude, foul-mouthed louts/loutettes who often populate eateries and take over space and sound as if they owned the place. Ditto parents with unruly tots, who allow them to fling fries, run amok between tables and wail full-blast for whatever afflicts them. And ... when was the last time your nose detected a "smelly mutt???" Dobkin, it seems, must either have fallen down to dog-level or be a very, very short person .

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  133. Tired of: 1. People complaining about dogs, describing them as "smelly". Everyone smells if hygiene is not good - not just dogs.
    2. People who say "We love animals" and then refer to dogs as "smelly mutts" being "dragged" to the restaurant.
    3. Kelly
    4. "Writers" like Kelly who use the royal "we".

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  134. Seriously - grow up. This article should be titled "What I want to bitch about today because I can't pull the stick out." This article in not worth the Zagat name and, Kelly, you should be ashamed of yourself. You must be one of those lonely women who spend all their time finding things to complain about.....

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  135. A lot of the comments stick up for the dogs. I must remind people that most states do have health dept regulations that prohibit the presence of animals in the dining room. The only exception is working dogs, i.e. seeing eye dogs etc. As much as I love dogs, I will not subject my business to possible fines or closure. So, unless you are willing to pay my fines or reimbursement me for my loss of business, I suggest you please keep your pet at home. Thank you.

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  136. Who is this writer? What are her credentials? Watching Food Network does not make one an expert on the restaurant business.

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  137. Just yesterday I went to one of my favorite pizza places only to find a horrible little boy shoving his chair around blocking the path of everyone walking by his table (this is a small place with close together tables). His mother didn't bother telling him to stop that; she was too busy picking all the veggies off of his pizza for him. I have no problem with well-behaved kids or well-behaved dogs but I see rotten spoiled kids in restaurants all the time.
    Also, I hate it when you go into a restaurant by yourself, tell them you're by yourself, and they whine "Just one?" and give that look like they think you're pitiful.

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  138. Let'sss seeeeee.....
    Dogs or children?
    I've never been to a restaurant (20 years living in Europe also) where dogs were more annoying than children.
    Let'sss seeeeee.....
    Dogs or drunk people?
    If I'm the one who drank too much, I'm okay with it!
    Let'sss seeeeee.....
    Dogs who drink too much in restaurants?
    That makes about as much sense as how your ingratiatingly self opinioned article was presented.

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  139. I guarantee that my dog is less annoying than your kids (probably better looking, too).

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  140. Why make a list of 10 when you can barely come up with 5 truly annoying trends?

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  141. I think Kelly should go to Europe for a while.
    Dogs are everywhere, not just in totes. In cafes,
    restaurants, supermarkets, department stores. No one complains and I've never seen anybody who was allergic. Dogs there and here are well behaved, far more than the kids that get dragged to restuarants and run around because they're bored. Unisex bathrooms are also all over Europe. Everybody seems fine with them. So you have a gripe about catsup?

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  142. Add to this list large groups of loud diners suited out t-shirts adorned with the logo of the Silicon Valley high-tech start-up that is paying the tab. Really? Is a table of 19 necessary, or even vaguely approaching a dining experience, rather than a group feed? And let's not forget couples that "introduce" their youngsters to haute cuisine, by dragging the poor things to a 9:00 p.m. dinner at a quiet, intimate restaurant, where the involuntary "inductee" into the adult world of gastronomy plays an annoying video game on the inevitable PDA to wile away the time.

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  143. I have had many dogs over the years. I love dogs. I have one now. I have known many people who also love cats, and for that matter horses. And there's the occasional snake, lizard and parrot. That said, dogs, cats, horses, snakes, lizards and parrots have no place in a restauarant I am dining in.

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  144. This so called author does not know what she is talking about!

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  145. What about "small plates" at entree prices?
    When I was in Barcelona the great thing about real small plates is that you can try a lot of different things. When a small plate runs $15 or more with absolutely nothing included it really stinks.

    If New York wants to jump on the small plate ways of our European friends, you can't have it both ways. Either treat it like an entree or lower the price even if that means shrinking the plate.

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  146. I agree most with the sentiment about the wine pouring. As for dogs at restaurants, I don't really see why this is a problem at outdoor seating areas. I'm much more bothered by the loud cell phone conversations-- would be great to see this on the top 10 list.

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  147. This is the most lame and gerio-centric blog post I have ever read about the restaurant industry. Go back to the retirement home, you are too old to be driving, anyway!

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  148. This really hit below the belt... Dog owners are perhaps the most social and outgoing people ever, recommending and referring their dog park friends to go to this restaurant and that restaurant. Brand spanking new in a particular city... guaranteed dog owners will learn of the must do's for eating out from fellow dog park dwellers. Last time I checked, people go out to be served so what would possess them to pour their own wine when their server is tipped to do so--- hello that's his job! The tone of this article and the lack of quality in the content does not speak well for whoever let it get published.

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  149. WOW! what is everyone's problem. It is merely an article that should have been taken a little less seriously. What a bunch of "chickens"... how dare you slam the author without leaving your name. As for all you dog freaks, get real. It is a health code violation. You have a much bigger problem if you can't go anywhere without your dog. And yes, I have 2 dogs of my own.

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  150. Gerio-centric? The author must be from that table of 19 twentysomethings shouting across the table and posting their locations to Facebook. Get the Cadillac DTS, Honey!

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  151. this article is completely stupid. kelly stay home...you know nothing.

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  152. Kelly, you are lacking in some basic wine knowledge and should make friends with a good sommelier STAT. #3 and #5 are flat out wrong. The right stemware is important to get the most out of your wine. After paying a x1.5 to x2.5 markup over retail for a bottle, you're damn skippy I want to make sure I get the most bang for my buck. The big wine glass is especially important for your reds as most restaurants have lists that only go back to 2007 at best. Meaning that inky red needs all the breathing space it can get. Stale wine? Warm wine? Even an inexpensive bottle will evolve over the meal, it will not go "stale". Most Americans drink their whites too cold and reds too warm. Next time you order a halfway decent "richer" white (chardonnay, viognier, rhone blend, etc.) set the bottle on the table and let it sit for 15 min. Don't put it on ice and watch how it opens up as it slowly comes out of its cryogenic torpor (most restaurants keep their whites at 40 F, which is awful).

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  153. I will ADD to the Ketchup rant with my two-cents on Mustard. Most places have kids menus and then offer the KIDS Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard. It is NOT the same to kids and many adults. And when you ask they seem not to be able to keep even a single bottle of good old normal American-Mustard for kids and other who do not think the two taste the same. And give you the "look" when you ask. They forget who is paying the bill and their tip?? Who is the customer here? And they are telling me what type of mustard I should like!!!!

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  154. All these extremely annoyed and offended readers need to chill. It's just not that serious. This article is clealry supposed to be snarky and tounge and cheek. That's obviously Kelly's style. The personal attacks on her are totally unwarranted. Don't read content like this if it offends you so much. And, if it does offend you so much, perhaps you take yourself far too seriously. It's a food blog.

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  155. I think most of the offended snobs missed the point entirely. ADD your personal annoyance to the list. Although many might not connect to the 2012 Annoyances, most articles are personal opinions anyway. Dogs in cafes ARE ridiculous, little restaurants DO place everything way too close together (if your establishment is small, watch one of those designer shows and get some creative ideas!), a waiter pouring your wine timely is much more appreciated as a service gesture (you will surely get more tips!), ketchup and water, keep it simple stupid unless someone asks! Next they will be asking what kind of air we want! The point is most of us on sites such as these are snobs of some sort anyway. So all of you, get over yourselves and have fun with the article! She's a good writer with a job you wish you had! The only thing this article lacks is a little humor, SO WHAT! Lighten up and have a great 2012 food snobbies!

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  156. I cannot agree with the comment about dogs in restaurants being annoying. It depends on the particular animal and its behavior. Anyone who has eaten out in France has seen well behaved dogs that sit quietly under the table while the owners dine. As long as the dog is well behaved (doesn't bark, beg for food, or wander around), I see no problem here.

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  157. Feel a little sorry for Kelly here but do agree with a lot of the "Anonymous" writers as well. I would go to a restaurant with dogs...no problem there, they usually smell better than the over-perfumed lady next to me. I wish there would be a better policy about seating "a whole party". I like to be 'served' but not get into a personal relationship with the wait staff. I have seen kids that are definitely not well behaved enough to be in a restaurant setting and have even asked to be moved after having a child throw food on my back, so if your child does not know how to engage in conversation with adults...get a sitter. Cell phone users should excuse themselves from the table and take their conversation to a private area away from the rest of us who are trying to talk and enjoy our meal. Condiments are the restaurant's preference but it would make sense to have a few choices if they want to 'please the customer'. I think Zagat missed the bar a little with this article but could never slam the writer as badly as some of the others. A lot of this is just things you should find out on line BEFORE you go to a new place...That's what Google is for...to stop us from being unhappy with our choices. The rest is just common sense...if you don't want your drink topped off...say so! Glass too big...ask for a smaller one. If the section they seat you in is too close for comfort...ask to be moved to different area or go to a different place altogether...don't be a miserable person...find some place that makes you happy and enjoy!

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  158. Grow up - Unisex restrooms help cut the ever present line at ladies rooms. If you've been to Europe, wahs-up sinks are often outside of the toilets and are shared by both sexes.

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  159. #11 Narrow-minded, stupid top 10 lists that considerably diminish my faith in Zagats to give reliable and intelligent restaurant reviews. Dogs are not the problem; self involved cranky reviewers are.

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  160. I completely disagree with the whole dog thing. There have been lots of times where our dogs have had vet appointments near lunch time, and it's great to be able to actually eat decent food during those times. Would the author of this article rather people start leaving dogs in hot cars during these occasions?

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  161. This article is on my top ten most annoying list... do people really hate life so much they get overly annoyed at the smallest inconveniences?
    A foodie snob wrote this for sure.

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  162. This article really sucks and pisses me off. As someone who regularly travels with my dogs, it is important to be able to keep them with us rather than leave them in the car. My dogs have much better hygiene than most humans. I disagree with all the other items on the list as well. I would never call the writer of this a foodie or else they would know better. Homemade original ketchup rocks. If you need to drench your food in Heinz, then go back to Mcdonald's or whatever lame restaurant you are used to eating at. I can't believe Zagats would post something like this. I've been a subscriber for 10+ years and may just cancel after reading this. Obviously standards at Zagats have dropped.

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  163. I feel sorry for the author of this article who was forced to write non news. You don't like going out to dinner? Stay home, for heaven's sake! Zagats should be embarrassed and ashamed. I'm done with reading these articles altogether. Nonsense.

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  164. Dogs are fine in very casual restaurants and outdoor cafes, but not in formal establishments. Sitting next to a pooch is often much more pleasant than sitting next to some people.

    My husband and I ate in a very trendy restaurant where the tables were on top of each other; it was extremely annoying and although the food was terrific we won't go back. This is, after all, New York, city of fabulous restaurants; no one needs put up with bad service or ambience -- just head up the block.

    I am fine with unisex loos provided there's only one occupant at a time. I do not wish to share with the opposite sex. My gripe is that there are never enough women's rooms nor are they ever large enough. A trend I've noticed is that women are turning men's rooms into unisex rooms out of desperation....

    I'm okay with the bottled ketchup in a hamburger joint, as long as it's Hunt's, which has an affordable version without high fructose corn syrup. Heinz has a HFCS-free version, as well, but calls it "organic" and charges accordingly.

    As to the rest of the annoyances mentioned in the article, I like many of the other posters, can think of many far more annoying situations...slow service, haughty waiters, high prices, miniscule portions, mystery meat substitutions, waiters who disappear and those I wish would do so, etc.

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  165. Stop hitting! See the horse, there, lying on the ground? It stopped moving back in 2011. The first version of the article was lame.this one is offensive and trivial. Please, get a life...and hire some writers with some real talent.

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  166. I would like to go public to teach people how to act when they leave their house and go to a restaurant or a hotel. The public think that if you go to these places since they are paying to "RENT" a table for an hour or a room for the night "THEY" are entitled to "OWN YOU"!!! SORRY to inform you, you "DON"T"!!! When I train anyone I tell them to treat the "Guest" as you would your favorite relative, with the utmost respect and courtesey, that's how everyone should be treated. If you want respect give it first, and if inturn you don't receive it , then you'll know that their parents didn't raise them properly, and imagine what kind of parents they where to begin with. Well when you leave your house DON"T expect to be treated as you would at your home YOU DON"T OWN THESE PLACES act like you have some respect. If you don't want to be waiting for your room when checking into a hotel, then don't check out LATE. Don't get upset with the folks at the Front Desk It's Not Their Fault, you made Housekeeping late by you checking out late. Don't get upset with the Server if your food didn't come out or cooked wrong that's The Cooks Fault, call the Manager!\

    People Think Before You React!!!!!!!!

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  167. Insane wine prices is my MOST annoying trend lately. Also, a server should NEVER ask "How is evrything?". It is assumed it is properly prepared when put on the table.

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  168. I would be shocked to see a dog at a restaurant, even if it's an outdoor seating area. It's a total violation of basic sanitation. And I imagine some servers must pat the dog. Then handle customer's plates, glasses, etc. Gross.

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  169. You are off base on a number of these restaurant trends. 1. There is nothing wrong with having dogs in restaurants - been that way in Europe for ever. 2. Big wine glasses definitely help the enjoyment of certain wines.
    And you also missed some of the more irritating trends, such as: Asking how you are enjoying the meal at every course; taking plates away before everybody has finished eating; cleaning a next door table with a spray whilst others close by are eating - to name a few.

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  170. Holy WOW! Some of these comments seem downright spiteful! I thought we were a high-brow bunch.

    While I don't agree with the list (at all), it isn't right to assault the author's intelligence or the editorial guidance. (I don't work for ZAGAT - FYI)

    If you can do better post a list of your own.

    Don't be a jerk. This is why I like reading the comments here.

    What's up with the Anonymous stuff. People should be accountable for the comments they leave.

    BTW - I almost posted as anonymous as a joke. I got a kick from that.

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  171. Stupid list, sorry. While there are a couple universal gripes... most on this list are personal pet peeves, or location specific.

    I have encountered a uni-sex bathroom only in a dinky little bistro or dive. It's hardly a trend. Dogs are ubiquitous at sophisticated outdoor restaurants in Europe forever. You need to travel more. Now, if you'd complained about ill behaved dogs [and ill behaved owners] who allow their pooches to sit up at their table, wander over to sniff our feet and beg for our food or who bark and whine, then I'd be on board.

    The universal complaint, tiny tables too close together is legit, as is the constant pouring of wine into almost full glasses ... but all one needs to do is tell the server to please stop.. I'll pour my own wine WHEN I want it, thanks.

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  172. when i began to read this, i thought!... this is a joke of Zagat, because always i have found good thing to read here. But this is ridiculous. i think that this pseudo-writer dont have dogs, child, she always eats in her house( and i imagine that it is criticism for her too). she forgot a lot of things that really annoy... Is a pity and is possible that she is a town girl and never had opportunity to know beyond the restaurants around that her neighborhood. however i can´t understand, why Zagat is showing this type of publish incomplete, without real information and totally careless of good style. Ah girl here in EEUU the dogs are very important because a lot of people live alone and her/his pets are the most important companion. please Zagat can do me a favor !!! give me something interesting to read about of this topic ... don´t do not forget a good way to reach at their readers

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  173. Hate the idea of dogs in restaurants (!) and in hotels...for Pete's sake...leave the dog at home!

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  174. The trend that I find most annoying and distressing is the acceptance of loud noise. It almost is presented as an atmospheric enhancement. When I complained about the noise level to one manager (in a restaurant in Florida) his response with a measure of pride was "If you think this is bad you should come to our restaurant in NYC". Too few restaurants seem at all bothered that their patrons can carried on a conversation while dinning.

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  175. If I were starting a really top end restaurant I would have two rules. One is that no children under age 12 are allowed afer 7:00 PM. And second under no circumstances will we ever sing happy birthday to ANY ONE!!!

    Doc

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  176. How about a list of trending diner behaviours? Servers out there, a little help? I'll start: "can I have a straw for my water?"... "you know pork should always be cooked well done"... "I'm vegan"...

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  177. Would you prefer people leave their dogs baking in their car when they're on the road or should we stick to fast food so as not to annoy you?

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  178. Agree on the points of over zealous wine pourers and not seating party until all in group arrive. What is the point? So annoying for those that show up on time and can't sit at bar or don't want to.

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  179. You and the Board of Health are overlooking the most important one: staff sweeping the floors and spraying tables while customers are still eating...yes, in several four and five star restaurants, as well!

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  180. As a server, I must say picky people are EXTREMELY COMMON! This is taking it to another level though, and I pray I never have to serve you...

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  181. If you are a dog lover you would not say this.Dogs are man's best friend and are so restricted as to were they can go. Being left at home, dogs get bored and it is wonderful to have them out. In the city,people work and it is good to be able to spend as much time as possible with your animal.It is necessary that your dog has the proper restaurant manners

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  182. what about people who are allergic to dogs? do they have to suffer because you can't stand to leave your leg humping/crotch sniffing/ball licking drool machine home?

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  183. This is the first time I have read this column and am amazed at the number of mothers who have raised so many snobs who have no concept of how to enjoy life, food, or other people. I will not return as it has no value to increase the quality of life. And I am sure the snobs will have lots to say about the comments of someone who was raised with class.

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  184. The tables too close together is a valid point......why has no one else mentioned this. I hate when I go to a restaurant and have no place to put my coat or purse because the person at the next table is four inches from where I am sitting. My husband is 6'5" so it's very uncomfortable for him. Forget fitting the plates on the table either!!!

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  185. Wow, who put the alum in your latte? Were you really expecting classic literature when you open a Zagat article? Personally, I found the list somewhat amusing and some of the comments downright hilarious.
    But seriously folks, get over yourselves. Does anybody remember the little comment on the back of sugar packets that used to read "Enjoy Life, Eat Out Often"? Maybe some of us have forgotten how to enjoy life? Hey, if you don't like the place, don't go back. Easy enough!

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  186. Written like a 16 year-old.

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  187. Clearly you guys haven't worked in a restaurant. thats why you're offended by the list. leave your stupid dogs at home not at the dinner table!

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  188. What i find annoying is when you reach the host desk and been told that the restaurant is booked for a private function.
    To add to that there are places where you find a bottle of Evian kept, asking me to have it, its embarrassing, i have good regards for Evian but please dont have to market it, if i have to drink one i will ask for it.
    The standard phrases of hospitality has been long forgotten thats why i found Kelly saying Sparkling, Flat or Filtered Tap?
    Most of the restaurants spends less or no time in training with the appropriate talk lines.
    This is because the Managers running the show themselves dont know or dont care.
    All are behind figures as they do get in pressure and give little heed to basics.

    Choice of music played at some of the restaurants do annoy me most of the time it doesnt suit the decor and the theme.

    Dirty comfort rooms annoys me a lot as i feel a true restauranter is one who keeps the comfort for his guest clean.A QSR should have somoeone attending these comfort room once in every 15mins.
    I have more to add to may be later....

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  189. Honestly, Heinz reigns in the ketchup department. I do not want your Hunt's, House Made, organic, fancy, or generic brand ketchup. Stick it to the classic, iconic brand we've all grown up with!

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  190. I'll vote with #s 3 (I like to keep track of how much wine I've had), 7 and 9, but I have had great fun watching dogs under the tables in Europe. Like many here, I am SO tired of noisy restaurants - I can't relax (isn't that part of the purpose of dining out?), I can't converse, I can't hear... at one place it was so loud I downloaded a decibel meter app for my cell phone and discovered it was consistently above 90 decibels the entire hour we were there. We advised the waitress that she could get hearing loss. We won't return. If we are entertaining a client, quiet is the main consideration. No sense trying to yell across the table.

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  191. Standards in restaurants are no flakier than standards in online "journalism"; A stupid, pointless, and uninsightful article. Makes Zagat look utterly cheap and ridiculous. Was thie article written by a teenager playng with daddy's laptop?
    - Giacometti.

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  192. Man, some of these comments are crazy! Like the first one about 'standards in online journalism'- it's a food blog!!!
    As a foodie and someone who worked in every area of the restaurant for nearly 10 years, I totally agree with the list (or at least the ones that I've experienced- unisex bathrooms? yikes!). Well, I don't find the lowercase typeface so much. Also, I like homemade ketchup, but it's not ok for the restaurant to then be stingy about it. I mean, you need enough ketchup (or whatever sauce it is) to finish your food, right?

    As for some of the comments...
    Yes, keep your dog at home! Yes, I would like you to keep your children at home too, but restaurants can't really tell people "no kids", can they? And they aren't bending health regs if they allow kids.

    People who complain about having to pay for bread...well, if people could handle free bread politely and reasonably (i.e. not demanding it or eating a ton of it), then they could have it for free. But they can't.

    Bringing up people who don't get to eat- Are you f-ing serious? You're reading the Zagat food blog.

    Issues with the host stand- If you knew the shit that hostesses have to deal with...People are so unbelievably rude. And then complaining about the wait time. Really? Oh, you wanted to be seated right away? Well, so did the other 50 people on the list! What is the restaurant supposed to do, kick someone out of their seat?
    Then you want the host to sit you at a table even though your friends aren't there? So then you can just sit there for an indefinite period of time, doing nothing, while others who are ready, wait for a table? Nice.

    I am glad that Kelly wrote this article, because restaurant owners/managers need some kind of legitimate feedback. Sometimes they come up with ridiculous ideas, and end up listening to morons like the ones that have left some of the previous comments instead of people who actually know about restaurants.

    Twitter @MoWandering

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  193. This is a restaurant blog, not a food blog - the article hardly mentions food; it's about the service and dining experience. The reference to "journalism" was to indicate that the article is a cheap piece of no substance with no real point to it. It's as if an editor just came up with the idea to use the word "annoying" to get attention, and them some poor hack would have to pretend that minor peeves (real or imaginary) are now "trends".

    - Giacometti

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  194. First item on my list would be: the server who approaches a table of people old enough to be his parents and who are about to spend $200 or more on dinner with the greeting: "Hiya, how are you GUYS doing tonight?" Then during the course of the meal, checks in with the guests by asking: "So are you GUYS enjoying everything?" There's just something wrong about the use of the words "Guys" when addressing guests.

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  195. I agree with the er... old... er... guy above ; ) Waiters are often careless about their use of language. Some people might think this is picky, but it shows the underlying attitude of the waiter--casualness and undue familiarity give a bad impression. The number of times I've asked for something and have been told "no problem"! I've sometimes asked "I didn't imagine it would be a problem, why would it be?" Why should any normal request in a restaurant be a GD problem??? Am I supposed to be relieved that I'm not overly inconveniencing the waiter?

    I do appreciate good service that includes a good thoughtful attitude, and tip accordingly.

    - Giacometti

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  196. Excuse me! A sure sign that a town is civilized is room at the table or below it for a well-behaved dog. Let us not be so very delicate and snotty.

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  197. My pet peeve? Self-entitled dog owners. So what if dogs in restaurants are de rigeur in Paris/California/Hipster enclave of the moment? Must you travel everywhere with your dog? Seriously, cut the cord.

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  198. As a diner, I do agree with tables being to close. Maybe next time call in advance and request a quite spot. Dogs, fine for outdoor dining. Also I can't believe all the comments on taking dishes away when one or two more people at my table are still eating! Get that dirty plate and my companions out of my face! I don't what it there! I've been done with it now for 10 minutes. I cant help it if one person on my parties chess every bite for 30 seconds before swallowing! It makes the table look messy and other guest uncomfortable to have dirty plates in front of them, plus the several looks lazy. As far as the wine pouring, don't top of my glass until its empty or just about. I like the server to pour my wine. That's why I go out to eat, to be taken care of! Plus if you gulp down every pour, just because the server pour more wine, than your a drunk. It's called self control. Plus, you ordered a BOTTLE of wine!

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