11 Annoying Things About Menus

Typos, unlisted ingredients, any use of the word "dirt." None of these things belong on restaurant menus.

Photo by Adam Jaime via Unsplash

Dining. Sure, it’s one of our favorite past times, but it has also become a lesson in rage control. From the moment you’re seated and open the menus, the clock starts ticking on the time-bomb of indignation in your head. What the hell does mélange mean?

With many descriptions, it’s not so much the restaurant’s fault, it’s society’s. Adjectives like “grass-fed,” “housemade” and “farm-to-table” used to have value; the words differentiated the independently owned restaurants that went out of their way to procure high-quality ingredients from small farms. But now, because of gross overuse, those same words that once propelled businesses up the restaurant food chain are now simply buzzwords that have lost their meaning.

But then, there are some really dumb terms that serve little purpose.

Here are 11 of the most irritating offenses found on restaurant menus.

1) Hen egg
Well, duh. If it’s a duck egg or dodo egg or whatever else, that’s the time to list the species. Otherwise, it’s assumed the egg you’re about to order comes from a hen.


2) Describing anything as “cooked to perfection” or “perfectly cooked.”
How much for the poorly cooked steak?

3) Inaccurate menu descriptions
When you hate mushrooms and your noodles come piled high with shiitakes. Or your risotto is more farro than rice (farrotto) and nobody told you. Menu, you had one job!

4) Foam
Is there a less appetizing term? Why don’t you just call it spit? Or “tempered air” like this person.

5) Describing inherently gluten-free items as “gluten free.” 
That ice cream is gluten-free? And the wine, too? You don’t say!

#glutenfreelove #glutenfreewine #redwineaddiction #italianreds

A post shared by POPARUBA SKINNY CAKE (@poparuba_skinny_cake) on


6) Hand-crafted, hand-cut, hand-breaded
How are the other items on your menu made?

7) Fresh
So, what you’re saying is, we’re not eating garbage?

8) Ice program
Doing cool things with ice is nice, but it couldn’t sound more pretentious. Kind of like having a water sommelier.

9) Deconstructed
The term is outdated. What used to be code for “ambitious” is now a tired term for “trying too hard.”

Tis the season for #strawberryshortcake #deconstructed Come to @catch and try it if you haven't already!

A post shared by Mark Birnbaum (@markbirnbaum) on

10) Quotation marks
Nothing is more unsettling than seeing a menu item hugged in quotes. As one chef acknowledged, “It’s basically a disclaimer that you’re going to be ‘disappointed’ when your ‘PB&J’ arrives and it’s just a caramelized fig with cashew dust.”

11) Chef-driven
Is there any other kind of menu? Unless you’re a fast-food joint, it’s an unnecessary statement.

Seafood tower from @oakatlanta? Yes, please! #AvalonFoodie #yum #chefdriven #AvalonInsider

A post shared by Avalon Insider (@avaloninsider) on

Did we miss your menu gripe? Let us know in the comments!


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