01/4Say no to chicken

Say no to chicken

If you’re the type who bastes your roasting chicken every 15 minutes, you probably won’t enjoy eating it out in restaurants. “I will order almost anything when I go out — but never chicken because it tends to be overcooked at most restaurants,” confides Ryan Ososky, executive chef of the modern American cuisine restaurant 'The Church Key', in West Hollywood. Ososky is not alone in his no-to-chicken stance as many chefs avoid ordering chicken in restaurants for many reasons, including overinflated price and lack of originality.


02/4​Love fresh food? Size up the menu before you order

​Love fresh food? Size up the menu before you order

Chain restaurants, or ones with huge menus, may cut down on family fights at the table, but it also means skimping on fresh ingredients. If you want fresh, local ingredients, these are establishments you should probably avoid. “I typically stay away from large chains because everything is usually brought in frozen once or twice a week,” says Nichols. “I also always look at the size of the menu. If it’s more than two pages long, they have to keep a large inventory of food. More than likely, you’re not getting a fresh meal.”


03/4​The (leftover) staff of life

​The (leftover) staff of life

Warm and toasty, served with sweet butter or olive oil, the breadbasket that graces your restaurant table may be fresh from the oven, or reheated, after gracing another’s table. Short of fingerprinting each scone, you will never know for sure unless you catch your server in the act. You may love to indulge in those carby delights, but many chefs will tell you to beware before you bite. Not only are those delicious loaves full of carbs and calories, but they may also be full of germs from the diner who just left.


04/4​Unless you can smell the salty air, bypass oysters

​Unless you can smell the salty air, bypass oysters

Since most fish markets don’t deliver on weekends, many avoid it but others are comfortable ordering fish if the restaurant has a coastal location or is known for seafood. When it comes to oysters, however, all bets are off, at least according to Cordon Bleu-trained chef, Mark Nichols. Nichols, who owns the high-end catering service 'JC’s Catering', won’t go near raw oysters if they were harvested more than 100 miles away from the restaurant serving them. “If handled and stored incorrectly, raw oysters can kill you,” he explains. Not exactly the evening you were looking for when you made that reservation.