We want food to be served on plates, like normal, civilized Pandas. Don’t give us grub in avocado shells, slop on bits of wood, chips stuck in rocks, or sushi served in bonsai trees. We can’t take it anymore! We deserve to be treated properly, not like Dr. Frankenfood’s guinea pigs.

Thankfully, there’s an entire online community that’s dedicated to shaming truly egregious examples of restaurants serving food on stuff that makes us go, ‘Seriously, what the heck were they thinking?’ The ‘We Want Plates’ subreddit is home to 795k folks who have declared war on plateless food and drink presentation. We’ve collected the most horrifying recent photos to show you just how bad things can get when the people running things no longer have any link to reality.

Scroll down for the crème de la crème of ideas that shouldn’t be repeated, ever. We guarantee that you’ll start respecting places that use actual plates far more from now on. In the meantime, try not to lose your appetite. And if you’d like some more awful plateless pics, here’s dessert in the form of Bored Panda’s most recent articles about r/WeWantPlates here and here. Bon appétit!

Bored Panda reached out to pie artist and the author of 'Pies Are Awesome,' Jessica Leigh Clark-Bojin, to have a chat about why some restaurants go overboard with food presentation, the importance of context, and how much the visuals impact our enjoyment of the entire meal. Jessica said that the adage that "we eat first with our eyes" is very true and that artful plating doesn't mean randomness. There's nothing wrong with fanciness, quality, and creativity if it's all done right. Unfortunately, not everyone's up to par.

More info: WeWantPlates.com | Reddit | Facebook | Instagram |Twitter

#1

Friend Of A Friend's "Curry On A Tile". My Dog Was That Sick Once

Friend Of A Friend's "Curry On A Tile". My Dog Was That Sick Once

RKips Report

Sophhh
Community Member
3 months ago

Oh nahh that’s nastyyy

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"The presentation of a dish—both the food and the serving vessels—can have a huge impact on the impression we have of the food we are about to consume. The most delicious-looking slice of beef wellington you’ve ever seen, plated on a chipped plate with a dirty thumbprint in the corner is just not going to be the taste sensation that it ought to be because you will be preoccupied with the grody presentation," the talented pie artist explained. "Likewise, a fairly pedestrian mini cupcake, presented on a charming little gold carousel that you must hand crank to reveal your treat, is suddenly elevated by whimsical association."

How food is served can play into a chef's understanding of what gastronomic narrative they want to present to their guests. It acts as an amplifier and that's why it's always a risk: you can either make a great meal even better or you can crash the entire experience.

"When chefs go above and beyond in the consideration of the presentation of their food, it is because they are looking to craft a little narrative and add meaning to the experience of consuming their food. When done well, this added meaning enhances the guest’s experience and leaves a lasting pleasant impression. When done poorly, it detracts from the experience of eating the food and leaves guests frustrated, grossed out, or simply bemused," pie artist Jessica shared with Bored Panda.

#2

Presenting, 4 Chip On A Rock

Presenting, 4 Chip On A Rock

I have decided to clarify a few things.
1. The 4 chips were free with two half liter mugs of beer (~16 dollars)
2. Yes, the rock was filthy and disgusting and I did not look into the crevices to gaze upon mold central station as there's no possible way they were cleaning it properly
3. Yes, I did still eat the chips because I was pretty drunk and very hungry
4. The chips did not taste good and were a bit soggy
5. They did not refill the chips even though we ordered 4 more beers
6. No, I did not complain because I have immense social anxiety in restaurant situations
 

peachyfr Report

Sophhh
Community Member
3 months ago

🤢

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#3

I’m A Hairstylist And By Law Cannot Use Wood Handled Brushes Because They “Can’t Be Sanitized”, But I Can Legally Be Served Food On Wood

I’m A Hairstylist And By Law Cannot Use Wood Handled Brushes Because They “Can’t Be Sanitized”, But I Can Legally Be Served Food On Wood

emilyMartian Report

Red Hair Blue Soul
Community Member
3 months ago

How does this get washed!!

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"Artful plating is not a competition to see who can inject the most randomness and absurdity onto a table! Unless of course, the meaning you want to impart has to do with conveying a sense of absurdity as a critical commentary on societal excess… but that’s a little meta for most chefs!"

According to the food expert, some restaurants have a holistic approach to the service that they provide their clientele. "They consider the experience of sitting down for a meal at their establishment to be a form of sensory engagement designed to delight and harmonize taste, texture, fragrance, appearance (of the food, plating, and larger room ambience), sounds, and general mood."

However, only a small handful of establishments can lay claim to this level of sophistication and thematic dedication. There are a lot of (unsuccessful) copycats who don't fully understand the role of each element of the experience.

#4

I Love It When You Call Me Señormeata

I Love It When You Call Me Señormeata

Weird-Road-2126 Report

YooperLite
Community Member
3 months ago

Lady Gaga on da plate.

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#5

The Cream Sauce Is Already Running Off The Sides, Can't Wait For The Gravy To Go Everywhere As Well!

The Cream Sauce Is Already Running Off The Sides, Can't Wait For The Gravy To Go Everywhere As Well!

DPick02 Report

KJ
Community Member
3 months ago

That's going to be fun when it starts dripping through the table onto their legs.

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#6

Anyone Fancy Some Spaghetti In A Stein?

Anyone Fancy Some Spaghetti In A Stein?

WellDingDong Report

Mad Dragon
Community Member
3 months ago

WHAT IS THAT FOAM?!

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"In an attempt to emulate the success and sophistication of these rarified venues, on occasion newcomers to the restaurant game will copy certain aspects of what is meant to be an integrated holistic experience and in doing so, really miss the mark. This is where you’ll encounter the mediocre establishments presenting mediocre fare on objectively ridiculous serving objects, devoid of any context or meaning."

Bored Panda was curious to hear about Jessica's own experiences with food being served in peculiar ways. She revealed to us that she is a "high tea aficionado" and that this particular experience is "very aesthetic-forward." And this is where the importance of context really comes into play.

"I’m a “high tea” aficionado and the experience of high tea is very aesthetic-forward. I’ve seen some delightful presentations of treats like spun caramel clouds served on the branches of brass trees and little jack-in-the-box petit fours. But these types of interactive presentations are appropriate in this context because you are there to spend two hours being delighted," the pie artist said that these are instances where serving food in innovative ways completely matches the intent of the chef and the narrative they're trying to create.

#7

They Gave Me A Mirror So I Can Look At My Lonely Self

They Gave Me A Mirror So I Can Look At My Lonely Self

Derockk Report

Sophhh
Community Member
3 months ago

That whole thing just looks gross lol

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#8

So Close, Yet So Far

So Close, Yet So Far

faucherie Report

Fabrice
Community Member
3 months ago

What a disgusting and pointless way to serve "steak tartare". And it's a Frenchman who writes it (and yes I also like snails, but not frog legs)

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#9

Glazed Donut Grilled Cheese Hanging Over Tomato Soup

Glazed Donut Grilled Cheese Hanging Over Tomato Soup

BrauMoarBier Report

Sophhh
Community Member
3 months ago

Now this is pretty awesome

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"If I was to pop into a greasy spoon on my way home at 2 am and just want to stuff my face with some calories, I would be rather less delighted to find my fries individually harpooned and served on a little tree!" Jessica joked, and now we can't stop thinking about how we'd love to see just that!

"I also have fond memories of kids' meals served in a little cardboard boat (a 'Pirate Pak') when I was a child… Sadly they won't serve me 'Pirate Paks' anymore (I asked!)," the pie artist suggested that growing up isn't all that it's cracked up to be. We think that everyone deserves to have a 'Pirate Pak' if they want one, no questions asked.

The members of r/WeWantPlates obviously have good taste. They can recognize when fashion-forward serving ideas simply aren’t up to par. Sure, we might all mumble how everything depends on taste and how even the worst-designed thing will have a niche full of fans, but let’s get real here: there are some objectively bad decisions.

Like serving meat in a jewelry box with a mirror. Like putting food on top of a garbage can lid. Like bringing out a piece of cake on a slab of table (most likely yours). Oh, it’s definitely brave to present food in such a way. But bravery doesn’t really pay off if there’s no thought behind the process. There’s got to be at least a dollop of good taste there somewhere. Otherwise, you’ll end up with disappointed customers and an entire subreddit that pokes fun at ridiculous restaurants.

#10

Raw King Crab On A Fence

Raw King Crab On A Fence

fleamarketart Report

Laura Jackson
Community Member
3 months ago

Looks like someone sneezed too hard and tried to use a broom to clean it up.🙄🤢🤮

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#11

I Have A Sinking Feeling About This Quesadilla

I Have A Sinking Feeling About This Quesadilla

exponentia Report

Marika
Community Member
3 months ago

Hahahaha, okay, it took me a few seconds to spot the tap and get the pun in the title!

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#12

Guys... Sushi On A Tree

Guys... Sushi On A Tree

DesoleBitches Report

Sophhh
Community Member
3 months ago

Restaurant fr ran outta plates and grabbed the first thing they saw 💀

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Look, we’re not saying that the food industry shouldn’t push the boundaries and experiment with new cooking techniques and aesthetic presentations. That should definitely happen.

But restaurants should be agile enough to realize when something is just silly and pivot to avoid making fools of themselves. Does anyone truly want to be known as ‘that place that sticks bits of seafood on a tiny fence’? Or ‘those weirdos who bring out sushi on a creepy mannequin’s hand’? Experiment, for sure, but don’t stick to a horrible decision just because you don’t want to admit you were oh-so-wrong.

The ‘We Want Plates’ community has been growing strong since the midsummer of 2015 and we have no doubt that some of you Pandas will want to join the community after going through this list.

There are some rules that you need to be aware of, of course. For example, above everything else, the moderators ask you to be civil. “This means no personal insults or threatening behavior. You'll get one warning and then it's perma-ban time,” they write loud and clear.

Meanwhile, don’t post pics of avolattes (lattes served in avocados) or else you’ll be banned. What’s more, you should definitely not post any photos not taken in restaurants. And just because there’s a plate somewhere in the frame doesn’t take away from the fact that some meals are served on atrocious objects.

#13

Upscale Restaurant - Serves Cocktail In An Old Soup Can. Why?

Upscale Restaurant - Serves Cocktail In An Old Soup Can. Why?

Simonsaid2 Report

Don Verider
Community Member
3 months ago

Because they can

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#14

From A Local Restauraunt. A Massive Breakfast Challenge On A Garbage Can Lid

From A Local Restauraunt. A Massive Breakfast Challenge On A Garbage Can Lid

Animusical Report

Sophhh
Community Member
3 months ago

Very clever symbolism 🤣

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#15

Onion Ring Tower At Red Robin, Comes With Complimentary Paint Chips

Onion Ring Tower At Red Robin, Comes With Complimentary Paint Chips

ukpittfan1 Report

Denver
Community Member
3 months ago

Just looks old and used, probably not intentional.

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Previously, Bored Panda had a chat with Ross McGinnes, the founder of ‘We Want Plates,’ about the roots of the project. He told us that he started the campaign way back in 2015 when a friend of his shared a picture on Facebook of a steak served on a chopping board.

#16

Nachos Are Messy Enough On A Real Plate. This Atrocity Was At Topgolf

Nachos Are Messy Enough On A Real Plate. This Atrocity Was At Topgolf

they-call-me-milf Report

Kate Jones
Community Member
3 months ago

Can we please jut vote that smears are done and over? Like...lets move on from the smeared product on a plate. That's like season 1 of Top Chef, lol.

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See Also on Bored Panda
#17

Cake-Shake!!

Cake-Shake!!

annie_martin1 Report

Sophhh
Community Member
3 months ago

OKAY WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS…THIS LOOKS SO GOOD

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#18

I Don’t Even Know What To Call This

I Don’t Even Know What To Call This

Killingstar Report

Sophhh
Community Member
3 months ago

This seems like a Pinterest board fail

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“It was captioned, unironically, ‘That is a big meal!’ It wasn't a big meal—he'd fallen for all this style-over-content hipster gastropub nonsense. I searched Twitter for an account which would allow me to vent my spleen with like-minded people, but found nothing. We Want Plates was born,” he told us.

#19

Tapas On Jack Nicholson’s Head

Tapas On Jack Nicholson’s Head

pericoXVI Report

Party Poison (They/She)
Community Member
3 months ago (edited)

I wouldn't like being stared at while eating.

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#20

Can We Please Just Use A Normal Glass?

Can We Please Just Use A Normal Glass?

AarupA Report

LoneTomato
Community Member
3 months ago

I feel bad for whoever has to clean that

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#21

This Bloody Marry At My Work Place With A Burger On Top

This Bloody Marry At My Work Place With A Burger On Top

cowstickwick Report

Gul Dukat
Community Member
3 months ago

I really hope this is called "Burger Mary."

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According to the founder, some restaurants avoid using plates because they want to stand out. “My local pub used to do a great Sunday roast: twelve quid, piled high, tasted great and yes, it came on a plate. One weekend they added a quirky offering to the menu: little sandwiches, pies, dainty cakes, and mini milkshakes served on a miniature picnic bench. The benches, painted bright pink and yellow, sat on top of tables seating actual grown adults. And what was the first thing these infantilized diners did? It wasn’t try the food—it was whip out their phones and take a picture,” Ross shared with Bored Panda.

#22

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream Because Things Are Now Starting To Melt Onto The Table

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream Because Things Are Now Starting To Melt Onto The Table

girl_girl_girl Report

Yayheterogeneity
Community Member
3 months ago

This looks good!

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#23

Soup In A Test Tube In A Block Of Wood

Soup In A Test Tube In A Block Of Wood

TrueBirch Report

KJ
Community Member
3 months ago

Definitely needs to drink more water, sample provider is clearly very dehydrated.

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#24

Tonight’s Special… An $8 Avocado Half With Salt Labeled As “Guacamole”

Tonight’s Special… An $8 Avocado Half With Salt Labeled As “Guacamole”

reddit.com Report

eeeeeeeee
Community Member
3 months ago

At least take the label off.

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“Over the following months the picnic benches became increasingly popular, coinciding with the specials board becoming progressively smaller, before it eventually disappeared altogether. I sat there one Sunday, watching bench after garish bench emerge from the kitchen like a technicolor carnival of idiocy, before my usual roast arrived,” he shared the gastronomically nightmarish experience with us.

#25

Sandwich Served.... On The Rocks

Sandwich Served.... On The Rocks

ultimatebackmassage Report

Marla Cundiff
Community Member
3 months ago

Why is the bread GRAY?

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#26

My Salad Came In A Watering Can

My Salad Came In A Watering Can

Vampedface Report

Bradley Cohen
Community Member
3 months ago

Garden salad

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#27

Why?

Why?

XxRadioRadarxX Report

Denver
Community Member
3 months ago

How are you supposed to eat this?

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“The meat was cold and the potatoes were burnt. It was once their main Sunday trade, but the traditional roast had died an unpalatable death. But that’s OK because they were doing a roaring trade with the benches, right? Sure, until the pub down the road started doing them too. Then the one around the corner. Before you know it, everyone’s doing the same ‘quirky’ thing, except it’s not ‘quirky’ anymore because you can’t move for mini picnic benches and now all their roast dinners are rubbish to boot,” Ross said that restaurants tend to copy each other and passing fads spread like wildfire.

#28

The Chopping Board Isn’t Even Big Enough To Stop The Food From Touching The Table!

The Chopping Board Isn’t Even Big Enough To Stop The Food From Touching The Table!

AngieNovella Report

Adam Chang
Community Member
3 months ago

I'll eat it..

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#29

Hot Chocolate In A Mini Wheelie Bin

Hot Chocolate In A Mini Wheelie Bin

WiganLad82 Report

BadCat
Community Member
3 months ago

That's a cool ring.

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#30

My Pasta Came In A Metal Box

My Pasta Came In A Metal Box

sexybeluga Report

A.
Community Member
3 months ago

I'd keep the box.

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Note: this post originally had 82 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.

“The worst I've encountered personally was when I was served a piece of cake on a table tennis bat in Barcelona around 2008. It still gives me sleepless nights,” he quipped. Hopefully, none of us will ever have to experience anything even in the same ballpark.