We want plates, gosh darn it. And we want them now! Some fancy (and wannabe suave) restaurants reach a point where they’re too creative, pretentious, and ostentatious for their own good. Instead of serving food the normal way—you know, on plates, in glasses, what you'd expect—they opt for something mind-bogglingly bizarre, instead. Think pudding on VHS tapes. Think salad on a literal pillow. Think desserts on flip-flops. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg (lettuce).
The brainchild of professional photographer Ross McGinnes, the r/WeWantPlates subreddit is a 900k-strong online community that ‘crusades’ against this sort of food-serving madness. And we’ve collected some of the best new pics their members shamed to share with you, dear Pandas. Scroll down to check out the worst offenders, upvote the dishes that you’d hate to be served the most, and check out Bored Panda's interview with the friendly moderator team running the whole sub.
When you’ve enjoyed this list of gastronomic abominations to the fullest, we cordially invite you to taste Bored Panda’s recent articles about the ‘We Want Plates’ community for dessert right here, here, and here. If you enjoy their content, check out their socials. They’ve even published a book! Bon Appétit.
#1 This Seems Almost Malicious
Image credits: ImGoingBackToBed
#2 Desert In A 2 Star Michelin Restaurant
Image credits: keeeek
#3 Fried Green Beans Served In A Shoe
Image credits: Zenai
Bored Panda reached out to the team running the r/WeWantPlates subreddit with a few follow-up questions. We had a quick chat about the food-serving trends we’re seeing at the moment.
One trend, in particular, has been standing out above the rest, at the time of writing.
“In real life, I am seeing the ‘serve it in the pan it was cooked in’ trend more and more around here,” one of the moderators told us. “I don't like it,” they were very straightforward about it.
#4 With A Side Of Blindness
Image credits: Turgidlyharp32
#5 Man At The Next Table Got His Avocado Salad On A Pillow. Impossible To Properly Wash. Why??
Image credits: certifiedfuckup
Image credits: atuan
We were interested to get the ‘We Want Plates’ moderator team’s opinion about whether there will ever come a time when restaurants do the right thing and fully embrace plates and glasses.
“Let's hope so!” the subreddit’s representative told Bored Panda that they’re pretty optimistic, however this would only happen "once it starts hurting them [the restaurants] in the money."
“It's nice to be creative, I suppose, but there's a reason dinnerware exists,” they pointed out. And we couldn’t agree more: creativity, imagination, and thinking outside the box ought to be celebrated. On the flip side, we’re talking about food. And at the end of the day, a large part of the entire experience is the act of putting food into your mouth, tasting, chewing, and then swallowing it.
Perception really does matter. When you see that your food has been resting on some random objects, your mind automatically considers how hygienic all of it is. Has someone else eaten their dessert from this flip-flop today? How well did the kitchen staff wash it? Why is there a friggin’ flip-flop on my table at all? Why am I here? You know the standard philosophical debates.
#7 Risotto In A Bottle. Cheers
Image credits: karateknecht
#8 A Single Raw Shrimp Served On Rocks
Image credits: ieatcrayonzs
#9 From A Friends Ig Story. I Have No Words, Only Questions
Image credits: Hickmandude
Lastly, the redditor whom we got in touch with praised their colleagues working in the moderator team for helping keep the entire online community healthy and on-point.
“We have some very excellent and dedicated moderators who keep a vigilant eye out!” they said. It’s an ongoing team effort to provide a great experience for all members of r/WeWantPlates.
How much time each mod spends looking after the community depends on the individual and how busy it is that week. "It's impossible to say. In general, Reddit is a hobby and not a job. We do what we can, within reason," the mod told Bored Panda.
#10 What The F**k
Image credits: pleathershorts
#11 Pancakes In Michigan. The Syrup Dripped Onto My Pants And Shoes While They Were Carrying It To The Table
Image credits: a_complex_kid
#12 I Always Wanted To Eat In A Gravel Pit, Not Knowing What Is Edible
Image credits: H4kor
The entire idea for r/WeWantPlates actually started way back in 2015, on Twitter. Photographer Ross told Bored Panda a few years ago that the inspiration for the internet project came after a friend fo his shared a photo on Facebook. The pic in question? A steak that was served on a chopping board. (At the tail-end of 2022, that actually feels pretty tame after everything that we’ve seen in recent years.)
“It [the photo] 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,” Ross told us earlier how everything fell into place.
“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,” he said.
#13 Found This On Tumblr
Image credits: ChadMojito
Image credits: SailWithoutEm
#15 Lamb Chops On A Baroque Framed Mirror. When Is The Cocaine Course Served?
Image credits: Amylynn4215
“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,” the founder told us.
“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 shared with us during a previous interview.
#16 Shrimp Served On Table Cloth
Image credits: TwerkNWerk
#17 Ordered A Lox Bagel. It Was Served Like This And I Had To Assemble It Myself
Image credits: 700x25C
#18 Ordered Tiramisu At A Restaurant. Got This Served On Cooking Paper Prepared Right In Front Of Me
Image credits: ChunkySealTurtle
A while ago, Bored Panda had gotten in touch with world-renowned pie artist and food expert Jessica Leigh Clark-Bojin to get her opinion on food presentation. She noted that it’s true that ‘we do eat with our eyes’ first. However, this doesn’t mean artful plating is the same as randomness. Creativity, fanciness, and quality is fine when it’s done right.
"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. 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,” pie artist Jessica explained to us during a previous interview.
#19 I Found The Actual Cocaine Course. It’s On The Beignets
Image credits: Amylynn4215
#20 Tuna Tartare On An Upside Down Martini Glass…. Idk Why They Get Away With This
Image credits: LuckOk5474
#21 Pasta Flight All Thrown Onto A Slab Of Wood
Image credits: twotimes4yourmind
"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," she said.
#22 The Accursed Cup/Bowl Hybrid Has Made Its Way To China With A Cola And Xiaolongbao Combo
Image credits: Odelta
#23 Pizza Inside A Box Of Pizza
Image credits: bobby_barbados
#24 This Cocktail I Got In A Plastic Bag. We Also Want Glasses!
Image credits: lord_ikiwiki
"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!"
#25 Oh Deer
Image credits: Jordanovichy
#26 Got To Admit, That Was Pretty Cute (Cheesecake Samples)
Image credits: Pikalika
#27 Sir, This Is A Shovel…
Image credits: BuildingsInTheSky
The food expert shared her opinion as to why some restaurants have a very different service than most other establishments. She noted that they have a holistic approach to it all.
"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,” she explained. However, not everyone is successful. Copycats abound!
#28 Sliced Bread In A Leather Bag
Image credits: J_ClerMont
#29 Bread For The Table On Coffee Filters
Image credits: MudCreek928
#30 We Want Chairs
Image credits: G0udvis
"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."
#31 You Ever Had Your Sushi Hidden Inside A Tree Branch?
Image credits: lemonboy71
#32 My Wontons Had Bits Of Uncooked Rice Stuck In Them
Image credits: nesfor
#33 A Friend Suggested This Place For The Great Ambience. So I Decided To Check The Reviews
Image credits: GaiusMario
#34 They Can't Get Away With This
Image credits: babeespice
#35 The Coffee Comes In A Disposable Cup, But Your Meal Comes In A Coffee Mug!
Image credits: Penguin121314
#36 Friend Went To Some Fancy Place In Barcelona
Image credits: periacetabular_ost
#37 I Guess We’re Using Scales Now
Image credits: _echtra
#38 No Thanks
Image credits: Fenen9tko
#39 Caption Said “A Sensory Moment” - Chocolate In Hand
Image credits: TownMountain
#40 Could Have At Least Given A Nicer Paint Brush To Eat With…
Image credits: fulfilledphil
#41 This Was Advertised As A Pad Thai Lunch Special
Image credits: demiurgish
#42 Not Confusing At All
Image credits: xxtsngshjtdd
#43 How About Some Spring Rolls In A Miniature Shopping Cart?
Image credits: leopkoo
#44 What If I Told You That There Was Tiramisu In There
Image credits: mintcemetery
#45 We Want Tea Mugs!
Image credits: Retro_Gamer
#46 Dessert On A Trowel
Image credits: SuffolkYourself
#47 Just Need My Taco Rock Slab To Be A Bit Larger…
Image credits: jaybetterman
#48 They Were Literally So Close!
Image credits: Wafflesattiffanies
#49 High-End Steakhouse In Mexico City Serves Tortilla Chips In… A Hat? A Bag?
Image credits: simplewaves
#50 Finally Saw One In Real Life. The Legendary Tiramisù In A Moka Pot!
Image credits: Aloy00
#51 When You Order “Ice” Coffee
Image credits: tavenitas
#52 A Bird's Nest For Appetizers. To Be Fair The Food Was Amazing
Image credits: depressiontrashbag
#53 Moscow Mule In A Coin Purse
Image credits: theunseenseeable
#54 No I Have Never Wanted To Do Body Shots Off Pinocchio
Image credits: bluelovexD
#55 Skate Poutine
Image credits: crack-O-caine
#56 Went On A Date And We Ordered Two Rolls. This Is How They Brought It Out. (Both The Clear Stand And The Bottle Are “Glued” Down With Wasabi)
Image credits: DiscombobulatedPay51
#57 Why Does This Exist
Image credits: BlightedTanner
#58 Croquettes On A Rolling Pin. They Were Tasty But, Hello?
Image credits: saix_777rulz
#59 We Also Want Menus
Image credits: FjohursLykkewe
#60 BBQ'ed Halibut Served On A Fish Carcass
Image credits: mrmat127
#61 Wings On A Stick
Image credits: BrendaMercedes
#62 Smoked Tuna With An Onion On A Rock
Image credits: Akanderson87
#63 Does This Belong Here?
Image credits: earlybirdiscount
#64 Hay-Wrapped Chicken
Image credits: ayokiamanda
#65 Jamon And Cheese Served On A Goat Figure?
Image credits: VonBassovic
#66 Jaleo At Disney Springs. Hard Painted Plastic. This Thing Weighed About 5 Lbs And Looked Like It Belonged On A Roller Coaster. Chicken Croquettes
Image credits: _picture_me_rollin_
#67 Whole Corn With Garnish Served On Candlestick
Image credits: Cubensiss
#68 Dutch Bitterballs In A Wooden Clog
Image credits: Jaydiey
#69 This Is… Unsettling
Image credits: Terry_loves_gogurt
#70 This Restaurant Is Pretty Good But This Ad Is Foul
Image credits: Maineamainea
#71 [we Ate] Norwegian Take On The American Cheeseburger
Image credits: funkyeahhh
#72 Horror Scene Or Food?
Image credits: TownMountain
#73 It's The Cheese Cake
Image credits: Anovion
#74 Tiramisu And Paloma, Rome
Image credits: mzins_dev