Why You Should Avoid Ordering 'Manager's Special' Fish

When dining at a restaurant, one question that's asked quite frequently is "What are the specials?" Of the customers who order specials, 45% believe they'll be receiving some sort of discount, 20% order to expand their palates, and 41% simply have faith in the restaurant's recommendation (per Medium). Oftentimes, a special doesn't exactly indicate a discount at all; instead, it's a way to promote in-season foods or a new menu item. This is common knowledge to 50% of customers who claim they've ordered a restaurant special at least once in their life.

If you're expecting the daily special to be the best of the best, you might be disappointed to learn that most of the time, it's the opposite. According to Reader's Digest, specials are a great way to rid the kitchen of ingredients that are nearing their expiration date. Because the product isn't expired at the time, it isn't likely to make anyone sick, though it probably won't be as fresh as food that hasn't been stored as long. Due to this, the wait staff doesn't recommend ordering specials that contain fish.

The fish is likely not fresh

In a 2021 interview with Mashed, Chef Devan Cameron discouraged restaurantgoers from partaking in fish-based daily specials. "In a good restaurant, the fish special is a fresh catch of a limited amount of fish that will likely sell out quickly. In a bad restaurant, the fish special is a way to use up fish that's about to go bad," Cameron revealed. Because it may be hard to distinguish between a "good" restaurant and a "bad" one, it's probably not a bad idea to steer clear of fish specials altogether.

In 2016, Chef Anthony Bourdain spilled another fishy secret that could change the way you order food. According to Insider and Bourdain's book "Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly," the best-selling author revealed that he never orders fish on Monday. His reason? Most eateries order fish on Thursday to stock up for the weekend, so it's never quite as fresh when Monday comes around. Furthermore, he recommends those dining in New York City to order fish on Tuesdays and Thursdays for the best results.