The Best Day Of The Week To Go To A Restaurant, According To Anthony Bourdain

Before Anthony Bourdain passed away in 2018, he created a huge body of work that not only entertained and inspired, but also informed. In the 1999 article he wrote for the New Yorker, "Don't Eat Before Reading This," which he later expanded upon in his best-selling book, "Kitchen Confidential," Bourdain exposed the dark underbelly of the restaurant industry, revealing some of its longstanding dirty secrets. His insider's view provides an exposé on the good, the bad, and the ugly of what restaurants get up to behind the scenes, and we'd all be wise to heed some of his advice.

For example, one of his most useful tips is that the best day of the week to go to a restaurant is Tuesday — especially if you're planning to have fish or seafood. The reason for this is because most fishmongers do not deliver on weekends. And it's not just a New York thing, fish markets in Japan and around the world are traditionally closed on Sundays. Chefs usually order their fish in time for the weekend rush, so that by the time Sunday or Monday roll around, any remaining fish you order is likely to have been sitting around for days. On the other hand, many restaurants get their fresh catch for the week on Tuesdays.

Don't trust Mondays at restaurants

Anthony Bourdain wrote in his New Yorker piece that, "Generally speaking, the good stuff comes in on Tuesday: The seafood is fresh, the supply of prepared food is new, and the chef, presumably, is relaxed after his day off. (Most chefs don't work on Monday.)" That's a lot to unload. Let's start with the freshness factor. Along with fish deliveries, Tuesday is also when most eateries will be receiving their once or twice weekly deliveries of meat and produce. The weekend's leftovers will have been cleaned out and meals will be prepared with ingredients at their peak. 

And a note about those leftovers — they often end up as the "chef's special" or "catch of the day." In "Kitchen Confidential," Bourdain says that, rather than toss profitable inventory, the stuff that's still in the kitchen on Sundays and Mondays is likely to get repurposed as a special, so that it can still be sold rather than thrown out. Fish and meat loaded with sauce or that's been breaded and fried could potentially disguise food that isn't so fresh. Asking your server about these dishes before ordering is always a good move. 

As for Mondays, it's customarily a day off for chefs. So not only does dining on that day get you a weekend-weary staff without its head cook, it's also when you'll possibly get older food from last week's menu.

Tuesdays are truly for foodies

Anthony Bourdain wrote that Tuesdays are the best day for dining out, from his own experience as a chef. "The fish may be just as fresh on Friday, but it's on Tuesday that you've got the good will of the kitchen on your side." In his opinion, chefs are their most creative at the start of the week, when they're cooking for their local clientele. According to Bourdain, weekends in New York City are for tourists and theater crowds, while Tuesday through Friday is when the serious eaters come out to play.

Weekends are also when restaurants will be the most crowded, and when their kitchens and servers are at their most frazzled. Dining during the week, especially on laidback Tuesdays, is when you can expect the least wait and rush. It's the perfect day for romantic dates and special occasions, too — most restaurants won't be too crowded, and the staff may be at their most amenable to your needs. And for leisurely dinners, your best reservation seating time is early.

Tuesdays are also a good bet for scoring deals. That's when restaurants are slowest and try to entice customers with discounts or more-for-your-money offers, like happy hours, coupons, and other incentives meant to bring in midweek guests. Tuesday overwhelmingly comes out on top as the best day to eat out ... unless perhaps you like your restaurant steak well-done, in which Anthony Bourdain claims will always get the worst possible cut of meat, no matter which day it's served.