You Got Served: 45 Absurd Things Restaurants Used Instead Of Plates

By Farah J

Food is life, or life is food; either way, we are down for it. Most of our hours consist of thinking about the next meal. If we’re not thinking about what to eat next, then chances are we are munching on something. Our day revolves around eating, and some restaurants take advantage of our kind-of obsession for food. We don’t know what goes on in their heads when they do it, but it, most suspiciously, seems like they do it on purpose just to spite us and empty our wallets for nothing! Want to know what we’re talking about?The thing these restaurants do where they put up food on, literally on sticks and stones, in the name of “food presentation” and dare to serve it to us, too! If you are a foodie, you probably will relate to this or even want to share some of your “are-you-kidding-me” food experiences with us after this article.

Seafood in polystyrene

How ironic is this first photo? One of the significant problems sea creatures face is plastics and polystyrene trash. And humans had to do this after fishing them out of their habitat: serve them in polystyrene! A bit twisted if you ask us!

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Could this be any more ridiculous? And not to mention unappealing. Imagine going to a restaurant all excited to slurp on seafood, and you get served with prawns and squids on sticks propped up in a trashy piece of polystyrene. Bon appetit!

Beef in barbed wire

The thrill of taking risks and living dangerously is real. However, when it comes to food, we believe we all prefer to be able to enjoy it in peace and out of harm’s way. Well, we guess this restaurant’s owner had other fantasies in mind.

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We wonder what they thought when they decided to serve the customers their “special” beef starter wrapped in real, strong metal barbed wire. This is not only ridiculous, but it’s also dangerous as heck! And not in a good “live-dangerously” way! 

Finger-licking delicious

We all want food so tasty that it leaves us licking our fingers at the end of the meal, right? But never have we ever wanted restaurants to serve us our food, especially if it’s liquid, directly on our fingers!

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This is the most absurd, stone-age level messy food serving we have ever seen – why use spoons when you have fingers? Finger-licking deliciousness doesn’t sound so appetizing now, does it? This poor woman is dressed so beautifully. We hope it didn’t ruin her outfit or makeup!

A cabbage tree

The restaurant owners need to be told that their food presentations should make their customers go all sparkly-eyed with amazement, making them feel the need to take pictures of their food in admiration and not in disgust and shock.

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Like this serving in a restaurant: a head of cabbage cut in half, stuck up on a wooden log, making it look like a tree of cabbage! Well, at least they gave sauce on the side? We wonder if the servers knew what Caesar salad looked like before they started this business.

Tea party with dolls

We aren’t sure if we are supposed to be impressed by the effort someone put in making Barbie’s meat dresses or cringed by the fact that they thought of serving meat like this. This is a kind of sexualizing which is infuriating us!

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If we see it from another angle, we see customers pulling out blond hair from their mouths while they try to eat the meat dress. And this sight is not appealing either. This serving style is not only ridiculous; it is bizarre in every sense!


Honestly, we have seen people come up with many creative ideas for surprising people with gifts. You may have found them wrapping car keys in a ring holder or PSP in a box of sneakers to make it extra dramatic for the receiver.

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This person used a tiny smartphone box to put Japanese cuisine inside. Whoever thought of it must have wracked their minds to make it seem creative, but honestly, it was probably more appetizing in the regular package it came in.

Hanging from a wire

It is hard to look at this picture; who else agrees? Primarily because we can’t tell what that hanging thing is. It is supposed to be edible, probably some seafood or a fancy piece of bacon. But we aren’t sure, especially with it hanging from that wire. What were they trying to achieve?

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We can only imagine the look on the customer’s faces when they got served with such ridiculousness. This restaurant has some overly-confident food presentation skills, and they didn’t hesitate to put their “creative” wire-y invention in front of people! But why?

The crap-presso

No matter how many unhealthy snacks we eat, the one thing we want is our food to look delicious and hygienic. We expect our meals to be aesthetically pleasing and mouth-watering, especially in restaurants! This next photo is a total jaw-dropper.

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This restaurant probably thought it was very creative and funny to make their coffee cups the shape of a toilet. With the drink’s color in the cup, this food serving isn’t amusing anymore. If we wanted to eat food straight out of the toilet, we’d say so!

Office meals

When you are brainstorming about throwing an office-themed dinner party, this is what you think of. Emphasis on “think of,” and not implementing that thought, because as creative as it seems, this is like a disaster waiting to happen when served.

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However, if we talk about restaurants and their food serving ideas, this could be one of the worst ideas anyone could encounter. The food looks so unappetizing and bland, but its presentation on a file makes you want to run for the hills!

The pillow bowel

By the looks of this picture, it seems like the pillow spilled out its guts, or it’s someone’s guts puked out of them. Either way, this food serving is not entering the list of “the most creative food presentations.” This is supposed to look aesthetic, but honestly, it is far from it!

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This restaurant tried to make a ceramic pillow as a creative and decorative way of presenting corn dogs. But this couldn’t look more puke-worthy, to be very honest. Corn dogs and ceramic pillows could do better, but separately, please.

Cubes on antlers

We highly doubt that the restauranteur was in their right mind when they decided to pierce the delicious-looking little pastry cubes on the pointy ends of the antlers of a deer. We aren’t sure if these are real antlers, though. 

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Even if they are fake, it doesn’t make things any better. The servers could’ve come up with a million creative ideas to serve the pastry cakes to their customers, but in the end, they chose antlers out of all things? We hope they switched antlers with simple plates after this.

Gravy in a urinal

Do you want to know why the serving method is as important as the food itself? Well, this picture says a thousand words. Gravy being served at a restaurant in a urinal should be able to give you all the answers about food serving style.

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The food itself in this picture looks like it’s probably not very delicious, let alone this gravy urinal, making everything look even worse. Seeing the gravy being served to you in this would make you lose your appetite in half a millisecond!

Mouth to mouth

To be honest, we have to give these guys half a point for creativity. But this is of no use when you are absolutely grossed out by your meal being served in a mouth-shaped pot, especially when the meal looks rather gross!

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Eating from this little mouth would feel as if you are ingesting chewed contents from someone else’s mouth. And there is nothing more disgusting and sickening than that! We just hope whoever came up with this may have seen the light and changed directions.

A hot mess

We guess the restaurant was short on plates and dishes and every other cutlery utensil they could serve their customers. So they decided to do the one thing that would make customers scrunch up their noses and never come back again.

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That would’ve been fine if this happened at a friends’ night-in at their buddy’s house. Their house, their rules. But not in restaurants, please. Especially when they don’t even try to make it look appealing. This is just a pure mess of food presentation.

Hot wheels

What are they trying to achieve here? Is this supposed to be creative and fun? Do they think that plates and dishes are too old-fashioned to be put in front of customers, and wheel trims are the new plates of the 21st century?

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Also, it doesn’t seem like this wheel trim is in any shape or condition to be anywhere near food, let alone be used as a food serving dish. We don’t know how the manager approved of this idea. This restaurant needs to step up its “creativity” or shut down.

Scraping food with a manure fork

“Shocked” would be the understatement of the year, especially for our country-side people if they see this happening in restaurants uptown. A manure fork is usually seen in farms because it picks up hay, dung, waste, manure, etc., from the mud.

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Seeing it in a restaurant will make you green with disgust like us. This restaurant’s servers probably decided to dunk into their creativity and pick out the most ridiculous way of serving food. We wonder if this restaurant is still open for business after this stunt.

Guard the cocktail

Cocktails are exquisite enough that you feel the need to gate-keep it, guard the gem against evil eyes, lock it in a safe space so nobody else will drink it. You know how it goes, right? Well, this restaurant took gate-keeping the cocktail a little too literally.

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Their serving cocktail in a cage – yes, an actual metal cage, is the level of petty we are trying to achieve. Except, they didn’t do this out of pettiness; they just found it “creative” to put their customers’ cocktails in a cage and put a straw through it for them to drink.

Crusty, rusty, busty

This is pure madness. We don’t go to a four or five-star restaurant only to end up being served in a lid – not a plate or dish – especially one full of rust and looks as if the restaurant workers stole it from an abandoned house from the 19th century.

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Not only is it unappealing to customers – and quite honestly, aggravating – it is very unhealthy because of the contamination from the rust, even if you cover the serving lid with paper or tissues. This attempt is nowhere near unique or funny.

Fruitful tree

This idea is creative only if a kid made it for a science project or something which hasn’t used real food on the tips of branches and glues some leaves on the naked tree. But we don’t like to see this kind of creativity in restaurants.

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Primarily because this looks very unclean, customers want to eat their beignets served in clean, flat dishes, rather than high up on a mini wooden tree propped up in the middle of the table. Secondly, this is a very unamusing way of serving beignets.

Hanging steak

This phrase would be more exciting if we were reading a fantasy novel, and it was about burning witches after hanging them at stake. But this is not the case here; instead, we have to see the restaurant hang the steak from pegs in the name of food presentation.

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Who else would rather read about hanging from a stake in books than watch humans hang the steak itself, thinking that it’s a unique style of serving steak to customers? It’s unique and creative, but not in a good way. It looks like laundry. Please go with the plates and leave your creativity out of it.

Feet n’ fries

It is hard to believe that people live in this world who act on their thoughts without thinking about them twice. They just do it. And sure, it sounds fun and exciting to live to the fullest without caring about what others think.

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But we believe that it shouldn’t be the case when it comes to serving people food in restaurants. Everyone wants to be unique in their service to attract customers, but…how exactly are meals in crocs going to serve that purpose for you? We only smell feet in these fries.

A jar of magic

This indeed looks like a jar of magic – only if your magic comprises soggy bread, hash browns, and sauces all in one jar. This breakfast jar would take away our appetite for the rest of the day before we even have the chance to have a coffee.

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If this is what breakfast is served in at restaurants, we’d rather wake up early and make our own breakfast than stop by a restaurant for this mess! The food in it isn’t even carefully assembled – someone just threw in everything they could find.

The edible tongue

There is ‘ridiculous,’ and then there is ‘disgusting.’ This “brunch item” is the latter, no doubt. We believe we all can agree on that because there is no way this “unique” food presentation can attract anyone! Not even the most daring of us all!

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They added the ceramic shark – or is it carved rock? – to serve their baked toast to the customers, which would be cool if it worked out as planned. However, it looks like the shark is vomiting into the dip in the front, which is quite similar to our reaction to this.

The Pandora box 

When you order a cocktail, you envision your order being served in a nice, transparent, fancy glass with olives or lemon dropped in it. But this looks like the game of ‘Never Have I Ever’ where you announce, “never have I ever seen a martini served in a small wooden square box.”

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The looks on the faces of the players would go from surprise to wheezing like it is something too absurd to happen in real life. O la la! You’re mistaken. This lovely restaurant brought your nightmares to life and presented cocktails in Pandora’s box to their customers – in the name of creativity, we imagine.

Rings on a rod

Onion rings are everyone’s go-to food, right? These rings are the only rings we want in our lives – they’re just that precious and swoon-worthy. And don’t even start with the fancy meal of “tower of onion rings.” They are superior in every sense, agreed?

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But somewhere in a restaurant, someone just had to ruin it for us. Putting onion rings down a long, erect siphon of metal is the most ridiculous creative idea one could ever have for serving them. We can taste the metal in our rings through the picture. Come on!

No need for dishes

We can count several instances where laziness gave birth to multiple creative ideas, and most of them were admirable. But unfortunately, this idea of a cutlery-less food serving isn’t one of them. This is plain laziness with the pros of ‘no dishes.’

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The restaurant tried to be creative with their printed sheets of cutlery by serving food directly on it in front of the customer, disregarding the oily texture of the chicken and fries. The printed plates won’t be much help when the oil of the meal seeps down the table cloth.

Dig in!

Well, someone at a restaurant took this phrase a little too literally. It wouldn’t be as bad if they had designed the plate instead of using a real shovel as a food serving medium. This creativity will only help if they aim to lose customers.

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The food in the shovel looks plain nose-scrunching gross, probably because nobody was pleased enough to eat it, and it’s been resting there for days. Well, we can’t blame the foodies; the shovel is making the scene worse than it already is!

Rock-ing chips

We don’t know how to describe this “creative” food serving (is it even a serving). There is no telling what was going on in the restaurant owners’ mind when they thought of serving two huge slices of chips propped up on a rock.

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It’s hard to guess what was the idea behind it. If they were trying to be creative with their chips presentation, well, it’s working in the most ridiculous way possible. And the fact that the stone is carved in such a way to make chips stand up is hilariously absurd!

Cross-country tornado

Biryani, an infamous Indian dish of rice mixed with vegetables, meat, eggs, and different spices, is something that will make your soul melt with pleasure. If you are a fan of Indian food, biryani is a must-try! But please, without the coconut!

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We didn’t imagine someone could ruin a plain rice dish of biryani that’s primarily served on a flat plate with sides of sour pickles and yogurt. Someone brought Hawaii in the picture and made an Indian-Hawaiian mess? What, is this some kind of joke?

Tea party with dolls

We aren’t sure if we are supposed to be impressed by the effort someone put in making Barbie’s meat dresses or cringed by the fact that they thought of serving meat like this. This is a kind of sexualizing which is infuriating us!

Image Source: junk_chain/reddit

If we see it from another angle, we see customers pulling out blond hair from their mouths while they try to eat the meat dress. And this sight is not appealing either. This serving style is not only ridiculous; it is bizarre in every sense!

Gin-nie in the shoe

They got to good ol’ gin and tonic too! These “creative” restaurant artists need to be caged before they mess up anything else. We mean, why would anyone even come up with a different solution for the serving of gin and tonic?

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Fine, if they thought of serving gin and tonic in a shoe to their customers, our question is, did they have to implement it too? Weren’t they as disgusted by this ridiculous idea as we are? Gin and tonic never looked more unappealing!

Bloody Mary in a mask

If “ridiculous” were a picture, this would be it. We aren’t sure what was going on in the server’s head, if they were perhaps pranking someone at work, or if this was a deliberate action with every staff members’ approval behind it.

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But everything about this picture screams, “Bloody Mary!” First, these “pancakes” look like the least appetizing thing we’ve seen on this list. The surgical masks certainly don’t help. Is this some kind of new aesthetic after the pandemic?

Ashtray servings

There better be a good, logical explanation for this food serving, and it better be an accident or emergency for the servers to bring the customers their food in an ashtray. We can’t think of a good enough reason; maybe they can give one.

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Because this is so ridiculous, even the word itself begs for mercy. Did they think someone would be able to enjoy their lunch in the same thing they are throwing their cig’s ash in? The customer probably was in too much of a shock to ask for a clean plate.

Bread and beyond!

We wish ‘beyond’ was just a word here, but these guys left us no choice. Serving bread in a cute little basket would’ve worked fine – more than fine, actually – but we guess they were trying to go beyond unique with their presentation.

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Imagine going to a restaurant and finding loaves of warm bread being served in a colorful basket made of lego bricks. It’s a no for us cottage cores. We sure hope they are clean and sanitized. On the upside of this creativity, the customers with kids would’ve loved this!

A bouquet of love

What is love, if not crazy and ridiculous? Well, we are guessing there was some hopeless romantic server among this restaurant’s kitchen staff who decided to surprise their customers with a bouquet of…sausage. Better yet, it is in a vase filled with water!

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It must’ve been quite a surprise for customers that they must have never returned here again. This bouquet would’ve looked perfect if only the sausages pierced with the sticks were served separately on a plate. We imagine a man came up with this one.

A bizarre comb-ination

One look and anyone can tell that this restaurant staff loves food puns and English wordplay more than they love the idea of gaining customers by serving them rich, tasty food. But, oh well, their comb-ination of food and puns skills isn’t taking them anywhere anytime soon. 

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Food puns are only cool if they don’t interfere with the food itself, unlike this food pierced on a propped-up comb, especially. Customers would either subconsciously be pulling out hair from their teeth or be too grossed out to ingest this ridiculously served meal.

All in one

If the restaurant staff was trying to save dishes, their idea of serving the customer’s entire ordered meal in one mug did the job for them with flying colors. But what they didn’t see were the permanent consequences: losing a customer forever.

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Our entire lives, we’ve seen mash being served in a cup or a bowl and sausages in plates along with it. Never have we ever seen sausages dipped in the mash in a mug! Was the customer supposed to drink the sausages, or what?

Down the rabbit hole

Whoever thought of this ridiculous food serving style probably watched Alice in Wonderland a little too profoundly before going to work in this restaurant. No other explanation would fit this picture of a glove rabbit and a dirty shovel as a food serving tray.

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After seeing this ridiculous, cringe-worthy food presentation, the customers’ sanity would’ve gone down the rabbit hole. Even the sock glove seems more dirty than cute. Don’t even get us started on the shovel or the food! Oh and let’s through a page of newspaper for good measure.

Chop wood and slices

We want to give a small lecture to these guys on how the wooden boards they see in restaurants on which the food, mostly pizza, is served are different from what they are using; they require this lecture before they get sued.

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Not sued for using a chop wood board, but for not cleaning, brushing, and coating it before taking it anywhere near food. This potentially moth-filled wooden board is an invitation for food poisoning. Customers going here for pizza slices better have health insurance!

Hand-y food service

What would you imagine going to a very fancy Michelin star-rated restaurant for the most elite and exquisite food of your life? To be served directly into your hand, of course. We just hope that these customers washed their hands before the first course!

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We bet the customer was shocked when the server asked him to put out his palm before plopping whatever this was into his hand. Once you are done licking the food off your hand, is there a lineup to get to the bathroom to wash it off? This is plain weird.

A jumbo pie

The guys here probably wanted a nice and simple piece of pie sided with a smoothie. But instead, the servers decided to present their order as one jumbo mountain of pie! We guess they ran out of plates or something, so they put their pie on the top of their smoothie mug.

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The thing may taste delicious, but what’s up with the presentation? They were given one job – to serve their customers a slice of the pie. And they put together everything on top of each other. This serving should’ve come with instructions on how to eat it.

Cocktail in bathtub

Yes, it sounds romantic and cute when you don’t know the context behind this. We are not talking about enjoying delicious cocktails and pizza with your partner in the same bathtub, no. This is what a customer got served at a restaurant!

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Some foodies went out to enjoy cocktails, and the restaurant owners decided to pour them their drinks in mini cups shaped like bathtubs! The cherry on top, they added little rubber duckies to make it “cute.” Despite being Instagrammable, when it comes to actually drinking the cocktail, we can imagine it sloshing off the sides. Not very conducive!

Hollowed wood in Hollywood

We’re apparently living in the stone age, where chopping wood into thinly sliced plates and dishes isn’t a concept. So, let’s just cut off a round wooden log, carve out a hollowed dip in it, and enjoy our meal with utmost pleasure.

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At least, that’s what we think was going on the server’s mind when they came up with this ridiculous invention. They kind of overlooked the part where their customers might start to bleed from their mouths because of all the splinters!

A-moose-ment meals

If we had a say in this, we’d be against using antlers for anything at all, let alone as a food serving medium. Antlers, unfortunately, have become a symbol of class. We guess this restaurant tried to fit in there.

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No matter how you see it, you cannot imagine this foodservice anywhere near appealing! Not even in someone’s wildest dreams would they honestly be able to enjoy eating those onion rings or whatever mush of food they have presented here.

Vax the steak

The idea behind this incredibly foolish and ridiculous invention is hard to predict. Vaccination is essential – for humans, animals, and pets. It keeps us safe from deadly viruses. This restaurant is probably hinting that customers should vaccinate their steak before they eat it.

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The syringe is a huge deal-breaker, yes. But the picture gets weirder the more we look at it. Like, where are the plates and the rest of the cutlery? Why are those slices of fruit put there? Do we inject the steak with sauce in that syringe? Where are the instructions for this?

Serving the serviette 

We get it that people hate doing the dishes. And this hatred, we believe, is the root cause of all this ridiculous creativity in food corners. This restaurant server tried to kill two birds with one stone by serving this sandwich on a serviette!

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They made sure that the customer didn’t complain of the absence of the plate or the serviette. But, to make sure they have one less plate in the sink, they put the food item directly on the napkin! We can just imagine eating this cake and having to peel off pieces of napkins. No, thank you!