Service that's too quick (food arrives 1 minute after you sit down, while you're still enjoying your drink, main course arrives while you're still eating salad, or in one case guacamole that came between the main course and dessert).
Service that's too slow (30 minutes for a steak?).
Service that's too friendly ("Hi! I'm Twit, and I'll be your server tonight! How's the wife and kids? How 'bout them Dodgers?").
Service that's rude (e.g., tossing the plate in front of you, forgetting the bread, ignoring the water glass).
Service that's overly attentive (I used to go to a restaurant where the busboy filled the water glasses and cleaned the unused ashy trays literally ever 2 minutes).
Service that disappears after bringing the food.
Service that promptly removes the dishes from each diner as they finish rather than awaiting until everyone is done (makes the slow eaters feel rushed, embarrasses the fast eaters).
Excessive air conditioning or heat.
Cellphones and the idiots who take or make calls at their table.
Rooms that are too bright or too dark (dinner only).
Rooms that are so noisy you can't hear your dinner companions speak.
Over-priced wine list (2 times retail is acceptable, 3 to 4 times or more is gouging).
Wine list with nothing of interest yet nothing cheap.
Lousy wine glasses (small, thick, clumsy).
Dirty wine glasses (lipstick, for example).
Waiters who question my assessment that the wine is bad (e.g., corked).
High corkage fees (I like to bring my own wine, as do many Californians; many local restaurants here in the beach cities charge from nothing to $5 per bottle, some up to $10; $25 is more gouging, and there's one new place in Vegas that wants $75 per bottle -- I say they can sit on my corkscrew).
Overpriced side dishes (I don't mind paying $30 for a good steak a la carte, but what's with the $8 steamed veggies and $10 baked potatoes)?
Lack of side dishes for one in up-scale restaurants (I travel on business a lot, and I often eat alone -- I don't want a pound of asparagus and a quart of scalloped potatoes with my steak, but I've encountered only one up-scale restaurant that offered to give me a half portion of each to accompany my main course).
Food that arrives cold.
Medium-rare that's medium well.
Over cooked pasta.
Over cooked veggies.
Tiny portions (didn't the "spa food" trend die with disco? It should have!)
HUGE portions with HUGE prices (no wonder older people often share -- they aren't cheap, just smart -- I don't want a 28-ounce sirloin or a muffin the size of a basketball, and I hate being forced to pay for all that waste -- and all that waist, too).
Desserts that look good but have no taste and cost $8.
Lousy apple pie.
Nothing on the dessert menu with ice cream.
Places that charge you for two desserts if you ask for a scoop of vanilla on your apple tartin.
Dirty coffee cups.
So, do you understand now why I like to cook and prefer to eat at home?
Restaurants! Bah! Humbug!