Why do restaurant salads taste so much better than a homemade one?

United States
June 23, 2008 2:58am CST
I make salads all the time. I once recreated the famous Olive Garden salad for a party and people were begging me to make it again. But why does a restaurant salad taste better when I'm out to dinner instead of at home for dinner?
15 people like this
50 responses
@PearlGrace (3172)
• United States
23 Jun 08
Gitfiddleplayer, This is a phenomenon I have noticed for years: food tastes pretty good when I don't have to prepare it. For salads in particular, they are usually kept cold until just before serving in a restaurant. At my house, though, I might throw the salad together just before eating it so the ingredients aren't as cool. Plus, they tend to have very fresh salad fixings at a restaurant, and I think that is more difficult to have at home. At some of the restaurants we regularly eat at, the salad dressings are made from scratch! Now, that's just gotta make a salad taste better than something out of a bottle. Your Olive Garden salad sounds quite tasty. PearlGrace
• United States
23 Jun 08
Thanks! It cost about $20 to put it together though.
@mommyboo (13262)
• United States
23 Jun 08
Why I don't know! I have noticed this trend though, and I make fantastic salads. Most of mine include lots of extras like chopped tomato, avocado, red onion, cheese, chopped turkey or roast beef, hardboiled egg, bacon bits, etc. I also top them with cajun seasoning, black pepper, and whatever dressing sounds good. Mine never taste quite the same as ones I get when I go out.
2 people like this
• United States
23 Jun 08
Yummy, when's dinner?
1 person likes this
@ANTIQUELADY (36494)
• United States
23 Jun 08
i don't know but i agree w/you. i love a good fresh salad & make them at home alot, make good dressings to go on them but i guess it's just getting out of the house, not having to fix it yourself & having someone to eat with.
2 people like this
@minnie_98214 (10575)
• United States
23 Jun 08
Food always tastes better when you dont have to make it lol. I wish I knew why sometimes its the dressing that is made special and its hard to copy. other times who knows it just is lol.
2 people like this
@apsara60 (6613)
• Israel
23 Jun 08
hello friend, Yeah I too wonder sometime, why restaurant food, snacks, salads ....etc taste much better than home made, no matter how much effort we put. We all know very well that home made things are more hygienic and we know what we are eating, yet restaurants are full...... In India even the snacks made by street hawkers are more tasty than home made snacks.....why.....I really don't know what is the secret of this big WHY????,
2 people like this
@ANTIQUELADY (36494)
• United States
18 Feb 09
i don't know why but i sure agree w/you. i love going to a restaurant that has a salad bar. i can make my meal right there.
1 person likes this
• United States
18 Feb 09
I think the same way, give me some ham and bacon and chicken, I'm done!
1 person likes this
@ANTIQUELADY (36494)
• United States
18 Feb 09
i love a good salad w/all the trimmings. nice to hear from you.
1 person likes this
@ladym33 (11012)
• United States
24 Feb 09
They probably put more salt and other bad stuff in to thier salad dressings that we wouldn't put in ours. Plus things always seem to taste better when we don't have to do the actual work of making them. Good Seasons Zesty Italian is pretty close to Olive Gardens dressing, but of course we don't have the freshly ground pepper, and fresh shredded cheese at home.
• United States
24 Feb 09
I think you can buy a bottle of the Olive Garden salad dressing from them at the restaurant.
• India
4 Jul 08
i think because they have expert chiefs to prepare those delicious dishes for us...they have learned a proper course of cooking....that is wt we expect out of them when we go out to eat...good food...right ??
1 person likes this
• United States
4 Jul 08
So now I gotta take a cooking class, oh man!
@taface412 (3179)
• United States
3 Jul 08
Okay I love OG salad....so tell me how do you make it? And yes, I have noticed at times salads are better in restaurants, but I like mine too. But I put a little of everything in mine, especially cheese....yum yum
1 person likes this
• United States
4 Jul 08
I got it off the back of a wishbone Italian dressing bottle, it was a few years ago so its probably not stil there. I think you can find it on-line though.
@salonga (24997)
• Philippines
25 Jun 08
It's the other way around for me. My salads tastes better than those other restaurants could offer. That is what my friends, my son and my hubby have been telling and I am really flattered!
1 person likes this
• United States
25 Jun 08
I know that manila would be a long drive to come to dinner, so, I'll have to wait.
• Philippines
24 Jun 08
actually i worked in a restaurant for almost 7 years, i prepare all the salads... the reason why your salads taste different are the following: 1. the brand that you use ( ingredients, sauce, dressings ) 2. the way that you make it 3. dressings taste well if they are freshly made rather that prepacked if you have other question just ask it again to me ok.. salads and foods its my specialty
• United States
25 Jun 08
I will. You need to change your name to "saladman".
@TessWhite (3147)
• United States
24 Jun 08
For me I think its because salad bars offer so many choices. I LOVE salads. I usually make up a huge one, and go light on the dressing. But at home, I guess I'm too cheap to buy all of those choices. One thing I do know - I love my dressing at home better. And I've often taken some of it in a small container to use on the salad bar creations I make.
1 person likes this
• United States
25 Jun 08
Me too! I tell the wife, "bring the big purse." :)
@youless (68323)
• Guangzhou, China
23 Jun 08
I think perhaps the restaurants to dry the fruits and vegetables from water better than we do at home. I watch a cooking show and they use a professional vegetable dryer. I bought it some time ago but haven't used it yet:) I love China
1 person likes this
@youless (68323)
• Guangzhou, China
2 Dec 09
Thanks for the best response
@jlamela (4910)
• Philippines
19 Feb 09
Well, restaurants have their special ingredients for salad and other cuisines that's why maybe their foods taste better than our own recipe. But whatever preparation we had for our own recipe I think that's more special than commercial one because we Know what we put in the food and we know also that we are safe for our own preparation so it has great advantages than the one in restaurant, never mind the taste so as long as it is accepted by your friends and relatives.
1 person likes this
@jlamela (4910)
• Philippines
19 Feb 09
Well, restaurants have their special ingredients for salad and other cuisines that's why maybe their foods taste better than our own recipe. But whatever preparation we had for our own recipe I think that's more special than commercial one because we Know what we put in the food and we know also that we are safe for our own preparation so it has great advantages than the one in restaurant, never mind the taste so as long as it is accepted by your friends and relatives.
1 person likes this
@aendzie (571)
• Philippines
20 Aug 08
really? I didn't know salads taste better in the restos than home made. I love my mom's salads. I feel weird whenever I taste other's salad. But I tried salads from Wendy's and I like it. I think it depends on person's/ chef's way of making salads, but it doesn't really mean all restos salads taste better.You can make a delicious salad in the future.
1 person likes this
• United States
19 Aug 08
Hmmm... I don't know but the same goes for me too! It seems at home i'm always missing one ingredient or another or else it's a different brand of dressing... it's always something.
1 person likes this
@jonesy123 (3951)
• United States
19 Aug 08
Part of it probably has to do with ingredients and where they come from. They can taste different depending on where they were grown. And then of course that when we have to prepare it ourselves, the chore of doing so may be a downer and influence appetite and consequently the taste experience, lol;)
1 person likes this
@metschica25 (5411)
• United States
19 Aug 08
Olive garden does have a good salad and so does the outback . I suppose it is because many of the things are homemade , esp the dressing . Also , they have the best of cheese i think maybe.
1 person likes this
@coffeebreak (17826)
• United States
19 Aug 08
You know, I have wondered that same thing so often!! I mean half the time they don't even put all the stuff on them that I like and still, they seem better than what I make at home.. Just can't figure that one out!!!
1 person likes this