The word “restaurant,” of the French verb “restaurer,” means to “to restore oneself,” and what better way to restore oneself than over a fine meal with the company you love to keep.
But there are so many knives and forks! While it’s true that dining etiquette can be daunting for the uninitiated, brushing up on the basics before you head out to eat can take some of the guesswork out of what should be a carefree and enjoyable experience.
If you want to know more, keep reading to learn how to eat fine dining and feel like you were born to do it.
The Original Rules of Fine Dining Etiquette
While formalities of fine dining experiences have relaxed over the decades – goodbye bow ties – certain fundamentals remain as unchanging as ever. So take a look at this brief list to refresh your memory.
Never Lift Your Menu off the Table
If you want to show your stuff, it’s customary to keep one part of your menu touching the table in a formal setting, so don’t forget those reading glasses. The same is true for bread; butter one bite at a time, the rest stays on the plate.
Keep the Rims of Your Plate Clean
Nobody wants sticky hands, not even the table staff. But it is recommended to leave one bite on the plate to show you enjoyed the meal and weren’t famished.
The benefits of fine dining mean fine tables and glassware. Air cheers! And keep those lips sipping from the same spot to avoid lip smears all over the glass.
Never Say Why You’re Leaving the Table
If you need to use the restroom, excuse yourself. But don’t overshare; it’s not necessary to elaborate.
New Rules of Dining Etiquette
Hospitality doesn’t only apply to the establishment and staff. We all have our parts to play, and being a polite diner goes a long way. So let’s look at a few of the latest additions to the evolving era of dining decorum.
The Customer Isn’t Always Right
We all want a touch of the royal treatment, but that’s no reason to be a demanding guest when eating fine dining. Entitlement is earned, not demanded.
While 20% used to be the ceiling for tips, it’s now seen as the floor. Remember, your tips incentivize the staff to excel, and when they feel underappreciated, they’re less inclined to put out their best.
Limit Your Phone Use
With QR codes and Instagram at our fingertips, restaurants appreciate the need for technology. But if you want to elevate your dining standing, turn off your ringer and avoid taking calls.
Respect Your Reservations and Be Clear About Food Allergies
Show up or cancel your reservation in a timely way. A loss of reservation is irreplaceable, and it shows respect for your position as a guest if you honor this rule.
And if you do have food allergies, make sure to let the chef know. Your well-being and fine dining experience is not only their responsibility but yours too.
Breath Mint, Anyone?
Going out for a fine meal doesn’t have to be a complicated affair. You can afford to add a touch of class to your experience and reap some of those fine dining benefits, even if your budget is tight.
So bring home a taste of the good life and indulge a little. You don’t even need a bow tie to do it.
If you enjoyed this article on dining etiquette, feel free to check out more from our Lifestyle & Health categories.