Rules of Dining Etiquette – 6 Tips for Keeping It Classy

When inviting friends or coworkers to a fine restaurant, there are some rules you should uphold – they are called restaurant etiquette. Some of them are easy to follow; others, however, are not so obvious and are so nuanced to the point of feeling a bit intimidating. There’s no reason to worry, however. Today, we will tell you all about these rules of fine dining etiquette. We’ll explain, step by step, just how you should act while in a fancy restaurant. Try to keep attention to them all, but don’t worry too much if you don’t memorize all of them instantly. The key is paying attention to the most important, basic ones – they should prepare you for proper dining etiquette and experience.

So, if you expect to visit a fancy restaurant anytime soon, or are just simply curious, we invite you to familiarize yourself with our list of tips when it comes to cutlery rules, proper silverware etiquette, and more. They will no doubt improve your experience, as well as the impression you make.

1. Making a Reservation

If we are talking about truly fancy restaurants, it’s obvious you can’t just walk in and sit at a random table. You have to make a reservation first. And, if the restaurant is especially popular, you should remember to make the reservation days, perhaps even weeks in advance. Unfortunately, no restaurant can’t serve everyone – and if you try to make a reservation too late, you most likely will find out there simply aren’t any tables available.

It’s important not only because of the restaurant etiquette but also because of health concerns, that you let the reservationist know about any allergies you or the other guests have. They will adjust the menu accordingly, and your fancy dinner will stay safe for everyone. Also, always mention how many people will be coming to dinner. If there is no way of knowing if a person is going or not, reserve an extra seat just in case as a part of your dining etiquette.

2. Proper Silverware Etiquette

Sometimes, a restaurant will offer you several different pieces of silverware. This will definitely happen if a multiple-course meal is planned.  Don’t panic and, for starters just start with the set laying the furthest away from the plate. After you finish eating, place them on the plate and, after the next course is served, just reach out for the ones a bit closer to the table and so on, and so on. This is the secret to proper silverware etiquette and cutlery rules.

3. How to Use Dishes and Glassware

Multiple course meals will be served on multiple plates. After you finish up a course, the plate you have been eating from will be cleared away, and the next dish will be served to you – fairly straightforward, isn’t it? What is confusing many people is the small plate in the upper left from where you’re sitting – this is your bread plate in terms of meal etiquette.

When it comes to glassware, it will be arranged in the upper right corner from you, in the order of use. The water goblet will be the first to the left of the arrangement, and next in line are the wine glasses – a different one for each type of wine (or champagne). The waiter will pour the appropriate type of wine in the correct glass, so there’s no real room for you to make any mistakes. Just remember that drinking wine, you should hold the glass by the stem. Another one of the cutlery rules that will come in handy for nailing the fine dining etiquette.

4. How to Order and Pass Food

If the restaurant has a set menu, the chef will choose the courses in advance, so no need to worry about ordering food. If, however, you visit a restaurant where you should order the meals yourself, always allow your guests to order first as a part of dining etiquette. Always order the same number of courses for each person – that way, nobody will be singled out during a particular course.

If you need the server’s attention, according to restaurant etiquette, call them to your table in a calm and quiet manner. Do not, and we cannot stress this enough, shout or wave your arms. When making the order, speak out clearly and try to maintain eye contact with the server.

If courses will be shared throughout the table, pass the dishes from left to right. If you want to try a particular dish, always ask and wait for the person closest to the plate to hand it over to you, never reach out first. Do not intercept a pass to another guest who asked for a particular dish, even if you sit closer to the plate – wait for your turn. When passing salt and pepper, always pass them both, even if the request was for only salt or only pepper.

If you wish to share a dish with someone, follow the meal etiquette and place a small amount on the bread plate and hand it over.

5. Eating Tips

Finally, let’s move on to perhaps the most important section of meal etiquette. Here are the most basic ideas on what you should and should not do during mealtime.

  • Wait for your food to cool down on its own instead of blowing on it
  • Take small bites of your food
  • Don’t make slurping noises while eating
  • Never burp while sitting at a fancy restaurant table (or any dining table)
  • Cut your food piece by piece
  • Use the correct utensils to scope food that is far from you
  • Even if you are unsure if you are going to like a particular dish, at the very least taste it
  • If you have any special dietary requirements, mention them to the restaurant staff in advance
  • Before starting to eat, wait for everyone to sit down and receive their plate
  • Try to pace yourself to match the eating speed of your dinner companions; never eat too fast, no matter how tasty a dish is
  • Always tip the server in accordance with the restaurant’s rules – do research on them before reserving a seat
  • When finishing the dinner, remember to say “thank you” to the staff who served you

See? Maintaining a fine dining etiquette is easy, and will make you look classy! It will, of course, also make sure your dining process goes smoothly. Now, before we end this article, there’s just one more, quite controversial thing we need to be clear about.

6. How to Pay the Restaurant Bill?

If you are inviting someone to a fancy restaurant, the general consensus is you should pay for everyone’s order, no matter how pricey the meals were. This is something you just have to accept, and arguing over the bill will not only be frowned upon but will possibly also cause you to lose your friends.

That is, unless, however, you and your dining guests agree beforehand to share the bill. In that case, let the server know before the meal. Perhaps they will be able to share the check in a fair manner, so each person would only have to pay for the food they ordered. If not, it’s on you to share the costs in a fair and even manner. Someone who did not drink alcohol, should not have to pay for the drinks. A vegetarian or vegan should not have to pay for meat-based dishes. Someone who ordered no deserts shouldn’t have to pay for them.

If you’re interested in fine and tasty dining in Miami, don’t hesitate to pay us a visit at Stubborn Seed. We’re proud to say that we take every single ingredient with care and proceed to elevate it in order to make your palate appreciate it even more.