Fancy Restaurant Etiquette for Nervous Eaters
Dining at a high-end restaurant is a great experience that everyone should try a few times in their life: the atmosphere, the food and the service will be different than anything you’ve experienced before. You will be treated to different flavours than you are used to and you will undoubtedly walk away with a new appreciation for fine food.
Unfortunately, some people are nervous enough about the experience that they avoid it altogether, They think they will do something wrong, or make themselves look silly. Nervousness shouldn’t keep you from trying new things, however, and fine dining is no exception. Here are a few tips that can help nervous eaters get through a meal at any restaurant and be able to look back on the experience with fond memories.
The first rule of any nice night out is to prepare yourself by getting ready and knowing what to expect. The more comfortable you are and the more you know about what to expect, the less nervous you will be, which means you will have a more enjoyable time.
Make sure you choose the right outfit. Many people like to dress nicely in outfits they do not wear all of the time when they are going to be dining in nice restaurant or are going to a dinner party. If you are going to a restaurant, find out what the establishment’s dress code is: business casual (nice jeans and buttoned shirts) is becoming more and more acceptable, but there are still many Restaurants in London where it is customary to wear a suit jacket in order to dine.
Of course, if you want to go all out, there’s no shame in that either, no matter what the dress code is. The key is to find what you are expected to wear and then chose an outfit that you are comfortable in.
One of the first things that may make nervous eaters a little wary is the seating arrangements. The good news is that this is something you really don’t have to worry about at all. If there’s someone you specifically you want to sit next to, you can discuss it earlier on in the evening.
The seating will most like be handled by a host or hostess that will show you and your group to the table. Typically, the person who made the reservations may be seated first, as they are considered the host or hostess of the party, but even this is becoming less common. It is, however, still generally expected that any women in the party are seated first — if you’re a man remember to pull the chair out for your date! — followed by the men in the group.
The host or hostess can answer any questions you may have about seating as well.
You’ve seen it in films before: someone sits down at a nicely set table and is immediately confronted with twenty knives, forks, spoons and plates arranged in front of them with no discernible order. Don’t worry, though. Dinnerware etiquette isn’t as difficult as you may think.
The general rule of thumb in this situation is to work your way from the outside toward the plate in the middle. The dinnerware is set up in advance to reflect the meal, so forks, knives and spoons will be used in order, from outside-in. Your server will also periodically remove any dinnerware that you will not need to make your experience easier.
And, if you are ever in doubt, follow the lead of those around you. Chances are, others in your party have been to fine dining establishments in the past and they will know what to do.
Don’t Take it Too Seriously
Fine dining should be a fun experience, not one filled with anxiety that you will make a wrong move. This being said, take it easy! It is, after all, just diner and any faux pas you may make will surely be laughed away.
While you don’t want to make a scene by imbibing to much alcohol or anything, you shouldn’t be too worried about making mistakes, especially if it’s your first time dining at a high-end restaurant. Just sit back, relax, take in the hopefully enjoyable conversation and use it as a learning experience. The next time will be more fun and after that, you’ll be a pro!
Don’t let nervousness ruin your chances at a nice evening at a high-end restaurant with friends. Do a little research, prepare yourself and you are sure to have a great time.
Tom Warsop graduated from the University of Exeter in 2000 and is now the owner of the Travel and Entertainment Group of companies. Dedicated to helping the British Public to discover great activities within the travel and leisure sectors, Tom has made a career out of combining his passion for Travel, Events and Dining with his range of businesses within this ever changing and dynamic business sector.