If you’re going to drop by Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse or another upscale restaurant, you know you can’t just be as casual as you usually are when at Denny’s or a fast food joint. That shouldn’t make you nervous though, since these tips will show you exactly how to enjoy fine dining.
1. Knives and Forks
On the table you’ll see the spoons and knives on your right and the forks on the left. Always remember that the cutlery farthest from you is used for the first course, but if you’re not sure, just follow what your hostess does. Regardless of what’s being served, eat only small portions at a time.
2. Pudding and Soup
When you eat soup, make sure the soup bowl doesn’t come off the table, and do not drink from the bowl. As for pudding, don’t confuse it with dessert because they are different. In luxury restaurants, pudding is a course with sweet treats, while dessert consists of cheese or fruit. When you eat pudding, use your fork, as the pudding fork is for pushing the food only.
The napkin should be used for dabbing your mouth, not wiping or anything else. Before you eat, unfold your napkin and place it over your knees, and never tuck it in your dress or shirt. If you need to get up from the table before your meal is complete, put the napkin on your seat and get up, after informing the host of course. When you return, just place the napkin back on your knees.
4. Wine and Glasses
Fine diners usually have two to four wine glasses for each person on the table. The red wine is at the top left, and below it is the smaller white wine glass. In some restaurants you will also find a champagne glass next to the white wine glass, and perhaps a dessert glass as well.
Don’t drink the wine; just sip it occasionally as you eat. If you want to make a toast, don’t tap the glass because it might break, just clear your throat. If someone is toasting for you, remain seated while the others make the toast. Finally, don’t get drunk.
Upscale restaurants have seating rules, so just follow the arrangements or read the place cards on the table. Once you’re seated, keep your feet planted on the floor firmly, and don’t cross your legs or lean back in your chair. Don’t shake your knees and keep your elbows on your sides, and don’t lean over when you eat. Under no circumstances should you put your elbows on the table.
Finally, you mustn’t eat until everyone on the table has been served. If there are several guests on the table, just wait for the hostess to tell you that you can start eating. If you took a mouthful and it has something you’re unable to swallow, excuse yourself and remove it in private. Finally, place the pre-dinner snacks on your plate before putting in your mouth, as that’s the norm.