Proper Diner Date Etiquette
You are not in a fast food joint – you are entering the fine dining arena. Get your game on with some simple tips. Consider this your “playbook” and be a winner!
Sheila, an expert in East Indian Dating, advises:
“Fine dining is an experience you may not feel comfortable with. You will have to leave your ball cap at home. You may have to order wine but do not panic! Make reservations in advance since hot restaurants book up fast. There is probably a dress code so find out ahead of time. You might get seated if you show up too casually dressed but you can bet it will be a table by the kitchen. If you are running late be sure to call and let them know.”
Are you terrified by place settings, all those forks, knives and spoons? It is easy once you know what everything means. Since the plate will be in the middle, let’s work around it.
Imagine a clock. Your forks will be at 9 o’clock, knives and spoons at 3 o’clock, possibly desert utensils at twelve. If you get confused, just work from outside to inside toward your plate!
OK, that is easy, right? A good rule of thumb is solids on left and liquids on right. This means the bread plate to your left is yours and the glasses to the right are yours.
When you are ready to order and the server will want to know if you will be starting with wine. Depending upon the restaurant, they may have a sommeliers or wine expert. If you do not know much about wine or cannot afford something expensive, no problem. Point to a wine in your price range and ask the server their opinion.
• Once seated, put your napkin in your lap. Leave it there. If you get up during the meal, leave your napkin in your chair.
• The server will probably pull your date’s chair out. If not, make sure you do.
• If something is not to your liking – wine, food, or service – be calm and polite to your server and let them make it right.
• Use good manners. Leave elbows off the table, do not slurp your soup, break bread into small bites, use your butter knife (on top of bread plate) to place butter on your bread and do not start eating until both you and your date’s meals have arrived.
If you need to remove food from your mouth take it out the way it went in. For example, if you put food in with a fork, it comes out on your fork and is discreetly placed on plate.
Everybody spills sometimes, so if you do show some class. Do not try to wipe it up with your napkin, ask the server to clean it up for you. The same goes for dropped silverware, ask the server for more.
It is customary to tip, but how much? Usually you will want to leave between 15-20% and 20-25% if you had excellent service. In the case of the sommelier, you may tip them separately.
Once finished with your meal, place your fork and knife (with blade in) across your plate at the 11 and 5 o’clock angle, fold your napkin and only place it on the table when you get up to leave. Pull your date’s chair out for her and let the concierge know you had a wonderful time as you walk out with your head up and chin high!
For more etiquette tips, check out Indian Dating Tips.
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About Ashok S. A little bit about me, I'm a first generation East Indian American clinical psychology doctoral student. One of the greatest joys in my life is my romantic relationship with my fiancée, Sheila. During the time I was dating looking for the right partner, I was shy and wasn't that good at getting the right girl's attention. It took me some years but was able to meet and date the right woman. So now four happy years later, Sheila and I decided to help others who want to date and have a long term relationship with an Indian women.