Fine dining, just as the name suggested, it’s a dining experience with the finest food, service and atmosphere. It requires a lot of attention to detail, even the simple little thing we do must also be in proper-mannered. We don’t usually get these fine dining experience, unless it is under special occasion. Hence, most of us are so used to casual dining that we only know little about the basic of fine dining etiquette.
It is important to learn the proper table manners since young and fine dining requires even more effort to improve the table manners. A reservation must also be made beforehand to ensure seats are available for you and your company. If you’re invited to join a fine dining with your colleagues or going on a dinner date with your girlfriend/boyfriend, we know just the way to improve your table manners!
1. Entering the dining room
Upon reaching the restaurant, the hosts escorts the lady of honor into the dining room first, while the man of honor enters the dining room last escorted by hostess. As for the remaining guests, they are allowed to enter the dining room in whatever order they choose, only after the lady of honor has entered the dining room.
2. Body and seating
Just a heads up – a fine dining restaurant is a formal restaurant and everything is expected to be proper and organized. But of course, we want you to enjoy the meal as comfortable as possible. Hence, posture is very important as hunching your shoulder over the plate or slouching back to your chair is considered rude in the restaurant. Sit up straight and keep your elbows off the table with your arms resting on your lap or near your body.
3. Dress code
Dress accordingly to the occasion. It doesn’t need to be formal but it shouldn’t be too casual or sloppy. Wear nothing too fancy nor too plain, just make sure it’s clean and neat. Casual elegant and business casual are the keys to what to wear to a fine dining restaurant.
4. Holding cutlery
Cutleries are usually arranged in the designated way as a series of forks are usually put on the left side of the plate while the spoons and the knifes are on the right side of the plate. To clear your confusion, the rule is always work from outside in, which means the cutlery farthest away from the plate are always used for the first course. As for dessert , the spoon and fork is only then given to you and the host/hostess would put them in front of the plate. One thing everyone should know is to never point anyone with your cutlery. It may seems nothing, but for some, it seems like a threat to the guests and it is rude to point at anyone in any way.
5. Pass the food instead of reaching for it
Often time, the food are placed at a distance out of our reach and it is almost impossible to reach the food without standing up. However, rather than reaching over the food, simply ask the person sitting next to you to pass it to you. But when you reaching for the salt and pepper, they should always be passed around together.
6. Avoid using any electronic devices
As technology has advanced, mobile devices now have many different social media platform for us to connect with our friends and family. We can access to any websites at ease even in a fine dining restaurant. But, you are here to enjoy a wonderful meal, not talking on the phone or checking out updates throughout the whole dinner session. Most people think it’s really rude when a person is not looking at them while talking. So, unless you have urgent business to deal with, remember to turn your phone to silent mode and concentrate on the fine dining experience.
As different countries have different tradition, the table manners may vary from country to country. But in general, the good table manners include eating quietly. It should also be noted that we should not talk with our mouth full of foods. Eating with your mouth open is considered rude as well as it’s just really obscene, so it would be better to chew and swallow the food in one small bite. But, if you are travelling in other countries, make sure to learn their table manners too, as a sign of respect to the locals.
Sure, we are allowed to freely speech whenever we want and people are not going to stop us from doing so. But in a fine dining establishment, certain topics involving religion, politics, or sex shouldn’t be brought up as they’re considered as inappropriate. Some people might find it offensive when talking about these subjects as all they want is to enjoy a fine dinner instead. Yelling and screeching loudly in the restaurant should be avoided as well. Conversation is usually private and personal, so just speak in normal voice tones, or better yet, speak in soft voice that only allows you and your company to listen. (Source)