We all know there are unwritten rules round fine dining, but eating at top restaurants has certainly got more relaxed in recent years, as chefs recognise that many people want the same excellent food and service, but without the stiff formality of fine dining stereotypes.
Indeed, as Will Guidara of the three-Michelin-star, former World’s Best Restaurant Eleven Madison Park in New York, recently commented to us on removing the restaurant’s dress code: “I want to go out for an amazing meal, I don’t want to get dressed up for it. I don’t think anybody does anymore.”
Fine Dining Etiquette
Which makes this article that appeared on Food & Wine even more bizarre. The pieces focuses on 11 so called “fine dining etiquette rules” – most of which, we’ve never encountered. And we eat out a lot.
The rules come courtesy of an etiquette expert who’s previously worked for the Queen of England and consulted on the TV show, Downton Abbey, so perhaps this is just applicable to the grandest of state banquets, but these are bizarrely old fashioned none the less.
11 fine dining rules that are so wrong
Take a look below, including our thoughts on each. What other fine dining ‘rules’ do you think need to go? Let us know over on our Facebook page.
1. Never lift your menu off the table.
Life is too short to follow rules such as these.
2. Once you sip from a glass, you must sip from the exact same place for the rest of the evening.
But what if someone turns your glass around when you’re not looking, just to mess with you?
3. Don’t clink glasses, especially if using fine glassware.
Be gentle of course, but clinking glasses is fine.
4. Never ask for an oyster fork (if there’s no fork, it means the oyster is loosened and ready to go).
Yes, generally it will be loosened for you if you’re eating at a high-end restaurant.
5. Keep the rim of the plates as clean as possible, out of respect for the people who have to pick them up.
Don’t spread your food all over like a muck spreader, but the odd splash is nothing to be too concerned over.
6. Place discards on the upper left part of your plate.
This really doesn’t matter; just place them out of the way of the food you still want to consume.
7. Keep your bread on the plate at all times unless you are delivering it to your mouth.
Or using it to the mop up the last drops of that delicious sauce!
8. Fold your napkin with the crease toward you before putting it in your lap.
Do whatever you have to, to avoid food in your lap.
9. Never say you are going to the restroom.
‘Restroom’ is a very polite way to say it – where else would you be going?
10. Don't say "bon appetite."
One shalt never mention the name of a rival magazine over dinner.
11. Leave one bite left on your plate.
Not a chance.