Saturday, July 20, 2013

A Guide to Fine Dining - Tips for Elegant Eating

Dining out with that special someone? Taking co-workers or prospective clients out to a fine dining restaurant? Make sure you mind your manners and make a good impression with these tips.

  • Keep your Reservations: Fine dining restaurants usually require reservations. To be sure they can accommodate you and your party makes a reservation well in advance. If the amount of people change or the your unable to attend dinner during your reservation time, make sure you call and let them know. It's common curiosity to tell the restaurant that you no longer are going to be dining there and it's a a must if you frequent the restaurant or want to make future reservations.
  • Dress appropriately: call ahead to find out what dress requirements the restaurant has. Some finer dining establishments have very strict dress codes and may require you to wear certain attire to eat in the restaurant. Don't cause embarrassment by showing up unprepared; this will only cause you, your guests, and the restaurant great inconvenience.
  • Understanding the Menu: Often times at fine dining establishments, entrees can be in languages you're unable to read let alone say. While it may seem embarrassing to have to ask what a menu item is, don't assume you're the only one who has done it. Asking your server will help you choose something you will enjoy and something that will be worth the money you put towards it. If you've asked a few questions and still aren't sure what you want off the menu, ask your sever about the feature entrĂ©e or the chef's signature dish. Chances are the chef's signature dish is going to be great, so as long as it's something you think you can eat then try going with that.
  • Mind Your Manners: Manners a must at a fine dining restaurant. Be sure to practice chivalry when women are present, this means getting up when they excuse themselves, or pulling out their chairs when they return to the table. It's also important to practice when receiving your food. Place your napkin across your lap before you eat and when you do get your meal be polite and don't just dig in. Even if you're starving and haven't had anything to eat in days, don't dive into your meal the minute the server places it in front of you. It's customary and polite to wait for everyone in your party to receive your food before their meal.
  • Wine: Unless you're a very experienced wine connoisseur, chances are the wine list at a fine dining restaurant can be a little daunting. If you're not sure what wine to choose, ask your server for suggestions. Your server or another member of the restaurant staff should have a decent understanding of wine and should be able to guide you in the right direction. If the staff seems less than helpful, choose something that you are familiar with. It may be a good idea to read up on your wines before going dining out. This way you can have a few backup wines in mind.
  • Tipping: A tip is an essential part of your dining experience and should act as a reflection of the service you have had. The average amount for a tip is between 15 and 20 percent of your total bill. If you had superb service and want to show your server you appreciate them give him or her little extra. If your service was less than subpar it's okay to tip less, but unless your service was absolutely awful it's generally not a good idea to not tip at all. Make sure you tip the server based on his or her service. For example, if your meal takes too long or if there is some other problem that stems from the kitchen, don't punish your server if they have been
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