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A Modern Day Guide To Fine Dining Etiquette

25 Oct 2019


Table manners have been around for centuries, though they’ve change with the times. We are no longer required to butter one row of corn on a cob at a time; serviettes don’t always have to be in swan form; and women can even pick up the occasional cheque if they feel like it. What a time to be alive!

However, table manners remain an important skill, if only to ensure that everyone at the table feels comfortable knowing which fork to use first (tip: the ‘outside in’ rule is still de rigueur). If you’re taking advantage of Groupon’s great fine dining deals, then it’s probably time to brush up on the basics, like when is the best time to upload a photo of your meal to Instagram.

1. Don’t chew with your mouth open

It goes without saying that this rule should be followed at all times, but especially in a fine dining establishment. To avoid grossing out your fellow dinner guests try to take small bites, chew slowly and only come up for air when every last morsel is gone. If you are mid-mouthful when someone asks where you got such a natural-looking toupee from, simply raise a finger to indicate that you need a minute before informing them it is, in fact, your natural hair.

2. Dress to impress

Like that time you turned up in school uniform on mufti day, getting the dress code wrong can be a traumatic experience. The best way to avoid being taunted by small children is to do your research. Scour the restaurant’s website for clues or ring and ask if this proves too difficult a task. If in doubt, fine dining restaurants usually call for a suit jacket for men and long white gloves for women (just kidding).

3. You don’t have to pretend to be a wine connoisseur

If you want to enjoy a glass (or bottle) of wine with your meal, many fine dining venues have a sommelier or experienced waiter to make a recommendation. Extensive (and expensive) wine lists can be intimidating, but it is important that you don’t let it get the better of you. Tell the sommelier what you do and do not like, and let them know your budget. If you are offered a taste of the wine before it is poured, skip the swirling and sniffing and go straight for the taste test. This will be the best way to tell if the wine is corked.

4. Know your forks

While modern fine dining restaurants bring out cutlery with each course, more traditional establishments set the table with what looks like the entire contents of your cutlery drawer. The rule is to select knives and forks from the outside, working in with each course. You must also drink from the glasses to your right but eat from the bread plate to your left. Simple, right?

5. It’s okay to take photos of your food

Meals in fine dining restaurants are looking less like food and more like works of art as the years go by. The stunning visuals of the French fare at The Little Snail usually have people rushing to whip out their smartphone and snap a photo for their social media accounts. In 2016 this is acceptable, but it is important you make it snappy. Take the photo and then put your phone away in the shortest timeframe possible. Apply your filters and devise a witty caption on the way home and then sit back, relax, and watch the likes roll in.

Whether you prefer your food served as a deconstruction or degustation be sure to check out Groupon’s collection of fine dining restaurants.