In this video from the ZAGAT YouTube channel, Simon Kim, the owner of Piora restaurant in New York City, lays out some easy ways you can practice proper dining etiquette. Here are some of the key points:
- Don’t jump into the best seat: When the host is seating you, don’t scramble for the seat that looks more comfortable or has the best view. Let the guest you invited, or your date, have the best seat.
- Put your napkin in your lap first: As soon as you sit down, put your napkin in your lap. Think of it as pulling up the covers as soon as you get into bed.
- Don’t toss napkins on the table: If you need to get up, place your napkin on your seat, not bunched up on the table (unless you’ve paid and you’re ready to leave).
- Use the “b and d” rule to get your bearings: Make a circle with your index finger and thumb on each hand and straighten out the rest of your fingers. The “b” shape of your left hand tells you where your bread plate is, and the “d” shape of your right hand shows you which drink is yours.
- Use the proper utensils for each course: When in doubt, start with the utensils placed on the outside and work your way in.
- Use your knife as a food guide: If you need to move food around on your plate or scoop food with your fork, use your knife.
- Place your utensils on your plate when you’re finished: When you’re done eating, place your knife and fork fully on your plate with the handles facing to your right. This signifies that you’re finished with your dish.
- Ask for your check subtly: Give your waiter a quick glance to get their attention. Don’t wave your arms or shout.
- Place the check presenter away from you: Once you’ve placed your credit card or cash in the check presenter, stick it near the edge of the table so your waiter knows it’s ready to be taken.
It won’t be the end of the world if you forget some of the more nuanced tips listed here, but you’ll look good if you do remember them. Plus, knowing proper dining etiquette will help you feel comfortable at the fanciest of meals, even if it’s not your usual cup of tea.
Easy Ways to Improve Your Table Manners [YouTube]