Emily's Etiquette Series: Dining Etiquette


Written by: Emily Alston

At an early age, my father taught me how to conduct myself while fine dining. Etiquette such as knowing to order a bottle of ketchup for the entire table is not in our DNA. Proper behavior like that is a learned trait. He didn’t play games and I’m here to make sure you don’t either. 

Now, the importance of requesting a bottle of squeezed tomatoes for your table is not lost on me, but it is quite advanced for fine dining beginners. So not to worry, we’ll start off simple - with more of a “beginners guide”. 

Here are my Do’s and Don’ts:

The Do’s:

Do Be the Olivia Palermo of the Café
It is key to dress the part when fine dining. As we like to say in my family, if the table is dressed, you should be too. So you must be sure to prepare your outfit. I’m a big fan of modeling my glam about an hour or so before I hit the door. Be sure to grab your Margo Paige clear tote and try on a couple cute dresses - which one makes you feel like an absolute star? That’s the one! Now go take on those cheddar biscuits and be Olivia. 

Do Let Jen Order First
Patience is a virtue and it is important to order in proportion to your companion. So give them the lead and match your number of courses to theirs. If they order Iced Tea, even though it’s 6PM, you should probably order a coke. If they order 2 appetizers, a main course and dessert, even though you want 3 appetizers - stick to 2. You can always pack a baguette in your clear handbag. 

Do Be a Sweetheart to Your Waiter
There’s nothing more brutal than waiting on people. I avoid it at all costs. Be polite but do expect good service. Most fine dining establishments only hire the best of hosts. And if by chance they are the most excellent, and give you a table hanger for your transparent purse, be sure to pack a bit of extra cash to add to the tip. 

The Don'ts:

Don’t Take Out Your Cellular Device
You better put that thing away! It’s just not proper in 2020 to take out a brick and text your roommate about your cat. Your cat is fine. Pay attention to the balsamic in the olive oil and be in the moment. Keep your cell in your clear backpack and enjoy your time!

Don’t Become an Overnight Chef
You dined out for a reason girl! To experience the fine cuisine of another. If you wanted to concoct your own dish, you should have probably stayed home. Stick to the menu as much as allergy and dietary restrictions allow. Your tastebuds will truly thank you and so will the kitchen. 

Don’t Take The Last Bite Of the Group Pie
You just don’t need it. And since it was for the table, the right thing to do is give the opportunity to your dining companions. If absolutely necessary, pack a Reeses in your clear crossbody bag and pull it out when the disappointment of not getting that last nibble hits in. 

Now that about wraps up the basic rules of fine dining my friends. Learn them, live them and you’ll never have to worry about entering an eatery again.