Many dates involve some sort of food. If you are taking your date to a restaurant in a city you are unfamiliar with, it is important to take some steps to do some quick research about dining etiquette. Here are a few tips for dining etiquette while dating. Enjoy a simple crash-course for surviving “dining dating in Paris.”
Part A: Before Making the Reservation
Do some research before making a reservation. Don’t go somewhere just because someone said it’s a great place. Make sure to specifically research where you’d like to go. If you are staying at a hotel or hostel, ask them questions. Here are some great questions to ask yourself to narrow down a reservation:
- Do I want someplace romantic or do I want someplace more casual?
- Do I want someplace that is fancy and expensive or do I want a more laid-back atmosphere?
- What do I want us to eat during dinner?
- Does my date partner have any special needs or food allergies?
Asking these questions can help you determine where to set your reservation.
Part B: Etiquette while Setting a Reservation
- Set your reservation in advance.
- Be polite.
- Get the name of the person setting the reservation.
- Call back the day of the reservation to confirm the time.
Part C: Arriving at the Restaurant
If you’re waiting, ask for a menu or use the restroom. But make sure to stay close enough to the hostess to hear your name when it’s called. Know basic French terms for food because your menu may not be in French and your waitress probably won’t translate them all for you.
Part D: During Meals
- Wine cups are only filled halfway. Wine lists are ordered by regions.
- Tea and coffee is served at the end of the meal
- Bread is not served until the first course
- Specifiy how you would like your meat cooked
- If you don’t wish to have wine, or pay for bottled water, order what is called a “carfe” of water. This is a cup of water and is safe to drink.
- Respect the entire team of workers: The waiter, the waitress, the host, the staff. Respect the other customers, too. You and your date are here for the experience, but so are they.
Finishing the Meal
When you are done with the meal, dessert and coffee, it’s time to leave. If you’d like extra time to talk to your date, go to someplace more relaxed. Perhaps have a walk down a romantic waterfront. But don’t stay around and hog the restaurant table.
Do ask your waitress or waiter for a check; they won’t bring it until you do. It is important to have French currency; many places don’t always accept American cards, especially smaller restaurants. This isn’t because they are “anti-American”, it is because the fees most visas charge are too much for some restaurants.
Tip Side Notes
Tips are generally included in the restaurant bill – an average 15%. This is usually included on the restaurant menu. It is considered polite, however, to leave an extra tip for your hard-working dinner crew. After all, they made your night special. Why not make their night special with a thank-you present?