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Marina Club’s Rough Guide to Restaurant Etiquette

Restaurant etiquette

Restaurant etiquette is neglected nowadays, that’s why Marina Club felt the need to share with its loyal clientele the common practices that are considered not only cordial, but also courteous.

Granted, much of restaurant etiquette is essentially common sense: Don’t speak with your mouth full, avoid telling rude jokes at table, and always cover your mouth when you cough. That being said, we didn’t see any harm in wanting to help sharpen your already existent skills in this sphere.

It’s a matter of fact that people look kindly on individuals who practise good manners. Undeniably, proper comportments are important, mainly because people will perceive you differently and respect you if you know how to behave appropriately at the table, on the street, in business meetings – basically anywhere where there is some sort of social interaction.

Set up payment ahead of time if you’re the host

A knowledgeable host knows to give their credit card before they sit down, or even call the restaurant ahead of time. Also, it’s important to understand that it goes without saying, the person who invites is the person who pays.

If you did the inviting, automatically that makes you the host, and you should pay the bill, regardless of gender. So what happens if a guest wants to pay? You can politely decline and also excuse yourself from the table and pay the bill away from the guests. This is a very refined way to pay a bill. Whatever you do, don’t make a scene over it. If your guest insists on paying despite your best efforts, then allow them to do so.

The host should always be in charge

If you’re hosting you should pick an appropriate restaurant and make reservations ahead of time. This is especially crucial if you’re having a business lunch or dinner when it can be chaotic with an otherwise full-booked restaurant.

Once you’re seated, take charge of the logistics of the meal by directing your guests to their seats or recommending menu items in various price ranges.

Know the proper table settings

Think about this: the word “left” has four letters and “right” has five. Food is placed to the left of the dinner plate. The words food and left each have four letters; if the table is set properly, your bread or salad or any other food dish, will be placed to the left of your dinner plate. Similarly, drinks are placed to the right of the dinner plate, and the words glass and right contain five letters. Any glass or drink will be placed to the right of the dinner plate. This could also apply for your cutlery: your fork (four letters) goes to the left; your knife and spoon (five letters each) go to the right.

Familiarise yourself with the different cutlery

Each course should have its own set of cutlery and all of them may already be in front of you or will be placed in front of you, soon after you’ve made your order. If all the collection of cutlery is there at the beginning of the meal, a good general rule is to start with utensils on the outside and work your way in as the meal progresses.

The largest fork is generally for the main course whereas the salad fork is smaller. The largest spoon is usually for soup and if you’re having a fish course, you may see the fish knife and fork as part of the place setting. The cutlery above the plate are the dessert fork and spoon, although these may sometimes be placed on either side of the plate or brought in with the dessert.

Always break bread with your hands

Etiquette dictates to never use your knife to cut your rolls at a business dinner. Instead, break your roll in half and tear off one piece at a time, and butter the piece as you are ready to eat it.

Don’t put your phone, keys, wallet or bag on the table

It distracts not only your dining companions, but also your waiter and the entire restaurant.

Let your guest order first

The host, must make it clear that he or she is the host. Phrases like, ‘Will you please bring my guest…’ or ‘My guest would like to order first’ to ward off confusion, makes sense.

Don’t yell to the waiting staff

Instead, try to make eye contact with your waiter, and if that doesn’t work, put up your right hand with your index finger raised slightly to get their attention.

Know the “rest” and “finished” positions

Place your knife and fork in the rest position (knife on top of plate, fork across middle of plate) to let the waiter know you are resting. Use the finished position (fork below the knife, diagonally across the plate) to indicate that you have finished eating.

Don’t use the napkin as a tissue

The napkin should only be used for blotting the sides of your mouth. If you need to blow your nose, simply excuse yourself to the restroom.

Sure, you might not be a savage ogre when going out to eat for a business lunch or dining out with friends and family, but this refresher list we’ve provided you with can help you perfect a more sophisticated approach when eating out.

So why not come and practise your restaurant etiquette with our staff here at Marina Club? We’re situated at the gorgeous Valletta Waterfront. We also offer private functions. For further information, contact us.

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