Food & Wine
5 Dining Tips for Eating at High-End Restaurants
Dining out can be a lot of fun. It fulfills the basic need of providing sustenance for you and whoever attends the meal with you, but it’s also an event. It’s a way for you to go out on the town and establish your nightlife persona.
There are certainly some faux pas you can make when you dine out, though, especially if you’re eating at a high-end restaurant and not a national chain. Here are some useful tips that should help you feel like you belong in such a setting.
Make Sure to Dress Appropriately
Whether you’re attending a Branson Belle Lunch in Branson, Missouri, or you’re about to sit down to eat at New York’s famous Per Se in Columbus Circle, you want to wear the right ensemble, or else they might not let you in the door. Some dining spots will not let men in if they are not wearing a jacket and tie, and the women’s dress code might be just as strict.
You should research the restaurant a bit and see what their dress code is, or if you can’t find that information on their website, you can always call and speak to the staff in advance. You might feel a bit stiff or formal dressing up for lunch or dinner, but you can also look at it as a chance to wear some of your more expensive clothing items that don’t usually see a lot of action.
It is true that some people don’t like dressing up very much, and if that’s the case, you can always go to a more casual dining establishment. You might find that if you get a little more used to it, though, dressing up to go to a fancy restaurant can be fun.
Accessorize Appropriately as Well
Once you have selected your ensemble for lunch or dinner at a more expensive spot, you should also think about what else you can wear that will make the outfit pop. You might consider which watch you might wear that can accentuate a collared shirt and tie. Maybe you have a Tommy Hilfiger, a Fossil, or a Polo. You may even have something more upscale, like a Patek Phillipe or a Rolex.
You might look at rings, necklaces, or cufflinks, depending on whether or not you have any that match your outfit. You may not have a vast selection, but you should try to accumulate a few pieces over the years that you can use on special occasions like this one.
Learn a Little About Wine and Cocktails
You might decide to learn some of the wine and cocktail basics before going to a more expensive dining spot. You can watch some videos about selecting red or white wine. You might learn some of the most well-known wine tips, such as choosing a red to go with meat or a white for fish courses.
If you would prefer to have a pre-meal cocktail instead of wine, you might go with a classic like a vodka or gin martini. Maybe you’d like a Manhattan or whisky sour. A nice whisky sour made with Maker’s Mark can whet your appetite for the meal to come.
If you don’t drink alcohol, that’s fine too. You might order sparkling water or still water with lemon. Any restaurant should understand if you’re driving or you simply choose not to consume any intoxicants.
Study the Menu Beforehand
You might look at the restaurant’s website or app before you get there to see what they have on the menu. That is not always possible with some restaurants since some do not list what will be available until that same day. If they have the menu online, though, it is helpful to pick one or two items you might like to try if you feel like there’s too much pressure once you’re actually there.
If you’re going to a French or Italian restaurant and you don’t necessarily speak the language, you might try to translate some of the menu items before you get there, so you have some idea of your options. You should also not feel afraid to try something you have never had before. You have no way to know if you’ll like it, but sometimes it’s nice to have an adventure and expand your palate.
You should not feel nervous about asking your server any questions you might have. If you have any allergies or ingredient preferences, the server should not have any issue responding to your concerns or queries.
Try to Use Good Table Manners
It is best to try to use good table manners at higher-end restaurants, but also at any dining establishment you might frequent. You can take your napkin, unfold it, and place it on your lap when you arrive. You can lift it up and dab it at your mouth when you need to do so.
Try not to blow your nose on the napkin. It is best not to rest your elbows on the tabletop. You should also try to control your voice’s volume. Attempt to keep your conversation at an appropriate level, and don’t laugh uproariously at jokes or anecdotes.
The more time you spend in high-end dining establishments, the more you will know what to do, and the less it will intimidate you. We’ve given you some recommendations as far as behavior goes, but also remember that you’re paying the restaurant, so if you act a bit unconventionally, it’s not the worst thing in the world. You’re still a paying customer, so as long as you don’t do anything completely out of line, they should still accommodate you.
Fine dining is an art form, but you should not let it worry you. If you’re too concerned about what kind of impression you’re making, remember that you’re there to relax and have a nice time and a great meal. That should be foremost in your mind as you learn this new skill.