Let us think about this scenario for a bit: You and your significant other are on an Australian trip and decided to go out for the night. Going to a fine dining restaurant in Sydney has always been included in your to-do list, so this night is pretty much special for the both of you. But there is one problem, other than dressing up in your best night wear, the nuances of fine dining are pretty alien to you.
Well, you do not need to worry about that. Here, we will talk about basic fine dining restaurant etiquettes you should follow once you step into that restaurant.
Make sure reservations have been made
Especially if it is a popular restaurant, always make reservations prior to your dining date. This makes it easy for the hostess to organize the tables that will be filled up at a certain time of the night. However, if you have come in very early, say 7:30 for an 8:00 dinner, do not expect to be at your table at that time. It just shows how much time is important to you, but that does not exactly mean your table is vacant. But if it is vacant, then there will be no problem getting you seated early.
Do not flail your arms about when calling for the waiter
One of the things that will probably give you side-eye glances is the way you call the waiter. Do not flail your arms and waving them all over as if you are in a sinking boat, remember that your waiter will not immediately run to you when you do that. What you can do is to make eye contact and raise your index finger once you got their attention. Do not worry about not being able to do that because waiters in fine dining restaurants are always attentive.
Additionally, avoid looking at the menu card while you are talking to the waiter because it is rude. Talk to them directly, and talk in full sentences, not in monosyllables.
There is no harm in asking
A common fine dining pitfall is the menu. When there is a dish we cannot pronounce or ingredients we do not know, we usually become audibly exasperated and attempt to read them aloud to get the waiter to correct us and respond to us. What you can do in a fine dining setting is to point at the dish and ask the waiter what it is and what it comprises, that is perfectly fine to do.
Order the same number of courses as your guest
If you came in with a guest, always let them order first and then try to order the same number of food as they did. When ordering wine, you can always look over the wine list and read about what makes them special. Do not announce the price range you are willing to shell out for the wine.
Napkin and cutlery placing has equivalent meanings
You might notice this during dinner, but napkin and cutlery placing have equivalent signals. Obviously, you should place the napkin on your lap while eating. If you are going to excuse yourself to go to the washroom, put it on the chair. If you are done eating, put it on the left side of your plate to signal that it is okay to clear it up.
Further, while you are eating, you can put down your knife and fork on each side of the plate, with the fork on the left side. Once you are ready with the next course, lay them down on a cross, with the knife lying vertically. Once the meal is over, put them down beside each other at the middle of the plate, with the knife on the left.
You can look up more napkin and cutlery guides to make sure you are conveying the right signal.
These are just the basic fine dining etiquette you can do during your first night out. Do not worry, it does not have to be an intimidating experience. Just enjoy the night, you deserve to be pampered.