Enjoying meals at high-end restaurants is much about the experience, as is the food. But unless you often dine in these types of establishments, you may find the whole environment a bit foreboding or intimidating. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your time there. After all, you paid a premium price, so the least you can do is make an effort to enjoy the experience to the fullest.
With that in mind, here are tips to help you make the most of your fine-dining experience.
Get the Full Experience
When dining out in a high-end setting, expect to spend a requisite amount of money and time on getting the best and fullest experience possible from the place. So, don’t skip anything to save and splurge.
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Familiarize Yourself with Cutlery
The hallmark of any fancy restaurant is the amount of cutlery you’d find on the table. If you’re presented with an overwhelming amount of silverware, expect high standards of culinary skills. However, there are several rules to consider. These include working your way in, starting with the smallest fork, also known as the salad fork, on the far left. After finishing your meal, always place the fork down and cross your knife and fork on the plate.
Finally, never leave your spoon inside of a bowl of soup, as this is considered blasphemy within a fine-dining setting.
Practice Table Manners
When dining out, regardless if you’re eating at a Michelin-starred restaurant or fast food joint, never forget to practice proper table manners. These include removing elbows from the table, always waiting until all your guests have arrived before ordering something, never placing handbags or wallets on the table, and never being on the phone when dining out. After all, you’re there to eat and enjoy good food by yourself or with friends and family.
Additionally, bear in mind that you should never shout to get a server’s attention. Calling for servers when they’re nearby or raising your hand is ideal.
Don’t Fall for the “Decoy Effect”
Fancy restaurants that incorporate the decoy effect in their menu include one or more quality and costly food or drink items to subtly shift the customer’s view of reasonable choice to higher pricing levels than would happen if these decoys weren’t in place. Avoid falling for this and wasting money, and go for the ones that genuinely pique your interest.
Dress for the Occasion
Overdressing or underdressing when dining in fine dining establishments can be a rookie mistake, and you can tell when someone has dressed for the occasion but feel uncomfortable throughout. So you don’t necessarily need to use a tuxedo or evening gown. Come and act as you are, as it always works out in the end. However, remember that you need to adhere to some standards, such as avoiding flip-flops and jeans.
Don’t Hesitate to Ask Questions
If it’s your first time visiting a high-end restaurant, some things may be new to you, including the menu. If that’s the case for you, don’t be afraid to ask questions, as that’s what servers are there for, assisting customers. In fact, most staff would be more than happy to help you out with navigating the menu. After all, this isn’t a competition to know everything about the restaurant’s menu.
Nod ‘Yes’ After Tasting the Wine
No fine-dining session is complete without a bit of wine. To make the most out of the experience, make sure to savor the wine, including its taste and aroma. However, when getting your serving, make sure to give a happy nod to your server to allow them to begin pouring. That’s because some people will stare blankly, wondering what’s going on—and this happens more often than you think. So, avoid getting into this position and nod away.
Additionally, if the wine bottle is corked and smells like mildew, or if it isn’t simply to your taste, say it to the server. Depending on the establishment’s management team, you may send it back and get another bottle for free, and the odds are usually always in the customer’s favor.
Ask for the Price of the Special Beforehand
If you’re considering trying out the restaurant’s specials, always ask for the price beforehand. That’s because you may end up paying for more than you can afford, leaving a bad taste in your mouth. So, even if you have a fine meal, in the end, using your entire paycheck for one meal isn’t the smartest choice.
Dining in fancy restaurants doesn’t need to be intimidating—and the tips mentioned can help make the entire experience more comfortable and enjoyable, allowing you to make the most out of it, one bite at a time.