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Table Etiquette: A 101 Guide to Fine Dining Manners

Table Etiquette: A 101 Guide to Fine Dining Manners
24 May 2023

Proper table manners can help you leave a lasting impression. It depicts your habits, good breeding, and taste. Table etiquette is not just limited to eating food slowly and in smaller portions. It includes correct usage of utensils, holding glassware, napkin etiquette, and how to behave during a meal.

Ready to navigate formal or informal dining experiences with ease and confidence? Continue reading, as this comprehensive guide helps you master table etiquette for personal and professional events.

Fine Dining Etiquette: Tips for Every Dining Setting

Our waterfront restaurant has earned an excellent reputation on the Island. From offering different seating alternatives to serving lip-smacking foods, vintage wines, and swoon-worthy desserts, we ensure you make the most of your time in our restaurant in Cayman.

We are also known for our impeccable services, including implementing table etiquettes to provide the joy of relishing the Cayman Islands cuisine in a sophisticated and refined manner.

With that being said, let's circle back to the tips for every dining setting.

8 Fine Dining Etiquette Tips

1. Reserve a Table in Advance

Table reservation beforehand is the initial and the most significant formal dinner etiquette that everyone must follow. Finding a table at certain restaurants can be easy. However, some days do not work in your favor. You may head to a fully crowded establishment, leading to the unavailability of the table.

If you are on a date or meeting an important client, or heading out for a party after work with a group of colleagues, a situation like this makes others believe that you did not plan it through, and this might dampen the spirit of the occasion.

To avoid facing such situations, always reserve a table in advance. Contact the restaurant you wish to visit and let them know that you will be arriving on a particular day with special guests so they can make the reservations accordingly.

In case of cancellation, let the restaurant know so they can save the table for other patrons.

2. Respect Everyone

Often, guests tend to address servers in a crude manner, which is disrespectful, and the guest may come off as ignorant. unmannerly. Calling them out politely and talking to them respectfully is a sign of good manners. You can call them by waving or addressing them politely. Always be patient when calling out to them. Don’t be condescending to them. Instead, be kind and understanding, as this can make their day and show you have basic table manners.

3. Never Lift the Menu Closer to Your Face

Now, this might sound a little peculiar, but it is believed that one should not lift the menu off the table. According to Myka Meier, in formal dining, the entire menu or atleast a part of it should be resting on the table. This guideline is fundamental to neatness and maintaining order on the table. It creates a subtle sense of structure and ensures the menu won’t slide down the table.

4. Napkin Usage

Many might consider this a ‘Not So Important’ deal or forget to use it altogether, but let us tell you, this is the basic fine dining table manners that everyone must be aware of. Right after you get seated, take a napkin positioned on the table, gently unfold it, and place it on your lap.

Besides this, never use the napkin to wipe or blow your nose. Don’t tuck it in your shirt, and avoid cleaning the cutlery with your napkin.

When you have finished your meal, place your napkin neatly on the left side of your plate. Do not wad it up or leave it on your chair.

5. Holding Silverware

When it comes to eating food, a lot of cutleries are used. Selection of the right silverware for different meals can be a daunting process, but not anymore. We will guide you through the proper way to use utensils during a formal dinner party.

Always start from the outside and then pave your way in. Most Michelin, 3 or 5-star restaurants have pre-arranged the silverware for the guests. The outermost silverware typically goes for the first course, followed by the innermost utensils for the next course.

Ensure to use your palms for the handles of the silverware and your index finger for the back of the handle. Be sure to grip the handles lightly. Each meal has a specific silverware, and you have to use the right one for every course.

Rest the fork or spoon in a parallel position, with the handles at the 4 o'clock position and the tips at the 10 o'clock position, on the plate to signal the server that your meal is done.

6. Using Dishes and Glasses

After completion of each course, food is generally served on a new dish. However, a small dish will be placed near your seating. It is used as a bread plate. Besides, wine or water glasses are arranged on the right side of the seating.

Always lift the glass from the stem; if it does not have a stem, hold it from the bowl for a comfortable grip.

7. Conversations at the Table

Conversations at the table should always be light-hearted. Heated arguments, political or religious discussions are best to be avoided. Maintain the tone of your conversation. Meaning, don’t be too loud or too low.

Conversations are about enjoyment and spending quality time. So, be sure to make the most of your time. Also, be a good listener and avoid too many complaints.

8. Paying the Bill and Tipping

If you plan to pay the bill or host the meal, pay it in advance to avoid arguments or awkwardness over the payment. You can always dutch if the partner dining with you is agreed to do the same. Let the server know that the bill will be split to get separate paychecks.

Generally, the tip in every Grand Cayman restaurant or any fine dining restaurant around the world is 20% of the total bill. If you had wine or any cocktail, leaving a 10 to 15% tip for the bartender would also be recommended.

Grand Old House: Experience Exquisite Fine Dining at a Premier Waterfront Restaurant

Want to dine at a seaside deck, savor delightful meals, and sip vintage wine while watching a mesmerizing sun setting in the sea? Head to Grand Old House today! We offer an elegant atmosphere with a fancy menu consisting of international and authentic Caribbean dishes.

To reserve a table, call +1 345 949 9333 or drop an email at in case of queries.