Dining Etiquette Every Gentleman Should Know

Eating in fancy restaurants is one thing, but if you truly want to make a great impression, then you must learn how to behave appropriately when wining and dining. Proper etiquette goes hand in hand with an image of a gentleman, and whether it’s a romantic date, a night out with friends or a business dinner with associates, it’s important to show manners and respectable behaviour. 

Every gentleman should master the basics of dining etiquette and here are the main tips to follow. 

Be prepared

Confidence is an important characteristic of every gentleman and to be that you need to prepare. Firstly, make sure you can afford the meal so you don’t break your budget. Dining out isn’t cheap, especially if it’s a group event. Also, it can be awkward splitting the bill, and to go out intending to only order water and the cheapest courses won’t work. On top of that, bear in mind the local conventions when it comes to tipping. 

Another important part of preparation is making the reservation as it’s the easiest way to avoid waiting in line which can be frustrating and can ruin the evening. With a reservation made, make sure you show up on time as most restaurants will give your table away after 15 minutes. Essentially, showing up on time shows respect for other people’s time which is a gentlemanly quality.

Dress accordingly

For a true gentleman, it’s important to look the part, so proper suit tailoring is a must. Luckily, in this day and age, it’s not that difficult to look sharp for an event. This means that in classy establishments, you should avoid wearing sneakers and jeans and opt for an elegant suit. Most restaurants that have a dress code and require a jacket will provide loaner jackets, but as a gentleman, you don’t want to wear an awkwardly cut or sized jacket previously worn by who knows how many sweaty people.

Breaking bread

Typically, the first thing served at dinner is freshly baked bread. However, you shouldn’t use your knife to cut your bread at a formal dinner. You should break your bread with your hands and tear it off one bit at a time, buttering each piece as you get ready to eat it. 

About fork and knife 

Knowing how to properly use a knife and fork is crucial table manners. As a rule of thumb, the fork stays in the left hand pointed down, while you hold the knife with the right hand. When in resting position, the knife and fork should be crossed in the centre of the plate with fork tines pointed down. When you’re finished with your meal, place them both side by side on the right side of the plate for the universal “I’m done” position with the fork tines pointing down and the knife’s blade facing up.

Use your napkin properly

The napkin is there to wipe food away from your mouth. When needed, it should be wrapped around your index finger and used to gently pat around your mouth. It will certainly not look presentable if you used a big portion of your napkin and wiped your entire mouth with it. 

Mind your manners with people

Dining is also a great opportunity to converse and have fun. Regardless of your company, it’s polite to let your guests order first and let them choose the topic of conversation as well. A true gentleman never interrupts others at the dinner table. You should let them finish their point and then start with your own.

Also, pick your words when you talk to the waiter, especially if you’re not a foodie or a wine connoisseur. Don’t shout to get their attention but make eye contact. Finally, if you are satisfied or disappointed with your food, express your opinion in a polite manner.

On technology and time

Two major don’ts while dining is keeping your phone on the table and looking at your watch frequently. If you do this, you’re sending a clear message that other things are more important to you than the person you’re with. It’s recommended you put your phone on silent and focus your attention on the people you’re with giving them proper attention and respect. 

Once you’ve mastered these few simple etiquette rules, you will be well-prepared to handle any situation in a restaurant, whether it’s dining with family, friends, or co-workers, including any level of formality you’ve engaged in. The impression you leave will be that of a true gentleman!