Feb 06 2009

Attending a fine dining restaurant…?

Published by at 2:03 am under Fine Dining

My boyfriend and I are going to eat at a fine dining restaurant. The only thing is I'm a little worried we may stand out. Our knowlegde of fine dining food is very minor, this will actually be our first time eating somewhere high end. To be honest I can't pronounce alot of things on their menu's.

I'm also a little concerned with my appearence. I have nice dress shirts I can wear with some black dress pants but the only thing is I have tattoos on my arms that will show… Think this would matter?

I've been looking at reviews of this restaurant and this is what one woman had to say "The atmosphere was ok. Even though we kept getting glares from the patrons who were wearing sport jackets and diamond necklaces, as if our presence wasn't approved upon."

Any opionons?
Oh, and what is an appropiate tip for high end places? 15% still apply?

I'm a waiter in fine dining in Toronto, but I was born and raised in Ottawa.

As for your concern regarding being a first timer: don't sweat it. Most people in the world don't know 80% of the ingredients and culinary terminology on a fine dining menu. Look at their menu online (assuming they have one online) and see what intrigues you. If you see a dish with a word like "concasse" or "pancetta" – do an internet search for it. The Web is your friend! Besides that, never feel stupid asking the waiter to explain a dish, and tell them you're not familiar with some of the words. Seem genuinely curious, but not sheepish, and the waiter will get a small kick out of "educating" you. Any server worth their salt should be able to guide you though your dining experience, and believe it or not we get some job satisfaction out of making things special for people.

Wear your nicest threads, and don't worry one bit about the tats: most of the service staff probably has ink hidden under their black shirts. Seriously.

And who cares about the other patrons. Be there to enjoy yourself. Don't worry about being judged. After all, you're all paying the same money to be there.

As for the tip: if the service is good (meaning the waiter is friendly and helpful, and seems to have the entire meal organized to arrive in a timely manner, and he tops up you wine and water) then 15% is standard. Twenty if the service is really great, 10% if it's below average but not terrible. Less if the experience is frustratingly poor.

Hope this helps. Have fun! 🙂

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