A survival guide to fine dining

A survival guide to fine dining

Nothing ruins a fine dining experience more than a snooty waiter. Yes, they have tiring jobs; yes, they deal with unreasonable customers; yes, they might be having a bad day themselves but you would want to be treated with a little bit of respect when you are paying through your nose for three stalks of asparagus.

Couple that with the overawing ambience of such places and you have a potential heart attack recipe.

Metrolife lists out some tips and tricks for you to follow when you are entering the hallowed portals of a five-star restaurant .


Do your homework

Fancy menus can be quite intimidating and there is nothing more nerve-wracking than figuring out what to order when your waiter looks at you, silently scornful. Do yourself a favour and look up the menu beforehand online. Select 1-2 dishes you would be okay with trying and impress everyone with your quick decisions when the waiter comes for the order.


Focus on pronounciation

It is elitist but nothing says amateur more than a wrongly pronounced dish name, especially the more famous ones. Imagine ordering a Pho, Paella, Tres Leches or Gnocchi and then having the waiter correct you in front of your date. My appetite would be a little less for sure after that. There is no harm in learning how to say these words beforehand; a five-second YouTube search is all you need. Don’t hate us for this; it is all about appearances at the end of the day.


Empathy works

It is tempting to snap back at a rude waiter after the long tiring day you had at work but a kind word or witty repartee is always a better idea. Try asking him/her if they had a bad day, saying that their behaviour made you think so. Be polite and speak in an even tone.


Respond positively

When the waiter pours out a glass of wine or fancy drink for you, take a sip and nod appreciatively (if you like it, that is). It makes them feel good and makes you look like a pro. Same for the dish — take a bite and voice your thoughts.


Don’t overdress

Your attire says a lot about how comfortable you are with the whole idea of fine dining. If you dress like you just stepped out of a Bollywood movie, be prepared for smirks and condescending behaviour. Fake accents and an ‘I-own-this-place’ kind of behaviour are strict no-no’s. The waiters have been in service long enough to see through your act and will probably not play along. Be you, it’s the best!
But don’t show up in dirty boxers or an unwashed T-shirt too. Keeping it casual doesn’t mean sticking out like a sore thumb and trying to pretend that you just ended up in the restaurant instead of the poolside.


Ask, it’s alright

No one is going to kill you for asking about a dish you don’t understand. The waiter may chuckle but we will take it over having to eat a raw skillet steak that one couldn’t make out from the dish name.


Witty with a dash of sarcasm

Let the waiter know when they are being rude. If they said something nasty or impolite, turn around with a smile and say ‘Sorry, I didn’t catch that. Would you mind repeating it?’ or ‘Could you please say that in a different way?’. When they apologise, be gracious enough to let it go.


When things get serious

If you really feel that the waiter it being too unprofessional or unhelpful, talk to the manager and get someone else to serve you. Tell them, “We’d appreciate it if you could have someone else cover our table. The current service is somewhat unsatisfactory.”


As a last resort

Leave a review online. Talk about your problem clearly and how it was handled. Online reviews are serious affairs; it is not a place to badmouth anybody. You are giving other diners a chance to have a better experience and allowing the restaurant to rectify the mistake.


Pro tip: One way to avoid bad service is to eat at the bar. The server/bartender never leaves your sight, which makes it really hard for them to ignore you.



Being rude is one thing, being helpless is another. Don’t get annoyed at the waiter for something that is beyond their control — like a long waiting period or a salty dish. They have probably had their fill of unpleasant customers; don’t add to the list.

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