Special Report

25 Things You Should Never, Ever Do at a Fancy Restaurant

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1. Dress like a slob

Even if a restaurant doesn’t have a dress code, remember that you’re in a nice place where people are probably paying a lot to dine and they might not think that your dirty t-shirt or baggy shorts add to the experience.

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2. Fail to cancel a reservation

A reservation is a kind of unwritten contract between you and the restaurant. If you can’t keep your side of the bargain, let them know as soon as possible. It’s considerate to the establishment and to other people who might want the table.

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3. Sit down without the approval of the host

Hosts juggle complicated seating plans based on servers’ stations, special requests, and reservation timing. Wait to be seated, and if you don’t like your table, ask to be moved. They’ll usually accommodate you.

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4. Pretend you know what unfamiliar dishes are

If the menu lists food terms you don’t understand, ask for an explanation. You’ll be happier if you don’t have to send something back because it isn’t what you thought it was, and the kitchen will be too.

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5. Claim to have allergies you don’t have

Restaurants take customer allergies very seriously, but allergies aren’t the same as simple likes and dislikes. If you just say “I don’t like eggs,” they’ll make sure there are no eggs on the tasting menu. If you say you’re allergic to them, a busy kitchen might have to take extra time and trouble to make sure no egg has touched anything you’re being served.