Special Report

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

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11. Butter your dinner roll all at once

You wouldn’t (we hope) pour soy sauce over all your sushi at once or dip all those croutons in the fondue simultaneously. Proper etiquette is to tear off one bite-size piece of bread at a time and butter it (with the butter knife) just before you eat it.

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12. Reach across the table

Mom probably told you this one, too. In reaching for something across the table, you invade your companions’ space — and risk knocking over that bottle of red wine.

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13. Eat more than your share of a sharing plate

Restaurants, even fancy ones, have the annoying habit of serving odd numbers of items on “sharing plates,” when most restaurant parties have even numbers, but that doesn’t mean you get the extras. Be generous. Show some restraint.

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14. Talk too loudly

Chances are pretty good that the other diners in the restaurant have conversations of their own to conduct and probably don’t want to be part of yours. Use your indoor voice — even if you’re on a restaurant patio. (If you’re in a place with a very high noise level, of course, you’ll have to use some volume — but make sure you’re not the loudest thing in the room.)

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15. Argue with your tablemates

The old rule was that you should never talk religion or politics at the table, and there are plenty of other potentially contentious subjects that are best avoided these days, too. People come to restaurants to relax and have a good time, and probably to focus on the food. Leave the strife at the door.