Restauant/Table Etiquette

Do you have one thing that irritates you when people do it while eating dinner? My personal one happened just recently and I need somewhere to share it, before I implode. A friend and I were at my favorite Thai restaurant eating lunch when he looked at his fork confused. Making sure when the waitress came by to ask for chopsticks! Now this might not sound like a big deal to alot of people. But the majority of Thailand haven't used chopsticks since the 19th century and placing all Asian food/culture in small catagory is insulting. Feel a whole better now that I have gotten that off my chest. haha



Pegeen February 12, 2014
It is is a crime against nature to clear plates of diners who have finished when others at the table are still eating. Florence Fabricant in the NY Times has written some helpful etiquette columns.

But the worst for me is not keeping the mouth closed while chewing. It just puts me off my feed. However, I was told that there are indeed people who have medical problems (jaws, breathing, etc.) who cannot chew with their mouths closed. But I would take a guess that is a very big minority. Covering your mouth with your hand or a napkin, if you absolutely have to speak, are good techniques. And nothing wrong with a few moments of silence while you finish chewing, before speaking. It's probably not more than about 7 seconds if you've taken a "human-sized" bite. :-)
klrcon February 11, 2014
I have an in-law who has a hang-up about saucers - he doesn't ever use them. Instead he puts his wet tea cup directly on the table linen so that it leaves rings all around his plate (he likes to dry it off that way). We've told him many, many times that it could stain and ruin the tablecloth and that it's just plain rude but he just won't listen. He thinks we're prigs. Makes me crazy.
arcane54 February 11, 2014
Here's one I've experienced a couple of times recently while dining at restaurants that take reservations. They willingly seated us, only to tell us that they "have a reservation for this table in an hour and a half." I thought it was very inhospitable and put a pall over our dinner. Having friends and relatives in the restaurant business and fully understand the need/commitment to people with reservations vs. the spontaneous and hopeful (like me!). However, I've polled a few others and most felt it was the restaurant's responsibility to manage their tables, not the patron's responsibility to make sure they don't over stay their (un) welcome. Is this the new hospitality? If so, I'm eating in!
dymnyno February 9, 2014
Clearing plates while you are still eating is one of my pet peeves, too. Also I go crazy when the waitperson reaches in front of my face to pour water or pick up plates.(or any reason)
irina February 9, 2014
How about when they clear all the other plates while you are still eating! Makes me crazy! No training.
nutcakes February 5, 2014
That is the oddest pet peeve I have ever heard, I must say it makes you sound like a prig. But that is the nature of pet peeves, I suppose. Asking for chopsticks in a restaurant that actually has them? Not a faux pas. Now my dear Aunt asking me if I want a bite of seared tuna from a salad while holding a long dangling strip an inch from my mouth between her thumb and finger, yuck. I can't stand to hear mouth sounds from people eating or drinking if it is quiet. Taking the plate away when you aren't finished wins though for waitstaff grumbles. Can't say how many times this has happened and usually I'm not quick enough on the draw to stop them or it is just uncomfortable to ask for it back.
arcane54 February 11, 2014
I actually had a fellow diner spear the wedge of lettuce to his plate as the server swooped in to take it away... he didn't do it again.
LeBec F. February 5, 2014
zc, i've actually thought about this specific gripe of yours a few times now. My current thoughts are these, and i hope they won't bother you:
--i do not know the Chopstix Offender in question,, and your assumption about their motivation may be accurate, but i also know that Assumptions are the cause of a good % of communication problems. I have never been to Thailand but my natural curiosity has propelled me in recent years to learn alot more about the culture and history than I used to know. I've also had alot of schooling but i did not know that Thais stopped using chopsticks a few hundred yrs ago. I had nooo idea. And maybe the guy wanted to hone his chopstix skills.or maybe he just enjoys the feeling of eating with them, in which case, good for him;tricky skill to really master.... And maybe he would enjoy learning from you about Thai cultural history and how they came to be the only(?)independent East Asian country , not colonized by the West,that DOESN'T use chopstix......

But, to me, the main point of all this, imo. is that dining out with a friend is a fun opportunity to focus on and grow a friendship,(and yes, sometimes you can learn from it that a potential friendship is just not a desirable goal!)
WhileItRises February 4, 2014
As much as I love this person (truly), a certain member of my in-laws likes to create off-menu items in restaurants. That's not really the issue though, it's the attitude they do it with. This person tends to treat waitstaff like they're stupid for not reading their mind. Think the kind of tone where "please" just makes it sound like even more of a demand. I always try to smile an extra lot at the poor server and be as low maintenance as possible when this is happening. I guess you just really can't understand what it's like to work food service unless you've experienced it personally. Oy.
And the word "baked." If I've roasted something, I've roasted it. When I say I'm serving you roasted asparagus, don't correct me and say I baked it. :)
sexyLAMBCHOPx February 4, 2014
Oy vey is right WhilelRoses!
bugbitten February 4, 2014
Worst of the worst is having a meal with someone whose mother never taught him not to chew with his mouth open.
taleesha February 4, 2014
I am a tea drinker and eating out for breakfast presents two problems. 1. The server brings my tea, with tea bag, but doesn't bring me a small plate or bowl to put my used tea bag. 2. Servers wandering by with coffee try to pour it into my cup. Even had one server pour coffee into my cup, and when I quickly tried to prevent it, she said, "Well, you did look at me when I came up to the table, so I thought you wanted some." I mistakenly thought that it might have been someone trying to deliver our breakfast after a wait of 30 minutes.
kimhw February 3, 2014
People who just reach over and fork a "taste" of your food. Just ask, I'll be happy to share.
LeBec F. February 4, 2014
kim, you might really enjoy "Diner". "Ummmm, are you going your sandwich?"
luvcookbooks February 3, 2014
The only thing I think of right off is when people try to take my plate before I finish eating. A waitress once tried to throw me and two friends out of a restaurant while we finished our bottle of wine. We paid fifty dollars for the wine plus we paid for dinner and we had spent two years (we all had small kids) plotting to get out at the same time for dinner and resisted mightily even when the manager came. People from other tables came to our defense. It was a nice New York moment. I have been back to the restaurant but not on a Saturday night.

Voted the Best Reply!

Sam1148 February 3, 2014
Then they bring them chopsticks. The most unforgivable sin is making a guest feel uncomfortable. Same goes for salt on the table..if they want extra salt; bring them extra salt.
Greenstuff February 3, 2014
This one used to bother me until someone said to me "How many good restaurants in Bangkok can you think of that would refuse a guest's request for chopsticks?" So now I just think of it as being in the same category as people using forks in situations where chopsticks would be better. (It does still bother me when Thai restaurants in America don't provide non-Thais with an appropriate spoon.)
Diana B. February 3, 2014
I admit this one would have gotten past me, despite several visits to Thailand where you would think I might have noticed the absence of chopsticks! No, my pet irritation is a pedantic friend who is fussy beyond all reason about waitservice, how tables are set, whether you're asked if you want ice in your water or not, how it's appropriate to dress for a given dining experience, etc., but who chews with his mouth open. Eww.
LeBec F. February 4, 2014
ohhhhhhh,could you hear my groan all the way in Boston? Any possibility of Asperger's in your friend?
sexyLAMBCHOPx February 3, 2014
Chopsticks are used only with a flat bottomed spoon for noodle soup. Were you eating noodle soup? Everything else is eaten with a fork and spoon. The cutlery; the spoon and fork are used to eat most meals, except noodle soup which is eaten with chopsticks and a typical Asian flat-bottom soup spoon. The spoon and fork are not used in the conventional western manner; the spoon is used for putting food in the mouth while the fork is used for cutting and shoveling. Thank you Big Bang theory via Sheldon Cooper! At least they had chopsticks and perhaps pleasantly surprised that they were waiting on patrons who wanted to follow Thai culture; perhaps they don't have that many requests for chopsticks while eating their noodle soup. Most culinary cultures evolve, especially since the 19th century. I wouldn't think twice about your experience - except if they didn't have chopsticks at all.
ZombieCupcake February 3, 2014
Nope wasn't a noodle dish, was beef in yellow curry. :/
Recommended by Food52