Dining Etiquette

Table Manners

Sit up fairly straight. Keep your elbows in. Spread your napkin on your lap when you are seated.

Large dinner napkins are half-folded, small napkins opened full-size.

At the end of the meal, leave the napkin semi-folded at the left side of the place.

Wait until all are served before beginning to eat.

Use the silverware farthest from your plate first.

Pass to the right.

Only cut one or two small pieces of meat at a time.

Eat in small bites and slowly.

Place used silver on the dish to which it belongs. Replace your chair after the meal.

Removing Things From your mouth - The general rule for removing food from your mouth is that it should go out the same way it went in. Therefore, olive pits can be delicately dropped onto an open palm before putting them onto your plate, and a piece of bone discovered in a bite of chicken should be returned to the plate by way of the fork. Fish is an exception to the rule. It is fine to remove the tiny bones with your fingers, since they would be difficult to drop from your mouth onto the fork. If you need to spit out a fatty piece of meat, spit it into your napkin, so that you can keep it out of sight.


Don't clean up spills with your own napkin and don't touch items that have dropped on the floor. You can use your napkin to protect yourself from spills. Then, simply and politely ask your server to clean up and to bring you a replacement for the soiled napkin or dirty utensil.

If the item you drop is obstructing a walkway, you can brush it out of the way with your foot until the server can remove it. The basic reasoning behind the hands off rule is that a spill shouldn't disrupt the meal for too long, and while you are eating you shouldn't be cleaning things that will make your hands dirty.

Specific Food Tips

Chicken is eaten with a fork and knife

Clams and oysters in the half shell - hold the shell with the left hand and lift the clam out using your oyster fork.

Crab, shrimp and lobster cocktails are eaten with a cocktail fork.

Fried Fantail Shrimp are picked up by the tail and eaten with the fingers.

Crab/lobster claws are cracked with a nutcracker, broken with the fingers and the meat taken out with an oyster fork.

Butter is placed on a baked potato with a fork, not with a knife.

Baked Potatoes: Don"t take the insides out and put the skin aside (or take the foil off). Eat it by scooping out the insides bite by bite.

tant; font-size: 100% ! important; text-decoration: underline ! important; padding-bottom: 1px ! important; color: darkgreen ! important; background-color: transparent ! important;" classname="iAs" class="iAs">Chips are eaten with the fingers and French fries with a fork. Never pick up the whole piece and bite part of it off.

Soup - Dip the spoon into the soup, moving it away from the body, until it is about two-thirds full, then sip the liquid (without slurping) from the side of the spoon (without inserting the whole bowl of the spoon into the mouth). It is perfectly fine to tilt the bowl slightly -- again away from the body -- to get the last spoonful or two of soup

Chopsticks & Chopstick Etiquette in Japan


Business Dining Etiquette
American Table Manners
A Guide to Coping With Food Problems In Public
Japanese Table Manners
Proper Use Of A Knife Fork Or Spoon
Foods That Are Proper To Eat With Your Fingers
Proper Use Of A Napkin
Eating Tricky Foods with Finese

Many of the rules of etiquette are strange and outdated, but if you want to make a positive impression in a business or social situation involving dining, you need to know a few of them.

Sushi Bar
Sushi Bar Etiquette

Tea And Afternoon Teas
Tea Time Etiquette
Tea Etiquette and How To Brew A Perfect Cup Of Tea

Proper Tipping Etiquette
Tipping Etiquette

Wine Etiquette - How to Serve Wine 


The Rules of Dining Etiquette - by Marjorie Brody, MA, CSP, CMC
Most business professionals are aware that how they look and present themselves to others can create lasting impressions. This is no different when participating in or hosting a business meal. You can be sure that others will also judge your D.E. -- Dining Etiquette. More ......

The Ever-Expanding American Restaurant Tip - By Sara?Dickerman
It's no secret that waiters and cooks don't always get along?our mutual dependence leads to mutual resentment. More . . .