Eat Smart

When In a Michelin-starred Restaurant: Dos and Don’ts For The Uninitiated

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When it’s your first time in Michelin-starred restaurant, such as French Laundry (3 stars), your dining experience isn’t just about the food and drinks. You have to experience the entirety of it all from the food and drinks to the ambiance, facilities, and service.

But you will also be understandably nervous because fine dining in a gourmet restaurant is a far cry from your everyday fast-food experience. You can avoid making one too many faux pas by keeping these tips in mind.

The Dos

Let’s start with the positive steps so that you will be more encouraged to proceed on your fine dining experience.

  • Be informed about the restaurant first.

The more informed you are, the more enjoyable your experience can be. For example, you will know that the French Laundry serves two distinct nine-course tasting menus instead of the standard listed menu. Your research will also result to the knowledge that it’s a French restaurant with a menu influenced by contemporary American touches.

  • Always reserve your table.

Unless you’re in the league of Bill Gates or Warren Buffett, Michelin-starred restaurants will not accept walk-in clients. You have to book your reservations and arrive at least 15 minutes before the appointed time. Your tardiness is as much an insult to the staff as a testament of your ignorance about proper manners.

  • Inform the restaurant about your special dietary needs.

You may be allergic to lactose, gluten or peanuts, a fact that the restaurant should be informed during the reservation process. Otherwise, you cannot blame the chefs about overlooking such an important matter.

  • Know the extras

You don’t have to pay for most of the extras included in the meal. These can include the glass of sparkling wine, the breads and its condiments, the amuse bouche, and the petit fours with coffee. But keep in mind that you may be charged for every other extra.

Of course, you should brush up on your proper table manners including which fork, spoon and knife to use on which course. You must also dress appropriately for the occasion because, after all, fine dining requires fine dressing, too.

The Don’ts

Let’s proceed with the big no-nos in fine dining restaurants.

  • Don’t hesitate to ask questions about the menu, especially when there are unfamiliar terms.
  • Don’t be rude to your waiters. Don’t forget to leave a tip, too, except when the bill already covers the gratuity.
  • Don’t say, “I’m still hungry”. You’re not in a fine dining restaurant to satisfy your gluttonous tendencies – you’re here to enjoy gourmet food!

Are you ready for your French Laundry experience? Book a table now!

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