If you are in the mood for a more refined dining experience, it is advisable to make advance reservations at a fine dining restaurant. It’s also important to dress appropriately and follow the establishment’s fine dining etiquette guidelines.

These guidelines range from the dress code to table manners. Some things to avoid include bringing children, speaking loudly at the table, using your cellphone and ordering off-menu items.

Dress Code

Many restaurants that specialize in fine dining have a dress code. It’s important for diners to consider the dress code before heading out for a meal. The opulence of the food and experience is best enjoyed when guests look the part.

It’s not uncommon for these restaurants to have policies stating that the restaurant reserves the right to refuse service to anyone who is inappropriately dressed. These rules are designed to keep the patrons comfortable while maintaining the integrity of the restaurant. This is a difficult balance to strike.

For example, a restaurant may post that leggings are not allowed as they violate the “the comfort of all our guests.” They go on to state that the policy includes athletic wear, sweatpants, tank tops, hats, and clothing with offensive language or images. This can be a difficult rule to enforce as many people will still arrive in leggings.

While these policies are intended to protect the patrons, they can sometimes feel discriminatory and elitist. They also put the wait staff in an awkward position as they may be forced to turn away a paying customer for wearing leggings or another type of casual outfit.

For this reason, some restaurants have loosened their dress code policies in order to be more inclusive of their customers. They have moved from a uniform requirement to a dressy business casual policy. This still leaves room for people to wear casual attire but allows them to add on a blazer or jacket to their outfit. This is also a less restrictive option than black-tie or white-tie dress codes which require a full suit, tuxedo, or floor length gown. This is a great alternative for those who want to enjoy a fine dining experience but may not be able to afford the higher-priced options.


While fine dining restaurants can serve any type of cuisine, many are characterized by an elegant ambiance, upscale table settings, and higher price points. Guests expect an elevated experience, and in turn, servers are expected to uphold the highest standards of service and etiquette.

Reservations are an essential part of a fine dining experience, as it’s often difficult to get a table without one. To make a reservation, customers typically call the restaurant a few days in advance to book a specific time and date. While this can be an inconvenience, it is a crucial part of the process, especially during busy times and on popular dates.

Depending on the restaurant, reservations can also be made via email or text message. In addition, some restaurants have their own websites where customers can check availability and book a reservation.

When a guest makes a reservation, it’s important to arrive on time or a few minutes early. Arriving late is rude and can cost a restaurant a customer’s business.

Once a guest is seated, it’s appropriate for the server to greet them and ask how they would like to start their meal. After this, the server takes the order based on the menu. If the restaurant has a set menu, it’s common for servers to follow a specific sequence of courses that includes appetizers, entrees, and desserts.

It’s essential for a fine dining server to be well-groomed and presentable at all times. This means wearing a clean uniform and refraining from smoking or chewing gum in front of guests. It’s also important for a server to have good posture and keep their hands and face neatly groomed.


Fine dining is a specialized type of restaurant service that requires a different set of rules and traditions to deliver exemplary hospitality. Guests expect elegant ambiance, upscale table settings, and higher price points, as well as servers that uphold the highest level of fine dining etiquette. If you learn more about dining and cookware, it can prevent you from making a mistake and make your meals more enjoyable.

As the most important piece of dining etiquette, arriving on time is essential to ensure your table is ready to serve when you arrive. Especially during busy times, reservations are required and often fill up quickly. If you are going to be late, you should call ahead and notify the hostess or manager, if possible.

When you do arrive, greet the host with a smile and a firm handshake. Upon being seated, keep your shoes on until the last possible moment, and place your napkin in one of the designated spaces (the right or left of your chair).

Once you’re settled in, it is best to remain seated throughout the entire course of the meal. If you must leave the table to use the restroom or wash your hands, be sure to politely excuse yourself by stepping to the right of your chair and returning when dinner is done.

Many upscale restaurants feature a menu where you choose how many courses you’d like to partake in. If you decide not to order a specific course, you should verbally indicate this to your server so they can remove the appropriate glass from your place-setting.

It’s also considered impolite to argue over who will pay the bill at the table, even if it’s good-natured. To avoid any awkward situations, if you’re unsure about who is going to pay the bill, it’s best to split up your credit cards before leaving the restaurant, so everyone can be clear on their individual responsibilities.

Table Manners

When it comes to dining experiences, proper etiquette is essential. This is especially true for fine dining, where the rules of etiquette are more specific and nuanced. While some of these rules may seem like common sense, others are more subtle and can be a bit intimidating for those unfamiliar with fine dining.

Some of the most important dinner etiquette rules revolve around table manners. For example, guests should always clear their plates and silverware before leaving a restaurant. In addition, they should never touch other guest’s food or drinks unless it is requested. Furthermore, it is appropriate to ask for additional salt and pepper, but they should not intercept another guest’s pass of these condiments.

Another important rule is to never use the napkin for anything other than wiping or blowing one’s nose. It is also improper to tuck the napkin into one’s shirt or place it on other surfaces at the table. When not using it, a diner’s napkin should be folded neatly and placed on the lap.

Finally, it is important for guests to make eye contact with their servers and to be polite when making requests. If a guest needs to get the server’s attention, they should raise their index finger and not shout or wave their hands.

While some of these rules are more obvious than others, it is important for diners to follow them in order to make their meals a memorable and enjoyable experience. For example, wearing short pants to a restaurant that has a formal dress code is inappropriate and could result in being denied service. Instead, a diner should wear dark jeans in a color that looks classy.


A fine dining experience involves a special level of service, higher prices and more coursed meals. It often comes with a specific set of rules that dictate dress codes, seating arrangements and more nuanced behavior at the table. Whether you’re going out to dinner with business associates or enjoying a romantic night out on the town, it’s important to know the do’s and don’ts of restaurant etiquette. Some of these rules are common sense: don’t talk while you’re eating, always cover your mouth when coughing and don’t place your keys or purse on the table. Others are more subtle, like how you should ask for a drink refill or who should pay the bill.

Many of these subtleties have their roots in more aristocratic societies and ceremonies. For example, a fan held one way could communicate to all eligible bachelors that a woman was already taken, or it could be used to indicate a desire for privacy without the need for words.

Some of these nuances are still in place today to help ensure that guests receive the highest level of service possible. For instance, restaurants might require that you tip a certain percentage of your bill, even if you’ve ordered only drinks. While some may feel this is outdated or unnecessary, it’s important to understand the rules of a dining establishment and what they expect from their customers. This helps create a more enjoyable and seamless experience for all parties involved.