Formal Table Setting Information



If you're eating at a fancy cruise ship restaurant, it may be your first time encountering real table settings. Here is how to deal with the forks, knives, and other issues.

There are two main things to remember when eating in any formal setting. They are:

1) Your glasses are to the top right.
2) Use cutlery from the outside, working in.


That is really the key to doing this. For example, the salad fork should be on the far left. That is because they expect you to use the salad fork - and have it taken away - before you get to the main dish. By the same token, your soup spoon is on the far right. That is because the soup course is going to come and go before you need your knife to cut your main dish.

Anything above your dish is for dessert. Usually there is a fork up there - for the cake or other dessert - plus a spoon for coffee.

A formal restaurant should never make you re-use cutlery between courses. That is, if you eat something with a cutlery item, they are going to take it away when that dish is removed. Don't ever worry about "keeping" a knife or fork. If you don't have enough left for the next dish, it is their responsibility to bring you a clean one. They won't make you contaminate the next dish with the remnants of the previous one.

Your napkin goes in your lap, to catch any crumbs that fall and protect your clothing. Your waiter should brush the crumbs off of your area between courses, to clean up after you. He (or she!) should also refill your water glass any time it gets low, so that you can always stay hydrated.

As a diner, you should expect your waiter to be attentive - but not treat him like a slave. He should pay attention if you call him over - but he cannot be a mind reader, especially if he is dealing with other tables as well. It is your duty as a diner to make it clear when you are done with a dish, by putting your cutlery down on the plate and pushing it slightly away from you. It is also your duty to indicate clearly when you have a need, such as needing another drink.

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