Here's How To Handle Your Napkin At A Super Fancy Restaurant

Fine dining establishments offer world-class meals prepared by the best and brightest chefs in the business. As a result, patrons visiting these establishments often feel pressured to live up to somewhat lofty expectations. In addition to wearing suitable clothing and conducting yourself in a civilized manner, you'll also need to follow the myriad of etiquette rules that are common at higher-end establishments.

For example, many diners struggle with the multiple pieces of cutlery and silverware that surround the plate in formal situations. In this case, you should start with the utensils farthest away and work your way towards the plate as you progress through the meal. As for glassware, be mindful when handling wine glasses. Because wine quality can be diminished by the body heat emanating from your hands, wine glasses should always be held by the stem and not the bowl. There are even rules for how to fold and handle your napkin when dining out and following them can spare you a bit of mess and embarrassment.

It's all about the napkin fold

In addition to the many other etiquette rules and guidelines you must follow in formal dining environments, you must also handle your napkin according to prevailing social mores. Napkins serve an important practical purpose while eating, as they allow you to discreetly remove food stains. However, cloth napkins can also become quite soiled as a result, which is why they must be folded carefully. In this case, it's best to fold your napkin and situate it in your lap with the crease facing towards your body. When necessary, you can use the inside of the napkin to address food stains before folding it again and placing it back on your lap. At the end of the meal, the napkin will remain folded, which prevents the host from handling food waste.

Along with utilizing the proper napkin fold, diners are also expected to wield their napkins correctly. This entails gently using the cloth to blot stains and food debris, as opposed to wiping them away. Wiping one's lips and face with a napkin is not exactly becoming, and it can also end up spreading stains around, which is the last thing you want during a fancy dining occasion. Of course, there are plenty of other napkin blunders to be aware of to ensure you make a good impression.

Napkin etiquette mistakes to avoid when dining out

Remember, napkins are intended for cleaning up food stains only. If you feel the urge to sneeze, try to leave the table before you do or sneeze into the crook of your elbow facing away from the other guests if you absolutely can't wait. If you must deal with a stuffy or runny nose, excuse yourself from the table for a quick trip to the bathroom to address the issue.

As for the proper placement, the napkin should remain on your lap unless you're actively using it. Napkins are never tucked into shirt collars, no matter what you're eating or how messy it may be. In the event you must leave the table while eating, make sure the napkin is properly folded and place it on the left of your plate. Try to keep the napkin from actually touching remaining food on the plate, or you may inadvertently stain your clothing when you return. While these rules may seem a little intimidating at first glance, remember that proper dining etiquette benefits all by creating a pleasant and enjoyable environment.