A College Dude’s Guide to Fine Dining: Etiquette

So, you’re dating a girl and it’s time to meet her parents. They’re taking you to one of Albuquerque’s best fine dining restaurants for a delicious meal. What are you going to wear? What are the five rules of fine dining etiquette? You better know these because her father is going to be analyzing your every move.

Luckily you have this guide to fine dining etiquette for any type of excellent fine dining restaurant. These tips will help you be prepared to stay calm, cool, and impressive!

Tip #1: How to Dress

While your favorite gear when going out to dinner with friends is comfortable, it’s probably far from appropriate to wear when going to the best restaurant in Albuquerque. Ditch the jeans, concert T-shirts, and sports jerseys. Go for slacks, a shirt with a collar, and a tie and coat to truly impress. Remember, you’re going to an excellent restaurant and you can never be overdressed (unless you wear a tuxedo, but that’s overkill).

Tip #2: How to Walk

This one is fairly simple and straightforward. Before you bash this tip, think about how you generally walk when going to class, or going to grab a bite to eat with friends, or even just walking around. You crowd through doors or look at the floor. Well this is different. You’re trying to impress, remember? Be sure you have confidence, make eye contact with people, smile. Be friendly, not anti-social. And don’t forget: ladies first! Always hold open the door for a woman (or anyone who needs to enter…it’s just polite), or at the very least, let them walk in front of you.

Tip #3: How to Sit

Obviously, this isn’t about a certain way to sit. Be sure, before you sit, that you pull out the chair for the young lady. Or at least wait for her to sit down first. Once you’ve made it safely into your chair, be sure to take the napkin from your place setting, unfold it, and place it on your lap immediately. Don’t shake it open! Remember you’re going for style. If you must excuse yourself from the table at any time, loosely fold it and place it to the left or right of your plate. After you’re finished eating, place it to the right of your plate. Don’t wad it up like the ketchup covered paper napkins you’re used to!

Tip #4: How to Eat

Assuming you know all about chewing with your mouth closed and never speaking with your mouth full, you need to remember a couple of other things. Wait for everyone to be served before you dig in (and never dig in – you may be a starving college student, but don’t act like it). If the head of the table (your date’s father in this case) offers a toast or prayer or blessing first, be sure you participate. Don’t tip off that you prefer spending your Sunday mornings sleeping in. After the meal, you may be at Albuquerque’s best restaurant but don’t indulge your sweet tooth because it’s a free meal. Only accept dessert if offered by the head of the table, otherwise grab a candy bar when you get home. Finally, when selecting silverware, the general idea is to start on the outside and work your way in. Oh! And once you’ve placed silverware on your plate and used it, don’t put it back on the table – you’ll make an obvious mess!

Tip #5: How to Survive the Meal

Don’t be a mute. Remember, her parents are trying to get to know you and will ask questions. Put that college education you’re getting to good use and speak in complete sentences. One-word answer or grunts cut it with friends, but not in this situation. Remember to be polite and say “thank you” or “no thank you” and be sure to use “sir” and “ma’am” until told otherwise. But most importantly, remember to be yourself. You can do this; you just need to remember to be yourself (the guy she likes and wants her parents to like) while showing you still don’t drag your knuckles when you walk!

Fine dining experiences aren’t as scary as you think, even if her parents are skeptical of you. Just follow these basic tips and you’ll do just fine. Before you know it, you’ll be spending time with her family and calling her dad by his first name. Just remember to make a good impression when enjoying that first experience at one of Albuquerque’s best gourmet restaurants.