The Goods

Mind your manners: A guide to restaurant etiquette

Find out if your table manners measure up

Find out if your table manners measure up

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Dining out is the perfect way to gather your friends and family around the table for a delicious mean, but does your restaurant etiquette measure up? Here's a guide for you to see if you're minding your manners. 

Always place the napkin on your lap as soon as you sit down at the table.

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FALSE! You actually have to wait on this one! Once your group has been seated, it's most polite to wait for your host to place their napkin on their lap – and then it's your turn. This is also the official beginning of the meal.

Folding your napkin and placing it to the left of your plate is the perfect way to let the server know your meal is finished. 

TRUE! The host can indicate the meal is over by simply placing their napkin to the left of their plate. If you're the host, be sure not to refold your napkin, wad it up or put it on your plate – it's just not polite. 

Always pass the salt and pepper one at a time. 

FALSE! Always pass them together – even if your fellow diner only asked for one. 

Always use the hand you write with to hold your knife.

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TRUE and FALSE! There's a couple of different styles for this one. If you're opting for the European style, always hold your knife in your right hand and your fork in your left and then place your food in your mouth as soon as it's been placed on the fork. 

In the American style, you can switch your fork from your left hand to your right after the food has been cut. Start with your knife in your right hand and your fork in your left, and you can put the knife down on your plate and use your right hand to place the food in your mouth. Basically, your right hand does most of the work. 

Lean the tips of your knife and fork on your plate to signal to the server that you are taking a break from eating, but you don't want your plate taken away just yet. 

FALSE! Positioning is key here. The fork and knife should actually be in a criss cross position. Your fork should face downwards and it should also be on top of your knife. 

When serving yourself a dinner roll, eat it like a bird. Tear off small pieces at a time, then butter and enjoy.

FALSE! You should always tear bread with a soft texture (like dinner rolls) in half first. Then you can proceed to eat it bite-by-bite. And don't get too ambitious with the butter – each piece should be buttered separately before eating. 

You should always twirl your spaghetti with a fork into a spoon.

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TRUE and FALSE! There's no clear answer to this one. In some regions of Italy, you'd definitely be considered an amateur if you used a spoon to twirl your spaghetti. Basically, it's a Northern Italy vs. Southern Italy custom.

Fork only: If you decide to forego the spoon, simply insert your fork into a few strands of pasta and use the side of the bowl or the indentation of the plate to make sure you don't get too much food on your fork. Twirl your fork with a few quick lifts, and you've got yourself a mouthful!

Spoon and fork: If this is your technique of choice, start by inserting your fok horizontally into your delicious dish of pasta. Instead of twirling the fork against the side of the bowl, use a spoon held in your other hand and you'll have mastered this technique in no time!