The Do’s and Don’ts of Eating in an Upscale Restaurant


By this point, it should be pretty clear that we’re fans of eating at restaurants. After all, what’s not to like? Food that tastes better than anything you could ever cook in your kitchen, someone pouring water into your glass the minute you take a sip, a basket of fresh bread that they’ll literally refill as many times as you ask…it’s a delight. But there’s a difference between going out to eat at a regular neighborhood hangout and dining out at a high-end restaurant.

We’re not particularly fancy people, but in an attempt to celebrate special occasions and/or go all out for a nice date night, we’ve been to fancy restaurants a time or two (including one recent experience at Craigie On Main in Cambridge that was utterly delectable, not to mention our total Treat Yo Self day at the Top of the Hub). Still, while going to a nice restaurant is always a satisfying experience (the food! the cloth napkins! the dim lighting!), it can also be an intimidating one (too many forks! menus full of words you’ve never heard of! the prices!).

So, pinkies up ladies and gents, because the Boston Eat Party proudly presents the ultimate list of Do’s and Don’t Of Being Fancy…

DON’T try to pronounce the French and/or unfamiliar words on the menu

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DO pronounce only what you know, and then mumble the rest while pointing to the item on the menu. Your waiter will fill in the blanks and that way you won’t have to ask what conchiglie or foie gras is.

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DON’T attempt to “understand” wine

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DO ask the waiter for his suggestion, pretend to mull it over for a second, and then just go with what he says as if it’s exactly what you would have picked if he hadn’t been there. And don’t forget to swirl it around and sniff it when it comes (you’re welcome).

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DON’T make fun of the jazz and/or classical music that they’re playing in the background. It’s boring, but necessary to the Ambiance™

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DO comment on the Ambiance™ and try to steer the conversation to that time you went abroad in college. People who travel are ~cultured~

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DON’T gasp at the prices on the menu.

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DO go online and study the prices on the menu before you get there. Only order what you know you can afford, but do it in a blasé, Gatsby-esque way that suggests you order Coq au Vin without thinking all the time.

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DON’T look visibly disappointed at how ridiculously small the portions are

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DO eat a snack before you get to the restaurant, and then maybe one after you leave too. That way you won’t be hungry enough to care that your “deconstructed burger and burrata with tomato-basil reduction” is actually just a half meatball and a shred of mozzarella cheese sitting on top of a thin layer of ketchup.

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DON’T be yourself.

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DO be a fancier, better version of yourself. Adopt the Kennedy accent, talk about yachts and summer homes, and remember that the less you know about something, the more you should talk about it as if you know everything there is to know about it. They can’t tell you you’re wrong if you don’t let them talk.

Follow these guidelines and you’re sure to be a success. Now go forth and be fancy!

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