Planning to take your date at Cuban restaurant in Marathon tonight? Well, that is a great idea. However, did you know that there are rules in dining at a fancy restaurant? Some are written, some are not.
Whatever the case, there are some things that you have to educate yourself with and be aware of if at all you want to look the part. From the way you dress, how you walk, how you talk to the staff at the restaurant, and just about every other detail.
To most people, eating at a restaurant is just about that; eating. While not a lot of people really put into thought about how to carry themselves in a restaurant, it is important that you know some of these things;
Table Manners Please!
Some things are basic and just common sense. Most of these manners we are taught while young and growing up. You want to make sure you maintain your table manners throughout the dinner, whether alone or with someone else, no matter whom, at the table.
Simple things like wiping your hands or rather your fingers and your mouth from time to time with your napkin, cutting one piece and eating it before cutting the next one on your plate, buttering bread on the plate and not midair, keeping your hands off the table, sitting up straight, and such.
Never swap hands when eating; instead, use your right hand for your knife and your left hand for your fork. Wrists ought to rest on the table while taking a break from eating.
Typically, males hold the door open for women, let them have the first seats, and stand when they leave or enter the room. Also, if you want your waiter’s attention, make eye contact with them as yelling or waving your arms is deemed impolite. Avoid talking about work when dining out with business colleagues. Dinner is generally a time for conversation and culinary enjoyment, but if your host starts talking business, you should listen. It’s courteous to offer to cover the bill, but appropriate manners
Always Dress Nicely
This doesn’t mean you put on your Sunday best or you get a new outfit every time you are dining in a restaurant. What it means is that you put in some effort into the clothes you wear and overall how you look.
It would be nice if you would get off work early, go home, freshen up, get changed, put on some nice cologne, and step out. Even if you are taking yourself out on a date, you don’t have to dress well for anyone else but you.
The trick is, you will enjoy your meals better if you look good. Also, it is not always about the food and you. You have to consider who you will be sitting down with and what you will be talking about. It is just a casual lunch date, or are you meeting up with a client? These are just but some of the factors you want to consider.
The warm weather typically necessitates casual attire. In a professional atmosphere, males frequently use short sleeve shirts; nevertheless, unless on the beach, avoid donning shorts. Women frequently wear modest clothing in Cuba because religion plays a significant role in daily life, especially while attending places of worship. Always take off your hat before eating, and refrain from dressing in beach clothes while dining.
Who Orders First?
The rule of thumb is if you are a male and you are taking out a lady, then you let her order first. Failure to do that may drop your points, and especially if you are trying to win her over, may ruin your chances.
You also wouldn’t look as romantic and some people may consider it bad manners or being disrespectful to the ladies. This is a rule that still stands and that ladies notice. Be a gentleman.
In another case, if you have guests with you on the table, or you are hosting someone, your guests go first, whether it is a woman or a man. Use terms like “please bring my guest the menu” or “a bottle of water”. Make it clear that you are the host.
Don’t be Scared to Take Pictures of your Food
Oh well, most people, if not all, are doing it now. If you are alone, or with your significant other, or with just a friend, and it doesn’t bother anyone else in the restaurant and you are not breaking any rules, don’t be scared to take pictures of your food. For instance, if you eat an exceptional crawfish menu at a restaurant, then there’s no doubt that it’s a perfect Instagram story that you should publish that day.
However, be mindful of the environment around you, the kind of restaurant you are in, and most importantly, who you are with and for what purpose you are having dinner together. If you are with a client, it is definitely not advisable to pull out a camera or your phone and start taking pictures.
Words to Know When Dining Out in a Cuban Restaurant
Knowing a few Spanish phrases is helpful when traveling in Cuba. English is becoming increasingly widespread, but this is less true in small towns and villages.
- Could I have the bill, please?: La cuenta, por favor?
- I’m a vegetarian.: Soy vegetariano.
- Can I see a menu, please?: ¿Puedo ver un menú, por favor?
- I’d like a…, please.: Me gustaria un/una…, por favor.
- Water: Agua
- Where is the bathroom?: ¿Dónde está el baño?
Tipping in a Cuban Restaurant
In Cuban restaurants, tipping is customary, therefore it’s crucial to understand the proper protocol. The income of Cuban employees includes gratuities, and they rely on them to provide for their families. When you do tip, be discreet and don’t do it to show off.
Be generous with your tips, as well as your smiles and encouraging comments.
Cuban restaurant employees are typically pleasant and wish to be treated with respect. When speaking to them, don’t bother to learn even the most fundamental Spanish, although even a small amount of language proficiency may go a long way. Say “Hello,” “Please,” and “Thank you,” at the very least (Hola, Por Favor and Gracias).
A normal tip is between 10% and 15% of the total cost. Of course, feel free to leave a higher tip if you think that the service was great. Always be kind and engage in conversation with your waiters and waitresses. This will be valued and will also make your visit more pleasant.