Dining Customs Around the World

Different cultures in different countries embrace specific table manners, making the what is proper in one place a faux pas in another. Four Seasons recently published a list of suggestions on what's appropriate in restaurants around the world.

When in…

Amman: “Upon arrival at a restaurant, be sure to acknowledge your entire party and introduce yourself to those you do not know. Shake hands but do not be forceful. If the other person’s hand is placed on his or her chest, move on; it means they will not shake your hand due to gender.” Waseem Sakas, Asia manager, Four Seasons Hotel Amman

Beirut: “You may be invited several times during dinner to add more food to your plate by the host. This is not a sign of aggression, but rather a sign that they care and are concerned that you have not eaten enough.” Pierre Freige, The Grill Room manager, Four Seasons Hotel Beirut

Damascus: “If you are formally invited to a meal, do not propose to pay as this is considered rude. If you are the host, try to pay very discreetly and never query the restaurant about the bill in front of your guests.” Tawfik Ellias, Il Circo manager, Four Seasons Hotel Damascus

New York: “Do not pile plates after you have finished a course – this can actually cause an issue for servers rather than providing assistance. They are more likely to have an accident if the plates are piled off balance.” Lacey Rozinsky, The Garden Restaurant sommelier and maitre d’, Four Seasons Hotel New York

Paris: “In France, the cheese course should never be ordered as a starter or dessert. Instead, it should be enjoyed between the meal and dessert with a glass of wine. Proper tasting should begin with the lightest selection (typically a goat cheese) and end with a stronger one such as a blue cheese.” Thierry Hamon, chef sommelier, Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris

Tokyo: “Slurping your noodles at the table is not considered rude, but rather shows that you have enjoyed your meal, especially to an older generation of chefs.” Kaye Tanioka, concierge, Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Marunouchi


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