Dinner Etiquette

Etiquette for Setting a Proper Table for Dinner


Charger under main plate

Steak knife is placed above plate as is a fancy spoon; It’s acceptable to put extra utensils here.

The bread and butter dish is on the left hand side, with butter knife across plate.


Water glass; to the right of that is the wine glass; then to the right of that a cordial glass.

Coffee cup and saucer to the right.

Pour the wine to no more than 1/4 to 1/2 of the glass (when in someone’s home)

Never reach across the table; Ask for whatever you would like to be passed

Pass the bread around the whole table

Bread/roll should be broken in half and then in half again – break it to the size you will put in your mouth; one piece at a time. Never take a bite of your bread a piece at a time.

The recommended way to eat bread is by breaking (not cutting) it in half and in half again until you have one bite size piece. Butter and eat it one piece at a time

Put a slice of butter on your butter dish – Don’t use the butter straight from the main butter dish.

A restaurant serves on the left – removes on the right.

The salad is usually served at the beginning of the meal but it can be served at the end of the meal.

Fold your napkin in half and place in in your lap right before you begin eating

Whenever you have a place plate, that’s where the spoon goes when you are finished using it.

Arms are off the table when eating

Do not slurp your soup or other liquid foods.

Don’t cut salad completely, just cut as you are eating – one piece at a time.

Cut one bite at a time. Place the knife at the top of the plate, at an angle, between bites and transfer the fork to your other hand to eat.

Don’t reach across the table – ask for what you want. When passing the cream and sugar, hold it so the handle faces towards the person receiving it.

Napkin stays on your lap and occasionally tap your mouth to clean

Always pass the salt and pepper together.

Put the fork and knife on an angle in the middle of the plate when you are through with your meal. This signals the waitress/waiter/hostess that you are done.

At the end of the meal, place your napkin on the right side of the plate – again, says you are finished.


Be sure to see all 4 related articles on Etiquette, Manners and Table setting:

Part 1 Want to Be in the Know on the Absolute Fundamentals of Etiquette?  Introduction, Proper Walking Technique and overall Table Setting Guidelines

Part 2 Want to Be in the Know on the Absolute Fundamentals of Breakfast Etiquette?  Proper Table Setting and Etiquette When Hosting Breakfast and Guidelines for When Dining Out at a Restaurant

Part 3 Want to Be in the Know on the Absolute Fundamentals of Lunch  Etiquette? Proper Table Setting and Etiquette When Hosting Lunch and Table Manners ~ Overall Dining Guidelines

Part 4 Want to Be in the Know on the Absolute Fundamentals of Dinner  Etiquette? Proper Table Setting and Etiquette When Hosting Dinner 

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