European silverware code

May 27th, 2006, 10:58 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
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When I tell my kids to put their silverware at 5 o'clock, one of them (the smart @$$ one) invariably puts the knife at 12 and the fork at 5. "You said 5 o'clock......"
J62 is offline  
Mar 30th, 2008, 12:55 PM
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Agreeing with rkkwan --

Many countries consider it impolite to rush you, and the waiter will not bring the check until asked. To give the signal, make eye contact with the waiter, and do the "writing a check" motion with your hands, as if you are signing something.

Be aware that in some more casual places, you will pay at the bar (also common in New Zealand.)
madameX is offline  
Mar 30th, 2008, 01:26 PM
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one of the highlights of a meal in Europe is to be able to relax during and afterwards, savor the food, chat, and enjoy the moment. So, what's the rush to get the check? I always signal with miming writing something on my palm if the waiter is not right next to me, or asking for the addition if he is, when we are finally done.
Momliz is offline  
Mar 30th, 2008, 04:29 PM
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rk says,

>n Hong Kong, you ask for you check by raising your hand, pretend to be holding a pen, and then flick it like you'd be signing something when the waiter see you.

And in London, Paris, Rome, Berlin, Vienna, New York, San Francisco and Madison, GA.

ira is offline  
Mar 30th, 2008, 06:42 PM
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Momliz- What about those people who aren't into restaurant scenes? While they may of enjoyed the food, there's more things out there to see still! Why wait when you could see another piece of art, wander through another neighborhood, go through another museum, etc... I'm not one to linger over my food, especially if I'm alone. And I would feel rather weird people-watching inside of a restaurant.
caladrius is offline  
Mar 30th, 2008, 07:09 PM
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well then, ask for the check...
Momliz is offline  
Mar 30th, 2008, 07:17 PM
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Oh, I would when ready. It just seemed like you think anyone who wouldn't want to spend an hour after eating sitting and talking is crazy, when they're not. If that wasn't the case, then nevermind.
caladrius is offline  
Mar 30th, 2008, 07:37 PM
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Usually when I eat my evening meal (dinner) I am tired of sightseeing and ready for some down time.

Besides, I enjoy seeing what is on the menu and trying to figure it out!!

Usually, it is hopeless without help.

I made a copy of the various utensil positions and their meaning. I will use in June in Prague and see it if helps.

I am reminded of trick we pulled on some gullible soul when I was in college. Some guy told this poor chap that if he went to the kitchen door and yelled out some phrase in Russian to the cook he would get a free desert.

Well the dumb guy did as told.
I presume he got the Russian sounds imitated rather well because the cook chased him out waving a butcher knife.

At Oktoberfest in Munich one year I saw a tipsy US female get talked into standing on the table and yelling something in German that drew applause and calls, in English, for more. She had no idea what she was saying.

Let us suffice it by saying that she was calling attention to her feminine charms.
bob_brown is offline  
Mar 31st, 2008, 12:28 AM
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> I will use in June in Prague and see it if helps.

A taxi from Prague to Rue Cler might get very expensive
altamiro is offline  
Mar 31st, 2008, 01:59 AM
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Beside the point...Delay with check? We get up and go to the cashier! It always brings results.
GSteed is offline  
Mar 31st, 2008, 02:30 AM
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We rarely ask for a check. It's usually brought automatically at closing time.
kleeblatt is offline  
Mar 31st, 2008, 02:59 AM
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You made all of us loughing, cheers...

In Turkey usually they do not rush customers for to use the table again and asking to the waiter for the bill is enough. Or simoly catching the eye of the waiter and show with your hand as if you do signing will be enough for them to understand and bring the check....

Happy Travelling,
propertravel is offline  
Mar 31st, 2008, 03:09 AM
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> It just seemed like you think anyone who wouldn't want to spend an hour after eating sitting and talking is crazy ...

I understand what you mean. Especially when I'm alone, I'd rather go out after dinner without lingering (but no rush. Also an exception is if I feel good with a bit of alcoohol, I do might linger a bit) and enjoy walking the night of Paris, Venice, Prague, etc. Some said they would sually be tired from all the walking during the day, well not me (usually). I do walk day and night.

So as Momliz wrote, just ask for your check. That's as simple as that. I often ask for it with the coffee.
kappa is offline  
Mar 31st, 2008, 04:48 AM
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My DH likes me to attract the attention of a waiter by the subtle use of eyebrow or eyelid. I worry about this and use the signing gesture. This 5 oclock thing explains to me why so many Americans do it. My mother (a owner of hotels) always said "up and down" which means 6 oclock in this parlance but how did 5 become the number
bilboburgler is offline  
Mar 31st, 2008, 05:33 AM
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If this subject has not been done to death I'll add a little footnote about my difficulties when asking for the cheque.

We never drink coffee or eat dessert at home or abroad. And as we dine out nightly on our European trips, I like to pay up and get out fast.

So on our trip to Rome and Paris (we returned last evg) I generally spoke as follows:

Un dolce?/ Dessert, monsieur?
No, grazie/ Non, merci.
Caffe?/ Un cafe peut-etre?
Neppure un caffe. Prendo subito il conto, per favore. / Pas de cafe -- je prend l'addition, SVP.

....And then we sat and sat and waited and waited, until I asked again for the bill. And got it right away.

My spouse theorized "They don't think you're asking for the cheque. They think you're telling them that you want the bill NEXT... but you're not ASKING for it now."

Sounds weird but this was a pretty persistent problem -- about one-third or one-half of our dinners. And it was a problem in uncrowded restaurants with good, otherwise-responsive staff.

By the way, "turning the table" used to mean something quite different in a private house in my grandmother's day:

It was the point in a large formal dinner party at which the hostess turned from talking to the person on her right and began to talk to the person on her left.

The wave moved all around the table. For a pair of guests to persist in a conversation that prevented the "turning" was considered very ill-mannered!
tedgale is offline  
Mar 31st, 2008, 05:45 AM
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tedgale, you are right. It can be a problem everywhere in Europe, even in my homeland. Sometimes, I get nervous when I have to leave for an appointment or to catch a train.

What do I do?

First, I make myself heard - waving, even calling loudly for the waiter if nothing else helps.

Second, I sometimes stand up and go directly to the bar or cashier and approach the waiter. Sometimes, they are irritated by this behavior and come to the table to present the check, sometimes they seem glad and produce the check right there. Anyway, if this speeds up checking-out, I do it.

The third strategy is to stand up, take the coat and get ready to leave the restaurant - usually the waiter will hurry up with the check!
traveller1959 is offline  
Mar 31st, 2008, 09:14 AM
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I did not mean to imply that not sitting for hours after a meal is crazy - I enjoy it - and I realize that many don't or don't have time. Maybe it's an acquired taste? I know that my kids grew to like it on our trip to France, and the whole family was actually talking to each other. Wonderful!
Momliz is offline  
Mar 31st, 2008, 10:34 PM
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I apologize for my wrong assumption. Don't know if it was the late hour or what at the time...
caladrius is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2008, 09:27 PM
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I'm sure AnthonyGA isn't reading this thread anymore, but just incase... thanks for the laugh. I would dearly love to present that "silverware code" at an etiquette dinner and see how long people would follow along. I think my favorite was about the smelly couple at the next table.

I've always found that catching the waiters eye at the end of a meal works. They either assume I want the check, or they come over to see what I do want.
Iowa_Redhead is offline  

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