How to not be rude in Italy

Jul 29th, 2003, 04:29 PM
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Re: "It is considered cheap and not classy but not rude to split a meal,"

Wouldn't it be considered even cheaper if both people ordered separate menu items but the total of both items was less than one menu item ordered by both people and then shared?

I understand why waiters, or a restaurant owner, might not care for people sharing a meal if the restaurant was very busy. After all, the presumption would be that two people ordering two menu items would be giving the restaurant more revenue than two people ordering one menu item (although the exammple above is possible.) But if a restuarant is not busy, what's the big deal? Why the disdain for people sharing meals?
capo is offline  
Jul 29th, 2003, 04:39 PM
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I'm learning so much from this thread! Hike: I'm working from memory, so it could be another Asian country, but I thought it was Japan... "I thought I was wrong once, but I was mistaken" was one of my father's favorite sayings!
Ira: thanks for the mezzo idea, sounds like a solution!
Bashaw is offline  
Jul 30th, 2003, 02:23 AM
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Kismet and Ira, be sure to order a cappuccino after you have eaten your parmigiano-reggiano laden seafood risotto or pasta.

SantaChiara is offline  
Jul 30th, 2003, 03:37 AM
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Hi SantaChiara,

It was not I who puts cheese on seafood.

Also, I never have cappucino after 11:00 Am.

After dinner, I have a nice, big bowl of latte'.
ira is offline  
Jul 30th, 2003, 04:24 AM
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You know I was just funnin' ya. Speaking of creamy, coffee things, Antica Bologna, my fave, has a cappuccino estivo: a goblet with chocolate, cold coffee and whipped cream. The barista laces the coffee-chocolate layer with the cream to make a little design. So good. And I had mine before the magic witching hour of 11 a.m.
SantaChiara is offline  
Jul 30th, 2003, 11:31 AM
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Santa Chiara, cappuccino after a meal....Jamais!!!! I dont want to scandalize the poor WAITER!!!!!! About a good glass of cognac instead?I used to have a cigarette with my cognac.. but not anymore... I kicked the habit....
kismetchimera is offline  
Jul 30th, 2003, 01:34 PM
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Capo, I wouldnt say they look upon sharing with disdain, but it is (in some circles) considered a bit cheap or not classy to have them split an entree.
Same for taking your leftovers with you, it is done but, well, you get the point?
Do you mean, if people order two primos and no entree? Of course it all depends on the restaurant. Sometimes they order off (not on) the menu and get plates full of what they really want to eat, then all share from common serving dishes, family style, at more casual restaurants.

But this is what I have learned in my trips over there and eating with friends who live locally.
SeaUrchin is offline  
Jul 30th, 2003, 01:47 PM
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>I used to have a cigarette with my cognac.. but not anymore... I kicked the habit....<


You've given up Cognac?

ira is offline  
Jul 30th, 2003, 01:56 PM
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Ira, if you like OJ and yogurt, try making a blender smoothie with apple, peach, or apricot juice and buttermilk. It's fabulous.

I think it's Thailand, and maybe other parts of SE Asia, where it is considered very rude to touch someone on the head, even small children.
Marilyn is offline  
Jul 30th, 2003, 02:11 PM
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Not everywhere in the Asia touching somebody face is taboo......Years ago , I lived in Taipei for a couple of years. My little girl had beautiful blue eyes with long eyelashes.. The locals could not keep their hands off her face, and kept saying ing how? Spelling.. and Pretty Eyes..
kismetchimera is offline  
Jul 30th, 2003, 04:33 PM
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Children may be he exception to the taboo. In the USA it would be pretty bizarre to pat an adult on the head or pinch his cheeks, even if he's not a stranger, but children are routinely subjected to that sort of touching.
barzelletta is offline  
Jul 30th, 2003, 08:09 PM
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"In the USA it would be pretty bizarre to pat an adult on the head .."

I think it should be bizarre mostly anywhere in the world

Marilyn could well be right. The Thai might say you must not touch people on the head because it's the holy part of the body (believing "Buddah is in there" or something like that.). I will check with a Thai friend of mine and let you know in case anybody is interested.
hike is offline  
Nov 21st, 2003, 02:41 PM
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Mamma Love: This may be more than you ever wanted to read about everyone's opinions regarding etiquette in Italy.
cmt is offline  
Dec 12th, 2003, 02:19 AM
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No cappuccino after 11 a.m. In the 3 1/2 years I lived in Italy, I have had Cappuccino from 7 am to 9 pm. No one ever looked at me funny, laughed, or refused to serve cappuccino. I lived in small towns which were not tourist atractions and they not only served cappuccino, but the Italians drank cappuccino as well. I have traveled through out Italy and never in 3 1/2 years heard or experienced this and I have many Italian friends who say the same. Sorry those women had this happen Grinisa
TVP is offline  
Dec 12th, 2003, 04:07 AM
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The invasion of Twentieth Century American Tourism has certainly had its effect on Italian tradition and culture. I'll never forget the first time I ordered cappuccino after 11 AM in Rome. Things have changed. Sadly, even San Eustachio has new owners.

Now, especially in many high-end hotels and restaurants, Italian waiters will ask if you desire a cappuccino after your evening meal. It most likely will be the last of several offerings on his list but there, nonetheless. Milk products have an interesting history in Italy. If you study this subject, you'll discover where all this started.
NYCFoodSnob is offline  
Dec 12th, 2003, 04:39 AM
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Good to see the Italians have wised up and started giving people what they want when they want it.
Dec 12th, 2003, 05:50 AM
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I agree with NYCFS. Cappuccino being offered after the historic 11 am hour is largely due to tourists, mainly Americans hooked on Starbucks, expecting it all hours of the day. Personally, I just couldn't handle a frothy milk-based drink after dinner. I much prefer the usual espresso. In the 34 years I've been traveling to Italy, I can't recall being with or seeing any Italians drink cappuccino after dinner. When my husband or I order "cafe" after dinner, no waiter has come back to ask "cappuccino?" So it may not raise eyebrows anymore and it may not be rude to order it, but I'll stick to the espresso. Those poor ladies should give San Eustachio another try now that it's under new ownership.
Grinisa is offline  
Dec 12th, 2003, 06:40 AM
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grinisa, its good to see you have a reasonable attitude and are no coffee snob bent on imposing your personal views on everybody else. Italian society is not going to fall apart just because some visitors enjoy cappuccino after 11 a.m.
Dec 12th, 2003, 11:16 AM
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Don?t ask the coat check person at the Villa Borghese for his name when checking an expensive camera with him. And, especially, don?t then ask if you please can you just have his initials when he refuses to give his name.

My husband, by asking the above, apparently deeply offended the person who then rushed into the coatroom, grabbed the camera and thrust it back at my husband. My husband reached out to touch his arm in a friendly manner and said, ?I?m sorry,? but it was too late. The fellow jerked his arm away and was adamant about not now taking the camera - told us we'd have to take it with us.
My husband managed to secrete the camera on his person - no one was checking coats and bulky sweaters - so we managed to see the breathtaking Borghese, but we had some very nervous moments.
suzy is offline  
Dec 12th, 2003, 11:29 AM
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I think it's funny that someone would think it's rude of an American to ask for cappucino after dinner. Normally in the US, coffee is served with or before dessert. Not so in most of Europe. Would a US waiter think it rude if a Brit asked for his dessert with coffee afterwards? What's wrong with people asking for things in a restaurant the way they prefer them?
earl30 is offline  

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