Saturday, November 18, 2006

Different restaurant routines

I had a friend over from Sweden last week and we ended up going out for dinner a lot. I realized I've been here a while because I really appreciate two things that would never happen in a Swedish restaurant:
  1. the taking away of your plate when you're done (not matter the status of the rest of the people around the table) and
  2. the giving you the bill without asking for it.
My friend go annoyed and wondered what was up with Californian restaurants.

In Sweden (as I think, in many other European countries, correct me if I'm wrong) the plates are removed when everyone at the table has stopped eating, not a second before. The the check is brought to you only when you've decided you're done and actively ask for it. Any thing else is considered very rude!

This is what I was used to.

And it took many restaurant visits to not get offended by having your plate taken away in the middle of the meal and not get the feeling you were getting kicked out by getting the check without asking for it. Even before I had stopped chewing, the check was on the table....

But now I have a hard time when I go to Sweden. If I'm having dinner with a very slow, slow eater, I have to sit with my cold left overs on the plate in front of me. And when we're done, sometimes it takes for ever to get the attention of the waiter to get the check when we want to leave.

So now, if I have to choose - I want it the American way!

My friend? He still has a couple of 100s of restaurants visits to get used to this way!


Anna Malaga said...

Hmm...but what if you want a drink after dinner? Or dessert?
Here we sit down for two or three hours, so there´s plenty of time to ask for the bill ;-)

JaCal said...

After you've had an American sized dessert... you're too stuffed to ask for the bill... ;-)

But... a nice, long European dinner, white table cloths, candles on the table, bread automatically served, small dishes, drinks without straws, and restaurants where you can eat late, late at night... not too bad either!

Annika said...

That question will always come up at the end of a meal:
Do you guys want to look at the dessert menu?
By that point the table is cleared. For some reason, this American habit of getting rid of the plates on the table before all diners are done, has never bothered me.
What I think is highly irritating is when dining in Stockholm and you sort of have to BEG to order and then BEG to pay the bill. That drives me nuts.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I think you have to stand on the table,
and flap your arms like a chicken
in order to get the waiter's attention (when you want to pay the bill or order).

Sorry for rambling…
My point is: the American way sounds way better.