Everyone knows the basic rules of how to behave in restaurants: don’t speak with your mouth full, use the right cutlery, don’t sit in the aisle. Most people follow these rules. But there are also some local customs that can confuse even the most experienced travelers.
Of course, it’s impossible to be ready for everything and learn all the etiquette rules of other countries. This is why locals forgive a lot of the mistakes that tourists make. But we still think that the people that don’t want to look rude have to follow all the rules as carefully as possible.
20. When in Italy, don’t order soup in summer and don’t drink a latte after lunch.
If you go to Italy in summer, don’t even try to find soup on the menus of restaurants and cafes. There, it is considered to be a winter meal, so many places just take it off the menu in the summer.
And in a classic Italian cafe, you might not hear someone ask for an espresso. For some locals, this is kind of like a technical term. You will probably hear them ask for “un caffé,” after which they will be given an espresso. In the morning, Italians sometimes opt for a cappuccino or a latte. If you order a latte after lunch, you will definitely look weird. They believe that it is not very healthy to drink milk after a meal.
By the way, because of the way their coffee shops are set up, Italians drink it standing. It’s meant to be a quick stop, maybe with a quick conversation with a friend and a small bite to eat, and then they go on their way.
19. Don’t try to have dinner in Spain before 9 pm.
Even in restaurants, they don’t start serving tables until after 9 p.m. And if you walk in and eat while in a hurry and trying to make it somewhere on time, the Spanish will be confused. They usually don’t rush anywhere.
Also, in Spain, when they go to a cafe in a group, they all split the bill equally.
18. In Greece, do not apologize if you’ve spilled something on the tablecloth.
There is nothing bad about wine or food stains on a tablecloth in Greece. Because they are always very relaxed at the table, the host might even put a stain on the cloth on purpose just to show you that it is not a big deal.
And one more thing: don’t just take one serving. It is better to take several. Usually, they order food for everyone at the table and then the participants take as much as they want. There may even be no menu, you can just choose from what was cooked on a certain day.