A Guide to Good Table Manners
When in a restaurant, remember: Volume matters. “Occasional loud laughter is fine, as long as there is no hyena at the table,” says Mario Batali, chef-owner of Babbo and several other restaurants in New York City. “But a constant uproar is not appropriate.” If someone is seated too far away for you to speak at a normal volume, wait until after the meal to talk. Also try to avoid speaking over the person next to you in order to talk with someone else. At formal dinners, there used to come a time when the hostess “turned the table,” moving from speaking with the person on her left to the person on her right―a cue to her guests to do the same. While this formality is rarely observed, avoid monopolizing one person and pay equal attention to the two people sitting next to you. And try to bring into the conversation anyone who appears to have no one to talk to.