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Dining Etiquette

When going out for dinner or lunch, is it rude/odd/impolite/cheap/etc to only order a “plat principal” (not counting a beverage) Or is it proper to order with at least an entree or desert?

Posted by
10364 posts

Not rude, not cheap. If all you want is a main dish and a beverage, that's perfectly fine.
We just came in from a dinner with friends. My husband had a main and a glass of wine. I had a first course and a glass of wine, no main course. No desserts. No problem.

Posted by
23472 posts

One thing that is somewhat frown on is ordering a main and splitting it. One of us orders the salad and other the main and quietly share.

Posted by
932 posts

One way to avoid any issues is to eat in cafes and bar/bistro joints where you can sit at a table and drink, with or without food, and they don't care anything about each person ordering 2 or 3 courses like more traditional restaurants with a single evening seating.

Posted by
6670 posts

I had no problem ordering an appetizer (entree) or a main (plat) or two appetizers. You can often get a good deal with a "formule" that consists of entree+plat or plat+dessert for a relatively good price, but there's nothing "proper" involved.

Posted by
1340 posts

In France I never feel shamed when I don't order alcohol - unlike here in the US when you feel that your server gives up on you and your quality of service diminishes.

Posted by
4066 posts

You can request tap water -- "d'eau ordinaire" -- and the cover charge, if any, will be small. I like fizzy water, for a special touch to the meal, and am willing to pay for it accepting that the restaurant is making a small profit.

Posted by
7080 posts

You can request tap water -- "d'eau ordinaire" -- and the cover charge, if any, will be small.

Slight correction if I may: there are no cover charges in France, and tap water is "une carafe d'eau".