Group dinners question

On a RS tour how do the group dinners work? Is it a set menu served family style or does each person order their own entree off of the menu?

Posted by Pam
Troy, Idaho, USA
2670 posts

It depends. On some of the tours you are just served a meal, sometimes you have choices and the guide asks ahead of time and orders, sometimes you order off the menu. I've never encountered a serve yourself family style. Meals have always been plated. Usually they are 2 or 3 courses.

Posted by Mimi
Morrison, CO, USA
529 posts

We have had set menus where there were 3 choices for entree, sometimes a couple of choices for appetizer and dessert. We have also had buffet style (The best one was in Cinque Terre) Usually there is a menu for the RS group with a couple of choices for each section. In Southern Italy one restaurant had meat and seafood as the main course choices. One lady didn't eat meat and was allergic to seafood. The guide had arranged for the chef to make her a pasta with veggies that looked really good. She was very happy.

Hubby and I have always been very pleased with the food that we have gotten on the group dinners and in fact once or twice have gone back to those same places on our free nights. In your packet of papers that you fill out when you register for the tour, one of the questions will be about food allergies and food that you have to avoid (ex: if you're vegetarian, vegan, or if you have to avoid gluten, things like that and any allergies). That info is given to the tour guide.

Are you signed up for a tour, and if so which one?

Have a great trip,

Posted by stan
Kansas City
1213 posts

Gretchen, on our Italy tour, the dinners were set up to give you a taste of the regional specialities, with accommodation for dietary preferences - meat or fish, etc. One dinner for example, they brought out several pasta dishes, and you could try all or none.

Posted by Charlie
Honolulu/Seattle, HI/WA, USA
2320 posts

I have taken 12 RS tours an at almost all of those group dinners and lunches there were several options presented by the guide so that he can notify the eatery ahead of time how much of what to cook. We have had no complaints about any of the food on any of out tours. You much remember that you do not have to do anything on RS tours except make it to the bus on time. If you choose to skip a group meal, just let the guide know ahead of time and go on your merry way. If you are going to take a RS tour be sure to indicate any food issues on one of the registration forms. Happy travels.

Posted by Jenn
Rick Steves' Europe
291 posts

In general, you will have a choice for group meals. Most group meals you will have a choice of an appetizer, main and dessert. Other meals will be more family style with several items on the table and you share them all. That way you get to try more items from the area. If you have diet restrictions or allergies just let your guide know and they can work around that. I have always enjoyed the group meals since the guide knows what is in season and what's local.

Posted by joshstandon
28 posts

One thing. At the group dinners it's easy to fall into the noisy Americans mode. Try a softer voice.

Posted by joshstandon
28 posts

One thing. At the group dinners it's easy to fall into the noisy Americans mode. Try a softer voice. And if you have a group dinner go easy on lunch. If it's a group lunch plan on a simple dinner such as gelato and a caffé or apéritif. 🍹