Fine Dining:Enjoy a Fancy Meal in a Fancy Setting

- Dorothy Lysandra Lu

The concept of fine dining is only for the elite class, they say, but the current lifestyle shift has prompted a lot of regular middle class families to go beyond their means to enjoy meals that are out of this world. We all deserve fine dining once in a while, and if one wishes to try out an elaborate meal at home, or in a fancy restaurant, be prepared for a table laid out with plates of different sizes, spoons, forks, knives, and what have you. Here is a simple layout and information on where to place what.

What’s what and where

1. Bread plate and butter knife: On the extreme left, with the knife placed vertically down the center of the plate. If there’s not enough space, it can also be placed slightly higher beside the dessert fork and spoon.

3. Napkin: If folded decoratively or adorned with a ring, place on the dinner plate. If not, it should be place on the left, beside the flatware, with the folded edge pointing inwards.

4. To the left of the plate: the dinner fork sits beside the dinner plate, followed by the salad fork, which is slightly smaller.

5. To the right of the plate: From inside out, the dinner knife is placed beside the salad knife, which is followed by the soup spoon. The salad knife is slightly smaller than the dinner knife. The soup
spoon, unlike other spoons, is rounder.

6. Coffee cup and saucer with spoon: at the extreme right, the coffee spoon goes on the right,

Other etiquette rules

Leaving the table temporarily: leave your utensils crossed across your plate and your napkin on your chair.
Eating fish: Fish have their own fork and knife set. It is smaller than the dinner fork and knife, but larger than the salad set. If serving fish, the order from center to left goes like this: salad fork, dinner fork, fish fork. On the right, from inside out, it goes like this: salad knife, dinner knife, fish knife, soup spoon.

Serving oysters: an oyster fork may also be placed on the extreme right of utensils, beside the soup spoon if oysters are being served.


Typically, bread and butter is served with a soup to begin. Use the butter knife to butter your bread. As the name implies, the soup spoon is for the soup. Fill it to about two-thirds, before sipping from the side of the spoon. As you’re finishing it, it is acceptable to tilt the bowl away from you to get the last of the soup. Scoop away from you.

A salad may then be served. Use the salad fork and knife. Again, scoop it away from you—this applies to all courses. To signal you are done with the course, place your utensils together at 5 o’clock position.

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