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Etiquette -- Napkin upon leaving the table mid-dinner

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Seems there are two rules of thought -- that it be left on the chair (as no one wants to see a used napkin on the table or next to a dish) -- which is what I usually do; or, that it be left to the right of the dish.......

Often, I return to the table and find the napkin on my seatback.... Occasionally remember obtaining a new napkin at ultra-high-end places. But for the normal places like Town, Daniel..... how best to leave the napkin to go to the ladies' room?

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  1. I've read of both - but I leave my napkin on the table, to the left of the plate in that circumstance. One thought against putting it on your chair is that you may have something on the napkin that might get on the chair and then stain your clothes when you sit down again.

    1. I was always told that you put your napkin on your chair when you leave the table mid-meal; a napkin on the table means you're done eating.

      I've never seen a server put the napkin on the back of the chair, ick! Then again, I don't eat in the temples of gastronomy, mostly because the atmosphere (full of worshipful people whispering about how $CHEF is being loving tonight or whatever, as though they really were in a temple) doesn't agree with me.

      I can see the point about not wanting to get goop on your clothes, but I suspect you'd probably use a clean corner of the napkin to "clean" the chair if need be, and then request another napkin. OTOH, if you're sitting on a nicely-upholstered chair you probably don't want to put your nasty napkin on the cloth.

      IMHO, as long as you're not displaying the piece of chewed gristle you had to eject into the napkin to the entire table, leave the napkin where it makes sense to you.

      1. Who wants to leave their napkin where someone's ass has been? I leave mine on the table to the left of my plate.

        1. I love that you list Daniel as a "normal" non-ultra-high-end place!

          I find I do it differently depending on the place. If it's casual, I'll fold the napkin and leave it on my chair, assuming that the server will think I'm done and take my plate away if I leave it on the table. At nice places I'll fold it and leave it by my plate, -- clean side up, always.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Jonathan Saw

            I wondered if someone was going to point that out!

            "I'm feeling rather Bohemian tonight, let's run down to that Daniel place and grab a quick bite, maybe we can go somewhere nice tomorrow."

          2. I tie mine around my neck as a cravat and take it with me to the Loo...(g)