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Apr 27, 2011 10:16 AM

Etiquette of small plate and tapas restaurants

We have a very lovely restaurant near us that is small plates, based. They rec. 3-4 plates per person, meant to share. (things are often in pairs). It's actually one of our favorite places. Their food is on the rich side, as well, for instance a foie gras slider, which pretty much by itself would substitute an entire meal for me.

I eat a lot of small meals throughout the day, and 6-8 small plates, even just a bite or two each, is just WAY to much food for me. My diet is for medical reasons (I've not had bariatric surgery or anything like that).

Is it rude to make reservations, take up a table, if you are only going to eat 1/2 of what is "recommended"? Should we only eat at lunch? I've previously only gone with a group, or my husband will eat the dishes I don't. (which isn't the ideal solution).

I really don't want to have to call and go all into my personal medical problems when making a reservation, either. I'm just curious if it's considered rude to only pop in for what most might consider a snack. On the advantage side for the restaurant...we could eat there a lot more often!

I'm interested in hearing opinions!

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  1. Well, I wouldn't take up a table on a packed Saturday night knowing we would only be ordering a "snack", but I would think it'd be ok at lunch or on a week night.

    If you love this place, you should go. Restaurants love people who love them, give good recommendations, and are excited to be there.

    1. If you order fewer dishes, you'd probably spend less time at the table. So I can't see why the restaurant would object. This is a situation in which I might park myself at the bar, though, if that's an option.

      1. I think it's fine if you don't linger. Two+ hours on snacks would be a bit excessive, but 45-60 minutes seems acceptable.

        1. Thank you for the replies! They don't have a bar, it's tiny right now, and I know they try to do two seatings a night so a weekday or the lunch they have on Saturdays sounds like a good option. I don't want to be that "weird, cheap" patron! LOL.

          Now I think I might try to talk to the husband into a flying lunch on Saturday...

          If you are ever in the Philly Suburbs, Honey (in Doylestown) is the name of the place. Everytime we go it's fabulous. I'd get the extra dishes and just wrap them up, but nothing really lends itself well to re-heating. (poached quail egg on mushrooms, etc)

          3 Replies
          1. re: sommrluv

            Sommrluv, I have a similar problem. I can only have a few bites and I am full. Used to be where I would take a lot of good food home and feed it to my dog, but the doc told me to stop it. So when I feel like I am taking advantage, I just order a nice bottle of wine from their wine list. And voila, everyone is happy!

            1. re: sommrluv

              You might also like Verdad in Bryn Mawr. We've been a few times and really liked it. Thanks for the tip on Honey, maybe we'll get there this weekend.

              1. re: Whinerdiner

                Oh you really should! It really is our favorite restaurant.

            2. Personally I would work to the basis that a tapa is inherently a snack. And restaurants offering tapas in any serious way should expect customers to be treating them as snacks. Go enjoy one of your favourite places.