Dining Tips for International Visitors!
There are 3 essential tips I like to give to visitors when it comes to dining in England. If you are planning on coming to England read on!
Paying the Bill When you are ready for the bill you should signal to the waiter that you would like the bill. Unlike some countries where you are presented with the bill immediately after you have eaten (or even when you are still eating!) the waiters in England are less likely to disturb you with the bill and will be happy for you to carry on chatting and enjoying the ambience. I have heard of some guests waiting over 30 minutes for the bill not realising it would have been brought to them earlier had they asked for it! If you are in a hurry - when you are presented with the bill I recommend letting the waiter know that you are in a rush otherwise they may get distracted with serving other tables before taking your money!
Gratuities In England the waiting staff are not as dependant on gratuities as other countries. That said - gratuities are appreciated. In England, unless the service and meal was very poor, we typically tip the waiting staff between 10 and 15%. Before you tip - first check the bill. Some places will add a discretionary service charge onto the bill. If they have done this - you are not expected to tip further - unless of course you would like to! Of course if you are unhappy with the meal and the service you can refuse to pay this discretionary charge. If you are not sure if the service has been included do ask the waiting staff.
Dining reservations The majority of the restaurants in Bath are quite small and the popular ones will book up on weekends and often on the weekdays too. Famous restaurants like Sotto Sotto and the Olive Tree will book up months in advance. My recommendation is to make dinner reservations as far in advance as you can. If you don't - you will still find somewhere to eat but you may have to go from place to place looking for a table (even if you are just 2 people).
Bath has lots of great restaurants. There are Italian, Thai, Steak, British, Indian, Seafood, Vegetarian and many many more. I am always happy to give my guests suggestions so if you would like some ideas please do not hesitate to let me know. I wish you all many wonderful dining experiences in the UK!