A crash course on how to survive dining out in Germany


When you sit down at a restaurant here in Germany, one that is not even particularly busy, it is your job to wave down a server and ask for menus. Don’t be fooled, contrary to popular belief, that actually is a lot to ask of a German server, so don’t be surprised if you see their eyes roll and shoulders slump as they carry the hefty menus and drag their heavy feet. They are very fragile, sensitive beings. Be sure to reward them with smiles and greetings once they make it to your table; because applause is too loud and obnoxious (and Germans hate loud and obnoxious). Once you peons have decided what you would like to eat, hesitantly throw that hand up again, friendly like, as if not to rudely disturb the very important server. Patience is key, the server will come to your table and take your order, when he deems fit. Now, surprisingly, when the chef has prepared the food it will, as if by magic, be delivered to your table, probably even by your server. It matters little who brings your food because you will be so shocked at how little effort you contributed in the delivery. Close your gaping mouth, though, because now you need to take over the task of distributing the plates to their corresponding eater. Not once during your meal will you be disturbed, enjoy it. No one will check if you need ketchup, a drink refill, or a replacement fork for the one that fell on the ground. Nope, you wipe that fork on your napkin and carry on, ketchup-and-drink-less, because in Germany it really is rude to disturb a server while he is at work.

When everyone has had their fill and pushed their plates away out of gluttonous satisfaction, there is a slight chance the server will notice and come clear the table. There is, however, an even greater chance that the server will leave the plates there, sort of as a punishment for eating the food and dirtying the dish-ware. Just leave the pigs to wallow in their filth. You can wave down the server and ask for the table to be cleared, but you had better also ask for the bill at the same time, because there is no need to disrupt the waiter twice. Now is the time you can sit back and enjoy your dinner companions, dirty plates still scattered about, because the server will take his sweet time. The establishment seldom makes haste, why hurry just because you want to give them money. When you are finally given the opportunity to give the server your money be sure to say thanks, wish him a good night, and maybe even apologize, because it really was impolite of you to come in and bother him, especially during dinner time.


Weißwurst for breakfast in München

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