How to behave in a European restaurant, a guide for American (or Japanese) tourists

(Related to my previous post - this is something I was originally going to submit to the How To... event held by ProBlogger, but I ended up posting something else. To be taken it with a big grain of salt.)

  • Complain about the lack of English on the menu.
  • Complain that there is English on the menu, and how you don't like to go to places "meant for tourists", then complain how you can't understand the menu.
  • Spot an American/Japanese sitting near you and mutter about how you hate being in a place with tourists. (In Japanese the complaint is Yadawa- nihonjin yo- (Yuck, there's a Japanese there.) This has actually happened to me more than once...)
  • Assume your server will understand your English as long as you speak loudly or slowly enough.
  • Insist on ordering tap water since you are too cheap to order bottled, then complain about the taste of it.
  • Complain about the lack of ice cubes in drinks. (At most, you may get 1 or 2. Even at McDonalds. European people don't seem to believe in icy cold drinks diluted with ice cubes.)
  • Complain about no butter with your bread.
  • Complain about the tiny portion sizes.
  • Complain about prices, forgetting that that price includes tax and tip.
  • Complain about the fact that the price includes the tip.
  • Assume that everyone is out to rip you off because you are a tourist or worse, an American.
  • Take lots of photos of each other. Use the flash liberally, ensuring that your neighboring diners will be too blind to see their food. Don't forget to make your waiter take that obligatory group shot. If you are Japanese, at least two of your group must be holding up a "V" sign.
  • Midway through your meal, start moaning about how much you miss rice/soy sauce/hamburgers/Mexican food/peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
  • Ask for a doggie bag. Go ahead, try!
  • Give up, and stick to American fast-food places you recognize. That foreign food, it's too weird.


Haha... I've only been to Europe once now, back in May. Let me think... was I that much of an ass... No, I think I'm safe, except for one restaurant which I'm still embarassed over (a British couple at the table over started talking to us and later I realized how embarrassingly I/we were acting before they spoke to us). (They didn't reprimand us or anything, they were very nice, but... yeah.)


Interested in saving tons of money> I wrote a little tongue-in-cheek page about Amsterdam / Holland

Kind regards,

Drs. Kees Kaldenbach
Amsterdam, Holland

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