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Drinks with meals

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posts: 1,147
reviews: 7
Drinks with meals

I am posting this in the Rome forum although the question applies to France and other parts of Italy as well.

I am not overly fussed on drinking wine and do not usually have a glass at restaurants with a meal as I consider it a waste of money given my indifference towards drinking it. My husband enjoys a beer with his meal but does not always have one, especially when he is driving or we are watching the budget.

I am more than happy with a carafe or glass of water but we often noticed or sensed disapproval from waiters when we declined the wine/drinks list. It was uncomfortable feeling as though we "should" be having drinks and more than once we noticed other tables receiving their food first when they came in after us.

Are we the only ones who do not always order drinks when dining out?

Sydney, Australia
posts: 1,343
reviews: 5
1. Re: Drinks with meals

My attitude to wine is similar to yours. I would usually just have water with my meals in Italy, and I did not notice any disapproval.

Latina, Italy
posts: 1,773
2. Re: Drinks with meals

They can sometimes give you "looks" if you wave away the wine list. They make a good profit on the mark-up on wines. It shouldn't worry you though. I'd order a bottle of mineral water and leave it at that.

Cookstown, United...
posts: 174
3. Re: Drinks with meals

I do not drink alcohol . . . . . I have never experienced any disapproval when ordering (bottled) water. Don't stress out about it . . . . it's not an issue.


tucson, az
posts: 2,765
reviews: 9
4. Re: Drinks with meals

I don't drink and never felt censured at all in Europe (though I've felt that way a time or two here in the US). Of course, I almost always have soda and I'm sure they make a hefty profit off of that as well. But even when it was just water in Italy I never got an impression other than "of course; right away".

Kent, England
posts: 2,982
reviews: 21
5. Re: Drinks with meals

Its perfectly acceptable to have mineral water with a meal in Italy. You are usually asked whether you want it still or fizzy. Never had any disapproving gestures at all on my visits, its pretty commonplace.

Latina, Italy
posts: 1,773
6. Re: Drinks with meals

Well I see I'm in the minority (not the first time!). It could be that where visitors eat the waiters/waitresses are used to it.

I've lived here for more than 30 years and in some country restaurants not frequented by tourists I've had some "disappointed" looks when I've refused the wine list. That's all. No big deal.

Sydney, Australia
posts: 21,381
reviews: 54
7. Re: Drinks with meals

Be aware that you are expected to order bottled water in Italy, not tap water, but in France "un carafe d'eau" is offered free if you ask.

posts: 16,646
8. Re: Drinks with meals

I drink like a fish, but that's neither here nor there. You and I are calling the shots, order or no what you wish.

BTW, the new Mount Hillary wine from your country is superb.

Le Marche, Italy
Destination Expert
for Rome, Marche
posts: 34,842
reviews: 24
9. Re: Drinks with meals

We don't order wine either, and I've never seen even a disappointed look. However, here in Le Marche, there is a significant number of people, including my husband, who don't drink any alcohol at all.

Nottingham, United...
posts: 3,249
reviews: 131
10. Re: Drinks with meals

Just remember that you are the customer!:-)

Not everyone drinks alcohol and if you just want water with your meal then that is what you should have.

I really wouldn't worry about this at all.