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sharing dinner entree

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USA
posts: 53
sharing dinner entree

We'll be visiting Basel for 4 nights in Oct. We love good food, but are not big eaters. In restaurants here at home, we usually order one starter, one entree, and sometimes one dessert and then we share the meal by getting an extra plate. This is more than enough food for us.

Would this be okay to do at restaurants in Basel?

Kent, England
posts: 1,095
1. Re: sharing dinner entree

I think you will find that portions are smaller and you will not need to share. I have never seen it done in all my trips to Switzerland, but that's not to say it doesn't happen. It is sometimes possible to order a half portion of an entree.

London
Destination Expert
for Verbier
posts: 1,629
reviews: 148
2. Re: sharing dinner entree

Swisslover is right about portions vs US. Starter portions are also very often on offer for main course dishes. And look at it this way. You are asking for the service for 2 people, the table for 2 people, the ingredients/cooking for one person and the bill for one person. Food is a small part of the bill in Switzerland so most restaurants won't be thrilled by this approach.

Can you do it? I would expect some to be OK, some to be annoyed, a small proportion to refuse (the de facto minimum charge). If that is really your appetite, and you hate to waste food, judge the situation when you see it Explain nicely that you are not so hungry and would it be OK....? The more formal the restaurant, the less acceptable and the more likely they will offer starter portions at 75% of the cost. Where starter portions are available, expect to order that rather than splitting.

Sharing desert is - of course - normal everywhere!

Salisbury, United...
posts: 3,178
reviews: 69
3. Re: sharing dinner entree

Portions are so much smaller in Europe than in USA. I will often share a starter or dessert but never a main course. I have never known anyone doing this except in Europe, so it could be frowned on especially in expensive restaurants.

If I'm not hungry I will sometimes order 2 starters instead of a main course or a starter and a dessert but I will always explain.

Edited: 5:50 pm, July 30, 2013
USA
posts: 53
4. Re: sharing dinner entree

Oh, thank you all for the responses. This all makes sense. I'm so glad I asked as I wouldn't want to offend.

Anchorage, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Anchorage, Zermatt
posts: 13,942
reviews: 6
5. Re: sharing dinner entree

American portions are HUGE compared to most restaurant meals Europe. You might try asking if they would prepare a small portion as you are not a big eater. If so, you could each hava a small portion though you may find there is no deduction as there is work involved to make small portion.

You're other option is to take advantage of the cafeterias in the larger department stores- you can, of course, take what you want and share it. Or get cheese, meat, etc. and share it in a lovely park or in your room

Kent, England
posts: 1,095
6. Re: sharing dinner entree

I'll come back on this one. I have been known to order a starter and a sweet, explaining that I have a very small appetitie and have never had a problem, a funny look maybe, then I know not to go back..

London
Destination Expert
for Verbier
posts: 1,629
reviews: 148
7. Re: sharing dinner entree

What Swisslover describes is quite normal. It's the sharing point. Starter portions are typically priced at much more than 50% of the main portion size, reflecting the cost of producing it. Therefore splitting is definitely perceived differently.

St. Moritz...
Destination Expert
for St. Moritz, Engadin St. Moritz
posts: 3,189
reviews: 265
8. Re: sharing dinner entree

I am a very small eater myself and I would never be able to eat an entry and a main course even in Switzerland with the small portions - more so in USA, where we usually always share. In Switzerland however I find an increasing number of restaurants offering smaller size portions at lower costs, so-called Senior Citizen portions or Ladie's portion or a phantasy name, so I choose this ones and have just the main course. As we usually have a good wine with the meal, most restaurants accept this, also the more expensive ones. I think it depends for them that they can sell enough for the table occupied and the service rendered, so for them it is not important if it is the food or the wine. As long as the bill finally meets their expectations as for the consumption of this table, most restaurants are ok with it. However don't ask for a doggy bag, this is not common in Switzerland as it is in USA, if it is offered, they will ask you.

Canada
posts: 925
reviews: 48
9. Re: sharing dinner entree

I fail to understand the need to "explain" to any restaurant why I want two starters instead of an entree!

London
Destination Expert
for Verbier
posts: 1,629
reviews: 148
10. Re: sharing dinner entree

The discussion was about splitting. We precisely said that starter portions instead of entrees are normal in Switzerland - but they are priced higher.

The OP was sensibly looking for advice about customs in another country. I am sure it is different in Canada.