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sharing dinner entree

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USA
posts: 48
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?

16 replies to this topic
Martigny...
Destination Expert
for Switzerland
posts: 17,597
reviews: 114
11. Re: sharing dinner entree

The OP is very culturally sensitive and I really like that!

I don't think any average restaurant will worry about someone ordering one or two entrées (which are what you start your meal with!) and no main course (called an entrée for some peculiar reason in the US!!) and dessert. But they are not going to be happy about people sharing things, except as JT14 says, dessert!!

We travel to the US once a year and our first meal there is always a shock to us, even though we lived there for a long time! The size of the portions are enormous compared to here. What I would suggest that you do, claran65, is to start by having a small salad (easily found on most menus here) and then one main course each. Once you see the size of what you are served it will be easier for you to judge whether to order an entrée and a dessert, an entrée, a main course and a dessert or whatever combination makes sense for you. And you can always ask for a half portion - petite assiette or demi-ration here in French speaking Switzerland. Quite often that will cost a little less but it isn't going to be 50% less, for the reasons JT14 explained above.

Again - thanks for asking the question! I am impressed by your attitude. (and wish others were like you...) And I hope you enjoy your meals here... and one more thing: ALL over Switzerland service and tax are included in the prices on the menu. You do not need to add anything at the end of the meal unless you have had good - exceptional - service. Most of us will just "round up" the cash a bit, or leave a franc or two on the table. But it is neither expected nor required.

Bon appétit!

Salisbury, United...
posts: 2,346
reviews: 62
12. Re: sharing dinner entree

Mathlady, the reason to explain is so that the courses arrive at the time in the meal when you want them. If I'm eating 2 starters I want one as a starter and the other with the main courses, I don't want both at the same time and then nothing to eat while the rest of the table tuck into a main course.

Lucerne, Switzerland
posts: 2,300
reviews: 11
13. Re: sharing dinner entree

Also, slightly off topic but just to avoid any confusion.... in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, the word "entrée" means a starter.

Martigny...
Destination Expert
for Switzerland
posts: 17,597
reviews: 114
14. Re: sharing dinner entree

Thanks Neuch! I should have said that. "Entrée" is French. Comes from the verb "entrer" or to enter. Thus, one "enters" (begins) one's meal with the entrée. Which is logical. Smudge99's point is an important one. Since waiters are not used to one person having two starters (unless you are having a 5-6 course meal) then do be specific not only that you want one when the others are having their main course but also WHICH one when!

USA
posts: 48
15. Re: sharing dinner entree

I want to thank everyone here for the wonderful advice. We are looking forward to our 4 day visit in Oct. and I'm sure I will have other questions as I plan this trip out.

Martigny...
Destination Expert
for Switzerland
posts: 17,597
reviews: 114
16. Re: sharing dinner entree

Just to add - yesterday my husband and I had lunch with two American friends who have an apartment in Verbier and are well used to Swiss customs. The lunch was great. when it came to dessert one of them suggested they share the dessert. And then said to the waiter - "If it would not be a problem for you, we would like to share this dessert". -- the reply? "I will bring you two spoons" - and they thanked him. So - a course shared, a sensitive approach and on the waiter's side - understanding... Lovely lunch!!

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