Culture(s) / Cafes, restaurants

A1 Breakthrough
In your country, do you order your drink or your meal at your table or at the counter? Do you speak informally with the waiter? Can you drink alcoholic beverages in a café? As a woman, can you go into a café? With a man? Alone? To behave correctly in a foreign country, you must know the habits and cultural practices of its people. In cafes in France or Belgium, for example, you can have a drink (a beer or a glass of wine), have coffee or something to eat (a croissant, a sandwich, a salad...). It is acceptable for women to go to cafes, alone or accompanied. Cafes are also places where people can meet up, either for dates, or simply with friends. In many European countries, there are popular taverns (pubs, bars, breweries...) where the context is informal because everyone knows everyone else, and the clients and waiters use the "tu" form with each other. The clients can pay directly at the counter, and in Mediterranean countries they can pick out their meal in the kitchen. However, in restaurants and big brasseries, the context is formal, clients are served at their table, and they pay the check to the waiter. Here, saying "tu" to the waiters and yelling to get their attention is unheard of; in fact, it's very impolite!