There are times in your life and situations in which it's fun to stand out. Eating at a fine dining restaurant is not one of those times. When you eat at a fine dining restaurant, you want to blend in and go along with the expected etiquette to avoid calling too much attention to yourself. But what does following etiquette mean in this case? Here are some basic rules to keep in mind. 

1. Put your napkin on your lap.

When you sit down, almost immediately remove the napkin from the table, shake it out, and place it on your lap. Keep the napkin on your lap throughout the entire meal. If you need to get up, place the napkin on your chair. When the meal is over, fold the napkin up neatly with the top of the napkin folded up to the inside to contain any crumbs.

2. Keep the menu on the table.

Menus are not meant to be lifted off the table. Chances are, at a fine dining restaurant, you'll be given a menu that is basically one sheet, perhaps with a front and a back. Set it down on the table like you would a document you were reading at work. If you do have a larger, folded menu, you can rest an edge of it on the table. But one part of the menu should be touching the table at all times. 

3. Order appetizers, or don't.

If everyone else at the table orders an appetizer, you should, too. This way, you won't be sitting silently as everyone else is eating their food, which would be poor etiquette. One exception would be if you know the restaurant provides bread baskets. You could then nibble on some bread while others eat their appetizers, so you won't be sitting idly.

4. Don't stack plates when you're finished.

At a less fancy restaurant, you might want to help the servers and bussers by stacking your dishes when you're done eating. But this could be seen as being in poor taste in a fine dining restaurant. Leave your plates in place when you're done eating and just set your silverware gently across the top. Let the waitstaff worry about the stacking and clearing.

5. Avoid splitting the bill, if possible.

At fine dining restaurants, it is most appropriate to have one person pick up the tab. If this means you have to pay back that person later, then so be it. You want to avoid sending the server back with three different credit cards to scan and complicated instructions for splitting the check.

If you follow these key etiquette rules, you'll fit right in at the fine dining restaurant. Enjoy!