5 Ways to Impress Your Guests When Dining at a Japanese Restaurant


When you want to impress your boss, important long-time clients, and other VIP guests, you won’t go wrong with bringing them to a well-known Japanese restaurant in Abu Dhabi. By choosing a Japanese restaurant with a remarkable interior and ambiance and a great menu, you’re off to a good start to making the right impression.

However, this should only be the beginning. You can further astound them with your knowledge of the menu and recommending the best, all-time favorite Japanese dishes and specialties.

You can also impress your guests while you are at a Japanese restaurant by following the tips below:

1.    Know where to seat your VIP guests

If you are dining with several people, make sure you reserve the farthest chair from the dining room door or entrance for your most important guest. This is because, in Japanese dining tradition, the chair farthest from the door is considered the seat of honor.

Although there is a high chance all your guests may not be aware of this tradition, you will score points if one or two in the group do. Of course, if your VIP guest knows this, you will impress him or her without too much effort.

2.    Learn the two most important Japanese dining phrases

The French begin their meals by saying Bon Appetit while the Italians say Buon Appetito. When you are dining at a French or Italian restaurant, you can utter these two words to start the meal as well.

 The Japanese, however, say another word to signal the start of the meal; they sayItadakimasuwhich means “I humbly receive”.

At the end of the meal, the Japanese sayGochisosama-deshitawhich means “Thank you for the meal”. This is typically said to the chef when he or she is near or at the diner’s table.

By saying these words before and after the meal, you are further demonstrating your knowledge of Japanese eating etiquette.

3.    Follow the Japanese etiquette for pouring drinks

If you ordered a bottle of sake or any other alcoholic drink, serve your fellow diners first before you pour yourself a drink. In addition, make sure that the bottle is always poured forwards as pouring backward is considered insulting in Japanese tradition.

In case you are a member of the dining party, it is worth knowing that the Japanese dining etiquette calls for all the guests to keep up with the host’s intake of the beverage. This means that if the host finishes his or her glass, you should, too.

4.    Know how to use chopsticks properly

If you want to impress your fellow diners with your use of chopsticks, remember the following:

  • Always hold your chopsticks correctly.
  • Do not use them to point at anyone or to indicate a direction.
  • Avoid using your chopsticks to pass food to another diner.
  • Never leave your chopsticks straight and upright in a bowl since this is considered a bad omen by the Japanese.
  • After the meal, place your chopsticks on the hashioki or chopstick stand.

In case you’re not too confident with choosing chopsticks, don’t be embarrassed to request for a fork, knife and spoon. It would be best to use them if the consequence is dropping slices ofbeef, fish, or vegetable frequently on your plate or on the floor.

5.    Finish your plate

Whether you are dining at a traditional or contemporary Japanese restaurant, finishing your food is important in Japanese culture. This is because a clean plate signifies to the chef that you really enjoyed all the food they prepared.

Additionally, avoid placing used, crumpled up table napkins on the plate even if there is some food left on it. This is considered rude among the Japanese. Simply fold and place the used napkins beside the plate.

Japanese cuisine is one of the most popular and favorite fares around. As such, there is no doubt that your guests will enjoy eating at a Japanese restaurant if you take them to one.

And with sufficient knowledge of Japanese dining etiquette or simply following the tips above, you won’t have a hard time impressing your guests no matter how important or fancy they are.


Franck Mottais is the Operations Manager at Tourism Development & Investment Company or TDIC. With a true passion for food and beverage operations, Franck’s personal goal is to consistently deliver the highest quality of guest service and effectively run distinguished establishments such as KOI Restaurant & Lounge and Boa Steakhouse in Abu Dhabi.

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