By Héctor Chaparro.
Do not begin eating until the host says, “*Buen provecho*!”
Mexicans do not switch knives and forks. The knife remains in the right hand, the fork in the left. When the meal is finished, the knife and fork are laid parallel to each other across the right side of the plate.
The fork and spoon above your plate are for the dessert. Always start from the outside and work your way in, course by course. There will be separate glasses provided at your setting for water and for white or red wine or beer (after-dinner drink glasses come out after dinner).
Bread is placed on the rim of your main plate or on the table by your plate.
When not holding utensils, your hands are expected to be visible above the table. You mustn’t keep them in your lap; instead, rest your wrists on top of the table. Never rest your elbows.
Pass all dishes to your left.
Never cut the lettuce in a salad: fold it with your knife and fork into a bundle that can be picked up with your fork. Any salad will usually be served after the main course.
The most honored position is at the head of the table, with the most important guest seated immediately to the right of the host (women to the right of the host, and men to the right of the hostess). If a couple is hosting, one will be at each end of the table.
It is considered bad form to leave the dinner party or the table. At the table look for place cards or wait until the host seats you.
Paying the bill
Usually the one who does the inviting pays the bill. Sometimes other circumstances, such as rank, determine who pays.
A 10 percent tip is usually sufficient in restaurants.