Getting the Bill

Sometimes the most difficult task in a restaurant is getting the waiter to give you the bill. Relax. This is often a good sign; it means that you can sit as long as you wish. Restaurants, by tradition that still holds but may be fraying at the edges, do not actively seek to turn over tables. In most restaurants you won’t be given the bill until you actually ask for it. In theory, then, you can stay seated as long as you wish. The French meal, particularly dinner, can extend well beyond the clearing of the last plates. Good conversation is considered the best digestive, whether or not this is accompanied by a liquid digestif. If you ask for the bill as the dessert plate is being cleared you may actually be told, “There’s no rush,” which could make it difficult if you actually are in a rush.

  • L’addition, s’il vous plaît, with or without air writing, means “The bill, please.”


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