Simon Calder's Helpdesk: How much should I tip in restaurants in Italy?
Simon Calder is Travel Editor at Large for The Independent, writing a weekly column, various articles and features as well as filming a weekly video diary. Every Sunday afternoon, Simon presents the UK's only radio travel phone-in programme called The LBC Travel Show with Simon Calder (97.3 FM). He is a regular guest on national TV, often seen on BBC Breakfast, Daybreak, ITV News and Sky News. He is often interviewed on BBC Radio, particularly for BBC Radio 4’s You & Yours programme and BBC Five Live.
Friday 31 May 2013
Q. How much should I tip in restaurants in Italy?
A. Somewhere between nothing and not much. Assuming that your meal, like most in Italy, is prepared with panache and served with style, then a nominal gesture of perhaps a couple of euros on a €50 bill is sufficient (that's 4 per cent, if you prefer percentages). But if it was merely adequate, or downright poor, then be comfortable about not leaving anything.
That advice is unlikely to be welcomed by waiters in restaurants in and around tourist areas, where they are accustomed to Americans leaving 15 per cent-plus and British travellers sticking rigidly to 10 per cent. But at a good, ordinary, family-run trattoria, and even the fanciest waterside ristorante in Portofino or along the Amalfi Coast, a modest tip will be regarded as sufficient.
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