Simon Calder's Helpdesk: How much should I tip in restaurants in Italy?
Simon Calder’s career in travel started at Gatwick Airport, where he cleaned aircraft for Laker Airways and later worked as a security officer. He became The Independent’s Travel Correspondent in 1994, and is known as “the Man Who Pays His Way” because he does not accept free travel facilities. He writes across the Independent titles, as well as for the Evening Standard.
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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