Brunch Etiquette 101: 8 Rules You Probably Didn’t Know Existed

Brunch has evolved from a wholesome family meal composed of perfectly cooked eggs and bacon into a more sophisticated, Instagram-worthy trend. In fac

Brunch has evolved from a wholesome family meal composed of perfectly cooked eggs and bacon into a more sophisticated, Instagram-worthy trend. In fact, if there’s one thing that people who live or visit Abu Dhabi can’t go without, it’s probably a Friday brunch.

From big buffets to luxurious dishes served à la carte, there are plenty of brunch options you can try in Abu Dhabi. In fact, asking locals for brunch recommendations can yield plenty of options that can leave you more unsure where to eat than ever.

But before you sample the best brunch in Abu Dhabi, you must first know the proper etiquette that you need to follow. Below are eight brunching rules you probably didn’t know existed:

Rule #1: Know When to Eat Brunch

The term “brunch” was coined from “breakfast” and “lunch” so people automatically think that it should be eaten late in the morning or early afternoon. However, the time may vary as not all people eat breakfast or lunch at the same time.

In short, there’s no universal schedule for brunch. The best thing about brunch is that it can be an all-day thing, allowing everyone to get delicious meals at any time of the day. After all, not everybody follows a daily schedule based on the usual 9-to-5 Monday-to-Friday work week.

Rule #2: Don’t Seat Yourself Before the Restaurant Opens

While there is no universal time you need to follow when eating brunch, restaurants still need to adhere to a specific schedule for an orderly operation – even if they do serve brunch.

When the sign says that the establishment will open at 10 a.m., they mean it. It’s not 9:55 a.m. or any other time that can be considered as “basically 10.”

Remember that bartenders, servers, and kitchen staff would need every single minute before the opening time to set up everything. From brewing coffee to preparing food and getting the tables set, they require all the time they could get to get ready for a busy day ahead.

If you have them drop everything just because you really need to sit down, you’ll probably get some serious side-eye from the staff. It could also potentially ruin the rest of the day for both you and them, which isn’t what brunching is all about.

Rule #3: Order from the Right Part of the Menu

In some restaurants, the brunch menu is different from the dinner menu. This helps the restaurant staff plan for the food they will be serving according to the time of day.

While it may be tempting to order from the dinner menu, keep in mind the work the restaurant staff must put in to accommodate the many different dishes every single customer would order. So, if a specific meal is placed on the dinner menu, it’s probably because they cannot prepare the food until dinner.

The key is to stick to the menu given to you.

Rule #4: Don’t Create Your Own Brunch Menu

Like ordering on the wrong side of the menu, asking for something that isn’t included in their offerings can also give the servers and kitchen staff a hard time. Don’t be someone who orders food without even bothering to read the menu first.

Remember that special orders can slow down the kitchen and, therefore, delay the serving of your food. Although brunch can be eaten at just about any time of the day, you wouldn’t want to stay seated for a long time waiting for your food to be served.

The bottom line is to order only what’s on the menu.

Rule #5: Never Crowd the Host

Since brunch has become popular, you should expect a long queue of guests waiting to be seated at a restaurant around late morning or early afternoon. This can be disgruntling, but you have to stay calm and patient until you’re seated.

Crowding the host with your requests and follow-ups on when you’ll be seated wouldn’t do anyone any good. In fact, it can only reduce the time the host can accommodate other people ahead of you and, thus, might extend your wait.

Rule #6: Sharing Food Depends on Who You’re Eating With

Sharing food is probably one of the trickiest things during brunch. However, the first step to making sure that it is within proper etiquette is quite simple: ask.

Before ordering your meals, make sure that you talk to the people you came to brunch with if they are willing to share dishes on the table. From the perspective of proper etiquette, this should already be laid out into the open before you even start ordering, so people would still enjoy their meals.

If you do decide to share the food, you should ask the server for additional side plates. Seek out serving spoons or forks to use in the communal plates as well. Never pick food using the same utensils you eat with to keep everything neat and avoid spreading germs.

Rule #7: Bottomless Brunches Aren’t Your Mimosa Fountain

Many restaurants offer bottomless brunches for a specific price. If you paid a considerable amount for your meals, chances are you would want to get your money’s worth.

However, you must never heckle your server for drinks too often. Remember that bottomless brunches don’t serve mimosa in fountains or fire hoses, so don’t be that guy. Otherwise, you’ll risk having your server disappear for long periods of time for no apparent reason.

The rule of thumb: keep the number of empty mimosa glasses within the same number as the people on the table.

Rule #8: Don’t Hog the Table

After eating brunch with a friend or family you haven’t seen for a while, you’ll probably want to extend your stay to catch up. While this is okay for places that aren’t very busy, you should think twice about doing this at a brunch restaurant Hogging the table when you’re already done with your meal can cause a long line of people wanting to get seated outside the restaurant.

Not sure whether it’s okay to stay longer? Take cues from your environment. If your server has surreptitiously cleared the table except for the water glasses, you probably should move your catch-up session to the café next door.

The Final Rule: Keep It Simple

Brunch is a time for enjoying inclusive meals with your friends and family, and you must keep it that way. Of course, it wouldn’t hurt to keep this brunch etiquette in mind for you and your friends to enjoy your time and meals when dining at the best restaurant in Abu Dhabi.


Chiara Bisignani is the F&B Marketing Executive at Saadiyat Beach Club. She oversees website maintenance, PR requests, marketing initiatives and all general guests’ enquiries for the company’s destinations of KOI Restaurant & Lounge, Boa Steakhouse and Caramel Restaurant and Lounge in Abu Dhabi.