January 22, 2018 | Rome, Italy | °C


How much should I tip at restaurants?


Q.

How much should I tip at restaurants?


A.

People will tell you (accurately) that most Italian restaurants include a service charge (15 percent) and a coperte (or place-setting) charge, usually €2-€4. That said, the service charge is often never seen by the waiter. Good owners divvy up the spoils, frugal ones don’t. That’s why you can’t add your tip to a credit card bill — no one knows where those funds really ends up.

Since there’s so much going on between the lines it’s a good idea to look at it in North American terms, which is to say 15 to 20 percent on top of the bill. Italians will think you’re crazy, but generally they’re cheap (some leave one percent or less, or nothing). If you’ve been treated well, give back.

No one’s going to grouse at you if you don’t — not to your face, at least — and if you’re on a tight budget you can choose to leave little. But do leave something. And don’t sit around with pen and calculator trying to figure it out. Not kosher.

Please send your questions to maginfo@theamericanmag.com.

Cab or Uber?


What are Italian property taxes like?


How bad are customs and baggage landing in Rome from the U.S.?


How much should I pay my private tour guide?


Can I expect the euro-dollar exchange to reach parity?


Can I refill my meds in Rome?


What does mannaggia mean?


I've heard nightmare stories about buying gas. Are they true?


3K, 4.5K or 6KW of electrical power in my apartment?


Do I need an International Drivers License?


More Tourist Q&A

Day and Boarding International High School in the Heart of Rome

Everything you need to know about visiting or moving to Tuscany, Italy.