How much should I tip at restaurants?
People will tell you (accurately) that most Italian restaurants include a service charge (15 percent) and a coperte (or place-setting) charge, usually Ä2-Ä4. That said, the service charge is often never seen by the waiter. Good owners divvy up the spoils, frugal ones donít. Thatís why you canít add your tip to a credit card bill ó no one knows where those funds really ends up.
Since thereís so much going on between the lines itís 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 youíre crazy, but generally theyíre cheap (some leave one percent or less, or nothing). If youíve been treated well, give back.
No oneís going to grouse at you if you donít ó not to your face, at least ó and if youíre on a tight budget you can choose to leave little. But do leave something. And donít sit around with pen and calculator trying to figure it out. Not kosher.