4/19/2012 10:38:00 AM

Does Anyone Actually Like Communal Tables?

This week, the NY Post takes a look at one of the most debated features of restaurant design: the communal table. On the one hand, sitting with strangers gives rise to the feelings of conviviality and, according to some in the articles, reminds you that food "shouldn't be taken that seriously." On the other, do you actually want to be stuffed elbow-to-elbow with strangers when you're paying top dollar for a good meal?

The complaints seem to focus on money, saying that communal tables are fine if you're eating on the go somewhere cheap, but you should have your own space if you're paying high prices. Take a look:
"Miller and her husband were seated across from each other at the 2 ½ -feet-wide farm table in the middle of the restaurant, and were barely able to converse across the expanse. She says she doesn’t mind sharing a long table for a cheap meal at Le Pain Quotidien, but 'at RedFarm you’re easily spending $100, so I think you should get better accommodations.'"

What do you think? Do you feel warm and fuzzy when dining at one of these setups, or is it not worth the money? Let us know in the comments.

8 comments :

  1. Hate communal tables. When my husband and I go out to eat, we want to be together and share each other's company, not sit with strangers. I can't imagine who would actually prefer that seating arrangement, except maybe people going out in groups who are interested in meeting new people. A long communal table is something to put in a bar, not a fine dining venue. Avoid! Avoid!

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  2. I refuse to sit at communal tables as well as high tables with barstools. They're both designed to turn tables more quickly because they're known to be uncomfortable. This is an insult to customers, and restaurant owners need to be made aware that some customers notice the insult and don't return.

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  3. If I want to sit with strangers, I'll go to a bar. If I'm out for dinner with friends, I'm not excited to sit with strangers.

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  4. Hate. I avoid going to restaurants I otherwise like because of communal tables.

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  5. HATE communal tables. Feels like you're in a high school cafeteria.

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  6. Terrible. I won't eat somewhere with communal tables.

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