Is It OK to Check My Smart Phone at a Restaurant?

it's polite to keep buying coffee.

​Fielding your questions about dining out in 21st-century Bay Area restaurants. Have one? Email me at

This week's question comes from from A.U.:

I know it's rude to answer the phone while I'm at dinner, but what about texts or emails on my iPhone? I'm not talking to anyone.

A.U., I think it all depends on the circumstances. For example, if you're eating by yourself at lunch, anything goes, as long as you keep your

ringer on vibrate. I often use lunch as a chance to read the newspaper

online and respond to emails, and don't begrudge anyone else who does so — reading a small screen is as intrusive as reading a paperback book.

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