For the most part, this is an easy question for me to answer. Almost automatic. Booth, of course! Booths are soft , comfortable and feel more intimate. The only draw back for me is that being…. ahem…. “vertically challenged,” sometimes I need to prop myself up so I don’t feel like a kid in an adult chair. Also, having to ask the other diners to slide out of the booth in order to go to the rest room is not always comfortable. Again, when with family these issues matter less.
So, for me the decision depends on the intimacy level of a family dinner out or a conversation with a friend. For others, it may depend on the number of diners, work or family dining and comfort. There is quite an extensive discussion on the topic online. Here are just a few conversations:
High back dining chairs (think turn of the 20th century Frank Lloyd Wright or C.R. Mackintosh) aim to foster an intimate dining experience at home. Breakfast nooks, picnic tables conjure the same atmosphere. In contrast, formal classical/neo-classical chairs (imagine a Downton Abbey dinner scene) were about pomp, glory and performance. Some restaurants combine the two in order to accommodate the divergent preferences. For example, I recently enjoyed lunch at Americas in Houston (River Oaks) with it’s impressive “maximalist” blossoming interior with giant leather petal chairs that make for a sequence of sculptural booths. Restaurant designers invest a considerable amount of energy in answering this question for us.
When I think about it, the preference for booth or table becomes more involved. For a work lunch, I would prefer a table. Sometimes, a dinner with my husband where I don’t sink, is nice. The difference may not be as simple as formal-informal, intimate or open. Of course, the seating alone cannot create a desired dining atmosphere. There are infinite other details like lighting, texture, number of guests, reason for dining out, weight, height and more. Now, all considered, what do you generally prefer: Booth or Table?
Maybe a quick poll would be fun?