Ever snap a picture in a restaurant and wonder if the management would kick you out, or, no less surprising, have the waiter veer away so as not to disturb the moment? I've yet to be kicked out of a restaurant for obnoxious behavior - the staff at Stumbling Goat didn't even flinch when Omniwhore and I compared oversize tongues, while Potato Non Grata took pictures - but I always feel uneasy if I take notes or pull out a camera. I imagine that the staff thinks we are freaks, culinary thieves, restaurant reviewers, or really big freaks.
Wednesday's SF Chronicle has a story that explores the attitudes of various restaurateurs toward people who photograph their meals. Some restaurants welcome the exposure, while others disdain flashes and disruptive behavior.
The article ends with a number of rules for foodie photographers. Overall, the rules comprise good tips and polite behavior. At Brewers Art, we lucked out by sitting in a well-lit corner. ASA 800 and 1/60th shutter speed was sufficient for my purposes, without requiring a flash.
I agree with the guideline to avoid flashes, out of politeness and practicality. The last thing I want is to be blinded by someone's flash while holding a fork and steak knife, and I love the faded quality of pictures taken in low light.