Let’s talk again: mobile-free dining

Phones at the table in a restaurant

Phones at the table in a restaurant Photo: Shutterstock / IKO

In an era in which smartphones seem to have become a natural extension of our hand, there is a restaurant in Italy that invites you to rediscover the pleasure of conversation at the table, free of all digital distraction.

This is Separè 1968, a restaurant and wine bar run by Niccolò D’Andrea on the seafront in Tuscany’s Marina di Cecina. Here, couples who choose to dine without their mobile phones for a few hours are rewarded with a discount voucher, in a social experiment that aims to promote greater human connection.

The idea, for which D’Andrea admits he was inspired by Scandinavian practices, invites diners to deposit their phones in a basket at the entrance, promising in return a €20 voucher valid for the next dinner. This initiative, called ‘Let’s talk again’, was enthusiastically received by customers, many of whom thanked the owner for “reminding them what it means to enjoy a few hours like this”.

Disconnecting can be the greatest gift

The initiative also addresses the dilemma of those who, while wanting to disconnect, feel compelled to remain reachable for emergencies, especially parents. D’Andrea proposes a simple but effective solution: leave the restaurant’s number as an emergency contact, thus ensuring peace of mind for customers without sacrificing the immersive dining experience.

D’Andrea says that the absence of the mobile phone increases attention to the food, the flavours, the smells and, of course, to the person sitting opposite. In an increasingly connected world, sometimes disconnecting can be the greatest gift we can give ourselves and our loved ones.

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Written by

Kevin Fraser Park

Kevin was born in Scotland and worked in marketing, running his own businesses in UK, Italy and, for the last 8 years, here in Spain. He moved to the Costa del Sol in 2016 working initially in real estate. He has a passion for literature and particularly the English language which is how he got into writing.