Dear Urban Diplomat: are restaurants allowed to refuse us a doggy bag?

Dear Urban Diplomat: are restaurants allowed to refuse us a doggy bag?

(Image: Nico Paix)  

Dear Urban Diplomat,
My wife and I recently ate at Acadia, a new restaurant on Clinton Street. The meal was great, but when we asked to have our leftover salmon wrapped up, the server said no, because a) the restaurant didn’t want to be responsible if the food went bad and we got sick, and b) the chef didn’t want our last memory of his food to be of reheated fish. We’d never heard of such a ridiculous rule. We left mad, and without our $23 filet. Are they allowed to do that?
—Leftover Anger, Little Italy

Technically, your $23 buys you the right to do whatever you please with your fish—slap it on Wonder bread with peanut butter and pickles, feed it to your cat, let it grow fuzz in the fridge. However, if a chef is paranoid about food safety or is a raging control freak, he can refuse to provide takeout boxes—and the Urban Diplomat knows from experience that napkin-wrapped fish does not travel well in-pocket. Your only recourse is to BYOTupperware. Decorum might stop you from doing that, but the chef can’t.

Send your questions to the Urban Diplomat at urbandiplomat@torontolife.com