Book a table over the phone or ask for a table by saying, “We would like a table for 5, please. This will let the waiter know how many people to expect. The waiter might ask, “How many people are there in your group? In this question, “party” means “group”, not “celebration”. If you're in a country where smoking is allowed in restaurants, the waiter might ask you if you want to sit in the smoking or non-smoking section.
If you're in a hot country, the waiter may ask if you prefer to sit indoors or outdoors. Make it clear exactly where you want to sit for a perfect meal. Problems arise when self-proclaimed food lovers spread their new knowledge in the restaurants, bars and gourmet stores they visit. Some food lovers approach restaurants on the defensive to maintain a narrow perimeter of comfort in their small sphere of knowledge.