This thread is a little scary.
I used to have a pretty good bead on what was acceptable at restaurants. My rules were specific to my DD and her personality. DD needed to stay in her seat or her half of the booth. No bouncing in a booth if the booth is attached to another. No tipping chairs. No yelling, screaming, or freaking out. Of course, a corollary to that rule was for us, don't take DD to a restaurant when she is tiered, cranky, or super hungry and likely to yell, scream, or freak out. Keep your food on your plate, don't make a huge mess. Use your silverware. Use your napkin. Use an inside voice. Don't talk about other people in the restaurant (at least until we are in the car.) You don't have to eat it if you don't like it. You can have something after we leave. Another corollary to the rule for us was to be sure to have crackers, pretzels or something in the diaper bag and/or be sure to order at least one thing that you know the kids will eat no matter what (hello french fries!) Please and thank you are encouraged. No bubbles through the straw. Don't touch every piece of bread in the basket.
I think you get the idea.
I do not worry about which fork to use, or how to eat soup, or what Mrs. Picky McPicky 4 tables over is thinking about my kids manners. If someone is offended that my kid put butter on the whole individual sized dinner roll, I really don't care.
Now that I have DS things are a little more complicated. He has Down syndrome. He is a pretty quite kid, but if he's excited, like when the server puts a plate of spaghetti in front of him, he might just let out a very loud squeal of delight. Sometimes it's just easier for him to use his hands after a few bites with a fork. When he's done, he's done and sitting in his seat gets hard so one of us ends up taking him for a walk. Chances are his shoes will end up on the floor at some point during the meal. He's been known to fast as lightning, crumple up his dinner roll, making a bit of a contained mess. I always wonder how all of these etiquette rules apply to him. Should he never be allowed in a restaurant because he might talk with his mouth full? None of these things are to big of an issue at the moment, he's only 3, but what if he's 6, or 9, or 12? I'm sure there of plenty of people that don't want to see anybody with Ds in public at all. Should I worry about offending these folks?
Of course, my kids, even at 3, even with special needs, would never be allowed to jump around in a booth, smearing BBQ sauce all over it and intruding into another table's experience. If for no other reason than safety, they will never be allowed to run around a restaurant, crowded or not. While they are little and sometimes loud, we don't go to quite, intimate restaurants.
I am grateful that I live near the beach, in a very touristy area where there are plenty of nice, fancy food, but casual atmosphere, family restaurants. No matter what night of the week we go out to dinner, there are sure to be adults attracting much more attention and being way more inappropriate than my kids.
For the record, I would never bring my little kids to The French Laundry or other restaurant of this caliber, because that type of experience deserves to be enjoyed. I'm not really enjoying myself if in between every bite I'm keeping on top of the kids and their needs. Plus I'm pretty sure every entree does not have the option of fries as a side dish and I bet there isn't a bottle of ketchup within 100 yards of that place.