6 Dining Terms Every Avid Diner Must Know

Picture this: You are at a high-end, fine-dine restaurant with your family. The manager comes to you and ask what you’d like to have as an entrée, but you don’t know what that is! Now, won’t that be a little bit embarrassing? If you are someone who loves to go out and try different restaurants, it becomes all the more important to know the type of meals you are having. Saves you time of asking the manager about it and of course embarrassment! Fret not, we are here with a list of dining terms you must know before you plan to have a luxurious meal. 

1. À la carte 

An early practice of ordering individual dishes from a menu in a restaurant, as opposed to table d'hôte, where a set menu is offered. In popular terms, you get to choose from a large variety as opposed to buffet of dishes. 

2. Hors d'oeuvres 

A part of a 12-course menu, Hors d'oeuvres is typically served during the cocktail hour`and usually consist of finger-foods that can be held in the hand. These could be fritters, cheese, tortilla crisps, etc. 

3. Entrée  

Basically, a modern French table service term, which is used to describe a dish served right before the main course of a meal. It is synonymous with the terms hors d'oeuvre, appetizer, or starter and it may be the first dish served, or it may follow with a soup or other small dish or dishes. However, in the United States and parts of Canada, the term refers to the main dish itself or the only dish of the meal. 

4. Amuse-bouche 

A French term which translates to “amuse the mouth”, this type of meal consists of a small, flavourful dish that basically teases our taste buds about the next meal course. Generally, at restaurants this is chosen by the chef specifically. This could be anything from caprese bites, scallops or chorizo.  

5. Palate Cleanser 

Basically a ‘reset’ button for your palate to remove residual tastes from the mouth before the next course. Something as simple as a lemon sorbet could be a palate cleanser! 

6. Mignardise 

A tiny-bite sized dessert served at the end of a meal, Mignardise could be a simple pastry with tea, macarons or just chunks of chocolate.