What Is a Formal Dinner Menu?

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Going out for a fancy meal or hosting a special dinner party at home warrants the use of a formal dinner menu. Formal dinner menus offer a selection of fine foods and usually have something for everyone.


Ordinary dinner menus list all the meals that a restaurant can make. However, formal menus are divided into courses and only list select foods that the chef has picked out for the occasion. For example, three-course meal menus are split into appetizers, entrees and desserts. According to Food Designers, each course has a few options for the diner to choose from.


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Formal dinner menus offer high-quality foods such as seafood and specialty meats, like Kobe beef. Meals are prepared as culinary experiences, blending colors, textures and tastes for the palette--and the eyes--to enjoy. The meals are intended to exceed expectations, so many chefs will present meals artistically on the plate.


Wines are integrated into formal dinner menus. Sometimes the chef will recommend particular wines to accompany the meals on the menu. White wines pair best with seafood meals, while red wines work well with beef and poultry.



Formal dinner menus look fancier than ordinary menus. The font used to type or write the menu items is usually cursive, and even the paper it is printed on may be thicker than typical menu paper. Meal descriptions are kept simple. Formal dinner menus are usually an indication that the meal will be pricey.



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