When you think of fine dining, you often think of white tablecloths, fancy plates and silverware, expensive food and wine, and impeccable service. Well, you’re not wrong. Fine dining restaurants are much fancier than your usual fast-food chain or family café. These restaurants usually have world-renowned chefs, excellent service, delicious food, and an elegant restaurant design.
We all have an idea of what it is. In this article, let’s break down the different fine dining concepts and discuss what is considered fine dining.
Elements of a Fine Dining Restaurant
Do you know what is considered fine dining, and can you spot a fine dining restaurant? Fine dining restaurants serve only the highest quality of food. These restaurants follow strict procedures from the procurement of raw produce to the quality of prepared, cooked, and served food. All servers in fine dining restaurants undergo immense training to meet the standards set by the restaurant management.
Aside from the food and the service, these restaurants invest in an elegant atmosphere for the guests to enjoy. There is usually a dress code for dining in a fine dining restaurant.
Most restaurants that consider themselves fine dining have a limited seating capacity for the utmost enjoyment of the guests. You won’t find a crowded fine dining restaurant where guests or servers bump into each other. Of course, all these elements come with a price. Just remember, when eating at a fine dining restaurant, you pay not just for the food but also the service and overall quality.
First, let’s talk about the ambiance of the restaurant. To know what is considered fine dining, one of the first things that you will look at is how the restaurant is designed and set up. Typically, you can find fine dining restaurants in downtown locations with high foot traffic or in elegant and secluded areas exclusive to the upper class. Most restaurants choose a location in historical landmarks or with a scenic view.
Once you step inside the restaurant, you will notice how detail-oriented it can be. There is usually soft lighting and soothing music to help you relax during your meal. Some fine dining restaurants even feature live performances from musicians to serenade you while you eat.
Aside from the lighting and music, art pieces play a big role in setting the ambiance of a restaurant. These art pieces usually match the theme of the restaurant itself. Whatever art piece is hanging on the wall or displayed along the corridors, it is sure to blend well with all other elements of the restaurant.
A critical factor that sets the ambiance of a fine dining restaurant apart is how seamlessly everything seems to blend well together. Nothing is deemed too much or excessive. The selected art and music, the menu, the staff, the silverware, and even the furniture complement each other.
For many people, the highlight of eating in a fine dining restaurant is the menu. Fine dining restaurants often feature a menu made from the best quality ingredients as well as exotic items. You should read up on the food specialties of the restaurant you plan on going to before ordering. This helps prepare the palate for a meal of good food and drinks.
Portion sizes are much smaller at a fine dining restaurant, but the quality of the food surely makes up for this. A lot of fine dining restaurants offer a special set menu that changes every day or week. The set menu usually features anywhere from three to 10 courses. It allows the diner to sample several items that go well together while still feeling full at the end of the meal, even with the smaller portions.
The special set menu also keeps the diner excited to come back for more, especially if the restaurant’s head chef specially curates each menu. The head chef usually keeps up with food trends to create a unique menu and gain an advantage in the food dining industry. Head chefs of fine dining restaurants adhere to world-class standards to create the best quality of food.
Aside from the food menu, fine dining restaurants often have a wide selection of wine and liquor to offer the guests. you may find some of the rarest and most expensive liquor bottles in a fine dining restaurant.
The high quality of food in a fine dining restaurant is served by the best waitstaff that you will find in the industry. From the start of your fine dining experience, you will be greeted by a maître d’ who will lead you to your table and endorse you to your server during the meal.
All servers are highly trained to pay attention to detail to give you a more personalized experience while dining. Fine dining servers should be able to explain the entire menu off the top of their head and make appropriate food recommendations according to the taste of the guests.
Some fine dining restaurants also employ a sommelier or a wine expert to give the best wine recommendations to consume with the meal. Other restaurants also have a mixologist to craft specialty cocktails for the guests.
Servers who work in a fine dining restaurant are more experienced and earn a lot more than servers in a casual restaurant. The standards and the amount of training that these servers need to adhere to ensure that only the best get to work in a fine dining restaurant.
The uniforms of the staff, as with the ambiance, must blend in with the entire theme of the restaurant. Usually, fine dining staff wears neutral colors – black or white. This is to ensure that they have a professional appearance while also blending in seamlessly with everything else.
As mentioned earlier, the price of dining in a fine dining restaurant is far greater than a fast-food chain. Each dish can cost upwards of $20, and a set menu will cost even more. However, keep in mind that when dining in a restaurant of this quality, you are paying for the quality of the food, exemplary service, luxurious ambiance, and the overall experience.
Fine Dining Etiquette
Fine dining restaurants offer the best quality of food and service. Dining in this type of restaurant also requires etiquette on the guests’ part. Here are some common rules when dining at a restaurant of this quality.
- Most fine dining restaurants require you to make a reservation beforehand due to the limited seating capacity. However, more modern restaurants allow walk-in guests.
- A dress code is in place for guests. For men, long pants, collared shirts, or a jacket and tie are usually preferred. For women, dresses, skirts, or formal pants are the norm. Formal or closed shoes are preferred for all genders.
- When dining, be sure to put away all personal items. Enjoy the experience – you can check your phone after the meal unless there is an emergency.
- If you are unsure of the wine that pairs with your meal, be sure to ask any of the servers who will gladly help you.
We hope it is clear to you now what is considered fine dining. Basically, if a restaurant pays attention to detail, adheres to high standards of service, and serves only the best quality of food, you can call it a fine dining restaurant. If you haven’t been to one yet, it may very well be an experience that you won’t forget in your lifetime.