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Understanding A la Carte vs Set Menu

Jose Pescador

When going to a restaurant, you will be offered an a la carte or a table d'hote options. A la carte has a wide variety of courses that are individually prices, where table d'hote is a set menu that offers a set number of courses at a set price.


Due to the fact that an a la carte restaurant offers a wide variety of options, you can select a dish based on your preference, where the set menu may have a limited number of items that you are limited to, but is offered at a set price, so you know how much your complete meal will cost.


A la carte is a French term used in the nineteenth century that basically means “according to the menu.” it offers individually priced dishes and a wide variety. Most restaurants these days offer a la carte. This ensures you find your preference from the menu. They often include a starter menu, main menu with a choice of sides and dessert menus. Each category offers a wide selection of dishes that are individually priced.


As a result, a la carte restaurants prepare the dishes based on your order and preference. This means freshly prepared dishes that take more time and need more preparation.


Set menus, on the other hand, only have a limited number of options per course and usually can be two to four courses. It comes with a set price for a set number of courses, such as two or three courses. Whether you consume a dish or not, you pay the price quoted on the menu.


Set menus usually involve courses that have been prepared in advance and are available during a set time. This reduces waiting times, ideal if you are on a short lunch break. Set menus are common during holiday periods, such as Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day and Christmas Day.


An a la carte restaurant will offer a vast menu with a range of courses and dishes that you can choose from. Each item is individually priced. They often offer different categories and courses. This can include starters, seafood, grills and steaks, desserts and more. When it comes to price, you will find each item is separately priced based on the course size and what the item is. A ribeye steak will cost more than grilled chicken, for example.


On average food wastage at an a la carte restaurant is high because of the number of options that they provide, unlike those that offer a set menu. Most people prefer a la carte as they have a number of choices and can choose based on their preferences and what they are in the mood for.


Whether you choose from an a la carte menu or a set menu, they are both commonplace in restaurants around the world. They are different menu types, both offering benefits and options that you can select from. Set menus tend to work out cheaper, as you are committing to a number of courses, where the a la carte restaurants may be slightly more expensive.


Both are made using fresh ingredients, though when ordering from a set menu, the dishes are often prepared in advance to ensure fast table service. Over holiday periods, these are prepared earlier in the day to accommodate the number of bookings at the restaurant.


About Us: El Pescador is a Spanish restaurant located in the beautiful Swansea Marina, offering fresh local produce. This restaurant brings a touch of Spain to your doorstep with a modern twist. Take advantage of a choice of menus, including an a la carte menu, set menu, fish menu and dessert menu. Open six days a week, El Pescador caters to families, groups, business people and couples with a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, combined with professional service. This restaurant works closely with local producers and fisherman to bring the freshest ingredients to the table. Full details can be found on their information packed website, along with an easy table booking button for convenience. 

Jose Pescador
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