tables d'hôte

Table d'hôte

Table d'hôte is a French phrase which literally means "host's table". It is used in restaurant terminology to indicate a menu where multi-course meals with limited choices are charged at a fixed price. Such a menu may also be called prix fixe ("fixed price"). Because the menu is set, the cutlery on the table may also already be set for all of the courses, with the first course cutlery on the outside, working in towards the plate as the courses progress.


The phrase table d'hôte originally meant literally a particular table, "a common table for guests at a hotel or eating-house. The meaning transferred thence to "a public meal served (at a common table) at a stated hour and at a fixed price". Eventually, the elements required for a meal where guests eat together, that is, at the same table at the same time, fell away so that the phrase persisted where only the fixed price element remained. Forms of the phrase (such as 'Table de l'hoste' in 1617) are used by writers in English (who indicate that they are borrowing it from French) from the early 17th century. (All based on OED1 entry.)

Table d'hôte in Other Countries

In Japan a similar practice is referred to as . This has a fixed menu and often comes with side dishes such as pickles and miso soup. Typical prices can range from 800 Yen to 1500 Yen.


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