What Is an English Table Setting?

An English table is a specific way of organizing dishes, glasses and silverware on a dining table. The setting consists of a service plate in the center, with forks set to the left of the service plate and knives and spoons set to the right.

The English table setting has the service plate in the center with a folded napkin lying diagonally across it. Immediately to the left of the service plate are the forks. Generally, there are three forks present: the dinner fork, the fish fork and the salad fork. To the right of the service plate are two knives: a dinner knife and a fish knife. The soup spoon and oyster fork, if shellfish is to be served, are placed alongside the knives, also to the right of the service plate.

A separate butter plate and butter knife are set above and to the left of the service plate, centered between the plate and forks. Glassware is placed above the knives and consists of a water goblet, and to the left of that, the champagne flute and red or white wineglass, if wine is to be served.

Diners at an English table start with the outside utensils and work their way in. In a restaurant, the waiter often removes unnecessary utensils and glassware.