Upon visiting a hotel, you will receive a menu in the food service outlet. These menus are of many kinds and that is what will be discussed in the article. Types of menu in hotel, along with the tips you need to know before trying a new cuisine is all included. Seeing a menu in a hotel can sometimes be very intimidating, specially if the dishes enlisted are outside of the radar of your understanding. This is why proper information about cuisines and types of menu are important.
The food industry has its whims & quirks which may be difficult to understand for a layman. If you are reading this, there are huge chances that you may already have struggled with Types of menu in hotels or you want to avoid the struggle. Various types of menu are available in the hotel industry and knowing about all of them will omit your confusion, at one go. Every hotel around the world (commercial/welfare) has different types of menu, so this is indeed something you must be aware of.
There may be more kinds of menus in different hotels in other parts of the world but the most commonly found ones are what you should know about. Obviously, the more you explore hotels & restaurants, the more kinds of menus you’ll find.
Different Types of Hotel Menus
A hotel generally consists of either of the two types of menus. The first one being “Table D’Hote” and the second one is “A la carte” type of menu. Main differences between the two is easily understandable. Menus in any hotel may consist of individual dishes according to the preference of the customer or they may have a set menu. More about all these will be known to you as you keep reading. One of the most important things needed to be kept in mind, is the fact that A La Carte menus or Table D’Hote menus are not the only ones since the hotel industry keeps evolving. Thus, it becomes unique, vast & better. Here are 3 most significant types of menu in hotel that you will find, in any part of the world:
- A la Carte Menus
As you can already guess by the name of it, A La Carte is a French phrase which means “according to the card”. It would not be wrong to admit that this is the most convenient as well as the most widely found among the many types of menu in hotel. By the meaning of the phrase, what is understandable is that the customer pays for what he orders and chooses the dishes from the menu, accordingly. Many times, you would not want to pay too much for a whole meal and pay a fixed price where you are ought to choose the dishes they have to offer, without questioning your appetite for the day.
The dishes are individually priced and you do not ever have to pay more than what you chose to have, on that very day of visit. Initially, this phrase was used colloquially to convey the information that a particular hotel charges for the food you order. Later, it was also introduced in English with the same meaning and this happened in the 1830s.
- Set Menus
Set Menus in a hotel or “Table d’hote” translates from French meaning “the table of hosts”. In this particular type of menu, a customer is supposed to pay a fixed price and he/she is presented with a menu with dishes, he can choose from. It does not matter how much food you order from the set menu; it will cost you only as much as the fixed price. Even if you have less food for the day, for whatever reason it may be, the charge will be the same.
Things you need to know about Table D’Hote menus or Set Menus is that the most popular way that this menu is made available in restaurants is the “payable-per-person” way. Every single person that walks in and opts for this menu presented by the chef or the host, has to pay a particular amount and then order as much as they want, from the menu. Usually, appetizers, soups, meals, desserts and beverages are all included in the menu so the guest does not have to worry about not having a complete experience.
Definitely, set menus comprise meals that go well with each other and is the second most-widely recognized types of menu in hotel.
- Buffet Menus
Another type of menu that is widely found and regarded as a sub-part of the Table D’hote type of menu is Buffet Menu. The significant difference between Buffet Menus and the other kind of menus is that Buffets have set timings along with set menus. A whole 5-course meal is typically included in the buffet menu, thus making it an overall popular choice of menus for many hotel businesses and restaurants around the world.
Three different types of buffet menus or services include Sit Down Buffet, Stands Up Buffet and Fork Buffet. “How many types of menu can I get my hands on?” is a question asked quite frequently and the answer to that is “plenty”. The only thing you need to be aware of is the fact that it falls under three of these main categories usually. There may exist different menus for different meals but that must fall under either the category of A La Carte menus or Table D’hote menus (Set Menus).
Exploring Local Dishes at Hotel Restaurants
Now that you have a complete idea about what is menu in hotel and how to differentiate between the options you get, exploring local dishes may seem like an interesting idea. Travelling the world and trying out new dishes, especially local dishes of the place you’re in, is an act of culture & curiosity.
- Local Cuisine
The cuisine which is specifically designed in order to have characteristics of the culture that has been pre-dominant in that area, where the hotel or the restaurant is situated. To be precise, a local cuisine will have a lot of ingredients that the particular place likes to use, in their food. Why would one want to have a local cuisine? Well, it is seldom a bad idea to visit a place and not try to experience something that truly showcases the culture of that place. One must have the intention of exploring food cuisines because that’s no harm.
- Fusion Dishes
Having visited many restaurants and hotels in your life, you must absolutely be aware of cuisines but what could fusion dishes mean? Well, fusion food is a concept of cooking where different traditions from different cuisines are combined together to make a new dish, which is undoubtedly delicious, most of the times. There’s definitely a rulebook to combine forms of food rightly, since two dishes have huge chances of not going well together or not turning out to be a good match. Regional fusion is the most widely-practiced form of cooking when it comes to fusion cooking.
Here are a few examples of Fusion Dishes that you must know:
Caribbean Style Chicken Satay
Taco Pizza & Mexican Lasagna
Japanese 7 Spice Brisket Sandwiches
Korean Fusion Chicken Burrito
International Cuisines at Hotel Restaurants
Visiting restaurants and not trying international cuisines ever is something not a lot of people can relate with. With that being noted, you may wonder what the most famous cuisines around the world are. Well, here are three of the cuisines that are favourites of many:
Italian cuisine is arguably the most popular cuisine around the world. Many customers, not only in Italy but also around the world, prefer to have Italian dishes when they visit restaurants. Check out these Italian dishes:
1- Lasagne alla Bolognese
4- Italian Cheese
Asian cuisine is very vast as it comprises Japanese, Chinese, Indian and many more dishes. Here are the best ones you can opt for:
1- Dim Sum
5- Tandoori Chicken
Gaining immense popularity around the world lately, the American cuisine has been exotic for many years however. Here are a few trial-worthy examples:
5- Hot Dogs
7- Mashed Potatoes
Navigating Dietary Restrictions at Hotel Restaurants
Some people may have certain food allergy-issues or even lactose-intolerance. This is why Dietary restrictions are subjective and depends a lot on a particular person. Food with dietary restrictions include these:
Vegan and Vegetarian Options
Being a vegetarian or vegan, choosing the right food from a menu consisting a wide variety of food may become tiresome. However, here are the popular Vegan & Vegetarian options that are popular and preferred.
4- Noodles and Soups
5- Water Chestnut
Note: South-Indian cuisine is popular for having many vegetarian and vegan dishes such as Masala Dosa, Baingan Bharta and so on.
Allergic to gluten may demand you to be very aware of what you consume and hence, the list of the best gluten-free options is given below for you to choose from (if you have gluten allergy):
5- Fresh fish & meat
Making the most out of your Hotel Dining Experiences
Dining in a hotel is not only about the variety of food you get to consume, but also the experience of going out and having food. The best experience depends from person to person. However, do not turn a blind eye to these options if they entice you.
Many hotels have options of room service, where the dish of your choice is served to you in your room, without you having to get out. The reason can be anything for you to opt for this and yes, it’s very convenient too. Room service menus can be different from the restaurant menu.
You may need to make special requests, be it for a special occasion or for your dietary restrictions. Feel free to do so since restaurants are supposed to listen to you, until the request is something that no one cannot possibly do anything about.
Dress codes allow you to get free services or even special offers at certain places. Do check out for dress codes, if there are any, for the restaurant you plan to visit.
This was all you needed to know about a fine dining experience and “what is menu in hotel” and its types. Now that you are completely educated about the things to expect out of hotel restaurants and how to differentiate between types of menu in hotel, the experience must be different the next time you pay a visit. Don’t forget to try new cuisines, without disregarding your dietary restrictions. Hope you enjoyed reading this article.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I order from the restaurant if I’m not staying at the hotel?
Yes, you can order from restaurants, even when you’re not staying at their hotel, using online delivery applications (if listed in those) or by calling the given contact number of the hotel.
Are hotel restaurant prices expensive?
Usually, the hotel restaurant prices are not so expensive but if you opt for a 5-star hotel, the prices may get very expensive. Checking out the menus and prices before visiting, is a timeless idea.
Can I request a custom dish?
Requesting a custom dish will require you to choose a basic dish first and start off with what you want to add and remove, from the particular dish. Sometimes, it is chargeable. Available fusion dishes can also be ordered.