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Top Restaurant Menu Terms You Need To Know - Food Menu Terms

main dish
by Forklift & Palate on October 8, 2018

Going out to eat is meant to be a pleasant, delicious experience. Whether you're celebrating a special occasion, meeting up with friends or family or just enjoying a food you love but can't make yourself, dining out shouldn't stress you out.

friends dining together

Unfortunately, almost everyone has been in the situation of not understanding a term on the menu. It can be a little embarrassing to ask what something means — but if you don't, you risk ordering something that is prepared differently than you imagined. Some restaurants explain on the menu what various terms mean or have a key to explain symbols, but it's not a guarantee.

Common Food Menu Terms

There are tons of different terms on food menus. Whether it's to describe how something is prepared or what type of ingredients it has, it seems like there's a term for everything.

To help, we've put together a small guide to clear up some common food menu lingo — so the next time you're out at a restaurant, you can order with confidence!

Here are some of the most common terms found on food menus and what they mean:

  • A la broche: This is a cooking method. It means the dish is cooked on a skewer. It is a French phrase that literally translates as "on the spit."
  • A la carte: This is also a French phrase, which literally translates to "by the card." It is more commonly translated to mean "according to the menu." A la carte items on the menu are simple dishes or items that are priced separately. For example, you may find an a la carte section on a breakfast menu to order bacon or toast by itself.
  • A la mode: Another French term that translates to "in the current style." It means that something will be made in a particular way. It's most commonly seen on dessert menus to show that a dessert will be served with ice cream.
  • Al dente: This is a term that is frequently used to describe pasta, but many people don't know what it means exactly. Al dente is an Italian phrase meaning "firm to the bite." It's most commonly used to describe pasta, but it can be used for other foods, too.
  • Aperitif: Aperitif is another French phrase. An aperitif is a drink served before your meal that is meant to cleanse your palate and prepare your taste buds for the main course. It is usually an alcoholic drink.
  • Artisan: When something is described as "artisan," it means it is not mass produced. An artisan dish will be crafted in small batches.
  • Braised: Braising is a cooking method that means something is cooked using both wet and dry heat.
  • Confit: Another cooking style, meaning to cook in water with grease, oil or sugar.
  • Seared: One more cooking method, searing means to cook something so the outside is crispy, but the inside remains juicy.

At the Forklift & Palate restaurant at Spooky Nook Sports, we have a variety of dishes to please any taste and dietary restriction. From gluten-free to vegetarian and vegan options, we have them available for your next great meal out.

Learn More About Food Etiquette

How To Order A Steak Or Burger
What Is A Full Course Meal?

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