Formal Dinner Menu Ideas


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A formal dinner is ideal for a specific occasion such as a wedding anniversary or a baby shower. During a formal dinner, diners often come dressed up in their finest clothing. Many will expect to eat a well-prepared meal. Creating a menu for a formal dinner can be a daunting prospect. Fortunately, with a bit of advanced preparation this task can be made much easier. If you’ve never held a formal dinner before here are some ideas that can help you design the perfect meal.


Assortment of seafood

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A menu composed of seafood items can be perfect for a soignée dinner party. Serve your guests an appetizer of shrimp bisque or a selection of oysters from around the country. Bring out grilled lobster with drawn butter or dressed soft shell crab for a main course option. Dessert can allude to the sea with clean flavors such as lemon used in a tart or chocolate or caramel flavored with sea salt.

French Flair

Steak entree at fine dining restaurant

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The cuisine of France has long been associated with elegance and sophistication. As Julia Child proved, Americans can recreate the best of French foodstuffs right at home. Start off a French style meal with a slice of homemade pate or a cup of vichyssoise. Offer a classic French-inspired main course such as steak au poivre (steak with peppercorns), Coquille St. Jacques (baked scallops with white sauce) or a serving of salmon mousse with capers. Finish the meal with a chocolate soufflé or a slice of tarte tatin (apple tart) topped with ice cream.

Luxury Items

Lamb Chop with Herb Butter and Semolina Patties

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Treat your guests to a formal menu filled with luxury ingredients. Freshly prepared items are ideal for a formal dining menu. Begin your meal with a serving of caviar on toast points with chopped hard boiled eggs or a salad of baby lettuce topped with a fragrant dressing. Main courses can be equally luxurious. Incorporate Kobe beef, grilled lamb with butter or pasta topped with costly white truffles. A luxury dessert choice might utilize out of season fruit such as strawberries or rare nuts such as macadamias. Top chocolates with strawberry sauce or turn the nuts into a pie.


Elegant buffet

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Create a buffet for your guests to enjoy. A buffet can allow people to try many different kinds of foods. A formal buffet can showcase fresh ingredients. Consider hiring a sushi chef to make specially handcrafted sushi rolls or someone to carve fresh slices of prime rib. Warm up items in chafing jars. Provide guests with a wide variety of hot and cold items as well as silverware and plates. A typical buffet menu might start with a salad and a soup. Then considering offering a pasta selection, a hot meat such ham or sliced turkey with gravy and a selection of side dishes such as mashed potatoes or steamed asparagus. Conclude the meal by providing cake, pie and fresh fruit to choose from.