Ala carte and table d’ hôte Menu

a la carte

What is Ala carte and table d’ hôte Menu In A Restaurant?

In India restaurants normally prefer to serve food and beverage as per the single menu card. But in abroad or restaurants in star hotels you may find two types of menu cards.

Ala Carte Menu and
Table d’ hôte Menu

These are French terms used widely in posh restaurants. People from other region may find it difficult to pronounce. If you see a la in French menu it means in the style of or from the region of

example: a popular french chicken dish, chicken a la king – means chicken cooked in the style of king

A la carte means order from the card.
The main difference in menus are the price and the selection of menu items. A la carte is a menu from which the guest can order food that is individually priced while table d’ hôte is a menu where guest can order multi-course meals with only a few choices and is charged at a fixed total price.

What Is Table d’ Hôte Menu?
It is a set menu with pre-fixed total price. In French it literally means “the host’s table”.

Despite terms complexity, the best example to understand this is this.

A la carte – You go to a restaurant, you pick up the menu card, choose individually food and beverage you want, eat and pay for exactly for the item you ate.

Table d’ hote – You go to a restaurant, you order South Indian Thali, you eat and pay for whole thali. Thali comprises of food ingredients such as rice, roti, dahi, sabzi, dal, papad, fried curry etc. You pay for total thali, whether you eat every item or not, as it is a fixed total price. This menu is ideal for restaurants with busy and bulk operations where a la carte menu is not viable.
for example: Mess In Hyderabad – A mess is a food outlet majorly serving large number of people with set menus.


A la carte often looks like expensive affair, you pay only what you eat and the food is mostly cooked fresh and in bits after you order the food

Table d hote is a pre fixed price set menu and is affordable for a common man as a complete meal compared to a la carte.  The choice of food ingredients is little and fixed by the owner or chef of the restaurant. The food is cooked well in advance, in bulk quantity, so that meals can be served quickly and easily.

Key Difference Between Ala carte and table d’ hôte Menu Respectively

Selection And Pricing – Individually priced, Total fixed set price

Cooking quantity – Portion wise, Bulk and controlled

Serving Time – Served As Per Set Time, Fast and Ready

Cost – expensive, affordable