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Definition of 'a-la-carte'

A style of dining or menu option where individual dishes or food items are ordered separately, rather than as part of a fixed or predetermined meal.
"The restaurant offers both a-la-carte and buffet options for diners."

Detailed Meaning of 'a-la-carte'

In a-la-carte dining, customers have the flexibility to choose and customize their meal according to their preferences and appetite. They can select specific dishes from a menu and pay for each item individually, allowing for more variety and control over the dining experience. This approach is commonly found in restaurants, hotels, or catering services where customers have the freedom to mix and match different appetizers, main courses, side dishes, and desserts to create a personalized meal. A-la-carte dining provides the opportunity for greater culinary exploration, catering to diverse tastes and dietary preferences. It offers a distinct contrast to prix fixe or set menus, where a predetermined selection of dishes is offered as a complete meal at a fixed price.


Examples of 'a-la-carte' in a Sentence

1. The restaurant decided to switch to an a-la-carte menu to provide more options.
2. She appreciated the a-la-carte system at the spa, as it allowed her to choose only the treatments she wanted.
3. Unlike the set meals in other places, they offered an a-la-carte menu which gave me the freedom to choose.
4. Offering an a-la-carte selection helps customers avoid paying for things they don't need.
5. The a-la-carte pricing model of the software company allowed users to pay for only the features they required.
6. Their a-la-carte approach to tutoring allowed students to focus on subjects they struggled with the most.

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Origins & Etymology of 'a-la-carte'

The phrase 'à la carte' has its etymological origins in French. In French, 'à la' means 'in the style of' or 'according to,' and 'carte' means 'card' or 'menu.' When combined, 'à la carte' literally means 'in the style of the menu card.' This term reflects a style of dining or menu option where individual dishes or food items are ordered separately, allowing diners to choose specific items from the menu rather than ordering a fixed or predetermined meal. 'À la carte' emphasizes the idea of customization and choice in selecting dishes, making it a popular term in the world of dining and restaurant menus. Its etymology underscores the concept of dining according to one's preferences and the offerings listed on the menu card.


How to pronounce a-la-carte (audio)


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