17 Course French Classical Menu with Examples & Description

A French classical menu is the standard of menu form created by the French, it consists of 17, 13, and 11 courses. All the continental dishes are grouped into categories according to the main ingredients used in the preparation, method of cooking, taste, and texture, and categories are arranged in a sequence, each category is termed a course.

 French classical menu originated from France’s rich culinary history. The courses are carefully planned to complement each other astronomically, modern days guests do not have that much time to dine, nor health-conscious generations allow themselves to overeat, so the French classical menu has been reduced. Now Western formal dining, a full-course menu can consist of 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 16, or 17 courses.

Each course, carefully crafted, offers a unique taste experience, guiding the diner through a symphony of flavors and textures. The food service staff must know the sequence in which the classical menu is presented. 

we will explain 17 course French menu in detail with examples

graphic of 17 courses french clasical menu

1. Hors-d-oeuvre (Appetizer)

It is the first course of the French classical menu. This course consists of dainty and delicate dishes of tangy, salty nature, aimed at stimulating appetite. It is usually served from a rotating trolley or a tray a small amount of each variety is placed on the plate to make up a portion.

There are generally two types from the service point of view.

  1. General Hors-d-oeuvre
  2. Classical Hors-d-oeuvre

General Hors-d-oeuvre: 

chicken-glantine a examples of General Hors-d-oeuvre
chicken galantine – example of general General Hors-d-oeuvre

This course served all cold preparations including salad, cold meat preparation, fish preparation, and so on

Cover:  Half plate, hors-d-oeuvre plate, fish fork, fish knife

Examples of  General Hors-d-oeuvre:  Russian salad, Fish mayonnaise, Chicken galantine, Pate-de-faiegrar (paste of goose liver)

2. Classical Hors-d-oeuvre: 

Classicalhors-d-oeuvres include the following:

A) Fruit juice/Soft drinks: In this course, various types of juices are served such as tomato juice apple juice, and grapefruit juice, served in a pony glass on an underplate over a dolly paper.

Cover: Pony glass, an under-liner plate with a teaspoon.

B) Grapefruit: Grapefruits are served in a grapefruit cup, placed on an underplate over a dolly paper with a grapefruit spoon. If the exact grapefruit cup is not available, it may be served on a half plate in some fancy shape napkin folding.

Cover: Grapefruit cup, underplate, and a grapefruit spoon or a teaspoon.

C) Melon:  There are various types of melons such as Cantaloupe, Honeydew, watermelon, charities. Served on half-plate on a bed of crusher ice fruit fork and knife. If the melon is overripe a dessert spoon or a teaspoon is also given.

Cover: Haif plate, fruit fork, and a fruit knife, dessert spoon, or teaspoon 

Shellfish cocktail-examples of Classical Hors-d-oeuvre
Shellfish cocktail-examples of Classical Hors-d-oeuvre

D) Shellfish cocktail:  Any shellfish like shrimp, prawn, crab, and so on, are put in sauce, which is made with mayonnaise sauce, tomato ketchup, chilly sauce, Worcestershire sauce, tabasco sauce, and garnished with chopped parsley and a slice of egg. It is served in a cocktail glass on an underplate over a doily paper with a teaspoon.

Cover: Cocktail glass, underplate, and teaspoon.

E) Oyster: Oyster is a type of seafood, it is eaten row but not alive. They are freshly part of sea shell. Oysters are served by six or dozen as a portion on a deep plate on a bed of crushed ice. The deep plate is placed on a large plate over the dolly pepper. The oyster fork is placed on the right side of the cover.

Cover: Oyster fork, deep plate, large plate.


F) Caviar: It is the roe of sturgeon fish, caviar is served by weight. If the guest asks for certain caviar then the whole container is placed in front of the guest, after consuming the guest is given a charge on the basis of difference in the weight. 

Some types of caviar:  Beluga, Kaluga, Sevgura, Oscietre, Botarga, Malossal.

Cover: Cold half-plate, caviar knife.

Watch the video 17 Course French Classical Menu

2. Potage (Soup)

Potage or soup is the second course on the French classical menu. All classes of soups, such as clear, cream, puree, veloute, broth, bisque, and chowder come under the course. 

In the absence of an appetizer on the menu, soup assumes the role of an appetizer. It stimulates the appetite for heavier food

Soup is served in a soup bowl or soup plate on an underplate over a doily paper. soup is placed on the cover.

There are basically two types of soup thick soup and thin soup on the menu. There may be a choice between thin soup and thick soup, thin soup is written first on the menu

Cream of tomato – a thick soup

Thick soup:

  • Puree soup:  Pea soup, potato soup
  • Cream soup:  Cream of tomato
  • Veloute:  Chicken veloute
  • Bisque:  Crab bisque
  • Cowder:  Manhatten clam chowder

Thin soup

  • Consomme:  consomme cereals, consomme julienne
  • Broth: Scotch broth, chicken broth
A bowl of consomme soup

Examples of Potages are

  • Consommé julienne: Clear soup garnished with strips of root vegetables
  • Consommé Celestine: Clear soup garnished with strips of savory pancakes.
  • Consommé royal: Clear soup consists of shredded vegetables and minced mutton.
  • Bisque d’homard: Thick lobster-flavoured soup
  • Creme de tomato: Cream of tomato soup.
  • Minestrone soup: A thick Italian vegetable soup
  • Petite marmite: Clear soup,made from a variety of meats and vegetables
  • Vichyssoise:  A thick cold soup made of  puréed leeks, onions, potatoes, cream, and chicken stock
  • Green Bean Soup:  Cream of Green Beans
  • Bouillabaisse: A fish stew

Cover: Soup bowl or soup plate, underplate, soup spoon.

Recommended reading: Classification of soup/types of soup

3. Oeufs (Egg)

It is the third course on the French classical menu. All types of egg preparations (except plain boiled egg)  are included in this course.

The egg may be given in place of the fish course after appetizer and soup courses, It is advisable to include either egg or pasta in the table d’hote luncheon menu. 

They are not included in set dinner menus as this makes one feel quite heavy during dinner

Fried egg on the toast

Examples of oeufs are

  • Oeuf Poche florentine:  poached egg on a bed of spinach coated with cheese sauce & gratinated
  • En cocotte:  A French way of baking eggs in a water bath in the oven
  • Omelette chasseur: omelet with chicken livers and mushrooms.
  • Egg Chimay: Boiled egg with mushroom sauce and cheese.
  • Omelette Espagnole: flat omelet with onions, pepper, tomato
  • Oeufs en cocotte a la creme: egg cooked in its own dish in a bain-marie and garnished with cram.
  • Oeufs sure le plant:  An elegant egg dish
  • Egg morney

4. Farinaceous / Farineaux (Pasta or Rice)

It is the fourth course of the French classical menu. This is Italy’s contribution to the courses of the menu. It includes different kinds of rice and pasta. made from an unleavened dough of wheat flour mixed with water or eggs.

Pasta dishes are spaghetti, lasagne, and gnocchi. There are more than 200 varieties of pasta. The ingredients, size, shape, and color determine the type of pasta.

Spaghetti alla carbonara
Spaghetti alla carbonara

Example of Farinaceous / Farineaux

  • Spaghetti bolognaise: Spaghetti blended with minced lean beef with rich brown sauce.
  • Spaghetti napolitine: Spaghetti in a tomato- and garlic-flavored sauce.
  • Spaghetti alla carbonara: Spaghetti pasta, with raw eggs, Pecorino Romano cheese, and bacon.
  • Ravioli di borragine: Ravioli dumplings, filled with ricotta cheese and Borage, served with butter and walnuts
  • Gnocchi alla romana: Soft dough gnocchi dumplings, made with, eggs, milk, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and baked with butter and pecorino Romano cheese
  • Lasagne alla napoletana: A Neapolitan dish of baked lasagne flat-shaped pasta, made with several layers of lasagne sheets alternated with ragù sauce, mozzarella cheese
  • Cannelloni ricotta e spinaci: A baked pasta dish, made with cannelloni, filled with a sauce of ricotta cheese and spinach.

5. Poisson (Fish)

It is the fifth course of the French classical menu. Fish is soft and fibred and tender meat, which is easily digested and helps to prepare the appetite for the heavier course to come

There are basically two types of fish preparations

1. Poached fish preparation: Either covered with sauce or served with a sauce such as hollandaise. mousseline. or mayonnaise separately.

Examples: fillet of pomfret veronique, fillet of sole morney, fillet of pomfret florentine

2. Fried, grilled, or baked fish: This is often dry and served with its appropriate accompanying sauce separately.

Examples: fillet of pomfret orly, fillet of sole meuniere, fillet of pomfret colbert, grilled gerring.

Cover: Half plate, fish knife, fish fork

Salman teriyaki

Examples of poission:

  • Sole meuniere: Sole shallow fried in butter.
  • Sole colbert: Sole, flour, egg, and breadcrumbed and deep-fried, the fillet is rolled back of backbone in preparation.
  • Sole cubat: Filled with sole poached, dressed on a mushroom puree and coated with cheese sauce.
  • Fillet de pie frite: Fillet of plaice deep-fried and accompanied by a mayonnaise-based sauce flavored with capers, gherkins, and parsley.
  • Trocon de turbot poche: Cutlet of turbot poached with an egg and butter-based sauce.Blanchailles diables: whitebait well seasoned with cayenne pepper and deep-fried. 

Cover: Half plate, fish knife, fish fork.

6. Entree (First meat course)

Entree is generally small well-garnished dishes, this course is said to be an entry to a meat course. which comes from the kitchen ready for service, they are always accompanied by a very rich gravy or sauce.

When a releve follows the entree then potatoes and vegetables are not served, if a releve does not follow the entree then potatoes and vegetables would be served with the entree

An entree is the first meat course on the French classical menu. Entree may be served as the main course.

beef steak example of entrees
beef steak – example of entrees

Examples of Entrees are

  • Poulet saute chasseur: saute chicken in a rich brown sauce flavored with tomato and mushroom.
  • Supreme de volaille a la king: Breast and wing of chicken cooked under a cover in the oven.
  • Emincee de volaille a la king:  Minced chicken with savory rice.
  • Foie de veau au lard: Liver with bacon.
  • Steak Diane: Minute steak shallow fried and flavored with onion and mushroom sauce finished with red wine and cream.
  • Rognons saute turbigo: kidneys shallow fried and blend with rich brown sauce garnished with chipolata sausages.
  • Fillet/Rump steak grille: Fillet/Rump steak grilled and garnished with tomatoes, mushroom, watercress, and straw potato.
  • Chautebriand: Double fillet steak grilled.

Cover: Half plate, small knife, and fork.

7. Releve (Main meat course or joints of meat)

It is the seventh course or main course of the French classical menu. Releve is normally larger than entrees and takes the form of butchers’ joints, which have to be carved. These joints are either peeled or roasted. A sauce or roast gravy, potatoes, and green vegetables are always served with this course.

Joints of meat like lamb, mutton, beef, veal, and pork -cooked by various cooking methods, especially braised, roasted, and boiled are served in this course. It is the heaviest of all the 17 courses on the French classical menu

Beef sirloin – example of releve

The main dish may consist of any of the following:

  • Saddle of mutton
  • Baron of beef
  • Boned sirloin
  • Braised ham

Service of relief: Releve is served on a large plate or full plate, a large fork, and a large knife arranged on the cover before the guest’s hand. If rice is served as an accompaniment then an A.P. spoon is also provided.

Examples of Releves are

  • Contrefilet de boeuf roti a l anglaise: boned and roasted sirloin of beef.
  • Carre d agneau roti:  roast best end of lamb
  • Cuissot de porc roti puree de pommes: roast leg of pork with apple sauce.
  • Gigot d agneau roti sauce menthe: roast leg of lamb with mint sauce
  • Tom Kerridge’s braised ham hocks in Cumberland spices
  • Mustard and Thyme Baron of Beef Au Jus
  • Herby stuffed saddle of lamb with crushed roasties

Cover: Large plate, large knife, large fork

8. Sorbet (Rest course)

sorbets are water ice flavored with champagne or wine or liqueur and essences and are served in a tall glass with a teaspoon/sundae spoon. It is the best course on the French classical menu.

It is intended to give rest during a long meal and to stimulate the appetite for the rest course, During this course, Russian cigars and cigarettes are passed around.

raspberry sorbet
Raspberry sorbet

Examples of sorbets are

  • Champagne sorbet
  • pineapple sorbet
  • lemon sorbet
  • raspberry sorbet

Cover: Water tumbler or tall glass, and underplate with a teaspoon. Cigar cutter and matchbox.

9. Roti (Roast)

In this course, roasted poultry and game birds are included. If poultry or game birds are cooked by any other cooking method, then those dishes will not be considered as a roast course. 

Salad is served separately on a half-moon plate with this course. Orange salad is offered with roast duck. This second heaviest course of the 17 courses on the French classical menu.

It is served on a large plate from a platter by service gear or served as a Pre-plated dish with proper accompaniment and garnish. A large fork and large knife are arranged on the cover.

Roasted chicken

Examples of Roti

  • Poulet roti (Roasted chicken) accompanied with bread sauce and roasted gravy.
  • canton roti (Roasted duck) accompanied by apple sauce and roasted gravy.

Cover: Large plate, large knife, large fork.

10. Legumes (Vegetables)

All vegetable preparation comes under this course. Vegetables may be served as the main course on a shorter menu. Different types of vegetables such as mushrooms, artichokes, carrots, broccoli, and asparagus are served in this course. 

These are vegetable dishes that can be served separately as an individual course with its own sauce like hollandaise sauce or beurre fondue, or can be served along with the entrée, relevé, or roast courses.

vegetable skewer
vegetable skewer

Examples of Legumes are:

  • Puree de pommes: Creamed potatoes.
  • Pommes au four: Baked jacket potato.
  • Petits pois au beurre: peas tossed in butter.
  • Epinards en branches: Leaf spinach.
  • Champignons grille: Grilles mushroom.
  • Choufleur morney: Cauliflower with cheese sauce.
  • Celeries braises: Braised celery

Cover: Half plate, small knife, small fork

11. Salades (Salad)

Various types of salads are served during this course, including plain or simple salad or compound salad. It can be cold dishes and green vegetables, 

Some examples of salades

  • Coleslaw
  • Tossed salad
  • Andalouse
  • Waldorf
greek salad on a platter
Greek salad

12. Buffet Froid (Cold Buffet)

In this course, a variety of cold meat and fish are included, together with salad leaves and dressing.

Buffet Froid (Cold Buffet)
Cold buffet

Examples of buffet Froid

  • Chicken galantine
  • Smoked SalmanHerb-Stuffed Pork Loin
  • poached salmon with herby mayonnaise
  • Mayonnaise d hommard: – lobster mayonnaise

13. Entremets (sweets)

The term Entremets means the entry of the sweet item. All kinds of sweet preparations, such as shuffles, custards, pudding, fool, bavarois, crepes, ice cream, and pastries, whether cold or hot are included in this course.

There are generally two types

1. General Entremets

 Different types of pudding, cake, and pastry, are served, it may be hot or cold. It is served either pre-plated or platter to plate with the help of a service spoon and service fork.

Cover: Half plate, sweet spoon, sweet fork.

Raspberry pie Example of General Entremets
Raspberry pie – Example of General Entremets


  • Cream caramel
  • Apple strudel
  • Apple pie
  • Souffle,
  • Mousse.
  • Baked Alaska
  • Pineapple cake

2. Ice cream

There are two types

A) Plain ice cream: Different colored and flavored ice cream like Vanilla, Chocolate, Mango, and Orange. A scoop of any flavored ice cream is served in an ice cream cup and placed on an underplate over doily paper.

Cover: Ice cream cup, underplate, ice cream spoon.

B) Parfait ice cream: It is a special ice cream with a layered. There are two or more layers, put one by different flavored ice cream with fruits, nuts, and jellies in a parfait glass.

Gelato - An Italian dessert
Gelato – An Italian ice cream


  • Tuty-fruity
  • Eiffel tower
  • Lewinsky
  • Tall beauty
  • Mid-night beauty
  • Caribbean Delight

Cover: Parfait glass, parfait spoon, underliner

14. Savourex (savory)

They are generally salty and tangy course. small tit-bits are served in this course to remove the sweet taste from the mouth.

There are generally three types

1. meat savory

Some examples of meat savory

  • The angle on horseback:  Poached oyster wrapped in bacon.
  • Devil on horseback:  Prunes rolled in bacon and grilled

2. Fish savory

Some examples are

  • Anchovies on toast:  Toast with fillets of anchovies decorated with sieved hard-boiled egg yolk and chopped parsley
  • Haddock on toast:  Poached haddock with cream sauce spread on the toast
Fish savory with knife
Fish savory

3. Cheese savory

Cheese is offered to the guest on the tablet on a cheese board along with a cheese tray and Cheese Knife.

15. Fromage (Cheese)

Fromage is an alternative to the outdated savory course and may be served before or after the sweet course. It is usually served with butter, crackers, and occasionally.

All types of cheese may be offered together with appropriate accompaniments, the ideal cheese board will combine hard, semi-hard, soft or cream, blue and fresh cheese.

Cheese platter
Cheese platter

Some examples of cheese.

  • Gouda: Hard
  • Cheddar: Hard
  • Red cheshire: Hard
  • Brie: Soft
  • Ricotta: Soft
  • Demi-sel: Soft
  • Gorgonzola: Blue
  • Danish blue: Blue

Quarter plate or cheese plate, small knife, small fork

Recommended reading: 27 types of most popular cheese

16. Dessert (Fruits)

All forms of fruit and nuts may be served accompanied by castor sugar and salt.Prepared/pre-cut fruit should be considered as an example of a sweet course. 

Fresh fruits that can be comfortably managed by the guest themselves at the table should be preferred on the menu.

Fruits are served in the fruit basket, and placed on the table at the time of this course. Cutlery provided as a fruit Knife and a fruit fork

bowl of dry fruit
Dry fruit bowl

Types of fruit served in the dessert course

  • Soft fruit:  Banana papaya
  • Hard fruit:  Pears, apple
  • Citrus fruit:  Orange, sweet lime
  • Dry fruit:  Raisin, walnuts, cashouts, pistachio

Cover:  Half plate, fruit fork, fruit Knife. A nutcracker is provided if nuts are served.

17. Cafe(coffee)

All types of teas and coffees are served in this course with or without milk. and this is the end of the meal.

This is the end of the French classical menu

Examples of cafe

  • Turkish coffee
  • cafe au latte
  • Espresso
  • Cappuccino

Cover:  Demitasse or coffee cup and saucer, coffee spoon, sugar tong, milk pot, sugar pot, coffee pot.


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