A la carte is nothing more than a menu. Its roots lie in ancient times. Tastefully decorated, it was considered a decoration of a restaurant or cafe, a subject of his special pride. A la carte could not do without, and even now not a single table event can do.
A la carte is a French term for a regular menu. Fernand Poin, the founder of modern French cuisine, quite clearly and very succinctly described its mission: it is pleasing to the eye, awakens the appetite and makes it clear to the visitor how much he will have to pay for the pleasure.
According to archaeologists, the first menu-like texts were found in Egypt. They were clay tablets inscribed with hieroglyphs with the names of dishes that were being prepared and served at that time.
Later historians came to the conclusion that "a la carte" was present in France at the court of Charles IX, where it was specially performed for a court holiday. Under Louis XIV, the menu was already a note card made of thick paper. They recorded the wishes and orders of the king regarding dishes for lunch, dishes for pleasure, etc.
But only in the 19th century the menu "came out" of the walls of the royal palaces and began to appear in restaurants and cafes. It was with him that any restaurant began. The menu was placed on a special table. It was installed in such a way that a visitor entering the room would immediately hold his gaze on it until the moment he entered the wardrobe or the restaurant hall. It was very deliberate and correct. Now this is accepted in almost all decent establishments for which reputation and good reviews from guests are important.
What the restaurateurs did not do to make the menu pleasing to the eyes of the visitors! Artists were often invited to decorate it. At that time, this occupation was not considered humiliating, rather the opposite. The menu was drawn for ordinary breakfasts, lunches, dinners. Festive events were not complete without him. As a rule, these were small brochures, beautifully bound with hand-drawn covers, listing the dishes and drinks on offer. However, it should be noted that menus designed in this way were offered only to guests of special honor.
At the beginning of the last century, with the emergence and development of the printing industry, the lists of food and drinks have become more colorful and accessible to the general public wishing to visit restaurants and cafes. In some establishments, the menu has turned into ordinary price lists, while in others, historical traditions have been preserved to this day.
Whatever country you are in, an à la carte restaurant is an establishment with a high level of service. It is often necessary to reserve seats in advance to visit them. In some cases, additional payment or advance payment is required.
Each dish you wish to try must be ordered separately using the menu provided. The waiter will definitely answer all your questions about the preparation and composition of the presented dishes.
If you decide to relax abroad and stay in a hotel with a la carte catering system, then be prepared for the fact that this is far from a buffet with its variety and queues, as well as all the ensuing consequences. In addition, try to memorize key phrases and expressions in the corresponding section of the language, because Russian-speaking waiters may not be everywhere. Don't forget to tip.