prix fixe menu

When dining out, you must choose between ordering individual items and a prix fixe menu. A la carte suggests that you can order whatever you like, whereas prix fixe includes a pre-selected appetizer, meal, and dessert for a set fee. Similar to french classical menu, the concept of a “prix fixe” (or “fixed price”) meal has deep roots in traditional French cuisine. A prix fixe menu has numerous advantages for restaurants and bars. So let’s take a look at what these menus are, why they’re so fantastic, and how to construct one.

What is a Prix Fixe Menu?

A prix fixe menu, often called a fixed-price menu, is a set menu with a pre-selected number of courses for a fixed price. This menu type is often known as “tasting menus” or “set menus.” 

With a prix fixe menu, customers are typically offered a selection of dishes for each course, and the fixed price covers all the courses offered. Customers can enjoy a combination of dishes without having to pay separately for each item.

Prix fixe menus are common in fine dining restaurants and are often offered for special occasions, such as holidays or Valentine’s Day. It can be a good option for customers who want to try multiple menu items simultaneously.

Prix Fixe Meaning

“Prix fixe” is a French term that translates to “fixed price” in English. Originating in 19th century France, “prix fixe” has become a symbol of luxury and fine dining worldwide.

Prix Fixe Pronunciation

If you’re unsure how to pronounce prix fixe, don’t worry, you’re not alone. The correct pronunciation is “pree feeks” with the stress on the first syllable.

History of Prix Fixe Menu

The prix fixe menu has a long history in French cuisine. It originated in the early 19th century when Parisian restaurants began offering a set menu of dishes at a fixed price. The concept quickly caught on and spread throughout Europe and the United States.

Initially, the prix fixe menu was only available to the upper class who could afford to dine at fancy restaurants. However, as the restaurant industry grew, more affordable prix fixe menus became available, making this dining option accessible to a broader audience.

Today, many restaurants offer a prix fixe menu alongside their a la carte options. Prix fixe menus have become popular for special occasions like Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve or for chef’s tasting menus where the chef can showcase their culinary skills.

Now, let’s look at how a prix fixe menu works.

How Does a Prix Fixe Menu Work?

Prix fixe menus are typically included with a set number of courses, usually three to five, with a set price per person for the entire meal. Depending on the type of restaurant (high-end or casual restaurants), a typical course has an appetizer, a main dish, and a dessert. Some prix fixe menus may include a soup or salad course, cheese course, or another specialty item.

How a Prix Fixe Menu is Structured

A prix fixe menu is usually set up so that guests can enjoy a meal with more than one course. The courses may include appetizers, main courses, and desserts, with a set number of options for each course. The courses are usually served in a certain order, and depending on the restaurant’s rules, they may come with wine or other drinks.

The structure of a prix fixe menu may vary depending on the restaurant and the occasion. Some prix fixe menus are made especially for holidays or special catered events, while others are just part of the restaurant’s regular menu.

In many cases, the prix fixe menu may also include dishes that aren’t usually on the regular menu. This makes it a special and unique way to eat at a restaurant. It can be a draw for guests looking for something new and different.

Options Available for Customization

Although a prix fixe menu is pre-designed with a set number of courses, restaurants may provide guests with some options for customization. For example, guests can choose from different appetizers or main courses based on what they like or can’t eat.

In some cases, restaurants may even allow guests to make substitutions or modifications to the prix fixe menu. However, this may depend on the restaurant’s policies and the availability of ingredients.

Cost of a Prix Fixe Menu

The cost of a prix fixe menu can vary widely depending on the restaurant and the location. Some restaurants may offer a prix fixe menu for as little as $25 per person, while others may charge over $100 per person. It’s important to check the restaurant’s menu and pricing ahead of time to ensure it fits within your budget.

Advantages of Prix Fixe Menu

There are several advantages to choosing a prix fixe menu, making it an attractive option for diners. Here are some of the key benefits:

  1. Simplified ordering process: One of the main advantages of a prix fixe menu is that it simplifies the ordering process for diners. Rather than navigating a lengthy a la carte menu and deciding which dishes to order, diners can choose from a pre-set selection. It can benefit large groups or special occasions where multiple orders can be confusing or time-consuming.
  2. High-quality dishes: Prix fixe menus are often designed to showcase the restaurant’s best dishes or seasonal offerings. It means that diners can enjoy a variety of high-quality dishes that may not be available on the regular menu.
  3. More value for the price: Depending on the restaurant, a prix fixe menu can offer more value than a la carte. It is especially true if the menu includes several courses or a wine pairing option, which can be more expensive if ordered separately.
  4. Controlled cost: For budget-conscious guests, a prix fixe menu can provide a controlled cost for the meal. Since the price is fixed, guests come to the meal knowing exactly how much it is going to cost, without worrying about unexpected charges or surprises on the final bill. For the restaurant owners, fixed price menus reduce labor hours and thus allow understaffed restaurants to continue operate even during busy days.
  5. Faster service: Because the dishes on a prix fixe menu are pre-determined, the kitchen can prepare them in advance, leading to faster service for diners. It can be beneficial for those who need more time or have a limited window for their meal.

Disadvantages of Prix Fixe Menu

While there are many advantages to a prix fixe menu, there are also a few potential disadvantages that diners should be aware of before making a decision. Here are some of the critical drawbacks:

  1. Limited choices: One of the main drawbacks of a prix fixe menu is limited choices for diners. This can be especially problematic for those with dietary restrictions or allergies, as they may need help finding a dish that suits their needs on the fixed menu.
  2. Lack of customization: Since the dishes are pre-set on a prix fixe menu, diners need the ability to customize their order. It can be frustrating for those with specific preferences or seeking a unique dining experience.
  3. Higher price: While a prix fixe menu can offer value for the price, it can also be more expensive than ordering a la carte, especially if the menu includes a wine pairing or additional courses.
  4. Pressure to eat quickly: Because the dishes on a prix fixe menu are pre-determined, diners may feel pressure to eat quickly to keep up with the pace of the meal. It can be a downside for those who prefer a leisurely dining experience.
  5. Limited availability: Some restaurants may only offer a prix fixe menu during certain times or for special occasions, which can limit the availability of this dining option for diners.

Types of Prix Fixe Menu

Restaurants may offer several types of prix fixe menus, each with its own unique structure and offerings. Here are a few of the most common types:

  1. Classic Prix Fixe Menu: This type of menu typically includes a set number of courses, such as a starter, main dish, and dessert. The dishes are pre-determined and diners may have limited options for customization.
  2. Chef’s Tasting Menu: A chef’s tasting menu is a more elaborate version of the classic prix fixe menu. It is a multi-course meal that consists of small portions of different dishes. It usually features carefully curated meals,, often with unique or experimental dishes that showcase the chef’s creativity and skill.
  3. Table d’Hote Menu: A table d’hote menu is similar to a prix-fixe menu but typically includes more choices for diners. It may offer a selection of two or three dishes for each course, allowing diners more flexibility and customization.
  4. A la Carte Menu with Prix Fixe Option: Some restaurants offer an a la carte menu with the option to choose a prix fixe meal. It allows diners to choose individual dishes from the regular menu and provides the convenience of a pre-set menu at a fixed price.
  5. Vegetarian or Vegan Menu: Many restaurants now offer prix fixe menus for vegetarians or vegans. These menus feature plant-based dishes that are just as flavorful and satisfying as their meat-based counterparts.

The type of menu offered will depend on the restaurant and its culinary style. Some may offer a more traditional, classic menu, while others may opt for a more modern or experimental approach. No matter what kind of menu a restaurant has, diners can expect a high-quality meal with carefully made dishes and perfect presentation.

Examples of Prix Fixe Menu

Many restaurants worldwide offer prix fixe menus, ranging from casual cafes to fine-dining establishments. Here are a few examples of prix fixe menus you might find at different types of restaurants:

  1. Bistro-style Prix Fixe Menu: A French restaurant may offer a simple menu with a starter, main dish, and dessert. For example, the menu might include a classic French onion soup, steak, and crème brûlée for dessert.
  2. Italian-style Prix Fixe Menu: An Italian restaurant may offer a kind of ethnic menu featuring multiple courses, such as antipasti, pasta, and a main course. The menu might include bruschetta, spaghetti carbonara, and veal scallopini with roasted vegetables.
  3. Asian-style Prix Fixe Menu: An Asian restaurant might offer a menu featuring a variety of small plates or family-style dishes. The menu might include sushi rolls, dumplings, stir-fried noodles, and grilled meats or seafood.
  4. Fine-dining Prix Fixe Menu: A high-end fine-dining restaurant may offer a menu with multiple courses, often featuring unique and experimental dishes. The menu might include foie gras torchon, truffle risotto, seared duck breast, and a decadent chocolate dessert.
  5. Seasonal Prix Fixe Menu: Many restaurants offer seasonal menus, featuring fresh and in-season ingredients. For example, a summer menu might include heirloom tomato salad, grilled fish with seasonal vegetables, and a fruit-based dessert.

These are just a few examples of the many different types of menu you might encounter at restaurants worldwide. Each menu is uniquely crafted to showcase the restaurant’s culinary style and expertise.

prix fixe menu example

How to Create a Prix Fixe Menu

If you’re a restaurant owner or chef, creating a prix fixe menu can be a great way to showcase your culinary skills and offer a unique dining experience. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to create it:

Pick a theme

Choosing a theme is the first essential step. It lets you choose your menu and create a unique dining experience to show off your cooking skills. You can select a theme based on different factors such as seasonal ingredients, cultural cuisine, or even an occasion. If you choose a theme based on an occasion, you can create a special menu for holidays such as Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving, or Christmas. By selecting a theme that fits your restaurant’s brand and style, you can create a memorable dining experience for which customers will keep coming back.

Decide on the number of courses

It’s essential to determine the number of courses you will offer. Typically, a Prix Fixe Menu has three to four courses, including appetizers, entrees, and desserts. However, you can adjust the number of courses based on the theme, occasion, or pricing. A four-course menu can be suitable for a fine-dining restaurant or a special occasion, while a three-course menu may be more appropriate for a casual dining restaurant.

Price the menu

Setting the price for your menu can be challenging, but it’s essential to ensure it is profitable. When pricing your menu, consider the cost of ingredients, preparation time, and overhead costs such as labor, rent, and utilities. You also need to consider your target market and the competition in the area. It’s essential to price your menu competitively while maintaining a reasonable profit margin.

Allow for Pairings

Offering wine or cocktail pairings for each course can enhance the dining experience and increase revenue. Pairings help balance the flavors in each course and make the dining experience more enjoyable. You can offer a fixed pairing for the entire menu or allow guests to choose their pairings. You can also provide non-alcoholic pairings for many diners who prefer not to drink.

Consider the Tasting Journey

When selecting dishes for your menu, it’s essential to consider the progression of flavors and textures. The order of the dishes should create a natural tasting journey for your guests. Start with lighter, more delicate dishes and gradually move to heavier, richer ones. It ensures that your guests enjoy each dish and feel energized and full. You can also consider each dish’s visual presentation to create a beautiful and visually appealing menu.

Use QR Code Digital Menus

QR Code Digital Menus are an excellent way to make ordering process so much easier for your guests. Customers can scan a QR code with their smartphone and view the menu on their devices. This eliminates the need for printed menus, which can be costly and time-consuming to update. Additionally, digital menus can also offer more information about the dishes, such as ingredients, preparation methods, and allergen information.

Prix Fixe Menu: Do’s and Don’ts

When designing and implementing a prix fixe menu, there are certain best practices that can help make it a success. Here are some critical do’s and don’ts to keep in mind:


  1. Do make sure your prix fixe menus offer good value for customers: Customers are more likely to try a menu if they feel like they are getting a good deal. Ensure your menu offers enough courses and high-quality dishes to make it worth the price.
  2. Do consider your audience: Consider your target audience when designing your menu. If you target fine-dining customers, include more upscale dishes and presentations. If you are targeting casual diners, keep things more straightforward.
  3. Do use seasonal ingredients: Using seasonal ingredients not only adds variety to your menu but also allows you to showcase fresh and flavorful ingredients at their peak.
  4. Do train your staff: Train your staff to answer questions about the menu and to make recommendations to customers. Encourage them to upsell the menu with some promotions.
  5. Do consider offering wine pairings: Offering wine pairings with your menu can enhance the dining experience for your guests.


  1. Don’t offer too few or too many courses: Offering too few courses may make customers feel like they are not getting enough value while offering too many courses may overwhelm them. Aim for balanced courses that provide a complete and satisfying meal.
  2. Don’t offer dishes that are too complicated or time-consuming to prepare: Offering overly complex or time-consuming dishes can slow your kitchen down massively and reduce the quality of your dishes. Stick to dishes that can optimize your efficiency.
  3. Don’t forget to consider dietary restrictions: Make sure to offer options for customers with dietary restrictions, such as vegetarian or gluten-free options. Make it easy for customers to select these options on your menu.
  4. Don’t skimp on portion sizes: Make sure each course is appropriately portioned and satisfying. Customers should feel like they are getting a full meal for the price.
  5. Don’t forget about presentation: Presentation is essential in the dining experience, especially with a prix fixe menu. Make sure that each course is presented beautifully and elegantly, adding to the overall experience for your customers.
  6. By following these do’s and don’ts, you can create a successful and profitable menu that delights your customers and adds value to your business.


The prix fixe menu is a popular and effective option for restaurants looking to offer their customers a complete and satisfying dining experience. Some of the key benefits of choosing this menu include simplifying the ordering process, increasing efficiency, and boosting profitability. Additionally, this kind of menu can create a more cohesive dining experience by providing a complete meal thoughtfully curated by the chef.

Even though prix fixe menus can have some drawbacks, such as higher prices and fewer ways to customize the food, these can be lessened by ensuring the menu and prices are well thought out. In the end, a prix fixe menu’s success depends on how well the restaurant can balance the needs of its customers with its own business goals.

If you are a restaurant owner or manager looking to differentiate your business and offer a memorable dining experience to your customers, the prix fixe menu is definitely worth considering. By carefully designing your menu and offering high-quality dishes at a fair price, you can create a unique and enjoyable experience that keeps your customers coming back for more.