5 Five-Course Meal Ideas for Restaurants

/ Foodservice Tips, Restaurant Tips / August 18

Five-Course Meal Ideas for Restaurants

A typical five-course meal consists of one-bite hors d’oeuvres, a plated appetizer, a palate-cleansing salad, the main entrée, and dessert. In some cases, you can omit the hors d’oeuvres and insert a soup between the appetizer and salad courses.

However, culinary practice is nothing if not changeable. While you should stick to the basic progression when planning five-course food extravaganzas, you can take some liberties to make this marathon of eating an experience unique to your establishment. If you’re looking for a high-value, patron-pleasing way to put your eatery on the map, here are a few five-course menu ideas to inspire you.

Bountiful Brunch



  • Hors D’Oeuvre: Candied Bacon

  • Appetizer: Avocado Bruschetta

  • Salad: Seasonal Fruit Cup

  • Entrée: Denver Frittata

  • Dessert: Cream Cheese and Nutella-Stuffed French Toast

Finger-licking candied bacon sets the stage for something special. Move right along to a bite-sized take on famous avocado toast, featuring crostini topped with smashed avocado, chopped heirloom tomatoes, a drizzle of EVOO, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

A seasonal berry and melon medley will cleanse the palate in preparation for a meaty, cheesy Denver omelet, crisped frittata style. If you’re looking for a grand finale for a Mother’s Day brunch, finish the meal with chunks of brioche French toast filled with creamy, chocolatey, hazelnut heaven: it will definitely be a meal your customers remember.

Veggie-Light Lunch Delight



  • Appetizer: Cream Cheese and Walnut-Stuffed Dates

  • Soup: Carrot Ginger Soup

  • Salad: Watermelon Goat Cheese Salad

  • Entrée: Apple-Brie Tortilla Melt

  • Dessert: Caramel Brownie with Vanilla Ice Cream

A light, five-course lunch might seem like a contradiction in terms, but when you steer clear of the slow-burning heaviness of meat, you can make a vegetarian go of it. Popping a couple of sweet and savory walnut and cream cheese-stuffed dates is a great way to start, followed by bright, zesty carrot ginger soup.

This transitions nicely to sweet watermelon salad, with diced red onions and tart goat cheese, the perfect preparation for a savory tortilla melt filled with tart apples, creamy brie, dark, leafy greens, and sweet fig jam. How can you finish up this relatively light, veg-friendly meal? With decadence, natch. Top a warm, caramel chocolate brownie with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.

Mediterranean Vegan Supper



  • Appetizer: Pita and Hummus

  • Soup: White Bean Soup

  • Salad: Quinoa Tomato-Cucumber Salad

  • Entrée: Tofu Shawarma

  • Dessert: Vegan Baklava

Whether you run an all-vegan restaurant or you simply want to offer vegan-friendly fare, you’ll find it’s easy to cater to this growing segment of specialized diners. Bread is a starter for many meals. If you’re going both vegan and Mediterranean, pita and hummus are the perfect way to kick off your five-course excursion.

Follow with classic white bean soup, with plenty of veggies, garlic, and herbs for flavor, then move right along to a quinoa salad featuring cherry tomatoes, Persian cucumbers, and a balsamic glaze. Tofu shawarma can be served over rice for the main course and finished with baklava that uses agave syrup sauce in place of traditional honey.

Friday Night Fiesta



  • Appetizer: Chips and Guac

  • Soup: Tortilla Soup

  • Salad: Corn and Black Bean Salad

  • Entrée: Chicken Mole Enchiladas

  • Dessert: Churros

Chips and salsa serve as a classic start for any Mexican feast, but you can kick it up a notch by mixing fresh guac (with a bit of lime, cilantro, and sea salt) at the table. While pozole is a go-to soup, this is a five-course meal, so you might want to save the meat for the entrée and opt for tortilla soup instead.

A chopped salad featuring corn, black beans, and a creamy cilantro-lime sauce will segue beautifully into chicken enchiladas featuring the complex flavor profile of mole. You can finish it off with fan-fave churros, complete with spicy chocolate dipping sauce.

Big Italian Dinner



  • Hors D’Oeuvre: Italian Meatballs

  • Appetizer: Rosemary Focaccia

  • Salad: Garden Salad

  • Entrée: Chicken Parmigiana

  • Dessert: Sfogliatelle

Saucy Italian meatballs skewered with toothpicks make for delectable, bite-sized hors d’oeuvres, sans sticky fingers, and following up with expertly rolled Rosemary Focaccia means diners can sop up any leftover sauce. The bread also complements a garden salad, complete with leafy greens, luscious tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, and a sprinkle of parm, paired with zesty, Italian house dressing.

That all leads up to the pièce de résistance, a mouthwatering breaded chicken smothered in gooey, melted cheese. While you could opt for any one of many delicious dessert menu options like refreshing spumoni or rich tiramisu following this showstopper, consider instead a simple, layered pastry filled with a sweet, creamy center and sprinkled with powdered sugar to send diners into carbohydrate bliss.


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