What Are Pre-Theatre Menus And Are They Different From Prix Fixe?

You've been tasked with making dinner reservations for your group of friends for this Friday night, and the maître d' explains you have a few options when you call up the restaurant to make a booking. From a pre-theatre menu to prix fixe options, you find yourself faced with decisions upon deciding the fate of your weekend excursion. Before settling on a dining option, we have a few considerations for you to consider to help secure the best experience for you and your friends.

Consider what you have planned before and after visiting the restaurant and whether or not you're on a time crunch to leave the restaurant by a certain time in order to walk or take a taxi to a nearby theatre. Ticket holder or not, knowing the difference between the two styles of menu options can help you make informed decisions about which restaurant to choose, the perfect time to make dinner reservations, and what to expect for your dining experience before you step out of your front door.

Pre-theatre meals

Pre-theatre menus are meant to accommodate those rushing to catch a show. In London, drama lovers once paired apple and gingerbread slices with hearty slugs of ale in between Shakespearean acts, but today, two and three-course menus are offered along with cocktails and service that has been perfected to ensure efficient, quality meals before opening curtain calls.

Pre- and post-theatre dining has become a staple offering for Gordon Ramsay Restaurants and eateries in both London's West End Theatreland and in the areas surrounding off-Broadway stages. Since theatre-goers need to be mindful of time, restaurants have set out to simplify decisions with an abbreviated, predetermined list of menu options that are offered for a set price. Restaurants within walking distance of theaters are particularly keen to promote this kind of dining arrangement, setting a specific block of time for service, advertising menu details, and recommending advance reservations for seating.

Prix fixe menus

Prix fixe, French for "fixed price," is a dining concept that originated in France when taverns and playhouses needed to feed groups of people as efficiently as possible. Though prix-fixe menus also serve meals at a set price like pre-theatre dinners, these fixed-price eating experiences aren't meant to be as compact and quick as pre-theatre dining. The number of courses served during prix fixe experiences can range, and unlike a chef's tasting menu, diners are often provided choices for courses, and the pace of the meal will be a bit more relaxed when compared to a pre-theatre setting. 

Prix fixe menus can benefit restaurants and restaurant owners by streamlining operations during busy holidays and large gatherings by improving efficiency and helping control costs associated with preparing menu items. Prix fixe menus can also serve as a symbol for special celebratory occasions, appealing to diners and those looking for unique experiences at a fairly reasonable cost.