The experience of dining at a restaurant spans far beyond the food. Yes, the perfectly tangy ginger-lime hamachi crudo you’re savoring should delight your taste buds, and the saffron risotto you’re devouring should bring back memories of a recent Italian vacation, but there are so many intricate details that contribute to creating the perfect ambiance.
There’s the beautifully paced playlist that starts slow and builds up as the evening goes on, the impeccable waitstaff that teaches you about new wine regions while recommending the perfect salad to pair with your lacquered duck, the dimmed lighting and intricate decor that makes you forget about your daily life, and then there’s the table setting.
Have you ever picked up a wine glass so delicate or pristine that you’re convinced wine tastes better when you drink out of it? Or wondered where the stonewashed linen napkin sitting on your lap comes from? Maybe you’ve flipped a plate over to discover its provenance? The beauty of restaurant dinnerware is that—unlike the aforementioned tangy crudo or the lacquered duck—table settings are easy to replicate at home.
“We believe that you can have all these really nice things in a casual restaurant,” says Ryan Hardy, executive chef and partner at Delicious Hospitality Group (of Legacy Records, Charlie Bird, Pasquale Jones, Easy Victor Café, and Ada’s Place fame). “You don’t have to be a fancy establishment to have great wine glasses, beautiful plates, and top-quality silverware. The idea is that people will pay for beautiful things and just want to have fun around it. You can do all that in a casual restaurant.”
In this spirit, we asked four New York chefs and restaurateurs to share their favorite dinnerware. From dinner plates to wine glasses, steak knives, and table linens, these items can not only withstand constant use, but they will also set an elevated tone for a memorable evening.
The Best Plates
If you want a tonal array…
“We’ve recently begun using Felt+Fat dinnerware in our restaurants, which is made-to-order in Philadelphia. Its plates and bowls come in a wide range of colors and sizes so they can be effortlessly mixed and matched—perfect for a tapas gathering. The minimal design means you can stack a lot of them to save space, and the variety of colors looks great on display. Another timeless classic is Heath Ceramics. All its products are well-crafted. HAAND Hospitality’s Skali line of porcelain tableware has been a staple in the Boqueria restaurants for a while now. The two-tone Terra colorway truly feels like it was pulled directly from the earth, which brings added warmth and a sense of history to the table.”
— Matthew Tannenbaum, design director at Boqueria.
If you love a dash of glam…
“We’re big fans of Heath Ceramics and also Nikko Ceramics. We particularly like that they are all hand-painted and boast a beautiful gold foil.”
— Ryan Hardy, executive chef and partner at Delicious Hospitality Group
If you’re a sucker for classics…
— Laurence Edelman, chef and owner of Left Bank.
If high tea is your favorite meal…
“We changed our plates recently. We were looking for something that would present the food beautifully but wouldn’t affect functionality. My favorite brand is Churchill.”
— Cédric Cadin, owner of La Cafette.
The Best Glassware
If you only want the best…
“You will find Zalto glasses at all our restaurants. When we opened Legacy Records, Robert [Bohr, a Delicious Hospitality Group partner] insisted on three things: glassware, silverware, and linens. We delivered on the glasses with Zalto and the silverware. But we ended up foregoing the linens.”
If you’re a minimalist at heart…
“About a year ago, I came across the Japanese tableware brand KINTO, and its CAST collection of glass drinkware, bowls, and canisters immediately became staples in my home and our restaurants. All its products are simple, straightforward, and elegant and feature thoughtful details, which makes them feel special. The water, iced tea, and beer glasses are perfect for entertaining, and the glass canisters with lids keep mise en place organized and looking beautiful.”
If you fall on the clumsy side…
“I love Duralex. We want our wine and cocktails glasses to be easy to drink out of but also stylish and presentable.”
The Best Flatware
If you dream of owning a home Upstate…
“The recently launched Muir Collection by Heath is available in both a polished or tumbled finish, making this my go-to for everyday and special occasions. The silhouettes are familiar and contemporary, and the knife is pleasingly heavy in the hand.”
If you swear by what the French say…
If you want to be the coolest in your friend group…
“Our partner, Robert Bohr, introduced us to this high-quality table cutlery made in France: Perceval. We use them for all of our private dining venues.”
The Best Table Linens
If you love a laidback meal…
If you prefer a formal affair…
“We typically look for a great feel and absorbency with very minimal lint—anything that features terrific, high-quality cotton—and we tend to stay away from anything with polyester. Sferra is one of our favorite brands.”