Dinner Menu for a French/Cajun upscale restaurant

lazyeye's picture

Hello all.. I would like to know your thoughts on this dinner menu layout for an upscale, white tablecloth, quaint, 20 table restaurant that is housed in a structure built in 1848. The building almost feels castlesque with it's large stone walls and arch in the main dining room which is one of the focal points of the architecture. Pictures of the building can be found here Gumbo's and throughout the site. To give you a little more input, silverware is placed for each course of the dining experience.

About my layout: I decided on Poetica because the styling of the face enhances the experience by playing off the ambiance of the building. The renaissance styling is a hit and this restaurant is rather elegant with amazing dishes. I also thought I remembered reading that this typeface was based off an old face from France.

This is my first time setting Poetica, so I don't know the hard and fast rules concerning mixing the different versions of Chancery, and how much is too many swirls and swooshes? I'm sure there are errors all over these pages, but please let me know what someone more experienced would have done in my situation.

There are still a couple of kinks to be worked out.. ie margins, and food descriptions/wording.

Thanks in advance.

2007_Dinner_Menu.pdf158.65 KB
lazyeye's picture

I screwed that up. I attached the wrong file. Here is the correct file.

Dinner Menu

Hey.. it's 5:30 am! I haven't slept yet.. :D

PaulNini's picture

My only suggestion would be to take a mock up of the menu into the actual restaurant and try to read it in the available light, especially at night, when most restaurants do the bulk of their business. In many cases the light is fairly low, which can make reading difficult, particularly for older viewers. I'm only on my 40s, but I've had trouble reading menus in some restaurants. So, often larger type is better in this setting. Something to consider anyhow. Best wishes.

Paul Nini
Dept of Design
Ohio State Univ

jslabovitz's picture

Very classy yet unique.

This might be heretical for the tone, but I wonder if a bold humanist sans might work better for the dish titles. Now, the page looks somewhat gray, and my eye flits around too much without settling on the important bits.

Give some though to line breaks. Especially in menus, you might want to have, say, "creamy" and "garlic" on the same line. It all depends on the emphasis; menu design is a bit like poetry in that way.

I'd tone down the swashes. Maybe use them only at the start & end of each phrase? And I'd avoid the swashy g, s and e -- to me, they look too much like they've got misplaced accents.

The prices get a bit lost. Perhaps an em space before them instead of just a word space? These, too, could be in the same sans, although that might be too much, and *too* much emphasis on the prices. Worth a try, though.

You use at least two dingbats, all of which are a tad large and complex for their purpose as a separator. I suggest using a single small but graceful dingbat.

Also, make sure you do a spelling check. Avocado, at least, is spelled wrong.

Hope this helps!


lazyeye's picture

Thank you for the input and I will consider your approaches.

I know there might be a couple of misspellings too.. Thanks for pointing that out for me!

Stephan Kurz's picture

† indicates a premium [dead fish?] (of course, the asparagus will be dead when served)
No offence intended (I just couldn't resist), but perhaps you should change the footnote mark for something different (* or + or § or something the like). I agree that the dish titles are hard to read, but you could as well leave them as is because noone will recognise them (if you read the menu then you'll probably get the idea yourself that a tenderloin might be a steak and don't need this information). But perhaps it would be good to ask some potential (or even existing) customers for a test (if they complain, there is evidence that there has to be a better way to do it).

Linda Cunningham's picture

I'll second all of the comments that have been made -- I'd never be able to read this in a restaurant because it's just too darned small. (good thing I keep a small flashlight in my purse!)

Stephen's idea of running a focus group is brilliant: if they've got a few regulars, the resto should bring them in (maybe on a Saturday afternoon), sit them down with some appetizers, and let them look at several different mock-ups.

My experiences in doing this is that you get a much more accurate menu (since most people want (edit: to know) what the food is, not a bunch of touchy-feely descriptions), and happy patrons -- good word-of-mouth beats any other kind of PR anyday....

sch2525's picture

Ditto on John's separator comment. I think a simple dot would suffice, especially with all of the swashes.

lazyeye's picture

Thanks again for all the comments folks!

As a matter of fact, it is kind of dim lighting in this establishment, and all of the waiters carry mini-flashlights and reading glasses around for those patrons that don't have the best of eyesight.

I will still make some of these adjustments to help clean up the swashiness and I'll post the progress as soon as I am satisfied with the changes.

I appreciate it everyone!

pattyfab's picture

I think you should put the prices on the same line as the name of the dish (the all caps) separated by a bullet. They are hard to find, and people will be looking for them.

Also the A in appetizers looks offcenter, don't know why.

Stephan Kurz's picture

Reverse direction would be to skip the prices to indicate that the restaurant is really upscale…

pattyfab's picture

Or give the menu with prices only to the men, like they did until very recently at the Four Seasons. Then again when you looked around the room at all the paunchy old men with young pretty asian women you kinda got the idea why.

gorke's picture

I have been to establishments where reading glasses were provided, and may I recommend that you have your waiters carry quality styles, such as EyeBobs. There is nothing like getting ready to order a $45 entree and a $200 dollar bottle of wine, only to have the waiter pull out a pair of cheap dollar store readers to help me see the menu. Now, if the waiter presents me with a nice pair of glasses to assist me, I feel like royalty. And isn't that what you want in an upscale restaurant, to have your customers feel like royalty?

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