At a restaurant, ordering "à la carte" is a French saying that means to order dishes separately one from the other, as opposed to ordering a "menu" that contains a smaller set of available dishes.

Is this "à la carte" also used in German, or is there another way to express the same idea ?

In German, would this be written "à la carte" or "a la carte" (without the accent on the "a") ?


2 Answers 2


I second Bodo's answer concerning the fact that "à la carte" is used and should/mostly will be written with an accent.

Note, however, that, at least in Germany, the definition is even a bit "wider": "À la carte" does mean in a general sense that you order the pre-defined dishes from the menu (the list of offered dishes). The contrast to that is not just a fixed, pre-arranged menu of several courses1, "à la carte" can also be used to indicate you are going to order from the menu instead of getting the buffet offer in a restaurant that has a self-service buffet or similar services.

1: And even that one is not as clear-cut: I can imagine three arrangements for getting a fixed multi-course "Menü":

  • The restaurant only offers that one (or a few) fixed multi-course "Menüs". Arguably, this is not "à la carte".
  • The restaurant offers a set of fixed multi-course "Menüs" beside lots of individual dishes. In this case, the multi-course "Menü" is most probably found in the menu (the list of available dishes), like any other offer by the restaurant. Thus, implying that this should not count as "à la carte" sounds somewhat contradictory.
  • You are invited (presumably to some larger celebration), or the restaurant visit is booked and paid for via some external arrangement (tourist group, business meeting, discount voucher, ...) and you get a fixed set of courses without any way to influence these (maybe except for choosing one out of two or three alternatives for a given course). This would be the standard example for "not à la carte".

The term "à la carte" is used in German as well with the same meaning.

I think it should be written as in french, but you might also find it without the accent.
(Because entering accented characters on a German keyboard requires typing the accent and the letter seperately. Or people might not know how to enter accented characters. Or many people would not know which accent to choose and where to place accents and where not...)

See https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%80_la_carte

BTW: The title should be

Wird "à la carte" benutzt?

or better

Wird der Begriff "à la carte" benutzt?


Wird die Formulierung "à la carte" benutzt?

There is a difference in the meaning between "ist benutzt" und "wird benutzt".

  • 1
    Also many people wouldn’t know exactly which accent and where to put it, and no accent is much better than the wrong one.
    – gnasher729
    Jan 22, 2021 at 19:00
  • @gnasher729 Wrong is wrong - why should one wrong variant be better than the other?
    – Paul Frost
    Jan 24, 2021 at 0:24
  • Danke für Ihre Antwort! Jan 24, 2021 at 15:49
  • @PaulFrost: Im ersten Fall bin ich einfach zu faul den Akzent zu schreiben. Im zweiten Fall bin ich zu dumm.
    – gnasher729
    Jan 28, 2021 at 22:51

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