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Fancy Dinner

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"Attention. I'd like to make some toast..."

Either at an expensive restaurant, at an expensive club or a dinner at the Richies'. Very common in princess training or rags to riches. Played for comedy or drama. For instance, if someone is dispensing Sacred Hospitality, it will likely include a Fancy Dinner.

Expect one of the following:

A common variation is the "heroic feast" in which a given chieftain gives a feast to a large number of badass people. The food is usually badass style food such as mead and roast oxen. While they eat a bard will of course sing of famous deeds and heroes.

After(or before) dinner might be the time for Dances and Balls.


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     Anime and Manga 
  • Emma: A Victorian Romance frequently has this trope due to half of the cast are members of the higher society, and nearly all of the other half are servants of those members. For example, at one point, William, Eleanor, and other nobles have a dinner party at a mansion together, enjoying delicious foods and drinks in a calm, elegant atmosphere. Then the scene cuts to the chaotic kitchen of the house where the foods are being made by the servants.
  • GUN×SWORD has a fancy dinner played for comedy in episode 15. Wendy doesn't know which silverware to use, and Van displays his terrible table manners to the fullest.
  • Occasionally seen in Ranma ˝. The best example would be the martial arts dining arc, where the fights take place at a dining table covered with high-class foods (such as foie gras). The participants must eat as fast as possible while keeping an immaculate appearance and manners.
  • One of these is used as part of a metaphor in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Steel Ball Run. The villain, Funny Valentine, asks at one point which napkin you take at a high-class dinner: the one to your left, or the one to your right? The answer is that whoever takes their napkin first makes the decision for everyone else due to the domino effect. As such, the villain wants to "take the first napkin" - decide everyone else's fates.

     Comic Books  
  • Astro City: As part of their truce, Samaritan and Infidel meet for dinner once a year to converse and take measure of each other. Infidel, being a Man of Wealth and Taste, invariably prepares a lavish spread whenever he hosts. Samaritan's efforts... vary.
  • In Get Jiro!, Jiro manages to stage False Flag Operations at a fancy dinner for both International and The Farm, framing both parties to escalate their cold war they have had going on.
    • Jiro manages to secretly record and livestream Rose preparing and eating duck dishes at a dinner party, horrifying her vegan clientele. He then frames her husband for the act.
    • He would later use his sushi knife to kill various International global affiliates at a special dinner, all of whom were tricked into covering their faces with cloth as part of a traditional serving of ortolan. He would then leave a message for Bob written in blood that frames The Farm as the culprits.

     Fan Works  
  • Rocketship Voyager. In contrast to an earlier scene where Tom Paris and B'Elanna Torres are eating Soylent Soy and drinking illicit moonshine in the ship's messhall while strapped to the table, once Voyager is underway and they have gravity again, Captain Janeway invites Chakotay to a former dinner in the wardroom, involving white-jacketed stewards serving Martian beef and vegetables on china plates. Subverted when they later encounter the Space Pirates of the Caretaker feasting at a table laden with luxurious dinnerware, only none of it matches because it's all been plundered from throughout the galaxy.

     Film - Live Action  
  • Northanger Abbey: Both the adaptations of the book use it when Catherine is overwhelmed by the fancy style of General Tilney who is very demanding and is very particular about his food and meal times and everything. In the 2007 adaptation, the "protagonist gets confused with knives" variety is used. Catherine confuses spoons but kind Elinor shows her which one to use.
  • Pretty Woman: Edward takes Vivian for a formal dinner with his business rivals. She is nervous because she can only recognize a salad fork, so Mr Thomson gives her a quick lesson in eating etiquette. At the actual dinner, the old gentleman owns he can never recognize the forks either, and he picks up his bread with his hands. Vivian lets Edward order her meal, which is French gourmet food. It's slippery, and Vivian drops a swear word. Nevertheless, all are charmed by her.
  • Royal Rendezvous: The plot involves Cat, a working-class chef who runs a food truck, being hired to be the cook for a royal British family for a week. This naturally causes conflict since she's not used to the formality and etiquette necessary for a royal banquet.

  • Northanger Abbey: Catherine Morland is awed by the abundance of food and fancy dining style of General Tilney who is very demanding and is very particular about his food, how it gets served and meal times.
  • In Dune, just before the attack by the Harkonnens, the Atreides give Fancy Dinner at their palace.
  • Discworld
    • The cooks at Lancre Castle are traditionalists who think every meal should be a medieval banquet, preferably involving a roast pig with a baked apple in its mouth, and are frustrated first by Duke Felmet in Wyrd Sisters, who likes porridge, runny boiled eggs and vegetarian sausages, and then by Very-Nearly-Queen Magrat in Lords and Ladies, who likes quiches and raw apples.
    • The cutlery question is invoked in Going Postal, when Moist tells Miss Dearheart that she can't stab Reacher Gilt in the middle of the poshest restaurant in Ankh-Morpork because she's using the wrong knife.
    • The big dinner the University throws for the captains of the football teams in Unseen Academicals, which Glenda quickly realises is intended to throw these stolid working-class blokes off-balance.
  • Doug's grandmother in Dandelion Wine is known for making extravagant dinners that the whole family loves.
  • In A Brother's Price, a fancy, only-family dinner is used as a test for whether the Whistler family can be presented as guests of the royal family without embarassment, or whether they need to be taught manners first. They easily pass, as their grandfather, Prince Alannon, had the grandmothers wrapped around his little finger, and insisted on good table manners and such.
  • The Dinner: The main events of the novel take place in a nameless restaurant that's clearly on the higher end of fine dinning. The dishes served are clearly expensive and the general atmosphere of the place is meant to make the diners feel like one of the upper crust. This is to bring a stark contrast to the actual discussion of violence and murder that the main character and his family are having.
  • Isaac Asimov:
    • Black Widowers:
      • "The Acquisitive Chuckle": The Black Widowers meet every month at the Milano, a fancy restaurant in New York City, where Henry serves as their waiter, anticipating their drink orders just before they're made.
      • "Ph as in Phony": The Black Widowers meet every month at the Milano, a fancy restaurant in New York City, tonight's dinner is veal cordon bleu and pate de la maison (chopped liver).
      • "Truth to Tell": The Black Widowers meet every month at the Milano, a fancy restaurant in New York City, tonight's dinner is artichokes and steak, with baba au rhum for dessert.
      • "Go, Little Book!": The Black Widowers meet every month at the Milano, a fancy restaurant in New York City, tonight's dinner is stuffed veal, with zabaglione for dessert.
      • "Early Sunday Morning": The Black Widowers meet every month at the Milano, a fancy restaurant in New York City, tonight's dinner is manicotti and trout.
      • "The Obvious Factor": The Black Widowers meet every month at the Milano, a fancy restaurant in New York City, tonight's entrée is London broil, and the dessert is an ice-cream parfait.
      • "The Pointing Finger": The Black Widowers meet every month at the Milano, a fancy restaurant in New York City, tonight's dinner is baked potato, with coupe aux marrons for dessert.
      • "The Lullaby Of Broadway": The Black Widowers meet tonight at Emmanuel Rubin's apartment, where he serves an eggplant dish, roast turkey entree, and stuffing. His Bavarian cream came out too sweet, so he has store-bought cake as a substitute if they don't like it.
      • "Yankee Doodle Went To Town": The Black Widowers meet every month at the Milano, a fancy restaurant in New York City, tonight's dinner begins with bread rolls as appetizers, and moves to veal parmesan.
      • "The Curious Omission": The Black Widowers meet every month at the Milano, a fancy restaurant in New York City, tonight's dinner begins with kidney and cream of leek soup, leading to roast stuffed duck and wild rice, and for dessert they have poire au vin and coffee.
      • "Out of Sight": The Black Widowers meet every month at the Milano, a fancy restaurant in New York City, but we've missed tonight's dinner, starting just before the blueberry shortcake is served for dessert.
      • "Out of Sight": During Mr Long's cruise, he got the bad news just before a fancy dinner where he and six others were being served. Mr Long incorrectly concludes that only those six could be suspected of stealing his information.
      • "Northwestward": They’re served crableg cocktails, veal marengo, baked Alaska, brandy, and coffee.
    • "Satisfaction Guaranteed": Tony's time in the Belmont household effectively ends with a dinner party hosted by Claire. She finds herself surprisingly capable at reading and countering the barbs and insinuations from her high-class guests, in contrast to her previous Shrinking Violet self.
  • Temeraire: The protagonist is a 19th-century English aristocrat, so he frequently attends and hosts formal dinners with exquisite food, Luxurious Liquor, and distinguished guests, for purposes of both leisure and diplomacy. They're the scene of some Passive-Aggressive Kombat, of demonstrating the class divide within the Aerial Corps through their varying knowledge of formal etiquette, and, once, of winning some new allies with a truly extravagant meal.
  • In the anime of Kaze no Stigma, Ayano and Kazuma go to fancy restaurants multiple times. The most memorable one results in a serious battle, but a least the wine is saved.
  • In Slayers there was an episode about eating a very fancy dinner of dragon.
  • The fantasy version of this trope is lampooned in one entry in the Lyttle Lytton Contest.
    Tagg could scarce believe his young eyes as they met the feast laid out richly before him: all manner of mealbreads, ripest canteloons, and—​by the Star!—​an entire bandersnort, carved and dripping.

     Live Action TV  
  • Our Miss Brooks: The School Board Banquet in "Suzy Prentisss". It's a black tie event, tuxedos for men and evening gowns for women.
  • Several times in Downton Abbey, shown from the perspective of the hosts (the Crawley family) and the servants. An interesting variation was the austere one held under World War I rationing. Both diners and the servants have gotten confused by the correct protocol: Matthew Crawley, a middle-class solicitor, holds his knives wrong and gets confused about utensils when he first arrives at Downton. Alfred, trained as a restaurant waiter, screws up the silver service (a kind of table service characteristic of British aristocratic homes, rather different from the way things are done at restaurants) the first time he serves as a footman. The former earned Matthew the supercilious scorn of Mary and the Countess Dowager, while the latter got Alfred an earful from Carson; both, however, become accustomed to the traditional ways over time.
  • Emma (2009), a BBC miniseries adaptation: During her first dinner at Hartfield, Harriet Smith has to be shown by Emma where to put a kerchief (on her lap, unlike gentlemen who tie it under their neck) and also how to eat her soup delicately. Emma is discreet and encouraging, while Harriet gives a little nervous laugh, looking slightly amused by her own ignorance.
  • Red Dwarf: Ambitious but hopeless Rimmer was once invited to dine with officers, and the waiter brought him a cold soup. He sent it back to have it heated. Too bad he didn't know that gazpacho is served cold. Rimmer thinks this incident and his lack of upper-class upbringing stopped him from becoming an officer.
    • The novel adds the "confused by the choice of cutlery" subtrope (among many other hideous embarrassments):
      Rimmer: I'd bought this etiquette book, and I know two things. One: never wear diamonds before lunch, and two: with cutlery, start from the outside and work your way in. I start from the outside. I start so far from the outside, I inadvertently take the spoon of the woman sitting next to me. Eventually we sort it out, and start to eat.
  • In the Supernatural episode "What Is And What Should Never Be" (S02, Ep20), they celebrate Mary Winchester's birthday at a fancy restaurant, complete with Dean's salad of asparagus spears bound into an upright sheaf. Dean's girlfriend says they will get him a cheeseburger later.
  • Once a week on Gilmore Girls. Part of the premise of the show is that Lorelai and Rory visit their parents/grandparents every Friday for dinner.
  • Daredevil (2015):
    • Wilson Fisk's second date with Vanessa, with Fisk taking the extra precaution of buying out the restaurant so that they can enjoy the evening in privacy that he greatly values, as Anatoly found out the hard way.
    • The season 2 premiere sees Frank Castle lay waste to a large group of Kitchen Irish members sitting around a table meal of corned beef and potatos as they listen to their leader Nesbitt give a Rousing Speech about how they'll take back Hell's Kitchen from the gangs that moved in following Wilson Fisk's arrest.
    • For their first date, Matt and Karen go to an upscale restaurant that Matt picks out. However, once there, they're both clearly uncomfortable there and unable to muster up anything more in conversation than awkward small-talk. Not helping things is when Elektra calls Matt to needle him while Karen is in the bathroom. He finally musters up the courage to tell Karen that he's not comfortable there, so she decides to take them to a cheap Indian restaurant with tacky lights, where they're both much more at ease.
  • Hannibal: Pre-incarceration, the Man of Wealth and Taste Hannibal Lecter frequently hosts these, both as small, private dinners for his friends and as extravagant black-tie events for the local arts scene; he's a Supreme Chef himself and also brings in caterers to assist with the larger parties. This being Hannibal, his culinary masterpieces tend to be doctored with human remains.
  • Frasier: The Crane brothers love these, either hosting or attending. Niles is a member of a high society dining club where members take turns hosting and trying to outdo each other with their elaborate themes. These events rarely end well, with "Fawlty Towers" Plot ensuring that the dinner devolves into chaos, often before a single course is served.

  • Our Miss Brooks: The School Board Banquet in "Stretch is in Love". It's a black tie event, tuxedos for men and evening gowns for women.

  • Nixon in China, being an opera about Richard Nixon's historic 1972 trip to the People's Republic of China, naturally features the actual fancy Chinese banquet to which the American delegation was treated on the trip. As with any traditional Chinese banquet, this one featured lots of drinking and toasts; the Nixons presented some wordy ones, and the Chinese responded with the classic Chinese toast, "gan bei!" ("Bottoms up!"note ) (Full scene from a much older production.note )

     Visual Novels  
  • In ATOM GRRRL!!, Very and Dave go to a restaurant which serves the last meals of famous serial killers. Dave is appalled when Very gets a chocolate drink that costs $10, to which she informs him it's made with the finest Belgian chocolate.

     Web Video  
  • In Episode 12 "Dinner" of The Autobiography of Jane Eyre, Jane, a live-in tutor, is invited to dine with Mr Rochester, his daughter Adele, and his personal assistant Grace Poole. They have a formal dinner every other Sunday together when Mr Rochester is at home. The viewers got to see just the events before dinner, so no faux pas is shown, but Jane is visibly nervous.

     Western Animation