How the Titanic’s First-Class Passengers Dined
Dining as a first-class passenger on the Titanic was a lavish affair. First-class passengers on the Titanic willing to pay extra could dine in the elegant À la Carte restaurant or the Café Parisien, even though breakfast, lunch, and dinner were included in the price of a first-class ticket.
Titanic's first-class dining saloon
The enormous first-class dining saloon was located on the Saloon (D) deck next to the Reception Room (where diners sometimes paused for an aperitif before dinner). Diners sat in armchairs at tables that sat two, four, or six and ate from fine china emblazoned with the White Star Line logo. The dining saloon could seat more than 500. At 6 p.m., the dinner hour, it was the place to show off the sparkling jewelry and fashionable dress you purchased in Paris. It was the place to see and be seen.
Here are examples of the offerings from the breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus from the first-class dining saloon, taken directly from the original menus:
Breakfast menu (April 11, 1912): Baked apples; fresh fruit; stewed prunes; Quaker oats; boiled hominy; puffed rice; fresh herring; Finnan haddock; smoked salmon; grilled mutton kidneys and bacon; grilled ham; grilled sausage; lamb collops; vegetable stew; fried, shirred, poached and boiled eggs; plain and tomato omelets to order; sirloin steak and mutton chops to order; mashed, sauté, and jacket potatoes; cold meat; Vienna and Graham rolls; soda and sultan scones; corn bread; buckwheat cakes; black currant conserve; Narbonne honey; Oxford marmalade; watercress
Lunch menu (April 14, 1912): Consommé fermier; cockie leekie; fillets of brill; egg a L’Argenteuil; chicken a la Maryland; corned beef; vegetables; dumplings;
From the Grill: Grilled mutton chops; mashed, fried, and baked jacket potatoes; custard pudding; apple merinque; pastry;
Buffet: Salmon mayonnaise; potted shrimps; Norwegian anchovies; soused herrings; plain and smoked sardines; roast beef; round or spiced beef; veal and ham pie; Virginia and Cumberland ham; Bologna sausage; brawn; galantine of chicken; corned ox tongue; lettuce; beetroot; tomatoes;
Cheeses: Cheshire, Stilton, Gorgonzola, Edam, Camembert, Roquefort, St. Ivel, cheddar
Dinner menu (April 14, 1912): Various hors d’oeuvre; oysters; consommé Olga; cream of barley; salmon, mousseline sauce, cucumber; filet mignons Lili; sauté of chicken, Lyonnais; vegetable marrow farcie; lamb, mint sauce; roast duckling, apple sauce; sirloin of beef; chateau potatoes; green peas; creamed carrots; boiled rice; parmentier and boiled new potatoes; punch Romaine; roast squab and cress; cold asparagus vinaigrette; pâté de foie gras; celery; Waldorf pudding; peaches in chartreuse jelly; chocolate and vanilla éclairs; French ice cream
À la Carte restaurant and Café Parisien
Besides the first-class dining saloon, first-class passengers could dine in the elegant 140-seat À la Carte restaurant (nicknamed The Ritz) or the Café Parisien. These restaurants were next to each other on the Bridge (B) deck. Meals taken at these restaurants were not included in the price of a first-class ticket and had to be paid for out of pocket.
The Café Parisien served food from the same menu as the À la Carte. It offered diners large picture windows for viewing the ocean. Weather permitting, these windows could be rolled down so that passengers could dine in the open air.
Both restaurants were owned and managed as a private concession by Gaspare Antonio Pietro Gatti, better known as Luigi, an Italian immigrant to England and a well-regarded London restaurateur. Gatti had his own staff of chefs, waiters, and kitchen help whom he paid from his own pocket; they were not employees of the White Star Line. Most were Italian or French nationals. Gatti perished with the Titanic, as did all but three of his 66-member restaurant staff.