10 things not to serve at a casual dinner party

From too-casual pizza, to spicy foods, here are 10 things NOT to serve at a casual dinner party.

With summer in full swing, outdoor entertaining is top of mind. There’s nothing like inviting a few neighbours and friends over for a casual evening of good conversation and delicious eats! Are you having a casual dinner party this weekend, and still not sure what to serve? We’ll help you narrow down your choices with 10 things NOT to serve at a casual dinner party.

Pizza: While this is often a crowd pleasing choice, with pizza you’re treading the too casual territory. Save the pizza for a weekend pool party instead!

Spicy foods: This is a big don’t for any dinner party. The last thing you want is your guests going home with a sore stomach! Instead, opt for less spicy, flavorful options.

Unseasonal dishes: It’s summer which means serving a warm soup or stew is not the best choice. Look for dishes with fresh flavours to highlight seasonal ingredients.

Stir-fry: Stir-fry is a dish that needs to be prepared minutes before serving. You won’t enjoy the great company of your guests if you’re stuck in the kitchen!

Fish: For a casual dinner party, stay away from serving fish because it must be cooked to perfection at the last minute which adds unnecessary stress. Also, it’s easy to miss the small bones in some cuts of fish — you don’t want one of your guests choking on one!

Ribs, chicken wings etc.: It may be tempting to serve your top-secret famous ribs at your next dinner party, but the messy and sticky nature of these foods is not ideal, even in a casual setting. Save the sticky, family favourites for the next neighborhood barbecue or Canada Day.

Lobster: This fancier, expensive ingredient is not the right choice for a casual setting. Plus, lobster is difficult to eat.

Souffle: This is a dish that could easily go wrong and shake your confidence. For a successful dinner party, stick with tried and true faves!

Something overly adventurous: If you want to serve something like oysters or foie gras, make sure all of your guests are on board before setting the menu.

Something you’ve never made before: This is an unwritten rule of entertaining success. If it’s your first time making a dish, don’t serve it to company!

Now that you know what to avoid serving at your dinner party, you’re well on your way to successful evening! For more entertaining tips, check out our Summer Entertaining section.