How to Set a Bistro Table


There is nothing more romantic than having a date at a bistro table by the moonlight. But you might get hungry. Well, a lot of people have probably told you that bistro sets are meant for drinks only and not to be dined on. Do you know what I think? It’s your bistro set so you can do whatever you want with it!

There is just one small problem.. Yes, that’s right. Your bistro table is probably quite small, isn’t it? Well, it is true but you can still set it and dine on it with that special someone that you have invited over for dinner. The size is a downside of it all, but I want to tell you how to use it to your advantage.

Given the fact that bistro sets are usually meant for 2 persons, I am going to assume that you want to make something special for that one person. Maybe you are even planning to propose?!?! Well anyway, I wish you the best of luck. It is true that you can not do much with a table this small, but it is also true that because of how small it is, you will be really close, which will just enhance the romance. There are a few tricks that will make this one of the best dinners you’ve ever had. So are you ready? Let’s start!

How to set a bistro table?

You should know that you won’t be able to do much, but you can make the things that you do count. I suggest that you take out your best china and other stuff that you will need, but we will leave the plates for last. Why? You will see in a minute.

Step 1: Start with a placemat or table cloth

It is usually better for you to set the table that is covered with a mat or a cloth. This looks way cleaner than having your utensils on the table and will also protect your table from damage. I would suggest that you only use one of those 2 and never both. It is also really important to make sure that whatever you are putting on your table is clean. This goes for utensils, plates, and glasses as well. You wouldn’t want your date to have dirty stuff in front of them, would you?

Step 2: Utensils

If you plan of serving more courses of the meal, then the rule is that the utensils that you will need in the beginning go on the outside. But the bigger question and also something that most of us a lot of times forget is where to place the utensils. It is not hard at all and once you do it for a couple of times you’ll become an expert.

Fork: the fork is the most common utensil and should be placed on the left side of the plate.

Knife:  knives go on the right side because we usually hold them with our right hand, but you have to make sure that the blade of it is facing the plate.

Spoon:  Spoons go on the right side, next to a knife, always on the outer side, since you will probably use them before you use your knife.

Desert spoon: Desert spoons are not the same as regular ones. Since they will probably be the last thing that you will use, you want to place them up top with the head of it pointing left.

Dessert forks: They are also the least things that you might need, but unlike dessert spoons, your dessert fork should be facing the other side (the head pointing to the right)

Step 3: Glass

You probably want to make this night special so I guess you will be using a wine glass. Whenever you are putting a wine glass on the table it should be on the top-right position, above the knife and spoon (if you have them). You should also put out a water glass, which should be positioned right next to the wine glass, on its left side, a bit closer to the plate.

Step 4: Plate

When it comes to the plate I suggest that you place it last. Why? Because bistro tables are too small for you to have all the pans and pots on it, so it is the best idea to serve from the kitchen. You should have the other things prepared on the table already and leave the plates for last and bring them on only after your date has already arrived. This way your meal will be served warm, as it should be.

Step 5: Dessert plate

I would present the dessert plate just like you would the main course plate. Serve from the kitchen and keep in mind that you should remove the main plates before you bring dessert on new plates. It would also be a good idea to remove the main course utensils as well since you won’t be needing them anymore and let’s face it, they will just look ugly when they are dirty and take up a lot of space.

Step 6: Decoration

I’ve put this in the last place because it is optional. You don’t have to decorate, but it will look much better if you do. I know that you are trying to save as much space as possible but one candle can make a huge difference.

You should put any decoration that you want to have at the center of the table. The unwritten rule is that you should only use candles when it’s dark outside, and just a simple flower in a vase when there is still daylight. You can use scented candles but I would highly recommend that you be careful. Any stronger scent, while pleasing on other occasions might be disturbing while you are eating.

Another great idea that I have is mixing candles with flowers. I know I said that you should just have one, but hear me out. Put a candle on the middle and place some rose petals all over the table. You should just avoid putting them over your plate and utensils. They should not be touching each other at all.


Though a bistro table is really small you can still set it and have a really nice romantic dinner on it that will be hard to forget if you put some effort into it. Your fork should be on the left side of the plate and your knife on the right, with the blade facing the plate. If you are planning to serve a several course meal, then it is a rule to put the utensils that people are going to be using first on the outside. If you will need forks as well, then you can put them on the right side of your knives. The dessert spoon or fork should be up on the top. If you have a spoon then it should be facing left, but with the fork the way the top of it should be pointing is right. A wine glass should be on the top right above the knives, and right to the left of it, a bit closer to the plate there should be a water glass. Any decoration that you might have should be in the middle of the table, with the best 2 options being a candle or a simple flower in a vase. Watch out for the scent of the candle though. I would recommend that you use the ones with no scent because it can be disturbing during dinner.

Thank you for reading guys. Do you have anything to add or did I miss anything out? Let me know in the comments below. Anyway, I really hope that you have a wonderful evening and that you will remember this date till the end of your life and if this is the night that you are planning on proposing, then I wish she says yes. Have a nice day/evening!


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