You don't need a culinary degree to master your favorite fine dining dishes. Whether you are planning a special dinner for Valentine's Day, New Year's Eve, or simply want to step up your cooking game, these are the restaurant recipes you should add to your arsenal. We've included our best gourmet recipes for appetizers, entrees, side dishes, desserts, and cocktails you can make at home to impress even the most discerning guests.
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French Pork Rillettes
Start any meal like a Parisian with a plate of pork rillettes. The classic French appetizer designed for spreading on baguette slices will remind you of a decadent pate. In fact, it is actually closer to confit, since it is made by slow-cooking meat for several hours in its own fat, flavored with herbs and seasonings.
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Crispy on the outside, and sweet and tender on the inside, crab cakes are a popular appetizer at fancy steakhouses and seafood restaurants. They are surprisingly easy to make at home with this New Orleans-style recipe including Creole seasoning. While fresh crab is always fab, you won't go wrong using canned jumbo lump crab meat.
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Steamed Mussels in White Wine
Briny, toothsome mussels steamed in heavenly aromatics and white wine sauce boosted with butter and chopped fresh herbs are a treat for all of the senses. Serve them as an appetizer before seafood meals, with slices of crusty bread for soaking up all that wonderful, golden sauce.
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Crispy Fried Oysters With Cornmeal Batter
Oysters Rockefeller may be more widely known, but crispy fried oysters are the Southern twist everyone has come to love. Serve them as a meal or over top a salad for equal parts salty and savory with a cornmeal breading. They go well with tartar sauce or classic rémoulade.Continue to 5 of 36 below.
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Delight your dinner guests with this refreshing, no-cook appetizer that is a staple of seaside resorts. It is essentially a low-calorie shrimp cocktail that marinates or "cures" raw shrimp in citrus juices, with diced raw veggies, chiles, and herbs for flavoring. Buy the freshest shrimp you can find for this yummy starter.
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If you ever watched Hell's Kitchen, you may feel intimidated to make beef Wellington, a stunning dish of juicy tenderloin wrapped in mushroom duxelles, and encased in a puff pastry crust. But there is really no need — this genius recipe walks you through each step of creating Gordon Ramsay's most famous restaurant dish in your kitchen without any of the drama.
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Baked Stuffed Lobster
When you plan a romantic dinner at home, why not go all out on the entree? A restaurant-caliber, garlicky baked stuffed lobster is a fabulous centerpiece for a festive meal at home, whether you are celebrating Valentine's Day, a special anniversary, or New Year's Eve.
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Herb Broiled Chicken Recipe
Spatchcock chicken is one of the easiest preparations with the greatest reward. The method cuts out the spine of the chicken, allowing it to lay flat during cooking, which promotes even cooking and an extra crispy skin. Though the method is straightforward, you can ask your butcher to spatchcock the chicken ahead of time for you.Continue to 9 of 36 below.
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Steak au Poivre
A classic in every French cookbook, steak au poivre is an excellent main dish for a romantic meal. It is a fancy meal that comes together in a single skillet with perfectly pan-seared, peppercorn-crusted steaks. It's coated in a rich and creamy blanket of cognac sauce. Serve it with truffle fries or chateau potatoes (see recipes below).
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Seafood Paella With Pork and Chicken
Enjoy a taste of seaside Spain with the country's most beloved dish. While there are many paellas as there are are Spanish towns, this delicious, one-pan paella with rice, chicken, and pork reproduces the authentic flavors of a "surf and turf" style recipe. Tradition calls for using a dedicated paella pan, but a large castiron skillet will also do the trick.
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Roasted Rack of Lamb
Ask your butcher to "French" a lamb rib roast so you can prepare a gorgeous rack of lamb for your most important guests. The entire rack is seared first in a pan, then smothered in a Dijon mustard, herb, and breadcrumb crust. It's oven-roasted until meltingly tender. Slice it at the table for an impressive entree.
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Roast Prime Rib of Beef Au Jus
Prime rib is considered by many to be the best beef in the world. It's a great choice at holiday time or whenever you need a truly show-stopping main dish. Learn to make the classic recipe, including the essential pan sauce made from the meat's drippings.Continue to 13 of 36 below.
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Whole Baked Sea Bass With Lemon Potatoes
Roasting a whole fish for the table is not difficult but it's something few of us do at home. This recipe from food writer Nigel Slater is the perfect romantic dinner for two. The sea bass is baked atop a bed of sliced potatoes, for moist fish and vegetables that need only a simple side salad for accompaniment.
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Pan-Seared Duck Breast
Get into a French bistro mood with a delectable duck breast dinner. It's easier than you may think to pan-sear duck breasts on the stove-top, then top them with a posh red wine and blackberry sauce. If you desire quicker cooking or less gamey meat, try using a farmed duck (versus a wild bird).
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Grilled Filet Mignon with Bearnaise Sauce
There are a few French sauces that you can master to take all of your dishes to the next culinary level. Learn how to make this insanely delicious classic French Bearnaise sauce for topping tender filet mignons and dipping steamed asparagus spears. You will have a go-to magic trick for every special dinner in your future.
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Classic French Coq au Vin
Coq au vin translates to rooster in wine, despite most thinking it's a chicken dish. This hearty meal is full of aromatics, wine, and vegetables creating a kitchen aroma that transports you instantly to the countryside of France. It's a simple one-pot meal that requires mostly hands-off cooking.Continue to 17 of 36 below.
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Stuffed Crown Roast of Pork
You know an entree is fancy when it comes to the table dressed to impress. A classic crown roast of pork with a stuffing of diced apples, herbs, breadcrumbs, and brown sugar, and optional dried cranberries, makes a striking main course for any festive dinner or holiday feast.
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Crab Oscar Steak Topping
A scoop of creamy crab Oscar atop a sizzling steak takes surf and turf to an entirely new level of deliciousness. This gourmet steak topper is not only incredibly flavorful, it's easy to prepare, and a great way to add the wow factor to less expensive cuts of steak.
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Cheese and Leek Souffle
Nothing says sophistication quite like a French souffle. Light and airy with a golden dome top and a delicately savory interior, this classic cheese and leek souffle is the ultimate in elegant sides. It makes an excellent accompaniment to prime rib or roast pork.
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Truffled French Fries
Truffles are a treasure of high gastronomy, and truffle fries are a steakhouse staple. While actual truffles are quite expensive, you can still enjoy crispy, savory truffle fries at home with this twice-cooked preparation using affordable truffle-infused oil. Serve them with filet mignon at special meals, or as a secret weapon for elevating burgers.Continue to 21 of 36 below.
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Lobster Macaroni and Cheese Casserole
Elevate a comfort food classic with this restaurant-worthy lobster mac and cheese casserole. Studded with tender, juicy morsels of cooked lobster meat, this dish features an indulgent cheese sauce with dry mustard. Topped with an optional golden breadcrumb crust, it deserves a place at the table with steaks and other upscale mains.
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Shredded Brussels Sprouts With Bacon
Brussels sprouts and bacon are a tasty combination. This quick and easy side dish coarsely shreds the sprouts for an appealing texture, and chars them in a hot pan with bacon crumbles and drippings, plus lemon juice for brightness. They taste especially great topped with Parmesan cheese.
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Roasted Chateau Potatoes
You need only a handful of ingredients and just over half an hour to make roasted potatoes worthy of your fanciest entrees. Crispy around the edges and buttery rich, sliced chateau potatoes begin in a cast-iron skillet on the stove, then transferred to the oven to finish cooking.
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Italian Potato Gnocchi
Gnocchi look like small rolled pasta shapes but are actually fluffy dumplings made of potatoes and flour. This staple of Northern Italian cuisine is a yummy alternative to pasta noodles when you desire something different. Serve them simply dressed in brown butter, chopped fresh herbs, and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese, or top with your favorite pasta sauce.Continue to 25 of 36 below.
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Dark Chocolate Molten Lava Cake
Intensely chocolatey, chocolate molten lava cake is the ultimate special occasion dessert for chocolate lovers. The crowning moment of this dessert is running your spoon through the fluffy cake to reveal a river of warm fudge. You won't believe how easy it is to pull of the classic recipe at home in no time.
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Lemon Crème Brûlée
Whip up a crème brûlée dessert just like those served in fine dining restaurants. There's so much to adore about this indulgent version, from the velvety, lemon-infused custard, to the signature shattering sugar crust. It is a great make-ahead dessert for your fridge or freezer (just save the sugar topping for the last minute).
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Easy Caramel Flan
This popular dessert is Spanish by origin, but its popularity spans across the globe. There are many versions, but this particular caramel flan is prized for its sweet, yet bitter taste. It's a simple recipe with great reward.
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Travel to France without leaving home with this rustic apple galette. Somewhere between an apple pie and a classic French fruit tart, it is made with a rich, sweet pastry, wrapped free-form around chunks and slices of crisp green apples touched with cinnamon and honey.Continue to 29 of 36 below.
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Originating from New York City's famed Demonico's restaurant, the baked Alaska is a vintage dessert with old-school cred. It is essentially an ice cream cake with a base layer of sponge cake, covered in an igloo of meringue, and baked in the oven to brown the top for an impressive presentation.
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The popular Italian restaurant dessert of tiramisu, an airy, coffee-flavored confection made with mascarpone cheese, cocoa powder, coffee or coffee liqueur, and ladyfingers, meets the all-American cheesecake in this magical confection that will wow your foodie friends.
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Poached Pears in Red Wine
Red wine poached pears are a simple yet elegant French dessert. The translucent, red-tinted pears look beautiful on the table, and are a warming fruit dessert you can serve with any romantic meal. Top them the traditional way with a dollop of mascarpone cheese, or try them with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
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The classic Champagne cocktail is a fun and delightful way to toast any festive occasion. When you pour the Champagne (or any sparkling white wine) and a little brandy over a bitters-soaked sugar cube, it creates an effervescent fountain in your flute.Continue to 33 of 36 below.
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James Bond's martini of choice, the Vesper martini, may be the most famous drink order in history. It is a martini like no other, combining both gin and vodka, along with a precise amount of Lillet Blanc (or dry vermouth). Do we need to tell you that it is shaken, not stirred?
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You would be right at home ordering the famous Negroni cocktail on the Italian Riviera. It is a sophisticated, slightly bitter, and herbal-tasting aperitif made with equal parts of gin, Italian Campari liqueur, and sweet vermouth, and very easy to mix up at home.
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The Paloma is a thirst-quenching tequila cocktail that will put you in mind of Mexican beach vacations. The refreshing quencher combines sparkling grapefruit soda, tequila, and a splash of lime juice for a grown-up drink you'll want to sip on all summer long.
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The Classic Whiskey Manhattan With Variations
An oldie, but always a goodie, the Manhattan is truly a classic. You can choose between rye whiskey and bourbon, though some drinkers still prefer a smooth Canadian whisky. There is no doubt, however, that this is one of the essential whiskey cocktails that everyone should know.