Special Report

25 Retro Restaurant Dishes We Might Never See Again

Food fashions come and go just like fashions of any other kind. Availability of new ingredients, increased familiarity with different cuisines, the imagination of chefs and restaurateurs, and simply changing consumer tastes all help shape what restaurant serve. Every era writes its own menus. These are food fads from the decade you were born.

Until Wolfgang Puck and Alice Waters elevated pizza in their trendy California restaurants, that well-loved Italian specialty was almost never seen away from pizza parlors. Now it’s a dining staple, even at white-tablecloth establishments. Twenty years ago, the average U.S. diner had never heard of, much less tasted, burrata, romesco, kimchi, pork belly, or grilled octopus, while today, it sometimes seems as if half the menus in America list these items.

By the same token, many of the choices available in this country’s eating places back in the 20th century can be hard to find today. Some basics — Caesar salad, fettuccine Alfredo, roast chicken, steak frites, etc. — have proven to be immortal. But when was the last time a modern restaurant customer sat down to a meal of consommé madrilène, brook trout amandine, and baked Alaska? (Menu permutations aren’t the only transformations that occur. These are 20 ways restaurants are going to change in 2021 and beyond.)

To be sure, there are still places serving such retro dishes, ironically or not, but they are undeniably an endangered species. Sometimes the raw materials they’re based on are endangered species, too, like abalone and snapping turtle. Other times, we’ve just grown too sophisticated (or think we have) to eat fussy old-style fare like turkey Tetrazzini or steak Diane.

Click here to see 25 retro restaurant dishes we might never see again

The all-but-extinct former menu classics on this list are all worth sampling, whether or not you’d want to make them part of your steady diet. If you do encounter them somewhere, give them a try before they disappear completely.

Sponsored: Tips for Investing

A financial advisor can help you understand the advantages and disadvantages of investment properties. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.

Investing in real estate can diversify your portfolio. But expanding your horizons may add additional costs. If you’re an investor looking to minimize expenses, consider checking out online brokerages. They often offer low investment fees, helping you maximize your profit.