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Oct 20, 2005 01:55 PM

Finest White Dinnerware?

  • f

I'd like to buy some nice white dinnerware along the lines of a Bernardaud, Apilco, or Raynaud.

I live alone, and I don't entertain at all. The thing is I bought this really nice set of Christolfe silverware which doesn't match my styrofoam plates from Target.

What I like about Apilco is that you can pop it in the microwave, the dishwasher, the oven. The new rectangular plates by Apilco at Williams Sonoma are thick and sturdy. I really like those.

I know The French Laundry has a nice line as well.

But, of all these white, sturdy, everyday plates, what is the finest that can also look nice with my new silverware (in case I have someone over)?

Thanks for your help.

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  1. I have had the Apilco for about 12 years it is indestructable and while it can get boring it is nice that it coordinates with almost any other design in serving dishes etc.. It gets my vote

    1. My mom bought the basic set from William Sonoma. I think its called "Everyday"? It is virtually indestructible as well and is often on sale. I also heard the Target had the same thing from the same manufacturer but I have yet to see it to compare.

      4 Replies
      1. re: foodiex2

        I bought the set at Target (coincidentally, to go with Christophle [Spatours]), for everyday. I haven't seen the set at W-S, but the Target set is identical to a set at Pottery Barn. It was on sale at Target for $17.99 for four place settings, which was about $70 less than PB. I like it alot--very simple and sturdy, it can take a lot of banging around. It has a great coffee mug (it comes with the set). Very comfortable, and a good size.

        1. re: fishfork

          What is the brand name of the dishes? Artica?

          1. re: annie

            not's a Target house brand, but it's the identical set that they slap other brand logos on, like Pottery Barn. It's made in China. I bought it because Chinese white porcelain seems to be every bit as good as my French Pilliyut--I have, and use both. the chinese is MUCH less expensive.

        2. re: foodiex2
          Caitlin McGrath

          The Williams-Sonoma line is called Everyday Restaurant Dinnerware. It really is indestructible; I've had dinner and soup plates for some years, and as a bona fide klutz, I can tell you that it takes abuse. Not sure it's exactly what Frank's looking for, though. It's plain and can adapt to many situations, but I wouldn't say it's elegant (less so than Apilco but also half the price). You can get five-piece settings for six from their web site $59 right now (note: they don't sell it in their stores), or buy the individual elements in sets of six.


        3. If you want virtually indestructible white dinnerware with a beautiful body glaze (as opposed to the slightly gray glaze on porcelain), do what I did and buy Wedgwood White bone china.

          I've had mine for about 20 years and in that time, used daily, we have managed to chip two plates. Bone china truly is more durable than porcelain or stoneware, the glaze is far more attractive and if you have a set of Christofle you'll set an elegant table.

          7 Replies
          1. re: jillp

            I honestly didn't think there was a difference. Wow. What is the difference, besides the grayness?

            Can you place china in the dish washer and in the microwave?

            How much is it a piece? I've seen the white Wedgewood at stores; it is elegant indeed.

            1. re: Frank

              I agree about the bone china, for the long run. If you decide to do that, check out on line resources like Ross Simon and Michael C. Fina for good discounted prices. Assuming the Christofle is silver or silver plate, rather than stainless steel, the bone china will give you a lot more flexibility in terms of setting an elegant table.

              1. re: Frank

                All of my bone china goes in the dishwasher. I was a china buyer a long time ago and really have a lot. I kind of became a china junkie. Royal Doulton, Wedgwood, Royal Worcester etc. Actually if you will use a short cycle and a mild detergent like that new Cascade with Shine Shield and do not use heeated drying you will be fine. Also don't handle the china (especially that with gold or platinum bands or decoration) until they come to room temperature. It is really safer than washing it in a precelain lined sink which can chip it if you don't use care. I also put my sterling (except for the knives) in with the china but don't put silver and stainless in the dishwasher together. The stainless can leave a yellow deposit on the silver that is next to impossible to remove without refinishing.

                Occasionally I will put crystal in the dishwasher but with caution and only occasionally. I managed to permanently etch some Waterford rocks glasses by a daily run through. Now I only put them in the dishwasher when it is a dinner party and I need the counter space. Stemware I never put in because it can be bounced around and chipped or worse yet the stems can be knocked off. That happened to a friend when her husband was trying to help. 8 Waterford Alana goblets got the stems all knocked off when he did not realize there was insufficient space and slammed the door shut. He went without lunch for a long time to replace them.

                For the china there are plenty of places that discount it and almost all of the British lines make a plain white pattern. And yes there is a difference among chinas. Bone is the sturdiest and most chip resistant. It is calledbone china because bone ash is actually added to the clay mix to give it the whiteness and sturdiness. Fine China (think traditional Lenox) with that cream body is next, same clay no bone. Then porcelain that is a little greyer in color and is usually a bit thicker, stonewear (think Pfaltzgraf) is more every day and is quite sturdy and chip resistant. Then you have earthenware (Spode Christmas Tree for example) made from much softer clay and more prone to chipping and last is thick Ironstone which is very porus and chips very easily despite the name. You don't see much of that any more in some antique shops maybe.

                Go to a good china shop or department and play with place settings. Take along a place setting of your silver and see what you like with it. Then check E-Bay or any numbers of discounters, Lanac Sales, Michael C. Fina, Ross Simon etc. Try to find a pattern that is available in open stock so if you do break a piece replacements are available.

                1. re: Frank

                  Bone china really is strong and can certainly go through the dishwasher - as a matter of fact, my Wedgwood's in the dishwasher on the rinse cycle as I type this.

                  I don't put my crystal in the dishwasher; I, too, know someone who lost her Irish crystal due to a dishwasher tragedy. And I don't put my sterling in the dishwasher simply because it's a pain to remember that sterling and stainless can't go in at the same time, so I just wash that by hand.

                  And while I'm on the topic of good china, crytal and silver, let me hop on my soapbox for one of my favorite rants:

                  If you have nice stuff, USE IT. You deserve it.

                  1. re: jilp

                    I'm so torn between bone china and porcelain. I have no clue what I like; so many choices; I like them all.

                    Here in Los Angeles, at Geary's, they give the slight nod to porcelain-- that is if I was pointing a gun to the salesperson to actually give me an opinion.

                    Rosenthal's white strikes me, in a good way. It's contemporary, yet formal. No idea if it's porcelain or bone china, though.

                    Raynaud makes a white which is also the same pattern used by The French Laundry, and that I know is Porcelain.

                    I'm sticking with white because I live alone, rent an apartment, never entertain, and never cook. So, I would feel silly eating my hard-boiled egg whites on ornately decorated plates.

                    I'm not sure what pattern of Christofle silverware I have, but it has the little "x"s around the handle. I could describe the silverware as formal and masculine.

                    Thank you all for your help during this very difficult decision for me, and I love all the input.

                    1. re: Frank

                      Trust me, Jilp and I are close friends and both china junkies. Between us we have more table top stuff than you want to think about, and we use it. Go for the bone china.

                      1. re: Frank

                        Another vote for bone china, which I have only as a set of tea cups (live with a devotee of Fire King jadite, and that's what we use... sadly, we don't have space for two sets.)

                        Aside from the durability issue, bone china is simply much more beautiful, especially in plain white. There's a warmth to it, it's everso slightly off-white, with a subtle translucense when you hold the piece against light. I feel a little odd about having the bones of dead animals in my tea cups, but at the same time I kind of like the idea that they were thus "recycled".

                        As for brands, I actually like the "Anna" line at Crate & Barrel, very plain but stylish, and food looks great on it.

                2. I just got married, and my uncle got me the most gorgeous set of white KPM china from Germany. Elegant and graceful. I have the urania collection. I couldn't be happier.


                    1. re: edina

                      I don't know if it's too late to chime in but I am a HUGE fan of Denby, talk about indestructible!! They make a white line that I love (I have the energy line). I have Christofle stainless and silver and Bernardaud fine china but I tell everyone to get Denby. You can look at their stuff online at: