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Aug 25, 2006 03:38 PM

Everyday stemware, dinnerware and glasses

I have been buying my everyday dinner sets, stemware and regular drinking glasses from Crate and Barrel and just don't like the quality of them. What are reasonably priced brands that are top-quality for each of these items. I should mention that since I live in a small apt in NY, I use the same dishes and glassware for company (although my entertaining is very casual). Also, where would one buy these brands?

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  1. I buy wine glasses (including champagne flutes) at Bed Bath & Beyond. They have a brand that's $10 for a dozen glasses. Fine crystal they ain't, but if you break one, you're only out about 83 cents, and I'm more interested in the wine than the quality of the glass.

    1 Reply
    1. re: rootlesscosmo

      Wow, $10 for a dozen? I bought a set of four decent wine glasses there for $10 and thought THAT was a deal.

      I was all gung-ho for Schott Zwiesel, but still managed to break a few of those, despite their durability claims. ($10 each)

      I do like a lightweight wine glass of proper shape, but it doesn't need to be in Riedel price territory. I'd rather break a cheap one.

      Although I am considering the Riedel scotch glasses; haven't seen any quite like them. I was once served scotch in them at a bar, and they seemed just right.

    2. I don't have any suggestions, but have been considering buying some plates from, Crate and Barrel's outlet site... what is it that you haven't liked about them? These are the ones I was thinking about buying... I would think they would have to be pretty indestructable considering that they're microwave-safe, dishwasher-safe, and oven-safe, but would love to hear your input!

      (Whatever you do, don't buy Pier One plates... terrible quality!)

      3 Replies
      1. re: Katie Nell

        I have to disagree with you about Pier 1, unless they have gone downhill recently. About ten years ago, I hosted a sit-down Thanksgiving dinner for 30 people. As I refuse to use paper plates, and am notoriously cheap, I went in search of something I could re-use. I found lovely plain white rimless porcelain plates at Pier 1 for $2.00 each. I still have 29, (one just disappeared) and use them for every large gathering. They still carry the same style, but I don't know if the quality has suffered.

        1. re: phofiend

          I bought a whole set for my parents about two years ago, and the finish has completely scratched off now... there used to be a leaf design in the middle and the plates themselves were light green... you can't even tell what color they are anymore and there is definitely no sign of a leaf! And my parents take care of their kitchen stuff very well too!
          My best friend also registered for plates there about three years ago for her wedding, and they are different plates but the finish is also gone. There was also a lot of variation in color, so none of the plates matched very well from the beginning.

          1. re: Katie Nell

            I've never tried any of the patterned plates, but I did receive some mugs as a gift a few years ago. They are thick and chunky, and not really my taste, so I rarely use them. Even so, they have a few chips. I believe the porcelain glazes are harder than the ones they use on earthenware. My old white plates are still very shiny and free of chips.

      2. Bennington Pottery!!! I've had some of mine for 20+ years & keep adding. They go into the micro, the oven, don't chip, are great looking as well as (virtually) indestructable. Here's the link....

        1. Hate to admit it, but a lot of my glassware comes from Ikea, cheap enough to toss if it gets a nick or chip, and a quantity initial buy won't set you back a lot.

          I used to buy resto stuff, but the lack of competition in the bay area has led to higher prices.

          1. Crate and Barrel isn't exactly junk, so if you want to go higher up then we are talking the good stuff.

            Stemware: Go straight to Riedel, or the more affordable and just as good Spiegelau. Both are well-regarded in wine circles for their quality and variety: they have different glasses for each varietal. Both have some crystal content, but their looks are very streamlined -- don't expect ornate etching, prisms or colors like with Waterford, Baccarat, Orrefors, etc.

            Amazon has occasional great deals on Spiegelau (I have the Vino Grande line), but their everyday prices are better than the lesser stuff at C&B. Riedel is more expensive, but top of the line. But Target now carries a budget line of Riedel that's not bad.

            For your drinking glasses, both lines make barware as well, so you can use their highballs and old-fashioned glasses if you want to go matchy-matchy. (Another option is to go with the Riedel stemless, which can do double-duty.)

            Dinnerware: First, learn a bit about the different materials and decide what you want: bone china, porcelain, stoneware, earthenware. For me, I went with the best, which is English bone china (though German porcelain is great too) and I got plain white, which I thought was the most versatile and pretty affordable. Once you get into the top quality dinnerware, the prices can soar -- each design, any metallic trim, plus name will ratchet up prices. Check out ross-simons and fortunoff for discounts on some better names; for some very high-end artistic and money-no-object porcelain; and michael c. fina have a selection to view online. If you find a pattern you like, hunt down the brand's factory outlets and see if they carry the line at a discount. Sometimes, seconds are just as good as the firsts but priced at a substantial discount. Last but not least, don't be afraid to troll Ebay. You can find giveaway prices if you know what you are looking for.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Pupster

              I agree, Pupster. What exactly do you not like about Crate & Barrel glasses, brooklynmasala? I use them, they're very affordable, and they do the job.


              1. re: TexasToast

                Actually I think there glassware is better than their dinnerware but, having said that, the glasses I have are really scratched and no longer clear.

                I have the most issues with their dinnerware. I have found it stains easily and is generally too large. I have become really aware of portion control and find chains that cater to the latest fads have much larger than normal sizes.

              2. re: Pupster

                The more I think about it, if space/storage is a big issue for you, take a look at the Riedel O series, the stemless line of their high-quality wine glasses (made of crystal). They can easily double as water or juice glasses, if need be.
                Also, the Bodum double wall glasses, also stemless. No crystal content, but the double wall addresses body heat/wine temp issues of holding stemless glasses.
                Both are available all over town, but you can see photos on the Sur La Table website here:

                These are not cheap stemware, especially compared to Pier One and Ikea prices, but if you really enjoy wine, quality stemware really does make a noticeable difference.