Best Choice Dinnerware
I'm looking for a set of dinnerware that I can use everyday for both casual and formal entertaining - without being worried about chipping and breaking the pieces. I would like something that can be dressed up or dressed down depending on the occasion. I'm looking specifically at the PB White Collection from PotteryBarn, but know nothing about the quality. Does anybody know anything about the quality of Pottery Barn dinnerware, or have any other suggestions for a quality set of beautiful dishes, preferably white?
Link to PB White Collection: http://ww2.potterybarn.com/cat/pip.cf...
In looking for best dinnerware sets (best bone china sets, best white china sets, etc...), there aren't too many current blogs out there with a nice list and comments like this (I like the plain white concept), so tho 6 years old, it was a primary resource for me: Wanted to give some input: I decided to have a top 6 sort of sets and get one place setting or a plate and cereal bowl from each to see which in real life I liked best - this was the list I started with after about 20 hrs of research online:
1. Most affordable, wide variety of choices, made in USA and an awesome story of how the company came to be and very durable highly rated dishes:
Fishs Eddy, Diner Whites - you can get for 300 bucks, service for 8 which includes 3 plates and 3 bowls of varying sizes (48 pieces). (I had it calculated with shipping and everything)
http://www.fishseddy.com/browse.cfm/2,146.html - durable restaurant style
2. This was in the recommends online and I also saw it on Today show this week as a best buy: made in Japan for Crate and Barrel, Maison White
http://www.crateandbarrel.com/maison-16-piece-dinnerware-set/s563773 ( personally like these bowls better) or
About 300-360 will get you service for 8, but not as many options as number 1. Here you get one bowl, two plates and a useless coffee cup. But, excellent reviews.
3. For one of the most affordable "bone china" sets, and gets TONS and TONS of recommendations and good reviews, the very durable and timeless Wedgwood white made in England:
http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/1/1/63776-wedgwood-white-5-piece-place-setting.html but for 300 bucks, you are only getting 3 place settings (15 pieces) - and that's three plates, no bowl and a teacup. But, again, one of the highest rated overall for new brides and people looking for everyday elegance and going into evening.
4. Surlatable - Revol. Made in France, Porcelain, super durable great great reviews. Expensive. You get 4 place settings of 2 plates one bowl and teacup for 200 bucks (16pieces). (this is one I had all loaded up in a cart - piece by piece comparing different configurations to the set price, etc)... this is likely the one I will wind up with.
5. Williams Sonoma - Apilco - Made in France, porcelain. Excellent reviews, would say one notch below the Revol for that... but most expensive of this 5... 273 for a setting for 4 (20 pieces).
6. Not listed anywhere, but I kinda like the look is Denby White. Made in England. I have denby at home now... but have broken a big plate and chipped a smaller plate by hitting it on another plate.
So far, I have received two, and one was such a disappointment, and the referral was in here, as well as elsewhere on the net: some Wedgwood White directly from their website (http://na.wwrd.com/icat/wedgwood). I received it yesterday and a sticker was on each one "made in Indonesia"!!!! Apparently, Wedgwood for many (if not all) of their items now outsources and they are NOT made in England! Very frustrating. It's not listed on their website, and I didn't see anything about this in my search. Now, that I've gotten them, I did Google "Wedgwood Indonesia" and there is plenty of literature on it. So, thumbs down there and waste of 187 dollars on 6 pieces of dinnerware. The other I received was a set from Fishs Eddy of their Diner Whites. Again, after receiving these, there were stickers "Made in China" on them! Everything I read was that this was a niche USA based business, but, again, with the sticker I googled "Fishs Eddy made in China" and there were a couple articles about it... the majority (70%) of their items are made overseas. So, so far, two of two were not near what expected based on what their initial research online shows. The hunt is still on. I may get the Williams Sonoma Apilico, Made in France stamped on the bottom - that was pretty in the store, but porcelain.I do like the finer look of bone china. Looking into antique Wedgwood sets now that were made in England, but are all white. Thought I'd share, it's tough finding a very nice affordable - yet not something everybody else has - white simple table set! Who knew?
have you found any information about a change in quality with the wedgwood made in indonesia? hard to believe they'd be so stupid as to allow the quality to degrade. just checked mine & made in england is part of the stamp.
lately i've bought virtually all my dinnerware additions on the secondary market, though i bought the wedgwood new about 20 years ago. you might check whether replacements has any made in england.
I took the advice of several posters to this thread and ordered some Wedgwood White, and it arrived a few days ago. It is the china I have been waiting for all of my life. So beautiful, it's just hard to describe. I've been unable to find a white pattern that I really love for years now - and here it is. My sister said, "It's a white plate." Well, you know, yes. But beautiful - not blue-white, not cream, simple and elegant but not plain. I ordered from the Wedgwood site, and there were no white bowls, and the 5-piece place setting was on sale, so I ordered it - despite agreeing with other posts that having a bunch of tea cups can be annoying (would rather have mismatched Limoges, etc. for tea). But I am so glad I did - that teacup is a work of art. The shape - oh my god. It's just beautiful. I know I sound obsessed, and that's because I am. It was not cheap, but according to posters it's super-durable, and now I don't care anyway, because I am truly in love.
There's nothing better than finding the perfect dinnerware for you! And unlike the perfect black pants, which you probably won't even have in 5 years, you can hand the perfect dinnerware down to your children.
I use Wedgwood Strawberry & Vine bowls for everyday (I think it's the same creamware as yours?), and after all these years they're still so glossy and beautiful when I take them out of the cupboard.
Yes, I forgot to mention - it's so glossy! It doesn't look shiny, I don't mean that - it's very elegant and beautiful. But it feels so glossy and smooth - it is a joy to touch. I bought a secondhand place setting on amazon, and the marks are different, and it doesn't feel quite the same. My first setting, however, was from the Wedgwood website, and it came in a box that looked like the most beautiful blue and white Jasperware, in box form. The Wedgwood site is always out of the settings, it seems, so I will be waiting - can't wait to order more.
Not to hijack this thread, but let me propose a possible new direction in conversation. I'm a designer that currently makes a living selling handmade stoneware pottery. And I'm constantly striving to make better product both functionally and ascetically. I try to understand the duty of each piece and design around that.
The POINT BEING.... maybe we could address some problems or ideas everyone has on there dinnerware. I'm about to start putting some design into mass manufacture....Maybe we could come up with a "Ideal" dinnerware set. No one knows better than the people who use it the most and you guys sound pretty serious .
This thread lists a fair number of gripes about dinnerware we own: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/674614
I think some of the most important factors are the quality of the clay, glaze, and firing. If you get that right, it can last for generations.
In terms of design, a nice rim on the plate is helpful for keeping food where it belongs if you plate the food in the kitchen. (I have an old house, so I carry plates into the dining room.) A good assortment of sizes in plates is important. Not too huge, and the biggest plate shouldn't be too small either. You need a decent-sized (10+") plate for holiday meals especially.
It's helpful to think about how things are going to fit on the table. If you want to have a separate bowl for salad as part of the main course (declasse perhaps, but that's how a lot of families eat), a lot of sets don't allow for that because the bowls are huge with huge rims. (I hate putting cold salad on a plate with hot food, especially when gravy is involved!)
I have a lot of vintage dinnerware, and my old patterns have a piece that I don't really see now called a relish tray, that's also the underplate for the gravy boat. I love these, they're so useful ... I have two in one of my patterns & wouldn't mind having more. I like it when pieces are multifunctional like that.
That's all I can think of for the moment ... do you have questions about specific pieces?
I guess I'm curious on where it's stored as well... Do people use china cabinets anymore?
I agree totally on the plates the rim is the most important part. I tried a design several years ago i considered "modern". Very low profile rim... it was impossible to pick up of the table and you had to chase the food all over...never again. 10 inches I've found are about the most convenient size, tried 12 inches and like you mentioned, unless you have a large table and big cupboards these are a little clumsy
On the bowls you mentioned that the sets come with huge bowls, just from experience I find people often underestimate the size of a bowl. I'll hand them a cereal bowl and they will tell me its too small, then pick up a serving bowl and say that's what they need. Same with coffee mugs, they pick up a 10oz.. coffee mug and say WAY to small....I drink a ton of coffee. I do as well close to 10 cups a day and I almost never finish my cup before my coffee is cold.
Maybe we could discuss the portion sizes of the particular pieces.... It seems to me maybe that would help me build a set that had "PROPER" portions and proportions as well....
Just out of curiosity did the vintage sets come with those extras?... or did you have to build the set? Thanks so much for response and the link.
I'm not typical because I have an old house and a built-in hutch. I store dishes there, in my kitchen, and in my sideboard.
I have built all the sets I have ... nothing I have has come as a set. What I love about the relish trays is they're basically a tiny platter. If you just have two people, your regular serving dishes are awfully big. One of my sets has something called a baker ... I guess it's a gratin?? but it's oblong & fairly deep. What I like about it is it's nice as a smaller serving piece.
Speaking of cold coffee, thicker walls on the mugs and bowls would be nice ...
I like my Wedgwood Strawberry & Vine bowls pretty well. It's a discontinued pattern ... I'm not totally sure what the bowls I have are called, but I find it a good multipurpose bowl, for soup, cereal, pasta, and salad, even a main course salad. It's somewhat shallow--1.5" deep, 6 7/8" wide, with sloping sides and no rim.
It looks like my favorite mug has about an 11 oz. capacity--but I'm a tea drinker and you need to allow for dregs (even with tea bags).
For everyday I favor a luncheon plate (portion size), but for certain things like spaghetti I like a dinner plate. With holiday meals you have so many different sides, especially if everyone brings something, that anything less than 10" is completely annoying ...
I'm not familiar with the specific Pottery Barn line you're talking about, but I own several place settings of their "Sausalito" dinnerware. My biggest complaint ...? The dinner plates don't fit in my dishwasher.
I've pretty much stopped buying "sets" of dinnerware. I found I NEVER used the cups and saucers and rarely used the bread & butter plates. I'd rather buy open stock pieces -- dinner plates, salad plates and soup bowls -- 6 or 8 at a time. That lets me buy a variety of place settings, sometimes inexpensively, and to change the look of my table often. It also lets me enhance the presentation of the food I'm serving by choosing just the right plates. Right now, I have about 6 different dinnerware collections, and a number of serving pieces that can be matched with several of them. I look for unique pieces, too, like the hand-painted Italian dinnerware I brought back from a shopping trip in Siena. In fact, now that I'm thinking about it, I use solid-color Pottery Barn salad plates with those. For those few times a year that I'm having more than 8 for dinner, I use a set of Lenox I bought at the Lenox outlet store. "Good" china holds little appeal to me; it's not as much fun as my other dinnerware.
My Villeroy & Boch has stayed shiny and new-looking for over 15 years. When I buy the occasional new piece (from the "Replacements" company) I literally cannot tell the old from the new. Maybe this is because I don't have a dishwasher, (just two of us) but I trust Villeroy & Boch for quality. A French or Belgian company, I think.
Also, this is quite impossible to plan for, but remember you will not like all the same stuff in 10 years that you think is perfect now..
Think it through and decide first of all if you want earthenware, stoneware, china, fine china and so on. How many pieces, if they have a pattern, including breakage for future replacement. Then do you want (as my wife and I did) regular plates (about 11") and larger plates (about 12 - 13"), sometimes called buffet plates, and salad plates, bread plates, bowls, salad bowls, cups, saucers and such extra as sugar and creamer pieces, as well as serving bowls or plates, soup tureens. Then decide what you want to pay for the whole deal, and look at patterns, gold, silver, platinum edging and/or engraved surfaces. Hope that helps at least as a checklist. Complicated. It drove my wife and myself crazy for about three months before we decided on a pattern, etc.
I love my Lenox Continental Dining china. They are incredibly thin but wonderfully durable because they are made from bone chine. We use them as our everyday plates and stick them in the dishwasher, microwave, refrigerator, etc. None have chipped. Although I have only had them for about 2 years, I don't expect they will be any worse for the wear in 2o years.
Never buy a "Set", if you do break a piece it is almost impossible to replace. Bone china which appears to be the most delicate is actually some of the strongest dinnerware you can buy. Porcelain is next, then stoneware. Earthenware and ironstone are made from soft clays and chip most easily. They are also porous so a chipped area can absorb juices etc and breed bacteria.
If I could have ony one "set" of dinerware I would go with something like Wedgwood White. If is fine bone china very simple and can be dresed up or dresed down. It is not going to go out of style or look dated. Fortunately or unfortunately I am a china junkie and as a former china buyer and sales person have accumulated quite a collection of patterns but I still have a dozen plain white bone china dinner plates. Mine are a no name English generic that I got at a Royal Doulton outlet. jillp who posts on CH will agree. She is as bad as I am about china. Luckily she has a dozen Wedgwood White plate which are almost indentical to mine. When we have parties we frequently borrow from each other. Service for 24? No problem. I am never sorry to have those.
Plain white all dressed up:
I agree about the "sets" - I too am a china junkie and, for example, in my every day dishes, I don't have any cups and saucers. Instead, I've put together a set for tea, in a different pattern, and a set for dessert/demitasse. And I don't have any bread and butter plates, other than ones that are part of inherited sets.
Not sure what you mean by a set, but what I would avoid is falling in love with something at Target and not buying enough to cover breakage.
Any 'name' manufacturer is totally possible to replace at Replacements, eBay, and a variety of other sources.
I'm a confessed dinnerware junkie, and my approach these days when building a new pattern is to buy just what I need rather than looking for everything that was ever made. That's fun, but it leads to storage problems, trust me on this :D
I've been very happy with my Villeroy & Boch set - the pattern is Manoir, but has been discontiued, as has its successor, Chambord, I just discovered. I love the shapes and my dishes have held up well over the past ten years of almost daily use - some knife scraches on a couple plates (probably my fault for not having steak knives) but no chips. One thing to find out is how long the manufacturer intends to have pieces available, as patterns do get discontinued.
A good source is Ross Simon - lowest prices I found.