The 14 Best Flatware Sets for Dining at Home

These are the best silverware options to show off your aesthetic, from modern pieces to heirloom-worthy picks.

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Blue Pheasant Micah Flatware
Photo: Anthropologie

A contractor friend once said that light fixtures and hardware are the kitchen's jewelry. I apply that same sentiment to flatware, as it is indeed the jewelry of the table. Surveying a range of avid hosts, designers, decorators, architects, restaurateurs, and chefs, I asked what their everyday flatware looked like and how they use it and care for it. I also peered into my own diverse and extensive (okay, cluttered) utensil drawer to weigh what I loved about each piece. While many of these experts discuss silver and silver-plated flatware, the sets in use in their homes and restaurants are heirlooms or sourced from antique stores. The vintage-loving experts recommend sets that look traditional, but as many modern sets in the market are made with stainless steel, they are far more durable and easier to maintain. Read on for all of our top picks for the best flatware.

Our Top Picks

Jean Dubost Laguiole

Flatware
Courtesy of Williams Sonoma

Also available at Amazon.

This meticulously handcrafted olivewood and stainless steel 5-piece place setting stems from a family of top-quality French knife makers whose traditions date back over a hundred years. "Laguiole" is the name of a small village in the Auvergne region that lends its name to the traditional Occitan pocket knife, from which Laguiole dinner sets borrow their distinctly designed handles. The set also comes in a variety of resin finishes.

Kristina Brodie is a flavor scout and product consultant who procures specialty ingredients and items from around the world. She's also one of the best hostesses I know. Brodie regularly throws open the doors of her home to welcome in chefs, butchers, and cheese mongers, who dig into her handmade pierogies and vegetables roasted over an open fire with Laguiole knives. "It's a storied French brand," she says as she pulls out steak knives with resin handles, "With that signature 'mouche' which translates to fly but is a bee." So why does she love this set? "It's sort of old world and whimsical. I love the mixed media of it. I host a lot and am really hard on my flatware. I go through a lot of it and the Jean Dubost Laguiole line from Williams Sonoma is my go-to daily set. They make them in olive wood, horn, and all sorts of resin but this base set has an approachable price point to add some savior faire. They tolerate being in the dishwasher – which I love but would not do with every Laguiole set." Food & Wine's Thanksgiving recommendations include a rainbow set of Laguiole to add even more flair.

  • Material: Varnished Italian olivewood and stainless steel
  • Pieces included: 5-piece place setting includes salad fork, dinner fork, soup spoon, dinner knife, and dessert spoon. The 20-piece set includes four 5-piece place settings.
  • Dishwasher-safe: The wooden handle sets are not dishwasher safe, but the resin-handled sets may be put in the dishwasher, though handwashing isl recommended.

Hay's Sunday Set

Flatware
Courtesy of Hay

Designed by Swiss design studio BIG-GAME, Sunday is a flatware set with fluted handles and includes knives, forks, spoons, and teaspoons. The set includes five identical pieces, so you purchase five sets of five forks, five knives, etc.

"Table settings are very important to me since my husband and I love to entertain between our two homes in Asbury Park, NJ, and in Miami," says Nicole Paloux, a profoundly elegant host and owner of PR firm Red Balloon Communications. "Each home has a completely different aesthetic, and the tabletop details help to tell the story." Her Miami home is a "new work in progress, but the house is a 1951 mid-century in a lush historic neighborhood, the vibe is very slinky and sexy, like Slim Aarons in Miami." Paloux matches Hay Sunday flatware with ripple glassware from Ferm Living and George Jensen dinnerware.

  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Pieces included: 5 forks/spoons/knives/tablespoons
  • Dishwasher-safe: Yes

Blue Pheasant Micah Flatware

Flatware
Courtesy of Anthropologie

It's extraordinary to find utensils made with wood that are dishwasher-safe, such as this set, but here we are. This Blue Pheasant set with clean, straight lines and simple metal beautifully blends stainless steel with maple.

"I love this set in particular because of the contrast between natural wood and shiny metal," says print and pattern designer Sarah Ng. The company Blue Pheasant makes a lot of stuff that is cute, and my understanding is that all their pieces are handmade." Blue Pheasant's pieces are unified by their simplicity and singular, unexpected details. Here that detail is the contrast of materials; in another set, it may be texture imprinted onto the handles of its knives, forks, and spoons.

  • Material: Stainless Steel and Maple
  • Pieces included: One 5-piece set of knife, dinner fork, salad fork, soup spoon, and teaspoon
  • Dishwasher-safe: Yes

Liberty Tabletop's Sheffield Collection

Flatware
Courtesy of Liberty Tabletop

Also available at Amazon.

This vintage-inspired set made of high-quality 18/10 stainless steel looks like an heirloom set but is dishwasher safe with a mirror finish. Architect Jenny Ko had a hand in designing Elwood, with her husband and head chef, Chef Adam Diltz. Elwood is a restaurant whose mission is to reinvigorate Pennsylvania's country cuisine. Think white linen tablecloths, the most elaborately presented scrapple (served dramatically stabbed upon antlers), and afternoon tea service on the weekends. Elwood has one of the most unique flatware collections in Philadelphia, if not the nation.

"We tend to go for silverware which gives off a nice luster and requires periodic polishing, though even when it's not freshly polished, it still feels warm," says Ko. "We have many special utensils in circulation at the restaurant – pastry forks, butter knives, cheese knives, sugar tongs, serving forks, and spoons." Liberty Tabletop's Sheffield flatware has modern practicality – it's made of 18/10 stainless steel and thus ideal for heavy-duty restaurant use, but you can opt for sets that include a litany of specialty serving utensils.

  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Pieces included: 40-piece set of 8 place settings (salad fork, dinner fork, knife, dinner spoon, teaspoon), though several other sets are available
  • Dishwasher-safe: Yes

Oneida Golden Mandolina

Flatware
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Macy's.

This 45-piece set includes eight place settings and many more serving utensils. The 18/10 stainless steel pieces feature graceful, elaborate designs, edging shiny stainless steel in gold. While sets like the Golden Mandolina are traditional in appearance and decoration and include many of the serving utensils not found in most other sets on this list, the versatility and durability of the materials used in its flatware are very modern.

"As far as dinner sets that have consistently served our restaurant Elwood's brand and philosophy while consistently outperformed in their practical applications, three brands, including Oneida, have stood out," says Ko. "In general, we are looking for heft in the silverware. Some of the handles of modern silverware can be too slim and hard to handle, but not Oneida's. There's something to be said about a nice set of sturdy comfortable silverware."

  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Pieces included: 8 five-piece place settings (salad fork, fork, knife, dinner spoon, teaspoon) and serving spoon, pierced serving spoon, serving fork, sugar spoon, and butter knife
  • Dishwasher-safe: Yes

CB2 Essence

Flatware
Courtesy of CB2

CB2's Essence set comes in brushed black and brushed champagne finishes. Its hexagonal profile lends "visual and tactile intrigue" and "brushed handles transition into the shinier head." This set packs thoughtful design details – that transition is subtle and wonderful – into 18/0 (the stainless steel contains 18% chromium) formulated pieces (the knife is 13/0) with substantial heft.

"The details make all the difference when planning an event, and the right flatware has an impact. This doesn't mean you have to spend a lot of money on your flatware," says Kerri Sitrin, Founder of Sitrin Consulting, which does events and marketing for food & beverage brands in Philadelphia. "CB2 has a variety of options in different colors and tones that I can rely on," she says, "Their offerings are contemporary and stylish, while still being affordable. I work with celebrity Chef Jen Carroll, and there has been a rise in intimate private dinners where there is an expectation to curate table settings that match the elevated level of the food being served. CB2 flatware can provide extra polish to clients' events while staying on budget."

  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Pieces included: Four place settings of a 5-piece set, including salad fork, dinner fork, knife, spoon, and teaspoon
  • Dishwasher-safe: Yes

Fortessa Arezzo

Flatware
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Williams Sonoma and Home Depot.

With an 18/10 composition and a mirrored finish, Fortessa's Arezzo flatware (and all its other lines) are true workhorses for restaurant operations and the home. The pieces are sleek and modern but classic enough to fit into more traditional tablescapes.

Former chef and now owner of Accoutre, a specialty kitchen goods store in Richmond, Virginia, Rob Bland has long been a fan of Fortessa. "The variations I have been familiar with can be weighty or light while being sturdy, ergonomic, and pleasing in tactile senses, in either direction," says Bland. "The designs are playful and engaging while being pretty timeless, fitting a broad spectrum of preferences. They're hand wash or dishwasher-safe. Most that I can recall are either fully stainless or stainless-plated. I've run them through the wringer at smaller and high-volume restaurants, and they always hold up, showing little signs of wear after years of guests and staff using (and misusing) them, day in and day out."

  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Pieces included: One 5-piece set (salad fork, dinner fork, dinner spoon, knife, teaspoon)
  • Dishwasher-safe: Yes

Yanagi Flatware

Flatware
Courtesy of MoMA

Made of 18/8 stainless steel, this set designed by Sori Yanagi, whose work can be seen in Moma's collection, is organic and modern, blending warm curves with uniquely bubble-shaped spoons and curved fork tines. Bland also raves about this iconic Yanagi flatware set, calling it an "excellent representation" of what he looks for: "design-driven, functional tools, for home cooks and professionals alike, to enhance the pleasures of cooking and eating." Bland's shop Accoutre skews heavily toward handcrafted, minimalist, and exquisite Japanese design. This set fits perfectly into his aesthetic: functional, beautiful, and elevating the enjoyment of food, no matter how simple the dish. Its 18/8 stainless steel formulation is also practical, easy to clean, and durable.

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  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Pieces included: One 5-piece set of salad fork, dinner fork, knife, soup spoon, and teaspoon
  • Dishwasher-safe: Yes

Amefa Diplomate

Flatware
Courtesy of LMT Provisions

Sleek, classic, and heavy-handled utensils with a brushed champagne or vintage black finish. These Dutch-designed flatware pieces are well-balanced and durable, with an 18/0 stainless steel composition.

"We have the Diplomate champagne finish set by Amefa and the pieces stand out without being flashy. Each piece is easy to keep clean and practically smudge-proof," says Randy Rucker of River Twice, a small restaurant with 36 indoor seats and an extended pandemic-related outdoor street patio. The sleek Amefa pieces compliment River Twice's streamlined interior. If you're sitting at one of their indoor tables, the flatware is stored in a specially designed drawer built into the table – a detail that Rucker borrowed from Relae in Copenhagen. Diners can reach for what they need as they work through their tasting menu.

  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Pieces included: 12 utensils (purchase by type: table fork, dinner fork, dinner knife, dinner spoon, teaspoon)
  • Dishwasher-safe: Yes

Zara Home Golden Flatware

Flatware
Courtesy of Zara

These are elegant, matte gold pieces made of stainless steel. They're easy to clean and maintain their quiet brightness without polishing. While most of my flatware collection is vintage, I have also been using my set of Zara Home flatware for about a decade, and they still look new. I run them through the dishwasher on the heavy pot cycle practically every day, so they go through a lot. The Zara pieces possess a muted elegance, so they mix nicely with my extravagant, unique vintage finds. They have a medium heft to them, so they don't feel cheap, but given that it's Zara, they're one of the more affordable options.

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  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Pieces included: Pieces are sold individually and include a spoon, fork, knife, dessert spoon, fish fork, fish knife, dessert fork, and dessert knife
  • Dishwasher-safe: Yes

Cambridge Silversmiths Dare

Flatware
Courtesy of Cambridge

This unique copper satin finish set is comprised of 18/10 stainless steel. It boasts long handles and delicately curved, clean, and modern lines. The high-quality stainless steel is dishwasher safe, but you are advised not to soak the silverware and clean it immediately after use. This set is thus more suitable for home use than restaurant use, and given that it comes in a 20-piece set, it's perfect for a small family or couples who like to entertain guests with intimate dinners. Cambridge is a family-run, three generational business, and its focus is modern, luxurious flatware.

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  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Pieces included: 4 five-piece place settings of salad fork, dinner fork, knife, soup spoon, and teaspoon
  • Dishwasher-safe: Yes

Lenox French Perle

Flatware
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Macy's and Lenox.

A charming and comprehensive 65-piece set has basically everything you might need to host a large dinner party. This set has practical 18/10 stainless steel construction, delicate and vintage-inspired beaded patterns around the handles, and a whopping 65 pieces in one set. It's dishwasher safe and doesn't require any additional care, just a lot of storage space in your kitchen drawers. If you are seeking a robust and comprehensive set, and you either host frequently or have a large family prone to losing pieces of flatware, this set is calling to you. Lenox makes a great deal of flatware and tableware, and you can supplement this set with some complimentary chopstick stands.

  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Pieces included: 12 five-piece sets of salad forks, dinner forks, dinner knives, soup spoons, and teaspoons, but also a cold meat fork, pierced tablespoon, tablespoon, sugar spoon, and butter serving knife.
  • Dishwasher-safe: Yes

Mepra Due Flatware Set in Rainbow

silverware set
Courtesy of Saks Fifth Avenue

Also available at Rue La La and Gilt.

This ergonomic stainless-steel set is coated with PVD titanium, making its surface ultra-hard and durable. I inexplicably have two of these superb rainbow finish forks in my flatware collection (most likely found at a secondhand shop and, I assure you, not pilfered). They are my favorite forks, and I can attest to their superb durability. Merpa's stainless steel is coated with PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) Titanium coating (a thin film originally developed by NASA) and is often found on luxury watches. Its product details note that its production process is "not galvanic and [does] not produce pollution." This set has a slim profile, like many of Mepra's collections, and it is unique and delightful to behold.

  • Material: Coated stainless steel
  • Pieces included: 1 five-piece set of a table fork, table knife, dessert spoon, dessert fork, and coffee spoon
  • Dishwasher-safe: Yes

Christofle Mood

Flatware
Courtesy of Bloomingdale's

Also available at Amazon.

Okay, you've read through all the virtues of purchasing stainless steel of various formulations at this point, but you want the warmth and unmistakable sheen of silverplate. And you want it new. And you have the budget for this extravagance. This fabulously sleek Christofle set is made in France, and it is ultimately an indulgence without the faintest whiff of antiqueness. Classic material, but not one filigree or curlicue in sight. In its display case, it is a unique piece of art that could jumpstart a new tradition of handing down heirloom silver in your family. This sublimely streamlined set comes with an egg-shaped display case from which its 24 pieces stand up triumphantly. This splurge requires much more care and maintenance than any of the other sets on this list.

  • Material: Silverplate
  • Pieces included: 6 four-piece place settings (table knives, table forks, table spoons, teaspoons) and a decorative silver egg-shaped case with a walnut interior holding disk. The case is made of stainless steel.
  • Dishwasher-safe: Yes, but with caveats. Dishwashing detergent cannot contain citric acid, sulfur, phosphates, or chlorine

Conclusion

Everyone's "everyday" flatware is vastly different from person to person. As much as personal style factors into our choices, material, and care became the utmost important factors in deciding what flatware suits our lives. Busy? Running a restaurant or hosting pop-up dinners open to the public? You'll need something stainless steel and sturdy like CB2's set. Hosting hundreds of dinner parties? You'll also need something stainless steel and sturdy but may want to opt for flatware imbued with history and with a story you can either tell your guests or use to accent your magnificent home cooking, like Kristina Brodie's favorite Jean Dubost Laguiole set.

Factors to Consider

Style

Sometimes butter knives just don't cut it! Don't be afraid to mix and match, especially when it comes to integrating a specialty steak knife in with your flatware set. In Nicole Paloux's austere, Scandinavian-accented house, she combines two sets: "Vintage Ekco Eterna Muffin Canoe that I slowly collected a complete set of on eBay, and a mix of colored Bon Appetit Single Steak Knives from Opinel (my husband is French so throwing some Opinel into the mix is obligatory)."

Storage and Quantity

I have called upon TaskRabbits twice to fix my over-loaded utensil drawer, as I have a terrible habit of overloading it to the point of running it off its rails. With great heft in flatware comes even more storage woes if you're dealing with limited space, so ask yourself, how many pieces do I truly need? Do I host enough to require all these salad forks? Rucker's rule of thumb is to have enough pieces in his restaurant for two turns – that's restaurant-speak for filling the restaurant twice in a night. Translated to the home kitchen, I would have enough flatware to host a dinner party twice in one night, while only running the dishwasher once.

Material and Care

Most modern flatware is going to be made of stainless steel (typically 18/10 or 18/0, illustrating the percentage of chromium and nickel) though several on this list are mixed media, comprised of stainless-steel heads and wooden handles. The mixed media sets tend to be a little more on the delicate side and better for home use than restaurant use. I pine for a full set of Langiole olivewood flatware, but I'm fine with just pining – I rarely handwash anything besides the chopsticks that slip through the gaps of my dishwasher baskets, and having flatware that is handwashing-recommended in terms of care is impractical for my lifestyle. If you're going the stainless-steel flatware route, any dishwashing residue can be quickly rubbed away with a microfiber cloth. Silver and silver-plated flatware will require a bit more elbow grease or soaking with baking soda to shine. Choose a material that suits your lifestyle and cleaning habits.

Pro Panel Q+A

Q: How can you tell if flatware is good or heirloom quality?

A: Sterling silver pieces are always stamped with "925." But how else can you tell if it's a good piece? Well, you can ask the person you're buying it from. "The dinner sets at Elwood are all unique antiques we have found over the years when we put the restaurant together and were collected from Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, and Washington DC," says Ko. You can always talk to the owners of the stores to see how pieces came to them. "People nowadays don't have any use for a formal 12-piece set, so when grandparents passed, they tended to be sold to the local antique stores. There are some real gems, and many, many spectacular one-offs."

Regarding restaurant-quality stainless steel flatware, there are generally two chrome/nickel percentages. "Chrome and nickel were introduced to restaurant and commercial stainless steel, to prolong it, so it doesn't need to be cleaned up constantly," says Rucker. "Stainless steel flatware generally comes in 18/10 and 18/0 variations. The amount of chrome and nickel render stainless steel easy to clean and almost smudge-free, which is important in a restaurant – nickel's presence makes it even easier to clean." The numbers refer to the amount of chromium and nickel content present in stainless steel. 18/10 stainless steel contains 18% chromium and 10% nickel content. 18/0 stainless steel contains 18% chromium and 0% nickel matter. If you're purchasing restaurant-quality flatware and want to avoid the task of polishing, look for 18/10 stainless steel.

Q: How many flatware settings should you have?

A: Rucker has about 75 sets of flatware at River Twice. "We made sure we had enough for one and a half turns and when adding outdoor seating during the pandemic, we have had to buy and add to our flatware collection," he says. "Ideally, we'd have enough flatware for two full turns, so with a 20-seat restaurant, that would be 40 sets."

Q: How do you clean flatware?

A: The answer to this question depends on the material of your flatware – is it stainless steel, silver-plated, or sterling silverware, which needs to be at least 92.5% silver? At River Twice, Rucker's team "presoaks the [stainless steel] cutlery throughout service, before washing. Then we run them through the dishwasher twice and polish them just with a microfiber towel. As for silverware, which I think is neat – my mom has a bunch – that are more heirloom items, you polish differently. In a restaurant setting, I can't imagine having to polish silverware every single day using chemicals." That is, chemicals such as the often recommended Wright's Silver Cream, which can be used on silverplate, flatware, sterling jewelry, antique silver, and anything containing real silver mentioned in this article. At about $7 per jar, it is accessible for home use but can be prohibitively expensive for a restaurant.

At home, I have an enormous collection of vintage silverware sourced from thrift shops and swap meets around the world. I run them through the dishwasher, and if I notice they're tarnished to the point of bothering me, I'll give them the same treatment as my silver jewelry, polishing them with Colgate toothpaste (you don't want to use a gel toothpaste) and a soft-bristled toothbrush. This method is debatable – there are many silverware aficionados out there who would bristle at this, and you're certainly encouraged to try other DIY methods, such as soaking with baking soda and hot water in an aluminum foil-wrapped pan.

Our Expertise

Kiki Aranita is a chef, food writer, and recipe developer. She likes to brag about being able to cook absolutely anything with a pair of chopsticks, whether it be frying omelets or baking a cake, but she has a hopeless addiction to collecting antique silverware (especially teaspoons and salad forks). She has tested products for major publications like USA Today in addition to Food and Wine. She talked to designers, chefs, restaurateurs, and cutlery experts for this piece.

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