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Whether you’re hosting a small gathering or simply indulging in a meal al fresco, it’s worth investing in a set of dinnerware that can not only withstand the elements but also add a touch of style to your tablescape.
When it comes to outdoor-friendly dinnerware, melamine and bamboo are amongst the more common materials you'll find on the market. Luckily, there are tons of designs out there, from vibrant hues to bold patterns, that pair style and function with ease. Plus, many come in large sets that make it easy to entertain family and friends.
Here, the best outdoor dinnerware.
Best Overall: Fortessa Tableware Solutions Sandia Melamine Dinnerware
Consider the Fortessa Tableware Solutions set the closest you'll get to using ceramic plates without actually using ceramic plates. The Sandia Dinnerware set is made of melamine, yet intentionally mimicks the natural irregularities of hand-thrown pottery. The result is a gorgeous set of six plates that'll elevate your outdoor setup.
The shatter-proof set is offered in either white or terracotta, two neutral options that will complement any linens and other pieces you already have. The best part? You can also get matching salad plates, pasta bowls, side bowls, and cereal bowls for a full set of dishes.
Best Budget: Crate & Barrel Breezy Melamine Palm Leaf Dinner Plate
Bring a splash of the tropics to your outdoor tabletop situation with this graphic dinnerware set from Crate and Barrel. The aptly titled Breezy lineup takes on tropical palm motifs and reinvents them with unexpected pops of red and yellow.
Set on a blush-toned backdrop, these cheeky pieces are all about making a statement. While the entire set is sold individually, that just means you can create your own bundle that suits your needs— dinner plates, platters, serving bowls, and matching leafy side plates included.
Best Splurge: Meri Meri Large Bamboo Fiber Mixed Plate Set
Meri Meri never fails to deliver on whimsy or style, and these charming plates are proof of just that. This set of mixed plates makes for the perfect addition to any special additional, or even just to freshen up a standard weeknight dinner.
The set includes six plates, each of which is a different color—coral, pale pink, yellow, mint, pale blue, and natural. The plates are constructed of bamboo fibers and are dishwasher safe, so tidying up post-meal is a breeze.
Best Sustainable: Tramake SHAPES Bamboo Dinner Plate
These boldly illustrated outdoor dinner plates from Tramake give the concept of going green a whole new meaning. Made from sustainable and highly renewable bamboo, the reusable plates are both biodegradable and compostable.
The high-contrast, geometric motif on the plates will infuse your tabletop with a graphic touch, serving as a refresh from traditional styles. They're offered in either a set of six or eight and are dishwasher safe, yet handwashing is recommended to prolong their shelf life.
Best Enamelware: BORNN Colorama Plate
Enamel is an outdoor-friendly element that can stand up to a variety of environments—campfires included. The coating's claim to fame can be attributed to its stellar insulating properties, which can keep hot food warm and cool meals cooler, for longer—a key benefit for when you're entertaining family and friends.
BORNN's Colorama Plate features a gorgeous color-blocked design that will liven up any outdoor space. Safe for the dishwasher and even the oven, the saturated enamelware is offered in four colors—blue, coral, pink, and chartreuse. Since the plates are sold individually, so you can create a cohesive look or mix-and-match for a vibrant set.
Best Melamine: Anthropologie Gigi Bamboo Melamine Dinner Plates
One look at these Anthropologie plates and it's hard to believe they're anything but a set of gorgeous glazed ceramics. The deceptive design, however, is made of a combination of bamboo fibers and melamine resin, meaning the plates are both lightweight and durable. The set is offered in three colors—pink, lime green, and orange—and includes four dinner plates. Each is shatter-proof and dishwasher safe, so it's a cinch to clean up after a dinner party.
Best Bamboo: Poketo Bamboo Dinner Plates
For a style that will add the perfect pop of color to your tablescape, consider Poketo's Bamboo Dinner Plates. Made from certified organic bamboo fiber, the plates are durable and modern, featuring a trendy, multicolor wavy grid pattern that is poised to stand out in the best possible way.
The set features four dinner plates, each of which is 100 percent biodegradable, features food-safe ink, and is comprised of non-toxic materials. Pair the pieces with vibrant linens and colorful drinkware and you'll have a truly cheerful display.
Best Porcelain: HAY Rainbow Plate Set
HAY’s outdoor-friendly dinner plates may not be made from the standard melamine or bamboo but they are still just as durable. Comprised of porcelain, the rimmed plates feature a slightly translucent lacquered glaze and are ideal for everyday dining.
The four-piece set is offered in a light blue hue or warm shade of sand, each of which has a handmade feel that'll elevate any tablescape. And, since the plates don't feature any patterns, it's easy to pair them with any table linens, drinkware, and more that you already have.
Best Pattern: Pottery Barn Del Sol Melamine Dinner Plates
If you want the look of unique hand-painted gems without the stress of breaking them, Pottery Barn's Del Sol Melamine Dinner Plates will get the job done. The set includes four dishwasher-safe melamine dinner plates, each of which features intricate designs that look like you scored them on your last vacation overseas. And since each plate features a different pattern, your table setting will have a mismatched yet cohesive look.
Overall, we recommend the Fortessa Tableware Solutions Sandia Melamine Dinnerware (view at Food52) because the melamine set offers the look of ceramic dinnerware and includes six pieces, so you'll always have enough plates or bowls. For a budget-friendly option, we suggest Crate & Barrel's Breezy Melamine Palm Leaf Dinnerware (view at Crate & Barrel) because the pieces are sold individually, so you can curate your own collection at a lower price point.
What to Look For in Outdoor Dinnerware
Dinnerware comes in various materials but when you're shopping for pieces to use outdoors, there are specific ones that work best. Perhaps the most popular picks are melamine and bamboo—each is highly durable and typically dishwasher safe, so you'll be able to keep them in good shape all season long.
Most dinnerware is offered in a set of four or more pieces, but there are some picks that are sold individually. Before choosing dinnerware, consider your needs and ensure the set you're choosing can meet them. In the end, it might make more sense—and, depending on the retailer, be more cost-effective—to purchase pieces individually and curate your own set.
Outdoor dinnerware is offered in tons of styles, from vibrant multicolor patterns to more muted palettes. When you're shopping for dinnerware, decide whether you want it to be the centerpiece of the tablescape. Considering what table linens, drinkware, and other accessories you have will make it easy to narrow down colors and patterns.
Why Trust MyDomaine
Anna Kocharian is a freelance design and lifestyle writer with a penchant for entertaining. A proponent of sustainability, she is all for swapping in a cheeky or graphic enamel plate in place of paper or plastic — or simply adding them into her everyday dinner rotation.