A starter (French Entrée ) is a small dish that is eaten before the main course and stimulate the appetite and to dampen the biggest hunger. The term starter comes from the classic sequence of courses. A rough distinction between hot and cold appetizers. In the classic menu the first course comes out of the cold kitchen, the warm starter is the link between soup and fish or main course.

As a starter, light, appetizing dishes are served. Often, a small salad or a toast with meat or fish covering, but also terrines and pates. A soup is both classical and modern menu constitute a specific transition, but is still often referred to in the broader sense as a starter.

The importance of the starters is different in the international cuisines. In the French kitchen there is usually a cold hors d' oeuvres, often several in the Italian antipasti. Concomitant administration of a large number of starters in Spain ( tapas) and in Turkey ( mezze ) is quite sufficient to saturate without a subsequent main course.

It can be served (also called amuse-bouche or greeting from the kitchen ) an amuse - gueule even before the appetizer to stimulate the appetite.