An appetizer is a small dish of an overall meal. It can also be a drink or multiple drinks containing alcohol. Common examples include: shrimp cocktail, calamari, salad, potato skins, mussels, bruschetta or cheese and crackers. An appetizer may also be very elegant in some restaurants.
They are often referred to as snacks or hors d'oeuvres. Arguably, one fundamental, unspoken, purpose of appetizers, especially in a restaurant setting, is to keep hungry people fed until the main dish is served.
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