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Sunday, 15 March 2015

A-Z Guide To Restaurant Types Around The World

All - You - Can - Eat Buffets

Typically offers 'all- you - can -eat' for a set price. Diners can view the food and pick and choose what they want & can decide how much food they want to take. Is effective at serving large numbers of people at once.

Al - Fresco/outdoor dining

Automated restaurant 

Restaurants that employ robots as servants to undertake tasks such as cooking and serving food & delivering drinks to customers tables. 


French- style small restaurant that serves moderately priced meals 

Conveyor Belt Sushi 

Plates of sushi on a rotating conveyor belt 

Above: Yo Sushi! at Bluewater Shopping Centre, UK

Cosplay restaurant 

Themed restaurants that originated in Japan where service staff are dressed as maids

Dai Pai Dong

Open air food stalls in Hong Kong with stools as seats 

Source: Always Foodie


Roadside restaurants in India and Pakistan. Operate similarly to a truck stop.

Source: The Hindu


Pre-fabricated restaurant building of early American life that serves a wide range of foods, most of which are American -fare such as burgers and fries. 

Source: Bernie's Diner Grill & Bar Restaurant in Barcelona 

Dinner Theater 

Form of entertainment that combines a restaurant meal with a staged play or musical

Source: Creative Loafing Charlotte

Dinner Train 

Type of tourist train service which allows people to eat dinner, whilst experiencing a short train ride. Many of these dinner trains can be found throughout North America. 

Columbia Star Dinner Train - Columbian Missourian 

Drive-Thru/Through/Drive -In  

Type of service provided by restaurants that allows customers to purchase food and beverage items without leaving their cars. 

Source: Paul Sakuma/AP

Family style restaurant 

Casual dining restaurant where food is served on platters. In some places, alcohol isn't served at these establishments.

Fast Casual

Chained restaurants such as Chipotle Mexican Grill, Denny's and Nandos usually do not offer full table service but they offer high-end quality food, in comparison to fast food establishments such as McDonalds, Burger King and KFC


Fast food 

Emphasize on speed and delivery of service. Examples include KFC, McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Burger King

Fine dining

Source: Oakmont of Segovia 

Floating restaurant

A ship, boat or vessel used as a restaurant on water. 

Source: Jumbo Kingdom 

Food Booth/Food stand 

Food court 

Indoor plaza or area within a shopping mall or centre for example that consists of counters of multiple food vendors and service counters. 

Gastro pub

Serves high-end food and beer

above: Draft Gastropub & European Food  in Manilla 

Greasy Spoon 

Small cheap restaurant or diner that serves fried food, such as English Fry-Ups

Hawker center 

Open - air complexes housing stalls that sell a variety of food. Are found in city centres in parts of East Asia. Very similar to the food court, but food is considered cheaper and more affordable, in terms of price. 

Source: Your Singapore

Hong Kong- styled fast food

Served in fast casual restaurants such as Cafe de Coral found in malls and shopping centres throughout Hong Kong. Is a mix of Canto- Western fusion food, Cantonese and Asian food.  

Source: The Robot Chef 


Brazilian self-service buffet type restaurant, where you select food items from a buffet table, which is then weighed at the till. You are then charged by the kilo, based on the amount of food on the plate - hence the name. 

Source: Expat Brazil 

Meat and Three 

Restaurants within the Southern USA in which s/he picks one meat from a selection of 306 choices & 3 side dishes from the list. It is often served with cornbread and sweet tea. Its roots can be traced back to Nashville, Tennessee.

Source: 10 Best

Mobile catering 

Sells prepared and cooked food in a type of vehicle, i.e. food trucks. Food may include hot dogs, tacos, ice cream and sandwiches. 

Source: Farrs

Mongolian Barbecue 

Customers pick and create a bowl of ingredients displayed in a buffet selection. This bowl is handed to the chef, who stir-fries the food on a griddle and adds sauces to it. S/he then puts the cooked food on a plate or bowl and returns it to the customer. 

Oyster bar 

Restaurant that specializes in oysters 

John Dory Oyster Bar in NYC 

Pancake house

Specializes in breakfast items such as waffles, pancakes, omelettes. They exist throughout the U.S and in the Netherlands & Denmark. 

Source: Photo from Photocrawler

Seafood restaurant

Source: The Wright Brothers Spitalfields 

Steakhouse - Specializes in beef steaks and other types of meat known as chops. Steakhouses originated in the U.S. 

Supper Clubs/Pop - Up Restaurant

Dining establishment that doubles up as a social club.

Source: Supperclub Restaurant, Amsterdam, Netherlands 

Table top cooking 

Food items are prepared by restaurants for customers to cook on embedded gas stoves, cookers and grills. Korean barbecue & Vietnamese restaurants are known for offering table top cooking with their skewered meats, vegetables, condiments, as well as traditional Chinese hot pots. 

Source: Creative Loafing 

Take-away/Take out 

Prepared or cooked meals purchased at the restaurant that the customer takes away and consumes elsewhere.

Photo by Woman Magazine/Rex Features

Themed restaurant

Restaurants where the main focus of attention is on the concept & the selling of that concept to customers. The food menu is centered around a particular theme of that restaurant.

Above: The Rainforest Cafe in Minneapolis, Minnesota 

Tower restaurant 

Restaurant located inside a tower building and is accessible by elevator.  

Above: The CN tower in Toronto, Canada

Underground restaurant 

A social dining eating establishment taking place in someone's home. They are, in effect, paying dinner parties. These are popular in South America and elsewhere around the world. The benefits of an underground restaurant is to make money and to cook food, without having to invest in an actual restaurant. 

Above: underground food collective - image by Nona 

Vegetarian restaurant

Source: Vegetarian buffet restaurant in Taipei, Taiwan via Wikipedia  

Yum Cha 

Chinese morning and/or afternoon tea restaurants, which involves drinking tea & eating dim sum dishes. These are found within Chinatown and other dim sum restaurants in and around China, Hong Kong and UK, U.S, Australia, Canada in particular. 

Above: Marigold restaurant in Sydney, Australia - Time Out 

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