A restaurant is an establishment that serves prepared food and beverages to be consumed on the premises. The term covers a multiplicity of venues and a diversity of cuisine styles. Restaurants are sometimes a feature of a larger complex, typically a hotel, where the dining amenities are provided for the convenience of the residents and, of course, for the hotel to maximise their potential revenue. Such restaurants are often also open to non-residents.
one sits down, a waiter comes to take one's order, and later brings the food; one pays after finishing eating
one collects food from a counter and pays, then sits down and starts eating (self-service restaurant); sub-varieties:
one collects ready portions
one serves oneself from containers
one is served at the counter
a special procedure is that one first pays at the cash desk, collects a ticket and then goes to the food counter, where one gets the food in exchange for the ticket
one orders at the counter; after preparation the food is brought to one's table; paying may be on ordering or after eating
Many guides have been written over the years describing the best (and often the worst) places to eat. One of the most famous of these is the Michelin series of guides which accord from 1 to 3 stars to restaurants they perceive to be of high culinary merit.
Restaurants often specialize in certain types of food. For example, there are seafood restaurants, vegetarian restaurants or ethnic restaurants.
A special restaurant is the dining car in long-distance trains. To passengers travelling long distances it offers more luxury than eating brought-along food in the train, while it saves time compared with eating in towns along the way. Also, compared with other restaurants, the ever changing views of the countryside enhance the pleasure of the dinner.