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Light Novel / Restaurant to Another World

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Restaurant to Another World (Japanese title: Isekai Shokudou) is a fantasy light novel series by Inuzuka Junpei. It received an anime adaptation as part of the Summer 2017 anime season, and a second season in Fall 2021. It is available for legal streaming with subtitles on Crunchyroll here, and with an English Dub on Funimation here. The light novels were licensed by Seven Seas Entertainment with the first English-translated volume released on June 18, 2019.

Hidden away in a poor corner of a city shopping district lies "Yōshoku no Nekoya", the Western Cuisine Cat Restaurant. At first glance, it's a small and unremarkable place, albeit with very good food, courtesy of the hard-working chef, known only as Tenshu (another word for "Master", a common thing to call chefs, bartenders and the like in Japan). On Saturdays, however, it caters to a very unusual clientele: the denizens of a fantasy world.

One evening, Aletta, a starving and homeless young demon girl, wanders into Nekoya after it's closed for the night and helps herself to some food. When Tenshu finds her the following morning, however, he's not at all angry. In fact, he offers her a weekly job as a waitress.

See Isekai Izakaya Nobu for a similar story about a Japanese restaurant from Earth with a door connecting to a Medieval fantasy world, serving delicious cuisine to a civilization with lesser culinary skills, and the restaurant owner/chef hiring a few women from said world as his waitresses.


Restaurant to Another World contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Adaptation Distillation: Because the Light Novel has so many chapters, only a few were chosen for the anime. Of those that made appearances, notably the introductions for Flying Puppy Patisserie and Tatsugoro (Teriyaki) are absent. Aletta, who appeared in Chapter 20, is also retroactively inserted into all of the episodes.
  • Adapted Out: In the manga, there was a young man from Earth who delivered to Nekoya who had a crush on Aletta and would brought her a homemade sandwich for lunch. He doesn’t make any appearances in the anime.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Almost every patron is referred to by their Trademark Favorite Food.
  • Aliens Love Human Food: While the restaurant is located in a human town run by a human chef called Tenshu by the patrons of the restaurant, every Saturday makes a The Lonely Door appear across the land where its various denizens (from elves and dwarves to dragons and demons) can go to eat human food, which they all find delicious.
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  • Bait-and-Switch: The protagonist of the "Hot Dogs" chapter spends a lot of time being sad and wistful that his wife isn't coming to the restaurant with him. She gave birth recently and is just staying home with the baby.
  • Bar Full of Aliens: A fantasy version of this, since it also has alcohol as part of the menu.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Surprisingly, the Door itself had some, namely dine-and-dashing and trying to harm (or forcing the master to serve them exclusively) is a big no-no on the restaurant. A halfing who tried not paying can't enter the restaurant by himself anymore and needs someone to enter the establishment mainly by accompanying them so they can open the door for him.
    • Trying to kidnap the Master or forcing him to serve exclusively for yourself? Prepare to meet the Red Queen who considers the restaurant as a part of her treasure. The Child of White (a child blessed by the Dragon of White) tried to kidnap the Master to serve only him and the Red Queen appeared in response to throw him out of the establishment, with the addition of being banned by the door itself. Unlike the halfling, who exploits a loophole to still access the restaurant, the Child of Light also angering a Physical God with his misdemeanor now needs to send someone in his place to get Nekoya's desserts.
  • Big Eater: Kuro and to a lesser extent, most of the customers, who most of the time will order seconds, sometimes even thirds, of their favorite dish.
  • Big "WHAT?!": The entire restaurant, which was packed full with pretty much every named character in the series, let out a rather long one once Shareef finally proposed to Adelheid.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": Befitting the nature of several characters as inhabitants of a fantasy world, they have different names for common Earth ingredients. For example, Thomas calls shrimp "shripe", whole onions are knows as "oranie". However, this is a bit justified as besides potatoes, these common ingredients have enough of a taste difference that it affects how a recipe needs to be prepared. The reason potatoes taste the same as "cobblers' tubers" is that potatoes are not native to the other world; the Emperor brought them over after buying some from the Master, who was a child at the time, so he could harvest them to make his favorite dish, potato croquettes, anytime, with the added effect that the harvests proved so plentiful that they saved his country from famine.
  • Code Name: There is an unspoken rule in Nekoya where everyone must name themselves after their favorite foods as this would ensure their privacy and peace when dining in the restaurant. In the fifth novel's "Pudding Parfait" side story, Victoria taught this to Adelheid, who was a newcomer at the restaurant at the time.
  • Colorful Theme Naming: The dragons are called according to their colors. These are: Aka(red/ Red Queen), Kuro (black, Black Queen), Ao (blue), Midori (green), Kin (gold) and Shiro (white).
  • Declaration of Protection: When Aletta becomes a waitress at the restaurant, the Red Queen takes notice. As she considers Nekoya to be part of her "treasure", employees and all, Aletta is now under her protection as well.
  • Deface of the Moon: The moon of the other world is missing a huge chunk, with the debris orbiting it like makeshift rings.
  • Depending on the Artist: There are a few design differences between the Manga adaptation and the Light Novel (which the anime takes more after). While most are the same, others are quite noticeable (such as Artorius being bald and shaven, and Victoria being a Dark Elf).
  • Dragons Are Divine: The Six Ancient Dragons are worshipped as deities pretty much everywhere though sometimes under different names which can cause confusion and friction. For example Kuro is worshipped as the Lord of Black by Rorona and other residents of the Land of Vampires but as the Goddess of Night by vampires living elsewhere (like Romero and Juiletta)
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • Due to the Demons' War of Conquest, humans don't like or trust demons. However, since 70 years have passed since the end of the war, the racism against demons has lessened when compared to the time demons were killed on sight. Still, getting outed as a demon is what lost Aletta her job in the human capital.
    • Fardania carries some disdain for humans and their cuisine, since elves are strictly vegan. She warms up to Nekoya after Tenshu serves up a delicious dish of tofu steak that fits her dietary requirements.
    • Victoria is a half-elf noble, despite both her parents being human. While it's made clear her family cares about her, this distinction means she will never marry and is generally kept inside her home. However, she doesn't share the elven dietary restriction. In fact, she enjoys being a half-elf as she was able to have the magical ability of an elf which allowed her to pull a Door to her room while still being able to eat animal based products like pudding like a human. Victoria herself states that the reason half-elves face discrimination is due to an incident similar to the Demons' War of Conquest.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: The diversity of the parallel world in the novel allows you to show in the history of pirates, knights, samurai, Renaissance nobility and even cosmic monsters inspired by H. P. Lovecraft.
  • Food Porn: Not only is the food drawn with such incredible, mouth-wateringly delicious detail, but the characters who eat it consistently give exquisitely detailed explanations about how it tastes. No matter what kind of food is the focus of a segment, it's guaranteed to make the reader/viewer hungry and craving the particular dish.
  • Genius Loci: It's rather downplayed, since it never speaks or directly interacts with anybody, but the restaurant itself, especially its door, seems to have a mind of its own. Every place the door can be found is located where somebody who'll appreciate the food can enter, with it outright launching an entrance onto the moon's surface so that Kuro could come in and experience interaction with other people, and anybody who has wronged either the restaurant or its master will find themselves unable to open the door again, though it does leave a loophole where entering with somebody else will let them come in. To further showcase this, the door has a knack for appearing to people that actively need something good to happen in their lives, be it because they need it for their emotional well-being, or for their living situation, or even because their lives are in danger. Inevitably, finding Nekoya ends up bettering the lives of those that needed it, with examples including Aletta, Kuro, Alphonse, Heinrich, Lionel, Alice, and Romero and Julietta.
  • Given Name Reveal: In the light novels, "Katsudon" reveals the surname of the master's grandfather (Yamagata) and "Steamed Pork Buns" mentions the master's given name (Mako). The prologue to the fourth volume gives his grandfather's full name as Daiki Yamagata.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each light novel chapter is named after the food featured in it, and each anime episode is named after both foods featured in it.
  • I'll Take Two Beers Too: After finishing their first two plates of fried seafood, one of the two dwarves orders three for their second round. And then the other dwarf orders three more for himself.
  • Impossibly Delicious Food: The food at the restaurant is this to every single customer, no matter their race or species. While it's pretty normal food, the denizens of the other world do live in a fantasy world with plenty of magic but also very limited technology, and though they are familiar with most or even all the ingredients used in the dishes, the cooking techniques, the restaurant's available cooking utensils and appliances, and Tenshu's culinary skills all combine to make food that the other world's denizens consider the height of gourmet.
  • Inn Between the Worlds: Downplayed — Although Nekoya's doors only open to one fantasy world, it has multiple entries, all scattered about in distinct regions of that world, leading to a diverse range of regular customers.
  • Legacy Character:
    • The first half of episode 2 has Sarah Gold, an archaeologist, searching for her grandfather's secret treasure (which was a door to Nekoya). After she basically falls in love with her grandfather's usual order, a couple of other patrons suggest she's the second "Minced Meat Cutlet."
    • Possibly for Tenshu, because he's also the second generation chef. The first one is the chef who met Sarah's grandfather and knew many of the older regulars such as Lionel.
  • The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday: To the inhabitants of the other world, the restaurant is this. Each doorway can magically appear without warning, disappears once the customer who entered through that doorway leaves again, and only shows up every seventh day, making it hard to find again without knowing the secret.
  • Lizard Folk: Each year the Lizard people choose a champion to go to Nekoya each week and bring food back for the rest of the tribe. They have been doing this for 30 years and the current champion Gaganpo has been a regular for three years.
  • The Lonely Door: Nekoya's door seems to appear in random places waiting to be discovered. Those that discover them usually build homes or shrines around the doors to monopolize their use.
  • Mockumentary: Gaganpo the lizard man's segment has very little dialogue, and instead has a narrator detailing his culture's practices and rituals akin to a nature documentary.
  • Oh, Crap!: Artorius (the wizard) has one when Kuro shows up. The others may just see an elf but he can tell exactly what she is. He also implies that he's aware of the Red Queen's identity as well. Alexander practically soils himself upon noticing Kuro.
  • Pals with Jesus:
    • One of Nekoya's regulars, the Red Queen, is one of the six ancient dragons, and is practically one of the other world's resident Physical Gods.
    • Episode 7 introduces the Black Queen, who is an ancient dragon like the Red Queen. She gets hired as a waitress at Nekoya.
  • Physical God: The elder dragons are apparently at this power level. Just the Black Queen flying over mortals is enough to kill them (though thankfully she's safe to be around in her elven form). Prayers to the Blue Dragon are attributed to allowing a mermaid to swap her tail for dragon-like legs. Many cultures also worship these dragons as deities.
  • Phrase Catcher: Starting with the first Title Drop and repeated every future time, whenever a newcomer asks what Nekoya is, either the Master or a regular will explain that it's the "Restaurant to Another World", the newcomer will repeat the Title Drop, and then they'll start looking around and questioning if it truly is another world.
  • Protectorate: While it's most prominent with the Red Queen, Kuro, and Nekoya itself, every person who becomes a customer views the Master and his restaurant as either a god or a priceless treasure, and as such anybody who would express so much as the intent to dine-and-dash, let alone threaten the Master physically, will find themselves faced with a Badass Crew full of characters ranging from strong adventurers to Physical Gods. Thus, after some thinking (and in some cases like the Child of White, being forced directly to see the error of their attempt), they settle down and just eat and pay like every other customer.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: It would have made more sense to let Alphonse live on Earth instead of leaving him to starve on an island for the other six days of the week.
  • Secret-Keeper:
    • In the novel, the owner of the Flying Puppy Patisserie that provides many of Nekoya's baked goods is revealed to be aware of the existence of Nekoya's connection to another world because he and Tenshu are childhood friends. He owns a lot to the parallel world as medicine acquired from there saved him from being permanently crippled after a devastating accident. It's also revealed that the owner of a bar from the same building also knows of this connection to the other world and benefits from it, providing Nekoya with a nice variety of liquors.
    • Artorius knew for years that Yomi was still alive on Earth, having encountered her in Nekoya. He kept this a secret for Yomi's sake.
  • Serious Business: The food. Several customers very nearly get into a brawl over which of the dishes they're enjoying goes best with rice. The fight is only stopped by Tenshu himself, who threatens not to cook for them anymore if they don't cool it. Appreciating the seriousness of the threat, they all back down immediately.
  • Sheltered Aristocrat:
    • Princess Fairey's idea of Slumming It is a noblewoman's gown and slightly cheaper perfume.
      As far as she was concerned, this was exactly what a commoner girl looked like. Of course, she’d also never seen a commoner girl in her entire life, but that was a small detail.
    • Ilzegant, who was born and raised in a Hidden Elf Village of three (him and his Cultural Posturing parents).
  • Shout-Out: The anime has several.
  • Shown Their Work: Arius, a male Siren, may be unexpected to modern audiences who are used to the creatures being portrayed as a One-Gender Race. However, there exists a surprising amount of old artwork of male sirens, some even sporting full beards.
  • Title Drop: Nekoya was first called the "Restaurant to Another World" by Thomas in Season 1 Episode 3. Afterwards, it gets sporadically mentioned until eventually the Master starts introducing new customers to the place by mentioning how other customers call it that.
  • Trademark Favorite Food:
    • Pretty much every regular has one, to the point where their fellow diners use these foods as nicknames, and it's rare for any of the regulars to stray from their favorites and try something else. Some examples are Teriyaki (Tatsugoro), Minced Meat Cutlet (William Gold and later Sarah Gold) and Croquette (Emperor Wilhelm).
    • However, on rare occasions, the patrons will shift over to other foods, especially if the ingredients used are very similar to their favorite dish. For example, Victoria Samanark's favorite dish is Pudding a la Mode, but when she takes her niece and nephew to Nekoya for the first time, since she doesn't want to look childish in front of them by ordering dessert immediately, she instead orders carbonara because it's a meal dish similar to pudding in that it uses both milk and eggs.
  • Translator Microbes: There's magic built into the door that lets everyone in the restaurant understand each other perfectly. The sole exception is Gaganpo, as even with the translating magic, he can only speak a few words and can't form coherent sentences, as well as barely or simply not understanding what others speak to him, likely due to the lizardmen's language being too far removed from the regular languages of the Other World.
  • Truce Zone: The restaurant itself is this. It's frequented by all manner of races, some of whom wouldn't get along or would outright hate and even try to kill one another, but the promise of delicious food to be eaten with the simple rule of no violence, combined with Tenshu's welcoming kindness, makes everyone lay down arms, and the worst things may get are simple arguments (often about which food is better) that are appeased easily enough. Rivals from different nations, humans, dwarves, elves, half elves, beastmen, fairies, priests, demons, vampires, among others, not only eating at the same restaurant, but at times even seated together, enjoying food, drink and pleasant conversation. It does help that the restaurant is under the protection of both the Red Queen and Kuro, and anybody who tried causing real harm would be severely punished as a result, but even so, they rarely need to intervene. Additionally, pretty much anyone who tries would be taken down in an instant by Kuro, as when Rorona started to even contemplate aggression to Aletta, Kuro’s firm mental “NO.” was enough to knock Rorona to her knees.
  • Uncoffee: The people of the Sand Kingdom have a drink called cafa which can be drank hot or cooled with magic. The rest of the other world have never heard of coffee and visitors to the restaurant refer to it as a kind of tea.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Souemon and Doushun are from the rival Land of Mountains and Land of Sea, respectively, leading to the two of them often getting into heated arguments. The Master, however, suspects their relationship is still built on actual respect. Indeed, once the two calm down, the neutral ground of the restaurant allows them to make diplomatic small talk and even try ingredients common to each other's countries, inspiring them to look into opening trade.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: The Red Queen can shift from a massive dragon into a horned, red-headed human. Likewise the Black Queen can transform into a dark-haired elf.
  • Walking the Earth: Halflings live a nomadic lifestyle being constantly traveling without staying in place. Because of this, Nekoya does not have any Halfling regulars because they do not always have access to a door on Saturday.
  • Wham Line: Artorius told Alexander that one of their former comrades during the Demon War, a female warrior named Yomi, is still alive when they thought she was dead. Turns out Yomi was teleported into "another world" and married, and eventually had a grandson. The camera then pans to Tenshu, implying Nekoya's connection to the parallel world was a consequence of this magic.
  • World of Badass: The majority of the other world's guests are either accomplished adventurers, warriors, or mages; powerful demi-human beings; and even straight-up Physical Gods, the Red Queen and Kuro. One novel chapter involves a pair of ogres who discover the restaurant with the hope of raiding it, only to immediately realize how hopelessly outclassed they are by the diners, and sit down to order a meal.

Alternative Title(s): Isekai Shokudou