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Literature / 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. Originally a Web Serial Novel which was first released on Shousetsuka ni Narou in 2013, it was picked up for publication in 2015 with illustrations by Katsumi Enami. It has a manga adaptation illustrated by Takaaki Kugatsu which was serialized in Young Gangan from 2016 to 2019, and an anime adaptation which first aired as part of the Summer 2017 anime season, followed by a second season that aired 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, while the manga is licensed by Yen Press.

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 Otherworldly 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.
  • 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 magical doors 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. Justified, given that the dishes use high quality ingredients with cooking methods and techniques not available to the medieval fantasy world these customers hail from.
  • "Arabian Nights" Days: The Kingdom of Sand builds itself along the oases and rivers of a vast desert, relying on many forms of innovative magic to travel, trade, and survive. Although it fits many of the stereotypes, the story actually notes that they are mostly along the rivers and oasises and few live in the desert, as in real Arabian nations.
  • 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.
  • 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 being: 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.
  • 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.
  • Hypocritical Humor: In "Sandwiches", Artorius and Tatsugoro try to break up Sarah and Heinrich's argument over which of their favorite dishes makes the best sandwich, only to start arguing between themselves over the same thing.
  • 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.
  • Inconsistent Spelling: One of the Four Legendary Heroes' names is spelled as either Altorius (light novel) or Artorius (anime.)
  • In-Series Nickname: Almost every patron is referred to by their Trademark Favorite Food.
  • Inexplicably Awesome: We never get an explanation why the magical doors exist or how exactly they work. The closest we ever get to a reason is that the Chef's grandmother was a great hero from that world and was believed to have perished in the war against the demons, only to instead find herself in Japan.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Mood Whiplash: In the final episode of Season 2, after Tenshu's grandmother (and the fourth legendary hero from the Other World Yomi) is finished enjoying her meal and reminiscing about her past with Tenshu's grandfather Daiki), she hits everyone in the restaurant with the revelation that she is giving her grandson the master key to the magical door of Nekoya, which if broken will permanently sever the connection between the worlds, much to the dismay and shock of nearly everyone there. In such a lighthearted series, the sudden weight of this is jarring.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: The whole premise of the series is that people from a Medieval European Fantasy world are able to enjoy fairly common food from Earth, albeit prepared by a Supreme Chef.
  • 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: Plenty of other-world folk who eat at Nekoya are those with incredible power and high worldly status, but this is nothing compared to how the Red Queen and Black Queen, two of the Physical Gods that watch over the world, frequent Nekoya thanks to treasuring the Master for both his cooking and kindness.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: The Demon Lord that the four heroes fought against saved the world years prior, but at the cost of one of their lot being lost forever, Tenshu's grandmother Yomi. But because of this, she was able to find a new life with Tenshu's grandfather, and it led to a chain of events that would help create the magical restaurant Nekoya, where many patrons from across the Other World would gather, springboarding not only the culinary arts of the other world by those who tried to replicate Nekoya's recipes, but also leading to improvements in relations between nations and their people especially the Official Couple of Prince Shareef and Princess Adelheid. Additionally, the restaurant has the protection of TWO of the world's dragon Goddesses, ensuring that the likelihood of it coming to harm is near impossible, while also allowing for one of them (Kuro) to finally find happiness and company for herself. The demon lord's last breath, done out of spite after bringing so much chaos would end up being what helped to forge a better and brighter era through a simple magical restaurant.
  • 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 them to develop bad eating habits (and to avoid 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.
  • 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 tells 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 like 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.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Isekai Shokudou


Alexander at the Graves

After returning from dinner at Restaurant Nekoya, the Half-Elf Alexander goes to the graves of his son and wife; feeling bitter at his Human Son Wilhelm for dying before him, but admitting that Restaurant Nekoyas' food was indeed as delicious as Wilhelm said it was; along with tearfully apologizing to his wife for not making an effort to be there for his family due to his role as a member of the Heroes' Party to fight the Demon King.

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