A discussion of restaurant culture in the West, and a listing of some of the world's finer restaurants.
1. Western Restaurants
2. MenuThe menu is the list of food that a restaurantoffers. This word may refer to the actual papermenu, or the food itself.Some restaurants offer a single fixed, multi-course meal with only a few choices. Such amenu may be called prix fixe ( /prifks/;French: "fixed price").Restaurant tasting menus offer small portionsof several dishes as a single meal. Somerestaurants and chefs specialize in tastingmenus, while in other cases, it is a special or amenu option.
3. Waiter The waiting staff or wait staff are those who work at a restaurant or a bar attending customers supplying them with food and drink as requested. Traditionally, a male waiting tables is called a "waiter" and a female a "waitress" with the gender-neutral version being a "server". The duties of waiting staff include preparing tables for a meal, taking customers orders, serving drinks and food, and cleaning up before, after and during servings in a restaurant.
4. TippingIn the United States, UnitedKingdom, Canada, many other Westerncountries and parts of the Middle East,it is customary for customers to pay atip to a server after a meal, with apossible range from 10% to 25%depending on the level and quality ofservice. In some situations, a tip or"service charge" will be included on therestaurant bill in the U.S. Also calleda gratuity, a "service charge" will beautomatically applied for situationswhere the restaurant managementimposes this to ensure that the serversearn their usual tip income.
5. BusboyBusser and busboy are terms used inthe United States for someone whoworks in the restaurant and cateringindustry clearing tables, taking dirtydishes to the dishwasher, settingtables and otherwise assisting thewaiting staff.A bussers duties generally dependon the size of the restaurant. Inupscale or larger restaurants, theymay bring water and introductoryfoods, like tortilla chips and salsa inMexican restaurants or bread in anItalian restaurant.
6. Sommelier A sommelier (English pronunciation: /smli:je/), or wine steward, is a trained and knowledgeable wine professional, commonly working in fine restaurants, who specializes in all aspects of wine service as well as wine and food matching. The role is more specialized and informed than that of a wine waiter.
7. Matre dhtel The matre dhtel (pronounced: [mt dotl];often shortened to matre d) in the originalFrench language is literally the "master of thehotel". In a suitably staffed restaurant or hotel, itis the person in charge of assigning customers totables and dividing the dining area into areas ofresponsibility for the various servers on duty. Theplural form is matres dhtel or matres d ifshortened. The matre dhtel may also be theperson who receives and records reservations fordining, as well as dealing with any customercomplaints.
8. Chef A chef is a person who cooks professionally for other people. Although over time the term has come to describe any person who cooks for a living, traditionally it refers to a highly skilled professional who is proficient in all aspects of food preparation. While many people may work as professional cooks, chefs at high-end restaurants are often highly trained experts. Culinary education is available from a wide number of schools offering diploma and degree programs in culinary arts. Depending on the level of education, this can take one to four years.
9. What do you think? Have you ever worked in a restaurant? What did you do? Was it interesting? If you worked at a restaurant, what position would you like to have? Have you ever been to a restaurant that had a sommelier? Do you think that tipping is a good idea or a bad idea?
10. SteakhouseA steakhouse is a restaurant thatspecializes in beef steaks. The sametype of restaurant is also known as achophouse. The steakhouse startedin the USA in the late 19th century asa development of traditional innsand bars.The Big Texan steakhouse inAmarillo, TX, is well known for its72 ounce (4.5 pounds or2.041 kg) steak, nicknamed "TheTexas King." The steak is free toanyone who, in less than one hour,can eat the entire meal, consisting ofthe steak itself, plus a bread roll withbutter, baked potato, ranch beans,shrimp cocktail, and salad;otherwise, the meal costs $72.00.
11. Bistro A bistro, sometimes spelled bistrot, is, a small restaurant serving moderately priced simple meals in a modest setting. Bistros are defined mostly by the foods they serve. Home cooking with robust earthy dishes, and slow-cooked foods are typical. In America, many Italian restaurants are often called bistros as well.
12. CafCafs are informal restaurantsoffering a range of hot meals andmade-to-order sandwiches.Coffee shops, such as Starbucks,while similar to cafs, are notrestaurants due to the fact thatthey primarily serve and derivethe majority of their revenuefrom hot drinks. Many cafs areopen for breakfast and serve fullhot breakfasts. In some areascafs offer outdoor seating.
13. Michelin Guide The Michelin Guide is a series of annual guide books to restaurants and hotels, published by Michelin for over a dozen countries. The guide awards one to three stars to a small number of restaurants of outstanding quality. One star indicates a "very good cuisine in its category", a two-star ranking represents "excellent cuisine, worth a detour," and three stars are awarded to restaurants offering "exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey". A three-star Michelin ranking is rare. As of late 2009, there were 26 three-star restaurants in France, and only 81 in the world. The city with the most Michelin-starred restaurants is Tokyo, having 127.
14. Noma Copenhagen, DenmarkNoma is a two Michelin star restaurant run by chef RenRedzepi in Copenhagen, Denmark. The name is an acronym of the two Danishwords "nordisk" (Nordic) and "mad" (food), and the restaurant is known for itsreinvention and interpretation of the Nordic Cuisine. In both 2010 and 2011, itwas ranked as the Best Restaurant in the World by Restaurant magazine.
15. El Bulli Roses, Catalonia, Spain elBulli was a Michelin 3-star restaurant near the town of Roses, Catalonia, Spain, run by chef Ferran Adri. The small restaurant has been described as "the most imaginative generator of haute cuisine on the planet" and does a great deal of work on molecular gastronomy. The restaurant is closed as of July 30 2011, to reopen as a creativity center in 2014. Apple CaviarLiquid Olive
16. The French Laundry Yountville, CaliforniaThe French Laundry is a French restaurantlocated in Yountville, California, in the NapaValley. The chef and owner of the FrenchLaundry is Thomas Keller.The French Laundry is a perennial awardeein the annual Restaurant Magazine list of theTop 50 Restaurants of the World (havingbeen named "Best Restaurant in the World"in 2003 and 2004), and since 2006, it hasbeen awarded three stars in the MichelinGuide to San Francisco. It has also beenfavorably reviewed by The New York Timesand called "the best restaurant in the world,period" by Anthony Bourdain.
17. The Fat Duck Bray, Berkshire, EnglandThe Fat Duck is a restaurant run by chef HestonBlumenthal in Bray, Berkshire, England. The restaurantis known for its menu of unusual dishes, createdfollowing the principles of molecular gastronomy:examples include "snail porridge", "sardine on toastsorbet", "bacon and egg ice cream", and "salmonpoached with liquorice". Salmon poached w/ liquorice Truffle Toast Snail Porridge
18. What do you think? What do you think is the greatest restaurant in the world? Where is your favorite place to eat? What do you think of people who spend over $200 on a single meal? Have you ever been to a steakhouse? Do you think you could eat a 2kg steak in less than an hour?