3

What is the difference between

食堂

レストラン

料理店

料理屋

飲食店

4
  • 3
    Hello yutrewq, I notice that your question post has attracted a couple close votes. It looks like you're asking for us to translate these terms for you, but here at the Japanese Stack Exchange, we don't do translations. If you could edit your question to show that you've at least looked these terms up (and have some idea about what they mean), and reword to ask more about the nuances and differences in sense and usage between them, your post would be more on-topic for JSE. Dec 10, 2021 at 18:00
  • 3
    @EiríkrÚtlendi: I don't feel like this is a translation request at all. They all clearly asking for the differences between them, so presumably they know the meanings to at least some degree.
    – istrasci
    Dec 10, 2021 at 20:00
  • 4
    @istrasci, at the time I commented, this had two votes for “we don’t do translations”. My comment was intended as a suggestion to prevent any further close votes along those lines. Dec 10, 2021 at 20:16
  • 3
    (FWIW, I agree that this probably isn't a translation question -- but without the poster showing any of their own work, or guesses at the meanings and distinctions, I can also see how others might view it that way.) Dec 10, 2021 at 22:37

3 Answers 3

4
  • 食堂: A dining hall, a (large) dining room (of a mansion/hotel), a cafeteria (of an office/school), a cheap restaurant (which one may go to every day). Cheap restaurants are also called 大衆食堂 (image search). American diners are often introduced as アメリカの大衆食堂.
  • レストラン: Typically, unless otherwise specified, a Western-style restaurant that serves Western food. レストラン at least have waiters, and fast food restaurants are usually not considered レストラン. Some レストラン are very expensive, but ファミリーレストラン (image search, ファミレス for short) are relatively casual and often serve Japanese food as well as Western food. In anime, you can often see high school students gathering at a ファミレス.
  • 料理店: Small restaurants that offer traditional cuisine at a relatively high price point tend to be called 料理店. If we just say 料理店, it refers to Japanese restaurants, but there are also インド料理店, メキシコ料理店, etc. A (日本)料理店 (image search) is not very different from izakaya, but 料理店 sounds more quiet and expensive to me (if not as expensive as 料亭). 料理屋 is a synonym that sounds relatively informal. In particular, 小料理屋 (image search) typically refers to tiny izakaya-type restaurants that are privately owned and only have counter seats.
  • 飲食店: A catch-all term for everything above as well as bars, café, fast food restaurants, bubble tea shops, etc. This is more of a business/legal term. We see it a lot in news articles (especially during this COVID crisis), but ordinary people don't need to use it often in everyday conversation.
4
  • Not sure if you were implying otherwise by your definition of レストラン, but American diners do have wait staff.
    – istrasci
    Dec 12, 2021 at 2:11
  • @istrasci Some 大衆食堂 are cafeteria-style, but many 大衆食堂 do have waiters.
    – naruto
    Dec 12, 2021 at 2:14
  • @naruto Which of those terms to use when referring to an ordinary ramen shop? "I would like that we go to a restaurant tonight? Which restaurant? A ramen-shop."
    – Starckman
    Oct 12, 2022 at 3:58
  • 1
    @starckman Ramen shop is ラーメン屋, which is a subtype of 飲食店. But we use お店 instead of 飲食店 in casual conversations. For example, 「晩ご飯はどこかお店に入る?」「どんなお店?」「ラーメン屋」.
    – naruto
    Oct 12, 2022 at 5:10
0

I've never heard the 3rd and 4th of those options in normal Japanese speech, so the difference between those and the other 3 is that the other 3 exist and those 2 do not (at least not in any capacity). As for the others:

食堂 translates most directly as "cafeteria" or "food court". While it can be used for restaurants, it tends not to be, and the restaurants which do use it tend to be similar in style/scope to what a Westerner might call a "diner" (in fact, the Netflix show 深夜食堂 was translated in English as Midnight Diner, which lends more credence to this reading). The most common usage for 食堂 though, is most certainly a school cafeteria or a food court e.g. in a shopping mall or other public venue.

レストラン and 飲食店 are pretty much the same thing. The difference being that レストラン is a Japanese 外来語 from the English "restaurant", while 飲食店 is the pure-Japanese word. In my experience, レストラン is more commonly used, although also I'm a Westerner and therefore more prone to hearing/using that word. 飲食店 feels a lot like, "this restaurant wants to present an image of being authentic Japanese so they use the Japanese word instead of the foreign word", but otherwise there is no difference, to my knowledge.

0

I encountered the term 料理屋さん when people were referring to a person or shop as a means of describing what they do rather than the specific type of food or cooking style.

In my prefecture there were several shops which referred to themselves as 満腹食堂. They typically served large portions of reasonable or good quality food at moderate prices. They did not fit into the cafeteria image, but perhaps somewhat like the 'diner' image mentioned in Ertai's answer.

You will encounter more ways to describe eating and drinking establishments. I found that looking the words up in Japanese-Japanese dictionaries gives much more detail about the nuances than using Japanese-English dictionaries.

3
  • 1
    A "diner" is a place that someone of middle-lower class might go to to eat moderate-quality food at moderate-quality prices. The food tends to be less healthy as well; a "breakfast diner" is a place you might go to to get a plate of pancakes, bacon, sausage, and eggs, for example, and expect to pay somewhere in the $10-20 range, and walk out full.
    – Ertai87
    Dec 10, 2021 at 22:56
  • I'll try not to be hurt by the middle-lower class descriptor; but yes, the Manpuku Shokudo type shops fit that diner image as stated. Customers were often students from the universities and high schools with other people looking for price and volume. Dec 10, 2021 at 23:33
  • Haha sorry about that, by that I mean that snotty rich types don't eat at diners, it's more for "local folks", I just couldn't think of a better word to use, sorry about that XD
    – Ertai87
    Dec 11, 2021 at 3:28

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .