Alpenglow Café

7 Characteristics That Will Help You Know the Difference Between a Restaurant and a Cafe

Going out for a meal with friends is always fun. Great food, great company, and great times. Deciding where to eat can sometimes be difficult. Restaurant or café? Coffee shop or bistro? To help you decide, we will tell you the difference between a café and a restaurant. The choice will depend on what type of food and feeling you are looking for.


Cafes usually serve different types of coffee and lighter type food items. Restaurants usually serve meals and a variety of drinks. Seating in both are tables and chairs, but in cafes, the formations might be more casual and even eccentric. The formation will be less formal in cafes. Restaurants have more formal structures and placings as well as tablecloths and proper place settings.


The feeling of most cafes is casual and relaxed. You will often find students or other discussion groups meeting there. The feeling in restaurants are more formal and usually more geared towards the feeling of dinner.


The menu usually includes food items that are lighter. Foods like sandwiches, bagels, and hamburgers will be on the menu. The variety at a café is limited. The menu at restaurants includes set meals of different meats and side dishes. There is a wide variety that includes meats, poultry, seafood, salads, vegetables, and other side dishes.


Most restaurants have liquor licenses and serve a variety of alcoholic beverages. Cafes might also serve alcohol if they have a license, but it is not part of their main character.


Tipping is expected and common practice in restaurants. Waiters usually get a 10% tip. At cafes, tipping is optional.


In restaurants, you get served by waiters. You place your orders and they are brought to you when they are ready. In cafes, self-service is the order of the day and most people get their own sandwich and coffee, etc.


The food items available are displayed in cafes. In restaurants, the food items or dishes are put on a menu from which you order.

Bottom line, if you are looking for a formal romantic dinner, you will go to a restaurant. A quick coffee meeting or discussion group will be better suited at a café.


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