Updated: Sep 8, 2020
From the oldest restaurant in the world, to the most expensive, to restaurants where you eat from a toilet. Read below for 10 facts you probably didn't know about the restaurant world.
1. The French Revolution Invented Fine Dining
When Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were beheaded during the French Revolution, the French aristocracy was demolished. Consequentially, the chefs who once worked in noble households found themselves unemployed.
Many of these jobless chefs decided to create their own establishments, where people could come and eat meals at a 'prix fixe'. This eventually spread to the UK and across the globe.
2. The World’s Oldest Restaurant is in Spain.
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the Botin Restaurant in Madrid is the world’s oldest operating restaurant, which has been in business since 1725. This said, others claim to be older than Botin, including Stiftskeller St. Peter in Austria, open since 803 and Zum Franziskaner in Stockholm, Sweden, open since 1421.
3. The word “restaurant” comes from French, originally meaning "food that restores"
The word ‘Restaurant’ derives from the French verb “restaurer", meaning to restore. It was first used in France in the 16th century, to describe the thick and cheap soups sold by street vendors claiming to restore health.
4. Tokyo is the city with the most Michelin stars
With 166 restaurants with one star, 56 with two stars and 12 with three stars, Tokyo is the place to be for Michelin starred restaurants. The other two cities with the most Michelin starred restaurants is Paris and Kyoto in Japan
5. The most expensive city to eat in a restaurant is Zurich in Switzerland
For just a basic meal for two, a meal in Zurich will cost a customer an average of £53.85. Copenhagen (average £46.55) and San Fransisco (£46.40) are also featured in the top 3 most expensive cities to eat out
6. The Michelin guide was made to keep people on the road
The same company who uses the Michelin man mascot also hands out prestigious Michelin Stars. Ándre and Édouard Michelin were French entrepreneurs who started a tire company in 1889. It later occurred to the entrepreneurs that a ratings guide for hotels and restaurants would promote motor tourism and therefore lead to an increase in tire sales.
7. One of the smallest restaurants in the world only serves two
Solo per Due (“Just for Two”) only serves two guests per night. Located on an Italian estate, this gourmet restaurant goes above and beyond providing a personalised service for the guests. If you wish, you can choose to have your own firework display or even choose the flowers to feature in the centre of the table. If you have to ask for the price in this restaurant then you probably can’t afford it.
8. The largest restaurant in the world has 6,014 seats
The largest restaurant is the Bawabet Dimashq Restaurant (Damascus Gate Restaurant) which has 6,014 seats. The restaurant is owned by Mr. Shaker Al Samman in Damascus, Syria and employs 1,800 staff.
9. The most expensive restaurant in the world charges €1,500 a head
SubliMotion in Ibiza, Spain hosts a multi-sensory experience. Think food, art and technology all in one place. Open only during the island’s summer season, Michelin-starred chef Paco Roncero has created an immersive experience for his lucky customers. In the past, guests have experienced edible entry tickets, a DIY salad that guests pluck from a farm table-scape, virtual backdrops projected onto walls and other weird and wonderful experiences.
10. There is a restaurant in Taiwan where you eat your food from a toilet
The Modern Toilet is a bathroom-themed restaurant chain, serving brown ice-cream in toilets and coke served out of mini urinals. Guests can sit on toilets instead of chairs, while the theme is very much hammered home. Reviews suggest that the food is very much below average - we will leave you to imagine the puns that can be made there.