Difference Between Cafe and Restaurant

Eating out has been a pleasure for all. There are tons of different kinds of foods out there. Mughlai, Chinese, North Indian, South Indian, Japanese, Korean, so many that one can’t even remember all the names. 


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The buildings where food is served are called by many names. Cafe, diner, fast-food, restaurant. Each of these has its own specialty. 

Key Takeaways

  1. A cafe is a casual dining place that serves light meals, snacks, and beverages, while a restaurant is a formal dining place that serves full-course meals.
  2. A cafe has a relaxed ambience and encourages socializing, while a restaurant has a formal ambience and promotes fine dining.
  3. A cafe has a limited menu with quick-service options, while a restaurant offers an extensive menu with a more leisurely dining experience.

Cafe vs Restaurant

The difference between cafe and restaurant is that cafes are small places that mainly offer beverages along with limited menu food. On the other hand, a restaurant is a place where proper food is served. 

Cafe vs Restaurant

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A cafe is a small eating and drinking place. Their menus are limited. It is called a cafe because originally all cafes were known as coffee houses. A restaurant is a place where proper food is served. They can be medium-large in size. 

Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonCafeRestaurant
Origin year15501765
Cost per personLower in comparisionHigher in comparision 
EnvironmentUsually quiet, little chit-chats happen here and thereUsually noisy, everyone in a restaurant seems to be talking
Building sizeSmaller, more confinedBigger, much more spacious
Seating capacity20-30 (usually)<100 (usually)

What is Cafe?

A cafe is a small place where beverages and food are offered. A cafe can be a small building or a large one, it depends on how much business they have. A cafe dominantly offers beverages. 

The most popular beverage in cafes is coffee. Why is that? Originally cafes were known as coffee houses. That is why. 

The first cafe opened in 1550 in the city of Constantinople, which was the then capital city of the ottoman empire.  The English word Cafe derives from the Turkish word  ‘kahve’, which means coffee. 

A cafe’s menu includes beverages the cafe can provide, cookies and bread as compliments to the beverage and other things. Cafes also keep chips on side-tables because chips go well with beverages.

Cafe’s specialize in their beverages. Most cafes specialize in coffee and some even specialize in some form of tea. 

Cafes took to popularity from London. The very first popular cafes were in London. In the 17-19th century period, these coffee houses became the main spot for the latest news, gossips, discussions, and even gang meetings.

The concept of modern cafes arose from there. 

Cafes are imminently popular among the young generation and those who want to work. In recent times cafes have become a popular place for freelancers, businessmen, and other workers.

Cafe’s are also popular in the dating scene. Most first dates happen in a cafe! 

As cafes don’t offer proper meals, one goes to a cafe when he/she is looking for something casual to eat or drink. 


What is Restaurant?

A restaurant is a medium-large size place. In a restaurant, both beverages and food are offered. The main focus is on providing the food, beverages are a complementary addition to the restaurant menu.

The first restaurant was opened in 1765 in Paris. It was started by a soup vendor. The board outside his establishment advertised restoratives, food that restores. The name ‘restaurant’ is derived from the french word restaurer’ which means to restore.

Restaurants mainly offer food, food that can be eaten as a meal. The menu of restaurants is large and inclusive of all kinds of food. A restaurant can offer rotis, rice, dal, sabzi and other kinds of food too.

They also include desserts on their menu because people usually want to eat something sweet after their meals. Their menu also includes beverages that can be made without any special requirements, such as coffee, tea, lemonades, etc.

Restaurants are known for their flavor. Most restaurants specialize in some kind of dishes and most include their specialty in their advertisements.

For example, a restaurant can call itself ‘A North Indian’ restaurant. That would mean that the restaurant specializes in North Indian food.

Restaurants are popular among all sorts of people. There are tons of restaurants to choose from, and each one has its own specialty, such as Mughal, Afghani, North Indian, South Indian, Japanese, Continental, Chinese!

There is a ton of variety in food in a restaurant. If you go to a restaurant you will surely spend 10 minutes just looking at the menu! 

Restaurants are the go-to place if you’re looking to have a meal outing. It could be dinner or lunch, or even breakfast. A restaurant is a chatty and loud place and one cannot hold meetings or do work in such a place!

However, restaurants mean business, for your stomach! 


Main Differences Between Cafe and Restaurant

  1. The word cafe is derived from the Turkish word ‘kahve’. On the other hand, the word ‘restaurant’ is derived from the Frech word ‘restaurer’.
  2. A cafe is a place where mainly beverages are offered. On the other hand, a restaurant is a place where proper food is offered.
  3. A cafe is a place where one goes for a quick bite. On the other hand, a restaurant is a place where one goes for a proper meal. 
  4. A cafe is usually a quieter place because of its small seating capacity. On the other hand, a restaurant is a noisier place because of the large seating capacity.
  5. A cafe is a place where you can go for a meeting, a date, or even meeting a friend as cafes are usually quiet. On the other hand, a restaurant is a place where you can still go for a meet, go on a date, or catch up with a friend but the restaurant will be noisier. 
Difference Between Cafe and Restaurant


  1. https://books.google.co.in/books?hl=en&lr=&id=LdCEpBmk748C&oi=fnd&pg=PA8&dq=cafe+vs+restaurant&ots=eHpb3wDth5&sig=4om9oAAF79Pf-AZ9kFuLFeKMSAw&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false
  2. https://link.springer.com/book/10.1057%2F9781137275936
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