What’s in a name? Well in some countries the name indicated the type of eating institution and the level of services offered. Names can determine whether it is an establishment of formal or casual dining and the amenities and service. Here are some of the differences and what one can expect in several countries
Boulangerie – Bread shop featuring sandwiches for breakfast and lunch
Crêperie – Specializing in sweet crêpes in takeaway sites, cafés or restaurants
Patisserie – Bakery specializing in cakes and sweet pastries
Café – French coffee shop with light offerings like croque monsieur or salads
Brasserie – French version of a pub as it means brewery in French. Casual dining and more informal then a Bistrot.
Bistrot – Intimate casual dining offering simple traditional fare and similar to Brasseries. Typically family owned.
Restaurant – High end gastronomique dining where you find Michelin star rated restaurants. Many feature Haute Cuisine.
Mercado – Public food market featuring produce, bread, eggs, meat, fish, cheese, preserved food, sweets and prepared foods.
Paninoteca – A Sandwich Shop. The food offering varies from one region of Italy to another
Tavola Calda & Rosticceria – Cafeteria style service of readily cooked meals
Osteria – Casual dining at modest prices. The the days menu may be on a chalkboard
Pizzeria – Casual dining featuring Pizza. Some may be takeaway only
Trattoria – More formal than an Osteria but less formal than a restorante
Restorante – Formal fine dining usually featuring the best local cuisines
Depending on what countries you travel to, learn what the restaurant types are to know your offerings
Finding Places to Dine…
You’ll have to figure that out by looking at reviews and making a decision. Your hotel can suggest places to eat but, some hotels are paid to push people to eat at some locations. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re bad but, it also doesn’t mean they’re really good or a value. I would talk to people who have visited previously and get some recommendations that way. You can find food reviews at the web sites listed below. While some publications personally review restaurants they have visited and dined at, they tend to be the more noted ones and may be a little bit on the expensive side. Other sites will have reviews from travelers who have dined at theses locations. You have to read through several reviews to get a overall picture of the restaurant. The reviews by actual travelers can vary a great degree. An example is, 8 out of 10 reviews have very good ratings and comments by the travelers but, then there are two that may say the place was horrible. Makes you wonder if they were actually at the same place. So sift through comments carefully and take some with a grain of salt.