Restaurant to Another World, Vol. 1

By Junpei Inuzuka and Katsumi Enami. Released in Japan as “Isekai Shokudou” by Shufunotomosha. Released in North America by Seven Seas. Translated by Elliot Ryouga. Adapted by Nino Cipri.

By now we have had enough of these “foodie” titles out here in the West that it’s not a surprise anymore. Indeed, the light novel was the last one to get a license here, as we’ve already seen Restaurant in Another World’s manga (on the Crunchyroll site) and anime over here. And there are any number of other titles doing very similar things, including Othewrworldly Izakaya Nobu, Cooking with Wild Game, Campfire Cooking in Another World, etc. That said, Restaurant in Another World seems the purest of the titles we’ve seen here. If you’re not fond of descriptions of people eating delicious food, this is absolutely not the book for you, because that’s all it is. Well, OK, that’s not ALL it is. There’s actually a very interesting and varied fantasy world being slowly laid out here. But there’s no plot beyond “fantasy people eat delicious food” until the very, very end.

If you’ve read the manga, or seen the anime, or hell, even looked at the cover art, you may be surprised at who isn’t in this book. Aletta does not show up until the very last chapter, and I believe the other adaptations wrote her into the earlier chapters specially. Instead we get a very simple premise, repeated over and over. Someone comes across a door with a cat picture on it, in the middle of a cave,. or a forest, or a basement, etc, goes through it, and finds themselves in a modern Japanese restaurant that specializes in “Western” cuisine, although how much that specialty is enforced is something of a running gag. There they discover that the food served there is much, MUCH more delicious than the food they get back in their world. The gimmick is that their world is a standard fantasy one, with elves, dwarves, magic users, and adventurers. Once every seven days… they can eat good food.

The chapters are self-contained to a degree. New person, new favorite food, new descriptions of how that food is the absolute best. But they stack on top of each other, so you see the regulars coming back and eating and arguing with each other about food, not necessarily in that order. Another running gag is that they’re known to each other only by their standard meal, so the adventurer girl is “minced meat cutlet”, and the knight is “fried shrimp”, etc. The cast, as I said, run the gamut. There’s dragons who arrive at the very end of the day for beef stew (don’t worry, she can assume human form). There’s vampires in a Romeo and Juliet-style runaway, only they get away with it. There’s Lilliputians who go as an entire village to eat pancakes. And there’s human kids living there too, who get what most human kids in a restaurant want… burgers and fries. And there’s the unnamed chef throughout, smiling and making their food, and occasionally enforcing the peace.

This light novel series is 5+ in Japan, and I’m not sure how long it can sustain its basic premise without adding SOME plot. That may be why Alette was added in the last chapter, so there’s some more regular regulars. But if you enjoyed the manga and anime, or just like food, you should enjoy this. Also, terrific illustrations by Enami, who also illustrates Baccano!.

Did you enjoy this article? Consider supporting us.

Speak Your Mind