When you watch an anime, what do you typically expect from it? A great story? Amazing worlds? Soundtracks that carry your very soul to the heavens? If you said yes to any of those, I know exactly how you feel when you find something that’s just right. But Restaurant to Another World is none of those. There is no overarching story, there’s a fantasy world just like every other, and it’s soundtrack sets the mood just right, but is never overbearing or underutilized. And yet, only two episodes in out of the current seven, and I’ve fallen head over heels for this show.
As the name might imply, it’s all about good food. From minced meat cutlets and curry rice to fried shrimp, the food is drawn in such great detail. The detail is so great that it reminds me of another recent anime revolving around food. I’m sure you know the one, the one with a metric ton of fanservice, a show where the term “foodgasm” practically takes on a more literal meaning. I love Food Wars despite its heavy and sometimes awkward fanservice, but I know that some people just can’t get past that to enjoy the great story and food that will make you salivate. And to those people with nowhere to go, I recommend Restaurant to Another World. There’s no fanservice to speak of(Unless you count one naked dragon lady, but that’s far more tame than a lot of shows.), just characters with stories to tell and great food to gawk over.
Honestly, Restaurant to Another World sort of reminds me of another, very understated, show from 2007 called Bartender.
They share a common structure: A mysterious proprietor operates a low-key business and listens to the stories their clients have to tell and offer them their unique and practically god-like services.
In the case of Bartender, it’s about a bar that is isolated from the outside world, where customers can throw off their troubles and relax with a nice mixed drink. Every customer has a story to tell and the bartender, Sakakura, mixes a drink that has some sort of meaning. Each episode is a standalone story and focuses more on the customers and their troubles than any overarching storyline.
Restaurant to Another World is very similar. A man runs a restaurant that, somehow, is connected to another world, a fantastical one. Seven days a week he feeds only human customers from our world, but ever Saturday evening his door connects to this other world and customers that stumble across his door are treated to meals from their wildest imaginations. Not every character has a story to tell, but there’s still a charm to them and their delight in consuming delicious food that they won’t find anywhere else.
What both of these shows also have in common is the ability to relax the viewer. Bartender does it through it’s beautiful score and isolated atmosphere, making you feel as if you’re there in the bar and just relaxing. Restaurant to Another World does it by feeling warm and inviting and focusing on the small pleasures in life that one might forget how to enjoy from time to time.
This is why I call Restaurant to Another World magical. It may not be grandiose, or secretly a spy thriller, it will probably never be seen as the anime of the season, but even if it flies under the radar, it’s the kind of show that can put you at ease after a long and stressful day.
Restaurant to Another World is currently airing so go to your favorite streaming site and give it a go. And, if I’ve piqued your interest about Bartender, you can find the full series on Youtube, but don’t expect to find it anywhere else except illegal streaming sites. I don’t think Crunchyroll has it and it was never licensed for a western release, so the only way to watch it is fansubbed, but it’s totally worth it.