What Makes a Bistro a Bistro?

The word bistro refers to a particular kind of restaurant that first emerged in Paris and soon started to spread throughout the European continent. They are mainly geared towards those who want a moderately priced simple meal with alcohol along with it.

‘Bistro’ was used to denote a particular kind of restaurant that was known for serving meals at a much more reasonable price so as to be more accessible to the general public. The setting of these establishments has always been relatively simple and doesn’t involve flashy interiors. Usually, the meals are served with alcohol, giving people space where they can sit back, relax and have a good meal.

Modern-day bistros are usually defined by the food that they serve, usually serving some kind of a mix between continental favourites and local delicacies. Most bistros tend to serve alcohol along with their food and tend to be open through the course of the day.

What Makes a Bistro a Bistro ? - BE Furniture Sales

Why Is It Called A Bistro?

While any food lover may be familiar with the word ‘bistro’, very few actually know the origins of the word and the true meaning behind it. While the word ‘bistro’ was used to denote a particular kind of French Restaurant, the word did not originate in France, and in fact first saw usage in Russia (there is some debate as to this). During the Russian Occupation of Paris, the word ‘bistro’ was introduced to the general public in the form of restaurants that were opened during the time.

The word that was used was derived from the phrase that the Russian officials would often use when ordering their food which was ‘bistro bistro’, which meant ‘hurry hurry’. This gave rise to the idea that customers wanted their food quickly and often just wanted to have a quick bite before they go on out for the rest of their day. This, therefore, resulted in the birth of restaurants that would specifically cater to those who wanted their food quickly and wanted something that wouldn’t take too long to prepare.

However, there are many who contradict the theory that the word ‘bistro’ was brought about by the Russians, and instead believe that the origins of the word came from the French word ‘bistraud’ which translated to ‘the assistant of the wine seller’. There are also hints to the word being derived from other French words such as ‘bistingo’, which means ‘a place or hotel where gypsies would spend the night’, or ‘bistrouille’, which means ‘a low-quality alcoholic beverage’.

What Is The Difference Between a Bistro and a Restaurant?

Both are establishments where people go to have a meal, and both these places can often serve the same kind of food. However, there are a number of things that can distinguish the two from each other.

The first difference between the two is with regard to the very definition of the word itself. A bistro is defined as a small and inexpensive place where people can go to eat, whereas a restaurant is defined as a place where people can go to be served food and drinks in exchange for money. It is important to note the word ‘served’ in this definition as that is the one key difference between the definitions. Usually, bistros have a main counter where one can go to order their food, whereas, in restaurants, a waiter will usually come up to your table and take your order.

The food served in these two places is an important point to consider when trying to point out the differences. A bistro is considered to be a place that only serves simple food, often sticking to what people are known to like and enjoy. Restaurants can go more on the experimental side when it comes to food and can vary up in terms of the kind of food that they offer as well as the experience.

The cuisine offered in a bistro usually involves some kind of French food. For bistros in other countries, this may often include the popular food items from that country itself. Restaurants can serve almost any kind of cuisine, even ones that they have invented themselves!

The price is an important factor when trying to understand the differences between the two kinds of establishments. Bistros, by definition, are considered to be a more inexpensive option and are generally designed to be accessible to all. Restaurants, on the other hand, can run with any kind of pricing that they want, sometimes going in for food that is incredibly budget-friendly, and some going in for food that is incredibly expensive.

A defining characteristic of a bistro is the atmosphere that it creates. Bistros are meant to be a casual setting and are meant to be a place where people don’t always have to dress up for. Restaurants can be casual places for people to eat in or can offer luxury exquisite fine dining experiences.

What Is The Difference Between A Bistro And A Cafe?

While the differences between a bistro and a restaurant may be rather blaring, the differences between a bistro and a cafe aren’t as much. People often mix up the two because of the similarities between them, even though they each refer to two different kinds of establishments.

While a bistro is a place that serves a mix of food and drinks, a cafe is mainly a place that people can go to to be able to get a coffee. This key element is what distinguishes the two establishments from each other.

The fundamental idea of a Bistro is the speed at which the food can be given to the customer, and this idea is not always present in a cafe. The reason Bistros are able to do this is because they often prepare large batches of food and sell it through the course of the day, whereas cafes tend to prepare their food the moment the customer places the order, thereby making the delivery time significantly slower. Cafe’s have also veered towards a more coffee shop experience and alcohol is not typically served.

BE Furniture sales offers a range of aluminium bistro tables and chairs which are ideal for outdoor seating. We also supply a range of cafe and bistro chairs in a range of materials.


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