We all like to skip preparing meals at home from time to time and instead go to our favorite bistro with the people we love. Bistros are well known for offering delicious meals and the warm atmosphere, which is why we often feel more welcome than in a restaurant. However, have you ever wondered what the real difference is between a bistro and a restaurant? They seem like pretty much the same thing, because they serve food and drinks and gather people, but there is also a difference based on which you can accurately conclude that this place is a bistro and not a restaurant. In the following text, we explain in more detail what qualifies a restaurant as a bistro.
What is the origin of the name ‘bistro’?
Nowadays we all know the word ‘bistro’ and we could roughly define what type of restaurant a bistro represents. But do you know the origin of the name ‘bistro’? Well, basically there are two potential origins, and to date it has not been fully clarified which one is the right one.
The first interpretation is that the bistro is of Russian origin and that the bistros were originally created in Russia. This makes sense if you know that the word ‘bistro’ in Russian means ‘hurry up’. Bistros are actually a type of restaurant where food is not prepared for a long time (like in regular restaurants), but is quite simple and is in front of you in just a few minutes.
It is interesting that the bistros saw the light of day for the first time during the Russian occupation of France, which led to confusion in the origin of these restaurants. That is why many believe that the bistro is actually of French origin and exudes their style. Some people are convinced that the word ‘bistro’ comes from ‘bistraud’, which in French means assistant wine seller. But it is clear to you that there is too much overlap to clearly conclude what is true.
What qualifies a restaurant as a bistro and distinguishes it from a regular restaurant?
First we can start from the similarities between a regular restaurant and a bistro. Yes, these are both places where people go to eat some delicious meal and have a drink, alone or with dear people. However, the differences are obvious and there are certain things that qualify the restaurant as a bistro.
1. Casual and warm atmosphere
First of all, the bistro has a special, warm atmosphere that makes people feel welcome. They allow you to wear a casual wardrobe, without feeling pressured to be groomed and dressed in a certain way, because that’s not the point here. These are more demands of regular restaurants where people go dressed in accordance with a certain dress code and the atmosphere is more elegant and distant. The bistro is more of a local restaurant that gathers people from the neighborhood for a quick, yet delicious bite.
2. The way food is served
Another thing that distinguishes bistros from regular restaurants is the way the food is served. In restaurants, you order food from the waiter, after which he or she brings it to you. This is usually not the case in bistros, but there is one main counter where you can go and order food yourself, and then the person working at the counter will read your number or order and you go again to pick up the food and bring it to the table. You go to restaurants if you want others to serve you, while in bistros the emphasis is not on that, but on a more relaxed atmosphere and delicious food that is prepared quickly.
3. The food is simple and prepared quickly
One of the main reasons why people go to bistros is to grab a delicious bite in as short a time as possible. The food in the bistros is mostly local, which means most people love it. And it is also simple enough to be prepared very quickly, so you don’t have to wait half an hour or an hour to get what you ordered. When time is a limiting factor for you, and you still want to eat something good, then bistro is the way to go. Regular restaurants serve more exotic food that takes longer to prepare, and the whole experience is unique. In bistros, the emphasis is more on speed and simplicity. Depending on what your priority is at a given time, you will choose one or the other.
And lastly, another very important factor that qualifies a restaurant as a bistro is the price of food and drinks. Bistros are designed as places that offer delicious food that is cheap and accessible to everyone. Of course, there are exceptions – bistros that offer more expensive and unique food, but this is generally not the case. You go to the bistro when you don’t want to spend too much money on food, and you still want to eat something delicious.
On the other hand, restaurants often vary in terms of price. There are those that are quite cheap, but also those that are luxurious and high-end, which means that they serve food that can be very expensive. Also, sometimes within a restaurant there is a wide range of prices, while in bistros this is not the case. Here, all food is cheap and affordable.
If you have not given the opportunity to bistros so far and you have chosen to visit only regular restaurants, it is time to change that. Of course, you want to find a good bistro with delicious food and a nice atmosphere. If you are looking for one such local bistro in Richmond, VA, then we definitely suggest you check this one out.
5. Cleanliness and Hygiene Maintenance
Bistros can be maintained easily compared to big restaurants as they are usually intimate, simple and low key. The Bistro areas are wiped clean frequently. There are proper food storage and preparation standards that are followed to reduce the risk of spoiling food and to eliminate the risk of the things that could damage the food & service reputation of a Bistro. The ultimate goal of a successful Bistro is to provide the customers with an excellent overall experience that brings them back again to eat. This means that everything in a place like Bistro is focused on enhancing the customer’s experience.
Bistros are types of restaurants that are more local and bring together people from the neighborhood. The bistros have a warm, relaxed atmosphere and people are usually dressed casually, because there is no specific dress code, as is the case in regular restaurants. The food is delicious, but quite simple, and it is not served by a waiter. Instead, you take your own food when it is ready and take it to the table. And lastly, the price of food is very affordable, so you go to the bistro when you don’t want to spend a lot of money on food and drinks, but you still want to grab a delicious bite.