Maybe you’re like me and love to go on road trips. Getting a chance to wander the countryside is something I’ve always enjoyed, and one of the best parts of it for me is discovering unique places to eat. It’s always quick and easy to just stop by the next McDonald’s you see, grab a burger and fries, then get back on the road. But it’s so satisfying to find that one small town café that has a unique take you’ve never had before or some good local cuisine that travelers don’t know about. And if it’s good for someone just halfway to the next big city, imagine how good that food must taste when you’re on the run from bandits, or in the midst of wandering the desert, trying to inform the lord of the land of an impending horde of monsters!
That’s the concept Junpei Inuzuka builds in the first volume of the light novel series Restaurant to Another World. In this book, we’re introduced to Western Cuisine Nekoya, a restaurant in the basement of a shopping center located in a business district in Tokyo. During the work week, Nekoya caters to the dining needs of the local office workers, but on the weekends, it’s closed. On Sundays, that’s simply because the nameless “master” of the restaurant runs the place by himself and needs some time to rest. But on Saturdays, Nekoya becomes a different establishment entirely.
There is another realm, one of knights and samurai, elves and dwarves, lizardmen and demons. Spread across two continents, the many races and societies live exciting lives, occasionally confronted by monsters, demons or other, less peaceful factions of the land. But for a lucky few, a strange phenomenon breaks down the barriers and brings everyone together. On the Day of Satur, once every seven days, a black door appears in different places across the lands. Those people fortunate enough to discover the door and enter discover something unrivaled in their world: Western Cuisine Nekoya.
On Saturdays, the master exclusively caters to the unique clientele from the other world. There are a wide variety of options on the menu, though visitors typically latch on to one item. One wandering samurai always goes with teriyaki chicken. The hundred palm-sized Liliputians typically split a couple orders of pancakes. And the lizardman, pride of his clan, enjoys omelet rice, making sure to get three orders to go, to share with his people back home.
In honesty, the storytelling of this book can get a little repetitive. Each chapter has essentially the same structure: someone discovers a door, the master offers them a menu, that customer discovers the best food they’ve ever had, and then makes it a life goal to try to visit the restaurant as often as possible, typically ordering the same thing every time - to the point where customers refer to each other by their signature dish. But as a foodie, I can’t help but get a little hungrier with each chapter. From the dragon queen’s beef stew to the frail princess’s cloudlike chocolate parfait, each dish is described vividly, driving you closer to calling for delivery at times when you don’t really need to eat.
This book is the first in a series, and it looks like the world is just going to expand from here, so you may want to consider this an appetizer to set you up for the main course yet to come. So if you’re feeling like expanding your palate, pay a visit to the Restaurant to Another World!
In Tokyo lies a small restaurant called “Western Cuisine Nekoya,” ordinary in every way—save one. Every Saturday, its door connects to another world! Follow along as a cavalcade of curious guests from half-elves to samurai, dragons, halflings and vampires enter its premises, all with the same goal in mind: to fill their stomachs with the most mouth-watering of foods.Add to CartLearn More