Just kidding with that title, but the restaurant I went to the other day was great (for me) – it was totally geared towards a quiet, solitary eating environment – i.e. heaven.
It’s a chain of ramen shops called ichiran (一蘭), and the whole process is as follows:
1. Pay for your food – Buy a ticket from the machine, buy additional tickets for add-ons like extra noodles, beer etc.
2. Be shown to an empty seat – you get told a number that corresponds to a booth, and you just take a seat. And when I say booth, you have 2 partitions either side of you,
and you’re facing this thing
3. State your preferences – fill out the piece of paper in your booth, it lets you choose various things about the ramen you want
and so on. Once you’ve filled it out, press the button in your booth, and the shutter opens halfway up, with a very polite waiter who says “Thank you for your order, there will be a short wait until your food is ready”, and then promptly closes the shutter.
4. Receive your food – after a bit the waiter appears again, but this time with food!
5. Eat your food – this is the most important part, don’t forget to do this.
So you might be thinking – ‘but surely there isn’t enough demand for solitary diners to make this whole thing work efficiently, especially in a tourist-y area like downtown Osaka?’
Well you’d be damn right, when i went there it was chocked full of groups of 2-3 people each, which sort of negates the point behind the restaurant, but it was still super fun 🙂