Cafe or Restaurant- what’s the difference?

Part 1: Cafes: Anyone who’s been to Paris knows that most streets have at least one corner cafe. Sometimes they are called “cafe,” sometimes also “brasserie.” A cafe is a place, traditionally, that has a stand up bar area and seating outside. It’s open in the morning for people to get their first espresso and a croissant, or a “tartine” (a long, cut piece of baguette slathered with butter), and stays open all day, serving a limited menu of food items. There are usually salads, omelettes, and sandwiches.  Sometimes there’ll be “steak frites” and/or “poulet frites” (steak and french fries and/or chicken and french fries). They’ll often have a blackboard menu that goes up at lunch time with the day’s food specials beyond the standard offerings.  Generally the cost for sandwiches and salads is from 5 euros to about 12 euros ($8 to $15). Peter and I like to eat at cafes instead of restaurants. They’re cheaper and once you’ve bought your food, you’ve paid for a spot to watch the world go by. The food’s fresh, the beer’s cold, the people-watching unbeatable. Here’s a picture of my salad with country ham and Cantal cheese, and Peter’s plain omelette (with fries, of course) from our recent trip to Le Progres, a cafe in the Marais area.

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