First Look: Restaurant to Another World

Isekai Shokudou
Light Novel Adaptation by Silver Link
Streaming on Crunchyroll

Premise

For most of the week Nakoya operates as a regular restaurant, but every Saturday a portal to a fantasy world opens for customers of all kinds. On one of these days a down-on-her-luck demon girl wanders in and the owner offers her a job.

Jel’s verdict: I’d Give This 4 Stars on Yelp

I know we spend a lot of time complaining about “other world” shows but this might be an example of how they can still be good, which is to say it is nothing like your average isekai. If anything it may feel closest in mood to recent Dad anime Sweetness and Lightning with its laid back pacing, loving portrayal of food, and the (so far) innocent relationship between the Owner and his young employee. Interestingly it’s only his patrons that are other-worldly – they arrive looking forward to cuisine we would find pretty normal. So if you were looking forward to seeing weird dishes with dragon eggs or something that’s not happening here, although they do pay him in gold coins so that’s pretty cool.

My only complaints are minor. For one, this particular episode might have been a touch too slow. There’s also a lot of time spent showing people eating and not much else. It’s not too bad but they came real close to pushing the limits of my patience in spots. You could also argue they spent a little too much time lingering on naked booby dragon lady and Aletta’s shower scene was probably not necessary. If that is as bad as the fan service gets though, I can live with that. Overall the first episode didn’t completely blow me away but I think this series has some potential. The hook is kind of neat, and I wouldn’t mind adding something charming and easy going to my watch list. I’ll definitely watch some more.

Gee’s verdict: Open for Business

As someone who’s always enjoyed cooking, media about it and food in general has always held a certain place in my heart. Cooking (and eating) is maybe one of the purest forms of human expression we have. Food represents our culture, our homes, and our relationships in both obvious and subtle ways. So when it’s at its best, a good cooking manga/anime encapsulates those traits. Works like Bambino, Midnight Diner, and even more fantastical ones like Dungeon Meshi offer us that personal window to peer into. In an age where the likes of Shingeki no Soma are the top dogs in the genre, I feel we’ve lost some of that in favor simple shounen antics. Not that competition can’t be a compelling aspect of cooking, but I find that cooking is better when shared and enjoyed with the people you care for than used as a weapon to establish dominance.

So far, I find myself rather interested in Restaurant to Another World’s premise. (Interestingly, it’s not even the first to play with the idea, but it’s the first one to get an animated adaptation so here we are.) It plays with the genre in a way that doesn’t feel like your standard juvenile power fantasy. We don’t know much about Nakoya at this point, but I can already appreciate his maturity compared to your usual isekai protagonists. I have a couple reservations, but even the obligatory fanservice wasn’t nearly as terrible as it could be. Mainly though, the premier episode might be almost too safe and comfy. While I certainly don’t wish for any world-ending melodrama to derail the story, I do wonder what the show will do on a week to week basis to keep things interesting. For now though, it’s charming enough that I want to stick with it.

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