“ Whether or not we eat regular ‘proper’ meals ourselves , the cities we inhabit are geared to them, their streets, cafes, restaurants and bars filling and emptying to their rhythm as surely as the sea turns with the tide..” Carolyn Steel

The restaurant, as we know it, goes back to nineteenth century post revolutionary Paris . Paris was a thriving commercial city catering to a flow of business travellers providing a steady demand for dining establishments.

Restaurants evolved as a space where patrons could eat, drink and pay for what they wished, and restaurateurs could differentiate their offerings accordingly. In 1801 Antoine Roisy described how on entering a dining room “my surprise was at its greatest when I saw people enter without greeting each other and without seeming to know each other, seat themselves without looking at each other and eat separately without speaking to each other or even offering to share their food.”¹

Today restaurants and dining out remain a feature of modern life in our urbanised world. Restaurants offer a range of global cuisines and at best, fill the needs of being “fun, entertaining or romantic allowing us to see friends on neutral territory…eat sublime food we would be unable to cook ourselves ”² Restaurants have continued to survive by fulfilling a range of human needs from the physical to the social and psychological.

¹ and ² Hungry City How Food shapes our lives. Carolyn Steel

Catch Carolyn at TED talking about how food shapes our cities.Carolyn Steel: How food shapes our cities | Video on TED.com.