The next best thing to being in a restaurant is watching tv shows that feature restaurants. The worst part is that you can eat all the tantalizing food. But the best part is that the food is an inspiration.
Restaurant tv shows range from reality tv to comedy and drama. We have compiled a list of entertaining restaurant tv shows that will allow you to learn about new cuisines, watch restaurant makeovers, and nestle into fictional towns with a restaurant at its heart.
Restaurant Reality TV Shows
Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations
No television show will want to make you want to pal around the world with its host like Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations. Anthony takes his viewers into the true heart of eateries around the world, talks to the people, and has unique culinary adventures.
“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you.” Many episodes of No Reservations leave the watcher feeling changed, too.
Restaurants on the Edge
Restaurants on the edge of what? On the edge of failure. “First impressions are everything.”
Mix world travel with restaurant makeovers, good food, local alcohol, and successful marketing, and you’ve got Restaurants on the Edge.
The team travels around the world to restaurants that are failing, analyzes what they’re doing wrong, and turns them around, usually adding local foods to the menu. It’s a show that satisfies several reality tv show itches at the same time.
Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares
“Dear Lord, for what I’m about to receive, may I not be poisoned for the fourth time in four months.” And that’s perhaps one of the tamest things Gordon Ramsay says in Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares.
Do you like your bad food with a side of cursing and yelling? Then step right into Gordon’s kitchen as he tries to whip bad restaurants into shape.
The Best Thing I Ever Ate
Are you ready to get hungry? Then watch an episode or two of The Best Thing I Ever Ate. Chefs tell about their favorite restaurant foods, and then the show takes the viewer to those restaurants to drool over wondrous meals.
And you know what? Most of these meals aren’t fine dining experiences. Iron Chef Symon looks at his plate of biscuits and gravy and says, “That’s a plate full of happiness, right there, my friend.”
Restaurant TV Show Sitcoms
Between 1976 and 1985, viewers waited in anticipation every week for Flo to tell somebody to “Kiss my grits!” at Mel’s Diner. Grouchy Mel and his quirky truck stop diner waitresses always brought laughs.
The television show Alice was based on the movie Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. And while Mel’s Diner was often destroyed in episodes (by trucks, trees, and even hot air balloons), you can still make a pilgrimage to visit the restaurant in Phoenix that they used from the movie and show.
In every episode for ten years, the six friends end up in their favorite spot at the Central Perk, a local coffee shop. Both Rachel and Joey work there during parts of the series, illustrating the part of the Friends theme song that says, “your job’s a joke.”
When Monica is forced to wear a wig and fake breasts at The Moondance Diner, she laments, “I was a sous-chef at Cafe des Artistes. How can I take a job where I have to make something called Laverne and Curly Fries?” Monica’s job becomes less of a joke as she finally works her way to being head chef at great restaurants.
Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place
“Hi, my name is Berg… and I’m addicted to messing with Pete.” Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place, follows two grad students (Berg and Pete) who work in a pizza place and spend lots of time with their cute neighbor. The pizza shop, Beacon Street Pizza, is based on a real pizza shop called Theo’s Pizza in Somerville, Massachusetts.
Sadly, Berg and Pete abandon working at the pizza place altogether by season three (having graduated and started real jobs), so the series becomes just Two Guys and a Girl (sans Pizza Place).
This is also the series where America first fell in love with Ryan Reynolds and Nathan Fillion.
Fresh Off the Boat
What happens when a Taiwanese-American family moves to the US and opens up a cowboy-themed steak house? “Somehow, food has become a social equalizer.”
Fresh Off the Boat is the first American sitcom in 20 years to insert an Asian family into the heart of a primetime sitcom. It was groundbreaking in its ability to show culture and dispel stereotypes. The show was inspired by chef Eddie Huang’s book by the same name and his childhood.
While it hasn’t been renewed for a 7th season, a potential South Asian spinoff show is in the works.
Restaurant TV Show Dramas
Where do the Gilmore Girls put all that food they eat at Luke’s Diner and everywhere else in Stars Hollow? We’d all like to know.
The first episode begins in Luke’s Diner. Both the diner and Sookie’s kitchen at the Inn continue to be central places for characters to interact.
Come for the witty dialogue and quirky characters (including a grumpy restaurant owner like the one in Mel’s Diner), and try not to get too hungry looking at the piles of food in every episode.
The Restaurant (Vår tid är nu)
Do you like dark Swedish soap operas where the characters suffer tragedy and misfortunes every week? That’s The Restaurant. It features Swedish cuisine with a Jewish flavor, family drama, a formidable matriarch, and a forbidden relationship.
The story follows a Jewish family who owns the upscale Djurgårdskällaren restaurant in Stockholm, Sweden, for two decades following the end of World War II.
The Restaurant has been called “Sweden’s answer to Downton Abbey.”