From cool food trucks by the side of the road to three-star Michelin establishments using ingredients you’ve never heard of, there are millions of restaurants around the world serving everything from soup to gold-wrapped sushi. Some cater for half a dozen while others cater for thousands. Find out just how many thousands at the world’s biggest restaurant.
People have been eating out for millennia, whether its ancient street vendors or high-rise, spinning mechanical marvels, restaurants come in all shapes and sizes. The concept of the restaurant as we recognise it today likely comes from twelfth century China. Restaurants were set up for travelling traders who weren’t used to regional diets and wanted food from their part of the country. There were even waiting staff who would sing the order back to the kitchen.
In the Middle Ages, inns would serve ale and stews to weary travellers, while in the 1500s French ‘host tables’ would serve a fixed-price meal at communal tables. Fine dining restaurants were present in Paris in the 1780s and could be found in the US and elsewhere by the 1830s. By the 1950s, franchised fast-food restaurants like McDonald’s changed the face of casual dining.
Today, we can dine out at a moment’s notice and have our favourite food delivered at the click of a button, but for a true gastronomic experience, feast your eyes on the world’s biggest restaurant as well as the biggest fast food restaurant in the world!
Here they are, and for the purposes of this article we have measured them by seating capacity.
Location: Atlanta, USA | Seats: 800 | Food: Fast food
Taking up two entire city blocks, The Varsity is a cool, retro burger joint that started in 1928 with a six-stool counter. Today it’s the biggest fast food restaurant in the world serving burgers, chilli dogs, fries and shakes. It was, once upon a time, the world’s largest drive-in restaurant catering for 600 cars but the car-side service closed for good in 2020.
Za Za Bazaar
Location: Bristol, UK | Seats: 1,000 | Food: Global cuisine
The UK’s biggest restaurant serves over 300 dishes from all over the globe. Inspired by Asia’s night markets, the fixed-price restaurant describes itself as a ‘passport to the world of food!’
India, the Caribbean, the Far East, Tex Mex, the Americas and Europe are all represented and the star of the show is their live cooking stations where the army of chefs will cook your dishes to order, just how you like them!
Location: Michigan, USA | Seats: 1,500 | Food: Chicken, Classic American
A true American family style eatery, Zehnder’s has been owned by the Zehnder family since 1927. Steaks, seafood and classic European desserts litter the menu. As one of the biggest restaurants in the world, it’s famous for the all-you-can-eat chicken dinners. The restaurant is in the small town of Frankenmuth, Michigan and they serve well over 400 tonnes of chicken a year to almost a million people.
Location: Curitiba, Brazil | Seats: 4,500 | Food: Italian
The biggest restaurant in Brazil and one of the world’s largest restaurants, Madalosso opened in 1963 with three tables and served thirteen people. Today, people drive for hours to this family-run Italian for their famous dish of chicken and polenta.
The ten dining rooms are named after Italian cities, while one legendary review said ‘the food keeps coming until you beg for mercy!’
Royal Dragon Restaurant
Location: Bangkok, Thailand | Seats: 5,000 | Food: Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Western
Known in Thai as Mang Gorn Luang, the Royal Dragon covers almost 34,000 square metres and offers over 1,000 dishes on its menu.
Until 2002, the Royal Dragon was the world’s biggest restaurant. Not only is it renowned for its size, but also for the fact that between 11am and 2pm every day diners queue around the block for their world famous All You Can Eat Dim Sum buffet!
West Lake Restaurant
Location: Hunan, China | Seats: 5,000 | Food: Chinese
The world’s largest Chinese restaurant opened in 2000. It’s a huge complex of open dining rooms, luxury private rooms and a purpose-built street of snack food stalls.
One of the largest restaurants in the world, West Lake employs 1,000 people, including over 300 chefs in five huge kitchens. Each year they go through over 36,000 chickens and over sixty tonnes of pork.
Bawabet Dimashq (Damascus Gate)
Location: Damascus, Syria | Seats: 6,014 | Food: Middle Eastern, Indian, Chinese
The family-owned Damascus Gate is the biggest restaurant in the world. It opened in 2002, and on busy nights employs almost 1,800 staff.
The total dining floor area is 20,000 square metres, and diners are surrounded by waterfalls, replicas of famous archaeological sites and even a flowing river! On summer nights in the huge outdoor area, guests can enjoy their dinner nestled among grottoes, arches and aqueducts.
The World’s Biggest Restaurants
So, those are just some of the largest restaurants in the world. We couldn’t include them all so special mention goes to the San Pedro Fish Market in Los Angeles that seats 3,000; Restaurante Arroyo in Mexico City seating 2,200 (and serving 15,000 tortillas every day), and the world famous Hofbräuhaus in Munich, home of 4,000 revellers during the Oktoberfest. Bon appetit! Jó étvágyat! Hyvää ruokahalua! Smacznego! Smaklig måltid!