The Most Significant Restaurants of the Movies

Whether a London restaurant, a Manhattan bar or an eatery on another planet, these are the restaurants where our favourite characters have dined, orchestrated, worked and loved.

The Santa Clause (1994)

Once the turkey’s caught fire, Scott Calvin can only do one thing, take his son for christmas dinner at Denny’s. Shot on location in Scarborough (Canada), the restaurant is full of business men, and all the father’s whose dinner plans didn’t quite go to plan.

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Moonstruck (1987)

Rose Castorini (Olympia Dukakis) is a woman not afraid to eat alone. She’s also not afraid to dine with college professor, Perry (John Mahoney), fall a little weak at the knees; and decide that she’d rather not invite him in.

“I’m too old for you.” – Rose Castorini

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Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)

Battling for custody of their son, it becomes one of the most dramatic canes of the film. It is also the scene whereby only Dustin Hoffman and the cameraman were aware that Hoffman was about to throw a glass, inviting a real reacting from Streep which remained in the film.

(JG Melon’s Restaurant, 1291 3rd Avenue and 74th Street, Manhattan.)

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Lost In Translation (2004)

In and amongst the film’s ambiguity, this scene follows suit. Bob and Charlotte’s meal couldn’t be any more tense, but it’s never awkward to watch.

The shabu-shabu restaurant is located in the basement of the Shibuya Creston Hotel in Tokyo.

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Goodfellas (1990)

Though not the famed stedicam shot, the shots of the lamp-ridden restaurant are just as epic in aesthetics, as they are in drama and stylistic elements.

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It’s Complicated (2009)

Jane Adler’s (Meryl Streep) bakery is unfortunately not real. It was however, based on a numerous selection of grocery stores and bakeries including Daylesford (London), New York’s City Bakery and the Barefoot Contessa in the Hamptons.

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The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

“Boy With Apple” is on the cover of the dining room menu. The large orange space where The Author and Zero Mustafa drink their champagne, is actually the ballroom in Stadthalle, Görlitz, Germany.

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Mystic Pizza (1988)

The film taught us how to play pool, get car assistance, sustain friendships, and is thought of as Matt Damon’s breakout role.

The set for Daisy, Kat and Jojo’s workplace was a  converted home in Stonington Borough and later made into Mystic Pizza building after filming.

“What the hell do you think Leona really puts in that pizza?”

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I Am Love (2009)

I Am Love is heavily centred around food. The lunch at which she has at Antonio’s restaurant with Rori and Eva , changes pace effortlessly. Food becomes central and focussed upon. Like a trance, the lighting, sound and cinematography together, creates one of the most memorable scenes of the film.

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Sleepless In Seattle (1993)

On the 65th floor of the Rockefeller Center, the Rainbow Room is where sAnnie (Meg Ryan) and Walter’s (Bill Pullman) sit directly opposite  the EmpireState Building. It’s both iconic for New York’s skyline and architecture, as well as for what happens next. 

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Rainbow Room at the Empire State Building

Burnt (2015)

Clean work surfaces. White, open spaces. Delicate food. Adriano Goldman’s cinematography is sharp and pristine, though as is the production design. Burnt revolves around restaurants and kitchens, but watching Adam Jones (Bradley Cooper) sat at a table, reminds the audience of the core of the story.

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Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)

Mos Eisley Cantina’s, along with it’s corresponding theme song makes this drinking and dining establishment, one of Star Wars’ most memorable scenes. There are also tales behind the Cantina, which are featured as Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina. 

 “Mos Eisley spaceport. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.”

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Mos Eisley Cantina

Vivre Sa Vie (1960)

Jean-Lic Godard’s 1960 masterpiece features some of the most beautiful shots in French cinema. Raoul Coutard (cinematographer), with the help of Godard, create some of the most interesting still and moving shots in this new wave piece of artistic cinema.

The early cafe shot of Nana is both iconic and beautiful, though-provoking and revealing.

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Pulp Fiction (1994)

From the bringing to the end, there are several major and iconic restaurant scenes in Pulp Fiction. ‘Jack Rabbit Slims‘ plays host to the unexpected albeit great dance scene whilst the now demolished  Hawthorne Grill provides a location for the most important scenes.

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“Can I get anybody anymore coffee?”

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Never Let Me Go (2010)

Shot in a cafe in Weston-super-Mare, the Regent Restaurant and coffee lounge provides for the perfect backdrop. The retro look of the existing restaurant made it a great location, whilst they all order ‘Sausage, egg, and chips’ and ‘five cokes’ by the seaside.

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When Harry Met Sally (1989)

The scene that takes place at Katz Delicatessen is the most iconic scene from the film, and it’s not because of The Rueben. It has become one of Nora Ephron’s quintessential scenes and handles humour, sexuality and liberalism all amongst a crowded restaurant.

“I’ll have what she’s having.” 

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The Apartment (1960)

Production design is extremely dense in the film, whilst the Chinese restaurant is one of the most heavily decocted scene locations; playing host to Fran and Sheldrake meeting after six weeks spend apart, rekindling their affair. It’s an important location, and also one that provides a beautiful backdrop for some of the most loved scenes in Billy Wilders award winning screenplay.

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Love Actually  (2003)

From leaving London, anticipation is in the air as Jamie (Colin Firth) comes across several obstacles getting to a small restaurant in France to propose. Jamie and Aurelia’s scene wouldn’t have had the same impact had it not of had a mezzanine scarcely decorated in tinsel. The language barrier also allows humour to come through dialogue, and in and amongst a crowded restaurant.

“Thank you. That will be nice. Yes is being my answer. Easy question.”

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Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

A scene that shines a light on their family dynamic, as well as on body image. Olive (Abigail Breslin), waiting for her waffles and ice cream has the likes of body-fat and ice-cream explained to her, whilst being asked: “Those women in Miss America, are they skinny or are they fat?”

The family join in, in support of Olive, encouraging to her to pay less attention to physical aspects. At the parent, Olive evaluates her body in the mirror, the outcome to which  is largely affected by the events that happened at the diner only hours earlier.

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Midnight In Paris (2011)

Paris, where Hemmingway, Fitzgerald, Dali, Porter and Fitzgerald alike, can all gather at a bar somewhere between 1920 and 2011. Le Polidor is one of the places these icons meet Gil (Owen Wilson). Lowly lit, traditional, handsome.

“It sounds so crazy to say, you guys are going to think I’m drunk, but I have to tell someone, I’m from a different time.”

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No Country For Old Men (2007)

The Cohen brother’s 2007 thriller takes place across several diners and coffee shops, whilst Sheriff Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) frequents the shop in El Paso, along with Roscoe, in an attempt to work out how to get steps ahead of Anton Chigurh.

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Cafe Society (2015)

The Mexican restaurant becomes the focal point to Vonnie (Kristen Stewart) and Bobby’s (Jesse Eisenberg) relationship, against a painted wall. He falls in love, as she tells him of her journalist boyfriend; and though much to Bobby’s dismay, he never really gives up on the chance.

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Nights Of Cabiria (1957)

Upon the balcony, Cabiria’s  ( Giulietta Masina) life seems to be heading in the right direction with Oscar (François Périer). Just like her previous lover, Oscar has another motive, and soon, Cabiria is left stumbling around without her belongings, but soon into the joyous presence of younger people dancing in the streets.

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American Graffiti (1973)

What happens on one night must revolve around one central location. Or at least that’s what George Lucas decided. In terms of  American Graffiti, that place is Mel’s Drive-In on a Californian night.

“I’m waiting for a double Chucky Chuck.”

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