Food on Film
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30 Best Restaurant Scenes In Classic Movies And TV Shows

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Food on Film
lapandr/istockphoto

food on film

From dates and family dinners to confrontations, crime scenes, and comedy, restaurants in movies and TV shows can serve many dramatic functions. Some of the most memorable scenes in movie and television history take place over a meal, so we looked at 30 favorite restaurant scenes that check all the boxes. And we’d suggest not seeing any of these movies on an empty stomach either.

Related: Most Iconic Movie and TV Cars
The Food Fight in 'Animal House'
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the food fight in 'animal house'

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This famous scene from 1978's frat boy comedy "Animal House" takes place in a college cafeteria. Bluto (John Belushi) first antagonizes the Deltas with his messy impression of a zit before running around the cafeteria eluding them. Finally, Bluto screams, "Food fight!" and everyone joins in.

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Marty Trying to Order a Drink in 'Back to the Future'
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marty trying to order a tab in 'back to the future'

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When Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) travels back in time to 1955, he enters a diner and tries to order a Tab, then a Pepsi Free, not realizing the sugar-free diet soda and caffeine-free version of Pepsihadn't been invented yet. Instead, he's given a sugar-free cup of black coffee. He soon notices he's taken a seat next to his teenage father, George (Crispin Glover), and that George's classmate Biff (Thomas F. Wilson) has been bullying George for years. This restaurant scene was so pivotal they recreated it in "Back to the Future II" (1989), albeit set in the year 2015.

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Serving A Secret Recipe In ‘Big Night’
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serving a secret recipe in 'big night'

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This story of sibling restaurateurs climaxes with the ultimate meal. Primo (Tony Shalhoub) and Secondo (Stanley Tucci) prepare their stuffed Il Timpano, a secret recipe they've brought over from Italy. When they serve it, it’s so good that even their top competitor is wowed. The Timpano was so glamorously photographed, several recipes for the baked pasta dish have popped up since.

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The Molten Chocolate Lava Cake Scene in ‘Chef’
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the molten chocolate lava cake scene in 'chef'

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When Chef Carl Casper (Jon Favreau) gets critic Ramsey Michel (Oliver Platt) to give his restaurant a second chance, restaurant owner Riva (Dustin Hoffman) forces him to make the same old menu. When Ramsey gives it the same bad review, Carl confronts the critic at the table and goes nuclear. It's the rage everyone has always wanted to express. Really, why would Riva serve the same poorly reviewed menu?

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Duck For Dinner In 'A Christmas Story'
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duck for dinner in 'a christmas story'

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When their neighbor's dogs ruin their Christmas turkey, the Parker family goes out for Chinese in the 1983 holiday classic. They express surprise when their duck is delivered with its head still attached. "That Christmas would live in our memories as the Christmas when we were introduced to Chinese turkey. All was right with the world," adult Ralphie Parker reminisces.

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Tom Cruise Gets Served in 'Cocktail'
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tom cruise gets served in 'cocktail'

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New York bartender Brian Flanagan (Tom Cruise) gets what he deserves at Jerry's Diner, one of many scenes actually filmed in Toronto. After cheating on Jordan (Elisabeth Shue), Brian tries to apologize. She's not hearing it and wants to get back to work so she dumps a bowl of chicken a la king on Brian’s head after a plate of meatloaf in his lap.

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Sharing The Roast Beef Sandwich In 'Diner'
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sharing the roast beef sandwich in 'diner'

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Pretty much this entire movie is a great restaurant scene; it is called "Diner," after all. But if we had to choose one scene, it would be the roast beef sandwich scene. Friends Eddie (Steve Guttenberg) and Modell (Paul Reiser) argue over who gets to finish Eddie's sandwich, and you can tell this is the same conversation they have every night.

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Breakfast Breakdown In ‘Falling Down’
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breakfast breakdown in 'falling down'

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Now that McDonald's finally serves breakfast all day, you may not remember just how frustrating it could be to miss the chain's breakfast hours. When former defense engineer William "D-Fens"  Foster (Michael Douglas) goes berserk for a day, the oppressive fast food timekeepers become a target of his rage.

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Alex Tries To Find A New Ellen On 'Family Ties'
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alex tries to find a new ellen on 'family ties'

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In real life, Michael J. Fox married Tracy Pollan. On "Family Ties," the artistic Ellen Reed (Pollan) leaves the conservative Alex Keaton (Fox). On his rebound date, Alex tries to mold Sharon (Haviland Morris) into a carbon copy of Ellen. Even the waiter picks up on it, frequently intruding and saying, "You could be Ellen!"

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Abe Froman's Reservation In 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off'
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abe froman's reservation in 'ferris bueller's day off'

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Charming high school senior Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) can talk his way into anyplace. So when a fancy restaurant refuses to serve him and his friends, he impersonates Abe Froman, the sausage king of Chicago, and gets his revenge on the snooty maitre d' (Jonathan Schmock). The food was fine, but nothing tastes better than victory.

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Ordering A Side Of Toast In ‘Five Easy Pieces’
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ordering a side of toast in 'five easy pieces'

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All Bobby Dupea (Jack Nicholson) wants is a side order of whole wheat toast with his breakfast, but the waitress insists there are no substitutions on the menu. Bobby elaborately figures out that they do stock whole wheat bread, as a chicken salad sandwich is served on whole wheat toast. His suggestion to hold everything, including the chicken salad, does not go well.

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'The Godfather'
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a fatal dinner at louis' restaurant in 'the godfather'

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When Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) has to take action against the Sollozzo family, the hit goes down at Louis' Restaurant. Knowing he'll be frisked upon arrival, Michael prepares by having a gun hidden in the restroom prior to the meeting. This iconic scene is part of Michael's rise to become the Corleone godfather in a classic film full of memorable moments.

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The Famous Long Take At The Copacabana In ‘Goodfellas’
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the famous long take at the copacabana in 'goodfellas'

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This famous long take introduces pretty much everybody in the movie. Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) takes Karen (Lorraine Bracco) to the Copacabana, walking through the kitchen to take their seats as he meets every gangster who'll play a role in the film. Set to The Crystals' "Then He Kissed Me," this one really shows that Henry is a made man.

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The Great Outdoors
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showdown with a 96-ounce steak in 'the great outdoors'

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Paul Bunyan's Cupboard makes Chet Ripley (John Candy) a deal: eat The Old '96er, a 96-ounce prime-aged beef steak, in one sitting and his entire table eats for free. Chet may be a foodie, but 96 ounces of steak is a lot, even for him. What makes it worse is that the restaurant means all 96 ounces, including the fat Chet cut off and moved to the side.

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The Great Outdoors
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teahouse shootout in 'hard boiled'

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You'll never look at a teahouse the same way after John Woo's action masterpiece. Officer Tequila (Chow Yun-fat) and his partner Benny (Bowie Lam) try to make an arrest in the teahouse. When a gunfight breaks out, Tequila busts handguns out of the false bottoms of bird cages so he can slide across the floor and shoot all the baddies.

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Heat
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a famous face-to-face in 'heat'

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The first time Lt. Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino) and master criminal Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro) meet at Beverly Hills restaurant Kate Mantilini is pivotal not just for the characters' meeting. It was also the first scene screen legends Pacino and De Niro ever shared together. Sadly, the actual Kate Mantilini closed in 2014.

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I Love Lucy
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the divided diner in 'i love lucy'

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Every week, Lucille Ball would take a new job and make it hilarious. In "The Diner," the Ricardos and the Mertzes open a diner together, but soon feud. In classic sitcom fashion, they split the diner down the middle. Lucy and Ethel compete for customers, both trying to lure them over to their side.

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The Jerk
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splurging on 'new' wine in 'the jerk'

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No one is better at playing an idiot than Steve Martin. In his first movie vehicle, Martin played Navin R. Johnson, an idiot who gets rich. Dining at a fancy restaurant with Marie (Bernadette Peters), Navin sets the waiter straight on all that old wine. He wants to splurge on the new stuff — wine from this year, last year at the latest!

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L.A. Story
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ordering coffee in 'l.a. story'

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Steve Martin returns to the dining scene, this time skewering Los Angeles society's phony highbrow drinks and lemming-like attitude. If you do the math on Harris K. Telemacher (Martin)'s half-double decaffeinated half-caf, he's ordering a coffee with negative caffeine. And everyone at the table copies his request for a twist of lemon because God forbid they should order their own drink.

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Lady and the Tramp
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a romantic spaghetti dinner in 'lady and the tramp'

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Technically, Lady and the Tramp dine in the alley behind the restaurant, but this is such a heartwarming classic we'll make an exception. Sharing a plate of spaghetti, the animated dogs suck on a single noodle until they meet in a kiss, an iconic romantic scene that's been recreated and spoofed many times since.

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Mrs. Doubtfire
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caught in the act at dinner in 'mrs. doubtfire'

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This was the ultimate "two dates in the same restaurant" debacle. Daniel Hillard (Robin Williams) is scheduled to meet a TV executive and dine with his family as Mrs. Doubtfire in the same restaurant. Going back and forth, changing in and out of his Doubtfire costume in the bathroom, Daniel eventually has too much to drink and accidentally sits at the executive's table in full Doubtfire garb.

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Pulp Fiction
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the $5 milkshake in 'pulp fiction'

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Vincent Vega (John Travolta) and Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman) enjoy a night out at Jack Rabbit Slims in one of the most iconic scenes in film history. There's the dance-off and the witty banter about uncomfortable silences, but the most memorable part may have been the $5 milkshake. Back in 1994, five bucks seemed like a lot to spend on a drink. Now it's a bargain!

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Ratatouille
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impressing a tough food critic in 'ratatouille'

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There are many great restaurant scenes in this Pixar classic as Remy the rat (Patton Oswalt) helps human chef Linguini (Lou Romano) make fabulous meals. But the clincher is when they make even hardened food critic Anton Ego (Peter O'Toole) remember the childhood joy that first got him interested in food. Their meal gives him a flashback that melts his heart.

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Reservoir Dogs
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the opening diner scene in 'reservoir dogs'

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When the Reservoir Dogs meet over breakfast, audiences get their first earful of Quentin Tarantino's snappy dialogue. Mr. Pink (Steve Buscemi)'s no-tipping diatribe may be the most memorable and oft-quoted, but Mr. Brown (Tarantino)'s Madonna theory and Nice Guy Eddie (Chris Penn)'s classic rock nostalgia feature some zingers too.

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Seinfeld
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the chef doesn't wash his hands on 'seinfeld'

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One of the most famous "Seinfeld" episodes is set entirely at a Chinese restaurant as the gang waits to be seated, and that's not even the show's best restaurant episode. In "The Pie," Jerry runs into the chef in the bathroom and the chef doesn't wash his hands. Exquisite close-ups of the chef personally handling Jerry's dinner make for a classic awkward episode about nothing.

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The Simpsons
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homer eats poisonous blowfish on 'the simpsons'

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"The Simpsons" has been on for 30 years, but let's go back to season two's episode "One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish." Homer will eat anything, but when he eats gourmet sushi, it might be fatal. I guess it's a spoiler now — Homer lives 28 years later — but that was a close one.

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The Sopranos
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the final scene of 'the sopranos'

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The very last shot of the series finale leaves Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) sitting alone in a restaurant as Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" plays. What does it mean? Did Tony get whacked? Does he just go on with his life? Fans have been debating the "Sopranos" finale ever since it aired over a decade ago and they'll probably never stop.

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22 Jump Street
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ice cube destroys the buffet in '22 jump street'

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When Captain Dickson (Ice Cube) finds out Schmidt (Jonah Hill) is dating his daughter (Amber Stevens West), he gets very, very angry and takes it out on the buffet. It is the funniest display of Cube's gangsta bravado. If you watch the deleted scenes, it actually went on even longer with Cube destroying the buffet.

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Waitress
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keri russell making pies in 'waitress'

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Any of the scenes in which Jenna (Keri Russell) makes pies have to be on this list. Jenna makes pies to reflect her mood, so there are sad pies and happy pies, but all are equally delicious. The pie-making at Jenna's restaurant was so tantalizing that they even adapted the film into a Broadway musical.

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When Harry Met Sally...
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faking 'it' at the deli in 'when harry met sally'

This movie is the reason this whole list exists. Meg Ryan's Sally made cinema history when she faked an orgasm for Billy Crystal's Harry in the middle of Manhattan's busy Katz's Delicatessen. But it's a fellow customer — played by director Rob Reiner's mother, Estelle Reiner — who seals the deal with a single line: "I'll have what she's having." Every restaurant scene ever since has tried to be as memorable as this one.

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