There are really two kinds of restaurants.

There are those that people go to only in order to eat, and then there are those that people go to for the purpose of drinking and socializing. Regardless of the type of restaurant, however, there's always sakana — not in the most widely accepted sense of the word, which means fish, but small plates of food that cleanse the palate or just bring continuity to a meal.

Sakana has two distinct meanings in Japanese, written with different characters. The most common one is the reading of the character . This word is basically equivalent to the English meaning of the word fish, but there are a few instances when linguistic discrepancies arise over whether something is a fish or another type of marine life.