I am very confused. I prefer the latter, but I did saw the former in many cases.

Which one is more appropriate?

  • 8
    Not enough characters to edit, but it should either be "I saw" or "I did see". – thumbtackthief Aug 30 '17 at 15:05

Chinese restaurant is correct.

There is nothing like a china restaurant. If you have come across that, it is incorrect.

However, if China Restaurant is the actual name of an establishment, then it stays unchanged because it is a proper noun.


We had dinner at a Chinese restaurant.

We had dinner at China Restaurant.

  • 3
    It's worth noting, too, that "China House" seems to be a common name for Chinese restaurants in the USA, so "dinner at China House" might not be unusual. I also know of a Caribbean restaurant which is actually called Caribbean Restaurant, which makes talking about a bit awkward sounding: "do you want to come with me to Caribbean Restaurant?" – Joshua Taylor Aug 30 '17 at 16:15
  • @JoshuaTaylor I ate at China House last night! – cjl750 Aug 30 '17 at 16:25
  • Minor addition, if China Restaurant is the name of a chain of restaurants (i.e. multiple locations for the same company), then it would also be correct to say "We had dinner at a China Restaurant" (similar to "We had dinner at a McDonald's"). The article is optional, but allowed if more than one China Restaurant franchise exists. – Flater Aug 31 '17 at 15:58
  • Oddly enough, native bilingual English/Mandarin speakers in Singapore use "China" as an adjective, rather than "Chinese", and so would say China Restaurant Chins girl, etc . Wrong, but common – Mawg says reinstate Monica Sep 2 '17 at 21:57

When describing a restaurant, you use an adjective. Thus, the adjective Chinese describes the nature of the restaurant. Similarly Indian Restaurant, Thai Restaurant etc.

China in this usage is a noun and so is not appropriate in this type of phrase.
(Although another meaning of China is an adjective describing something made of ceramic)

There is an alternative description for restaurants that uses a noun phrase rather than an adjective. This is when a specific food is served, rather than a style of food. Examples are Burger Restaurant or Pizza Restaurant.

  • 8
    Though a "china restaurant" might offer rather ornamental dishware! – Nat Aug 30 '17 at 15:25
  • German "Chinarestaurant" and Swedish "Kinarestaurang" both use the noun form, but only when talking about Chinese restaurants. Both use adjective forms for e.g. Indian and Thai restaurants. Languages are weird. – that other guy Aug 31 '17 at 19:35

If this is a restaurant that serves Chinese food, then indeed call it a Chinese restaurant as chinese is the adjective and restaurant is the noun.

As some have noted, there are sometimes exceptions for certain food like "California wine" or whatever, but when you are talking about cuisine, the adjective form is almost always used.


Chinese is the correct one!

Because China is the place and Chinese describes the authentic food and culture of the place called China.

  • 4
    It is more complicated. Cuisines are described with the adjective form, but many food products themselves use attributives— California wine, not Californian wine, Oxford sausage not Oxonian sausage. Likewise, New York culture is somewhat different from New Yorker culture. – choster Aug 31 '17 at 3:17
  • @choster I guess you are right! – Sayan Aug 31 '17 at 9:32
  • @choster Would it be wrong to say Californian Wine or Oxonian sausage? What exactly is the difference between New York culture and New Yorker culture? For example, the definition of California Wine seems to be just wine made in California. – Trilarion Aug 31 '17 at 10:11
  • @Trilarion My cellar is full of Sonoman Pinot wouldn't be ungrammatical, but the convention in the wine world is to use locales attributively, so Sonoma Pinot would be preferred. Sonoman Pinot would suggest that the wine was not actually produced in the Sonoma Valley region but linked in some other way, or that the speaker was uneducated about wine. Oxford sausage, on the other hand, is the name of a particular dish; it is not just any sausage associated with Oxfordshire. – choster Aug 31 '17 at 14:34
  • @Trilarion California wine would be a type of wine that is made only in California or a type that originated there, even if this particular bottle were made somewhere else. Californian wine is any type of wine that happened to be made in California. – Jed Schaaf Aug 31 '17 at 14:35

Either is correct, but it becomes dependent on the clientele. Are you going there to 'eat' Chinese food...or do you need Chinese atmosphere.

  • 1
    This doesn't seem correct. In what case does "China Restaurant" mean "Chinese atmosphere"? Is there even a restaurant that has "Chinese atmosphere" but not Chinese food? – eques Sep 5 '17 at 18:22
  • yes...there are plenty of diners filled with buddhas that do not know how to make stir fry in a wok. They prefer to offer hamburgers and French fries. The owners are Chinese, but they work for US dollars. – Daniel White Sep 6 '17 at 19:59
  • sorry, but the fact that some Chinese restaurants aren't good Chinese restaurants is not reflected in the term used in English. – eques Sep 7 '17 at 13:08

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