Located on a small street near the center of Rome, the Casetta dell'orso is a small yet popular restaurant staffed by a group of older, bespectacled gentlemen. Nicoletta is a twenty-one-year-old woman who has just arrived in Rome to meet with her estranged mother's husband, who owns the restaurant. She intends to inform him that not only was his wife married once before, but also that she is her daughter - a secret her mother desperately wants kept. When she arrives at the restaurant Nicoletta becomes enamoured with Claudio, one of the waiters, and begins to spend more time there. Despite the age gap, Nicoletta finds her feelings towards Claudio growing; and after making a promise to keep her mother's secret, Nicoletta begins working at the restaurant as an apprentice chef. Now she is trying her hardest to become a good cook, but can Nicoletta overcome the difference in age and win the quiet Claudio's heart?
Tachibana is an heir to a huge and successful corporation. He can speak five languages, play musical instruments, and has even passed the bar exam, so naturally he's now... running a bakery?! At the Antique Bakery, Ono, known as the ‘Gay of demonic charm' is serves as the head patissier; ex-boxing pro Eiji works as Ono's apprentice; and Tachibana's bumbling henchman and shadow, Chikage, helps out to the best of his rather limited abilities. As a carefree ladies man, Tachibana is always ready to turn on the charm if it means getting a sale, though aside from his love of women, no one really knows why the grandson of a successful businessman would suddenly decide to open a bakery. Could a traumatic event in Tachibana's past have anything to do with why he set up shop?
Both of these manga series focus on attractive staff in an eating establishment and the interaction between the characters. While Antique Bakery is more homoerotic, and Ristorante more focused on elder gentlemen, both have a similar vibe to them with romantic overtones and a more mature style.
Pouring a perfect cocktail is a difficult feat, but one bartender, Ryuu Sasakura, is such a master of his craft that his drinks are renowned worldwide. No matter what challenges are thrown his way, Ryuu takes the time to get to know his customers and serves them the most helpful concoction for their joys and sorrows. With a calm demeanor and caring heart, this skilled bartender will do whatever it takes to make his clientele, and colleagues, happy.
Ristorante Paradiso and Bartender are both extremely slow series that bring all of the characters together. Each of the manga series involves a great detail on the character development and takes time to progress through the story. They also each involve food and drinks captivating the people that are in the restaurants while spinning a relaxing tale of their lives.
20-something Meiko Otani is restless, living day to day with a job she hates and an unemployed boyfriend who'd rather be playing in a band. Like others her age, she struggles to find her place in the world and a purpose in life, so in an attempt to make a fresh start, she makes the decision to quit her job. Together with her friends, Meiko will embark on a journey of self discovery to find what will truly make her happy.
These are both slice-of-life, coming-of-age stories featuring smart, insightful young women. Both protagonists leave familiar surroundings and strike out on their own, seeking independence, new experiences and a sense of purpose. They are supported in their quest by a dedicated and good-hearted group of friends.