8 Restaurants Made Famous By the Silver Screen

By Ashley Hardaway, Staff WriterSept. 24, 2014
By Ashley Hardaway, Staff WriterSept. 24, 2014, at 2:01 p.m.
U.S. News & World Report

8 Restaurants Made Famous By the Silver Screen

Occasionally, the magic of TV and film will flutter over from the sound stages to the real world, allowing fans to briefly exist in these imaginary realms. Nowhere is this more prevalent than in the restaurants and bars that briefly doubled as TV or film sets. Travel to Paris to the cafe "Amélie" made famous. Head to New York City for a slice of Louis C.K.'s preferred late-night snack. Trek over to Washington state for some "Twin Peaks" cherry pie, or journey to the top of the Tokyo skyline for a glass of whiskey à la "Lost in Translation." Get ready to reenact all of your favorite scenes while chowing down in these eight iconic eateries (and don't worry, that one from "When Harry Met Sally" isn't included).

The director of "Amélie," Jean-Pierre Jeunet, lived across the street from Café des Deux Moulins (which adopts its moniker from two nearby windmills — Moulin Rouge and Moulin de la Galette). Realizing he wouldn't be able to replicate its charm via soundstage, he opted to film on location here. Today, the brasserie is just as charming as it is in the movie, celebrating its associated fame with "Amélie" artwork displayed throughout the Montmartre cafe. The menu pays homage to the film by offering Crème Brûlée d'Amélie Poulain, and yes, cracking the top of it with your spoon while smiling sheepishly is practically mandatory. 

The evocative and decadent backdrop where Bob (Bill Murray) strikes up an improbable companionship with Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) in "Lost in Translation" exists in the Park Hyatt Tokyo's New York Bar. Film fans will recognize the panoramic views (the lounge is situated on the 52nd floor of the hotel), as well as the bar where many of the movie's iconic scenes took place. So famed is its vantage point that a trip to Tokyo is not complete without ordering a drink here. Just make it a Japanese whisky. After all, "for relaxing times, make it Suntory time."

With its floor-to-ceiling French windows, romantic lighting and European design, Cafe Lalo was a local NYC favorite long before "You've Got Mail" stars Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks filmed their endearingly rude exchange here. Cute as the crinkle in Meg Ryan's nose, the cafe's popularity rose after the film debuted in 1998 and is now filled with tourists and local artists alike who come here for its impressive array of desserts (more than 100 cakes to choose from). Luckily, smartphones have done away with needing to denote oneself by placing a rose in a book, however, in a place with such charming history, a little whimsical nod doesn't hurt. 

The final episode of "The Sopranos" was filmed at this unassuming soda shop and diner that's been in operation since 1939. Chosen because of its traditional atmosphere, it was at Holsten's Brookdale Confectionery that Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) waited for his family in the final scene of the series while listening to Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" on the tabletop jukebox. Now a tourism mecca for diehard fans (the diner hawks "final epsiode" merhandise alongside its boxed candies), it hasn't lost its personable nature. When Gandolfini passed away in 2013, the diner placed a "Reserved," sign on his booth as a modest memorial. Grab a booth for yourself and order a plate of onion rings — Tony's favorite.

Fans of "Twin Peaks" and its prequel, "Fire Walk With Me," will recognize the exterior of Twede's Cafe as the series' Double R Diner. Unfortunately, a fire destroyed much of the original interior in 2000, but the show's ghost lives on through the photos that cover the back hallway and the cafe's peddling of filming location maps. The eatery also serves Agent Dale Cooper's (Kyle MacLachlan) favorite cherry pie and, of course, a "damn fine cup o' coffee."

In the City that Never Sleeps, one will inevitably need some late-night eats. Might as well take a cue from comedian Louis C.K., who stops at Ben's Pizzeria — a Greenwich Village bar crowd favorite — in the opening credits of his show "Louie." While it may not be the "Most Famous Pizza in the World," as its awning so audaciously states, it does draw in a sizeable crowd filled with hungry locals and tourists with good taste. Just don't try to eat the whole slice in three bites.

Ashley Hardaway is a Washington, D.C.-based food and travel writer and the author of "Other Places Publishing guide to Ukraine." You can follow her on Twitter at @ADHardaway, connect with her on LinkedIn or keep up to date on her travels at AshleyHardaway.com.

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