One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
In Japan: a traditional restaurant, especially a prestigious one.
1950s; earliest use found in Corpus Christi (Texas) Times. From Japanese ryōtei traditional high-class Japanese restaurant from ryō food, cuisine (shortened from ryōri; from Middle Chinese) + tei pavilion, elegant residence built in the style of a traditional summer house, often used as the final element in restaurant names (from Middle Chinese).
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