Is bistro an Italian as well as French word?

If not, what would be the Itailian term for a small, quaint restaurant? Or a more elegant pizzeria?


Supposedly bistro is originally Russian, odd eh?


Osteria fits your defintion for a small, quaint restaurant. I think Trattoria is usually a bit more elegant, with less “homey” feel.

(literally “hostelry” which we now think of as a place to either keep horses or college-aged travellers, but used to mean a small inn with home-cooked meals.)

Not true, although a common misconception. The origin of the word is unclear, but it’s unlikely to be from Russian.

Russian for Quick(ly) is БЫСТРO – bistro or bistrah

While this site discounts the russian origin (the appearance in standard french occuring some 70 years after the Cossacks were supposedly shouting БЫСТРO! at harried waitstaff in the Paris cafes), but does little to give a more convincing explanation. In fact it seems to support the apocryphal origin by stating the lexographers often see differences of decades between the introduction of a new term and its adoption into the standard vocabulary [it does, however, state the the author believes that 70 years is just too much]. In the end the author throws up his hands and as much as states that he doesn’t accept the Russian origin but cannot find an absolutely convincing alternative.

Perhaps you have a better cite for an alternative etymology?