True meaning of 美味しい

I learned that 美味しい means delicious (I think we all pick that one up fairly early in our journey toward mastering Japanese!), but then when studying Bunpro grammar, they gave as an example 美味しいレストランに行いく, “to go to a delicious restaurant,” and it surprised me.

My understanding has been that Japanese is unusually logical, more so than English. It’s certainly not the restaurant that’s delicious—nobody consumes a restaurant, although 怪獣 are fond of knocking them down—it’s the food they serve that’s delicious.

So does 美味しい really mean delicious, or does it mean something like able-to-please-fussy-gourmands (which could be true both for a restaurant or a dish), or am I overthinking? (Which I often/always do).

I just have trouble imagining saying “I went to a delicious restaurant” even in English, so saying it in Japanese really disconcerted me!

If you check a monolingual definition, 美味しい does just mean 物の味がよい, so it’s not the restaurant that is itself 美味しい.

I would chalk it up to “Japanese people don’t bother saying redundant information.”

You can imagine that 美味しい is not just a solo adjective, but the end of a relative clause where the subject has been omitted because it’s obvious.



Apart from the fact that the notion that some natural languages are more “logical” than others is a difficult one to begin with from a linguistic standpoint, I don’t think Japanese stands out in that regard.


I don’t. I’ve heard it and a variant “That restaurant was delicious” numerous times. And I’ve never seen anyone think that the phrase meant that anyone ate the restaurant itself. :man_shrugging:


Can confirm.

“That bakery is the tastiest!”

“Oh my god the place last night was delicious.”


I like this explanation way better than the ’ that’s just the way they say it ’ I read as clarification.
Granted, that was at a point in the grammar where relative clauses had not been introduced yet. Guess they had to do something.

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