This Is The World's Largest Restaurant

Have you ever been to McDonald's during rush hour? Have you ever been to an Olive Garden on a Friday night? When you're at the bar and it's dollar shot night, you certainly aren't getting any breathing room. All of these places are places you'd expect to be pretty packed, and for some people, they're the busiest restaurants they've ever seen. For servers, you'd probably fill up articles telling us about how crowded your workplace gets.

While a hundred or so people at a bar or a restaurant in one night is certainly a very good sign of business, the idea of serving 6,014 people would obviously be nothing short of the place having something extraordinary that's bringing them all in. In Damascus, Syria, there has existed a place that is both beautiful and bustling, a place so big it seems to exist as both restaurant and city, where the smells of spices and exotic cuisine are enjoyed near intricate flowing rivers fed by cascading ancient waterfalls and stunning displays of architecture. Boasting a name that fits its beautiful, inviting décor and atmosphere within the fantastic regions of Syria, this is the Damascus Gate Restaurant, better known as Bawabet Dimashq. When Guinness World Records selected the place in 2008 as the world's largest restaurant, they certainly weren't kidding around.

How big is the Bawabet Dimashq?

According to Guinness, Bawabet Dimashq boasts a total floor space of 20,000 meters (or 2,177.35 square feet), with its dining area being an astounding 54,000 square meters and a modest 2,500 square meter kitchen. Owned by  Shaker Al Samman and his family, this enormous palace of culinary delights can serve up to 6,014 people, with on a peak night, nearly 1,800 staff working in the restaurant. So efficient is the staff working at the Bawabet is that one chef is said prepare 25-30 servings of popular dishes in just under one minute! 

The Bawabet is designed to mimic the beautiful architecture of Syrian ruins, boasting beautiful waterfalls, a flowing river that drifts past one of many seating areas, and sparkling fountains. However, the building also has six separate sections, each designed around different culinary cultures: Arab, Chinese, Indian, Iranian, Middle Eastern, and, of course, Syrian cuisine. One can also chose to sit under the roofed interior of the Bawabet, or on summer nights, could enjoy the sprawling outdoor seating area where tables and chairs sit nestled among lush grottoes, archways, aqueducts, and rivers.

Unfortunately, no website seems to exist that gives any status of the Bawabet Dimashq's current affairs, though Guinness hasn't changed its listing. Tita's Travels, a travel blog, posted in September 2020 that the restaurant was "semi-destroyed and abandoned" during the Syria Civil War. As of August 2, the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs advises against travel to Syria — "risk of unjust detention" being on their list of reasons to stay away.