This posting, unlike many of mine, will be short, as I can't remember ever as a child going for a meal to a cafe or restaurant. I grew up in the 1950's and we simply never ate out. I don't think we were unusual - people just did not do it, when you could eat at home.
We lived then in the north west seaside resort of Blackpool, so there was an abundance of cafes and fish and chip shops - but they were there for visitors, not for us. My only memory is of a regular Saturday afternoon trip with my mother into town to meet my Aunt Edith at a cafe. I think it was called "Pinny's" (or something like that) and it specialised in icecream from the local Palatine Dairy. I can still picture where the cafe was, just up from the promenade and the famous Blackpool Tower. My aunt was a teacher and I took the opportunity to take along any homework I was having trouble with and we would look over it together.
In my early teens we moved to York, and again I have no recollections of eating out. This must have been the time of the coffee bar culture, but that passed me by, and at weekends I met friends at my home or theirs.
By my late teens we were living in Edinburgh and I remember going for a birthday treat with my mother to the Chocalate House (long since gone) on Princes Street. (I remain a chocoholic!) There was also the tea room at PT's (Patrick Thomson's) department store on the North Bridge, where it was all very genteel and waitress served.
I suppose it was only when I started university that eating out became more of an experience, beginning with the university refrectory where I lived off beans and chips for lunch every day, because it was the cheapest item on the menu - one shilling and sixpence.
Gradually - and I mean very gradually - I began to broaden my oh so British taste buds to exotic food such a pizzas and Chinese.
Now eating out is one of our great regular pleasures, not just for special occasions such as birthdays, wedding anniversaries or family visits, but to enjoy a relaxing lunch in a pub, bistro or country house hotel.