Seinfeld (1989–1998)
6 user 2 critic

The Chinese Restaurant 

Jerry, Elaine and George stop for a quick Chinese dinner before seeing "Plan 9 From Outer Space," but circumstances at the eatery make them miss the movie.


Tom Cherones


Larry David (created by), Jerry Seinfeld (created by) | 3 more credits »




Episode complete credited cast:
Jerry Seinfeld ... Jerry Seinfeld
Julia Louis-Dreyfus ... Elaine Benes
Michael Richards ... Kramer (credit only)
Jason Alexander ... George Costanza
James Hong ... Bruce
David Tress ... Mr. Cohen
Judy Kain ... Lorraine
Kate Benton Kate Benton ... Woman on Phone
Michael Mitz Michael Mitz ... Phone Guy
Kendall McCarthy Kendall McCarthy ... Man


Waiting for a table at a Chinese restaurant where they've been told it'll be 5 or 10 minutes, Elaine, George and Jerry find people arriving after them being seated ahead of them. Elaine is starving and Jerry dares her to walk to a table and eat someone's food. He also sees someone who he can't place. George meanwhile is desperate to call Tatiana and gets upset when others in the restaurant lobby hog the pay phone. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

23 May 1991 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Jerry's (Jerry Seinfeld) description of his family is inconsistent with what is seen in other episodes. Jerry says that the uncle he was supposed to visit is his mother's sister's husband. However, it is later seen that Jerry's mother (Liz Sheridan) only has one sibling, Uncle Leo (Len Lesser). As well, Jerry mentions having a sister, who is never mentioned again in the series. See more »


When Jerry is daring Elaine to take an egg roll, her arms are crossed and by her side between camera cuts when Jerry says he will give her 50 bucks. See more »


Elaine: [waiting in restaurant] You know, it's not fair that people are selected first come, first served. It should be based on who's hungriest!
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References Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959) See more »


Seinfeld Theme Song
Written by Jonathan Wolff
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User Reviews

A real-time treat
30 January 2008 | by MaxBorg89See all my reviews

Ten years before 24 was created, Seinfeld experimented with the real-time format, facing negative reactions from NBC and an increasing risk of cancellation. However, the choice eventually paid off, and The Chinese Restaurant should qualify as one of the show's Top 10 episodes on the sole basis of sheer, groundbreaking creativity.

As already mentioned, this episode plays in real time. How is that possible? Easy: Jerry, George and Elaine are about to go to the movies and see Plan 9 From Outer Space (Jerry claims the worst movie ever produced deserves to be watched on a big screen) and enter a Chinese restaurant for a quick dinner. Unfortunately, they made no reservation, so they will have to wait for five, ten minutes, or at least that's what the owner of the place says. The result is 23 minutes of waiting, with Jerry and Elaine trying not to get bored and George desperately looking for a phone so that he can call his latest girlfriend. As for Kramer, he is nowhere to be seen.

What, no Kramer? Yes, but before the screaming starts, one should consider this: in a storyline that involves staticity and repetition (Bruce, the waiter, keeps saying:"Five, ten minutes..."), what use could there have been for the show's king of unpredictable physical comedy? Of course, he is an integral part of the series (and was never written out of an episode again, except for one time in Season 3), but in this case the sole presence of Jerry, George and Elaine is more than enough. That and the real-time gimmick, which gives the viewer the impression of really being there with the characters, struggling to get a meal (as Elaine wisely notes, restaurants should serve you based on who's the hungriest).

All in all, a great episode, from start to perfectly timed finish, and one of the finest treats Seinfeld's second year has to offer.

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