English - Australia
In English, we have the word 'cafeteria' meaning a restaurant where you take a tray to the counter and select from hot and cold foods. These places exist in Italy. What are they called in Italy?

I saw them while I was in Italy a few months ago and ate in one, but can't remember what they are called.
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  • You can call them (ristorante) self service. Also mensa and tavola fredda could be useful.
    Yes, self service, or even just 'self'. Mensa would translate more an office or school cafeteria, I would say. Tavola fredda is a place that only serves cold plates, perhaps previous poster meant tavola calda, i.e. a place where also hot (or better, re-heated) food is served.
    Sorry Paulfromitaly and London calling. Actually I did look in my dictionary originally, and for cafeteria the only thing it said was 'ristorante dove i clienti si servono da soli' which is obviously not very helpful if I want to know what such places are CALLED. Probably need a better dictionary. This is why I turned to word reference forum. I hope this is an appropriate use of the forum.

    Thanks to the people who offered suggestions. Much appreciated and duly noted. Sair-ann.
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