A bistro (sometimes spelled bistrot) is a small place, much like a café. In its original Parisian version, a bistro is a small restaurant. It serves moderately priced simple meals in a modest setting. Bistros are defined mostly by the foods they serve. Home cooking with robust earthy dishes, and slow-cooked foods like cassoulet are typical. By using stews and cassoulets they could cook the main food and it would last all day.
Similar to bistros are brasseries, which offer slightly more elaborate meals.