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I think in this case this serves to emphasize the object in the sentence and connotes a specific kind of consideration or attitude (the narrators?) towards the object . On a natural level I find it quite reasonable - but I don't have a precedent or formal reference to support that.


You have a first person narrator, you're trying to convey a sense of character, and this is commonly used in this way by (some) people in informal speech, so it's perfectly okay and appropriate to use in this situation. Most of the rules for formal and academic writing can be blithely disregarded when you're writing dialog or a first-person narrative, ...


It changes the meaning for me. The use of "this" implies to me that you are still at the restaurant in question, whereas the use of "a" would imply that you were no longer there. "a" also implies that you don't care which restaurant it was, only that it was fancy.

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