Why not They will be in a restaurant in a moment? Is this a Polish false friend?
«За́раз» can mean 'in a moment' too, but then you'd need to use the future tense of the verb: «Вони́ за́раз бу́дуть у рестора́ні» 'They will be in a/the restaurant in a moment'.
«Вони в ресторані зараз» is in the present tense, so «за́раз» means 'now, right now'.
Unlike Polish, Ukrainian drops the verb 'to be' in the present tense. If a sentence doesn't have the main verb and the previous context doesn't make the verb obvious, then the verb is 'to be'.
Why use в if ресторані starts with a consonant? Why not у? Or is it this way because the rules are so lax?
Because вони ends in a vowel.
After vowels, you normally use в (except when the next word starts with в, ф, or some consonant clusters like льв).
This is a funny false friend with Russian. If sounds like They are a contagion at a restaurant hahahaha
Note that Ukrainian also has the word «зара́за» 'contagion, virus; something bad (swearword)', but the form is distinguished by stress:
- «Вони́ в рестора́ні за́раз» 'They are in the resaurant now.'
- «Вони́ в рестора́ні зара́з» 'They are in the bad people's resaurant.'
I used "vony u restorani zaraz" because I couldn't hear anything after "vony". Is there an audible sound between "vony" and "restorani"?
Yes, I can hear it. Its a [w]-like sound. For English speakers, it might be hard to distinguish В after И, because English doesn't have a diphtong [ɪw].