Translation:The food in Mohamed's restaurant is good but expensive.
"The food AT mohammed's restaurant..." should be accepted. I cant remember the last time I heard anyone say the food IN a place was good unless they were talking about a city or country.
IE: The food in Paris is wonderful. The food in Italy is fantastic. The food at Moe's is pretty good.
In fully voweled Arabic, these two options are possible:
But I maintain that it can't be "لٰكِنَّ", with a shadda, unless there's a noun or pronoun following it. The adjective just won't cut it because it's a predicate and not governed by 'لٰكِنَّ'.
Some questions about this exercise:
Could "اَلْأَكْل في مَطْعَم مُحَمَّد طَيِّب لٰكِنّ غالي" also mean "The good-but-expensive food in Mohamed's restaurant", if it were only part of a sentence?
How would one say "The food is in Mohamed's good-but-expensive restaurant"?
How would one say "The food is in Mohamed's good restaurant, but is expensive"?
Let's say that Mohamed has made two food orders from a restaurant, for delivery. One of the orders has been delivered but the other hasn't and is still in the restaurant. Since "اَلْأَكْل في مَطْعَم مُحَمَّد" refers to "the food in Mohamed's restaurant", how would one refer to "Mohamed's food-in-a-restaurant" (as opposed to his other plate of food, which is sitting in front of him on the dining table)?
In the above scenario, how would one refer to "Mohamed's food-in-the-restaurant"?
Let's simplify the example a little here. This first one means "the good food", where both have a definite article and are part of the same noun phrase:
And this next one, where only the noun has an article, means "The food is good":
I think "The food is in Mohamed's good-but-expensive restaurant" would translate to the following. although I'm not certain the word "laakin" can be inserted into the noun phrase, but I suspect it can be:
الأكل في مطعم محمد الطيب لكن الغالي
In the above sentence, the word 'restaurant' has no definite article but is still definite because of the idafa relationship to 'Mohamed'. That's why all its adjectives have a definite article even though it itself doesn't.
Here's a simpler example:
أكل محمد لذيذ (طيب)
This means "Mohamed's food is good" versus the next sentence, which is not a full sentence but rather a noun phrase meaning "Mohamed's good food"<pre>
أكل محمد اللذيذ (الطيب)</pre>
(I used the word "ladhiizh" here, which is just another word for "Tayyib". Don't let that confuse you.)
If you were talking about two different things, I think you'd probably just describe it more thoroughly, like so:
The food that's still at the restaurant =
الأكل الذي لا يزال في المطعم۔ (الأكلة اللي لسا موجودة مي المطعم۔)
The food that's here on Mohammed's plate =
الأكل الموجود هنا على صحن محمد۔ (الأكل اللي موجود هنا على صحن محمد۔)
(The versions inside parentheses are more colloquial versions of the same sentence.)
Sorry if any of the above is confusing. Hopefully, it will at least help you with the idea of how noun phrases are constructed and how they differ from equational sentences.
The final term of an idafa is the only term that can have a definite article. But it won't always have a definite article.
In this case, no article is needed because names are definite by default.
Possessive pronouns also qualify as definite, so those are other cases where you will see the final term of an idafa with no definite article, e.g. sayara-t ukhti-ha or "her sister's car."
Plus be aware that an idafa need not be definite at all. For example, maktab ustadh would mean "a professor's desk" or "the desk of a professor", neither of which refer to a specific desk or a specific professor.
Mohammed is a proper noun, so it is already definite. It does not need an extra article to make it definite, and the extra article does not belong here, i.e. is not allowed.
Similarly, if a noun has a possessive ending on it, it cannot take the al- prefix, e.g. mat3amuhu = his restaurant vs. al-mat3am = the restaurant
I'm not a native speaker but, off the top of my head, I'd say they share a lot of the same semantic space with the former being more of a standard (written) word and the latter being used both in the colloquial and the standard languages. But there are some differences.
I have a book called Using Arabic Synonyms by Dilworth Parkinson, which I highly recommend. Page 91 covers the section on 'good', which includes these two terms plus several others such as kuwayyis, hasan, mniiH and meliiH. Each has 4-5 sentences in which it is used. The sentences are taken mostly from newspaper articles but also from colloquial speech in cases where the word isn't used in the standard language.
I highly recommend the book as a resource for people who have a fairly broad background in Arabic but want to further develop their vocabulary. I work through one section a day, at which rate I will get through the whole book in 24 months or so, at which point I'll start going through it all over again.