Cooking / At the Restaurant Vocabulary and Dialogs


Is it possible you post something about orders in the restaurant, cafeteria?
When I order, I usually do not understand if the food is soaked, steamed, baked … and also the accompanying main dish. Often I ask for one thing and “receive” something else.
Thanks so much.

Cooking and At The Restaurant Vocabulary

Ordering food in a restaurant may prove to be challenging if you have to do it in a foreign language. I remember how disappointed I felt in Italy when I was served pizza with green peppers instead of the salami I’d had in mind.

Below you’ll find some useful words and expressions you may need when eating out.



  • W: How can I help you?
  • C: Can we have a table for two, please?/ Yes, we have a reservation for two./ Yes, please. We’ve booked a table for two.
  • W: Certainly. This way please. I’ll show you to your table./ I’m afraid you’ll have to wait. There will be a table for you in ten minutes.
  • W: Is this table OK for you?/ Can I take your coats?/ Do you need a booster seat for the child?/ Do you need a high chair for the baby?
  • C: Could we have a table near the window?/ Sure. May I see the menu, please?
  • W: Here you are. Would you like anything to drink now?/ Can I get you a drink?
  • C: Do you have a wine list?/ I’d like some mineral water with a lemon wedge, please./ Just some tap water, please./ I’ll have a Coke, please./ What non-alcoholic beverages do you have?/ Can we have a jug of red wine, please?
  • W: What would you like to start with?
  • C: May I see the menu/ ? Can you recommend an appetizer?
  • W: Sure. We’ve got some fresh artichoke dips and the crab burgers are delicious as well.
  • W: Are you ready to order?
  • C: What’s the chef’s special?/ What’s today’s special?
  • W: It’s mushroom-stuffed chicken with sweet potato mash.
  • C: Could I have the chicken à la carte?
  • C: Is there any seasoning on the chicken?
  • C: What’s in the ’Hearty Pasta Soup’?
  • C: What side dishes can you recommend?
  • C: Is the salmon steamed or fried?
  • W: Can I get you anything else?
  • W: Was everything alright with your meal?
  • W: Would you like some dessert?
  • C: I’m sorry, but this isn’t what I’ve ordered.
  • C: Excuse me! I’ve ordered boiled potatoes and these are baked.
  • C: This meat is overdone/ burnt.
  • C: Can I get the bill, please?
  • C: Is service included?
  • C: The rest is yours./ Keep the change.
  • C: I’m afraid there’s a mistake. / There seems to be a mistake in the bill. We haven’t ordered any champagne.
  • C: I’d like to speak to the manager. I want to make a complaint.


More for you:
Phrasal Verbs with HEAR
Making Complaints in English: in a restaurant, on the phone, by letter


à la carte
without side dish

aperitif (French)
alcoholic drink served before the meal to stimulate appetite

a small portion of food or drink you have before the main course to stimulate your appetite (Italian: antipasto)

a point (French, pronunciation: /pwah/)
not overcooked, just cooked to the point of being perfect

cook (bread, cakes, potatoes) in an oven



More for you:
8 Funny Idioms About Food with Examples and Explanations
6 Ways to Immediately Improve Your English Communication Skills


bill/ check
a piece of paper that shows how much you have to pay

boil for a short time then place in iced-water

cook in hot liquid (usually water) that is breaking bubbles on the surface

booster seat
an extra seat you put on a chair so that a child can sit higher

covered in breadcrumbs (and fried in oil)

cut into small pieces

(make a) complaint
tell the person in charge that you are not satisfied


a thin piece of meat from the rib or leg section of veal, lamb or pork

deep fried
immersed and fried in hot oil

a thick mixture/sauce that you can put on biscuits or vegetables

doggie bag
a bag for taking home food that is left after a meal

a lot of very small bubbles on the surface of liquids

decorative food around a dish on a plate

cook over or under fire/ very strong heat

a sweet mixture of sugar, butter, milk and eggs used to cover cakes

jug/ pitcher
a big container with a handle for pouring liquids


Read more:
When to use FOOD and FOODS?
112 Phrases for Saying Thank You in Any Situation


lemon wedge
a small ’D-shaped’ piece of lemon

small round cuts of beef/chicken/pork etc.

cut into very small pieces

on the rocks
on ice

pan fry
fry on minimal oil in a pan

pepper mill
a tool you can grind pepper with

cook in a small amount of liquid

cooked slowly in a covered dish


without seasoning

cook without liquid in an oven or over fire

cook quickly in oil or butter over direct heat

not sweet, piquant

add spices and herbs (salt, pepper, garlic, basil etc.)

side dish
a small amount of food that is served together with the main course, for example, a salad

cook food over fire on a long, thin rod

cook food over boiling water

a dish of meat and/or vegetables cooked slowly in liquid, in a closed dish

a long, thin tube of plastic you can use when drinking


Read more:
What Happens if You Don’t Drink Enough Water Daily? [Video]
50 Popular English Idioms to Sound Like a Native Speaker


filled inside with something

tap water
water you can get at home or in a building in the kitchen 

today’s special
the dish the chef considers a very good choice on a particular day 

food that goes on the top of a dish (for example, mushroom and ham on pizza)

cooked for too long

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