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.
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à la carte
without side dish
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
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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
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
immersed and fried in hot oil
a thick mixture/sauce that you can put on biscuits or vegetables
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
a big container with a handle for pouring liquids
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a small ’D-shaped’ piece of lemon
small round cuts of beef/chicken/pork etc.
cut into very small pieces
on the rocks
fry on minimal oil in a pan
a tool you can grind pepper with
cook in a small amount of liquid
cooked slowly in a covered dish
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.)
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
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filled inside with something
water you can get at home or in a building in the kitchen
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