Learn essential English for restaurant expressions for ordering, making reservations, dealing with problems, and more. Improve your dining experience now.
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Restaurant English: Useful Expressions Used at a Restaurant
Eating out is one of the pleasures of life, but it can be stressful if you don’t know how to communicate with the restaurant staff. In this article, we will explore some of the most useful expressions to use when dining out, from making a reservation to paying the bill.
Here are some common expressions that you may hear or use while dining at a restaurant:
- May I see the menu, please?
- Can you recommend a dish?
- I’d like to order the…
- Could I have a glass of water/ wine/ beer, please?
- Excuse me, could we have some more bread/ butter/ napkins?
- Is there a vegetarian/ gluten-free option?
- Could we have separate/ one bill, please?
- Can I have the check/ bill, please?
- Thank you, the meal was delicious.
- Could you please pack the leftovers to go?
Being able to use these expressions can make your dining experience much smoother and enjoyable.
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Restaurant English: Making a Reservation
If you want to dine at a restaurant, it’s always a good idea to make a reservation in advance. To make a reservation, you can call the restaurant or use an online booking system. Here are some expressions you can use:
- Hi, I’d like to make a reservation for two for tonight, please.
- What time do you have available for a reservation tonight?
- Can you please reserve a table by the window?
Restaurant English: Being Seated at the Restaurant
When you arrive at the restaurant, you will be greeted by a host or hostess who will show you to your table. Here are some expressions you can use:
- Hi, we have a reservation for two under the name Smith.
- Do you have a table available for two?
- Could we please have a table near the window?
Restaurant English: Ordering
Ordering food at a restaurant can be a bit daunting, especially if you’re not familiar with the cuisine or the menu. Here are some expressions you can use:
- Could you recommend a dish?
- I’d like to order the steak, please.
- Can I have my steak cooked medium-rare, please?
Restaurant English: Dealing with problems
Sometimes things can go wrong when you’re dining out, such as a dish being undercooked or overcooked. Here are some expressions you can use to deal with these problems:
- Excuse me, my steak is undercooked. Could you please cook it a bit longer?
- This dish is not what I expected. Could I order something else, please?
- I asked for no onions in my salad, but it has onions. Could you please make me a new one?
Unfortunately, problems can arise while dining at a restaurant. Here are some expressions that you can use to address common issues:
- Excuse me, there seems to be a mistake on the bill.
- I ordered the steak medium-rare, but it’s well-done.
- I’m sorry, I think there’s a hair in my food.
- This dish is too spicy/ salty/ bland.
- Can we move to a quieter table, please?
It’s important to remain polite and respectful when addressing these issues. Your server will likely do their best to resolve the problem quickly and efficiently.
Restaurant English: Asking about the menu
If you’re not familiar with the cuisine or the menu, it’s always a good idea to ask the server for help. Here are some expressions you can use:
- What are the specials today?
- Could you explain what this dish is?
- Is this dish spicy?
Restaurant English: Making Comments on Food
If you enjoy your meal, it’s always nice to let the server know. Here are some expressions you can use:
- This steak is delicious!
- I really enjoyed the soup.
- The dessert was amazing!
Restaurant English: Getting the bill/ check
When you’re ready to leave, you will need to ask for the bill or check. Here are some expressions you can use:
- Could we have the bill, please?
- May I have the check, please?
- Can we pay by credit card?
Restaurant English: At the Restaurant Conversations
Here are some sample conversations you can have at a restaurant:
Restaurant English Conversation 1: Making a Reservation
- Server: Good afternoon, thank you for calling superingeniousRestaurant. How may I help you?
- Customer: Hi, I’d like to make a reservation for two for tonight, please.
- Server: Sure, what time would you like to come in?
- Customer: Around 7 pm.
- Server: Great, and under what name should I make the reservation?
- Customer: Smith.
- Server: Okay, Mr. Smith, we have you down for a table for two at 7 pm. See you tonight!
Restaurant English Conversation 2: Being Seated at the Restaurant
- Hostess: Good evening, welcome to superingenious Restaurant. Do you have a reservation?
- Customer: Yes, we have a reservation for two under the name Smith.
- Hostess: Wonderful, right this way please. Here’s your table.
- Customer: Thank you.
- Hostess: Your server will be with you shortly. Enjoy your meal!
Restaurant English Conversation 3: Ordering
- Server: Good evening, welcome to superingenious Restaurant. Are you ready to order?
- Customer: Yes, we are. Can you recommend a dish?
- Server: Our seafood pasta is quite popular, would you like to try that?
- Customer: That sounds great. And I’d like to order a glass of red wine as well.
- Server: Absolutely. Anything else for now?
- Customer: That’s all, thank you.
Restaurant English Conversation 4: Making Comments on Food
- Server: How is everything?
- Customer: This seafood pasta is amazing!
- Server: I’m so glad you like it.
- Customer: And the wine is really good too.
- Server: Thank you, we have a great selection here.
Restaurant English Conversation 5: Getting the bill/ check
- Server: Are you ready for the bill?
- Customer: Yes, please.
- Server: Here you go. Do you need change?
- Customer: No, keep the change. Thank you for a great meal.
- Server: My pleasure. Have a great night!
Finally, it’s important to be able to hold a conversation with your server or dining companions while at the restaurant. Here are some common topics of conversation:
- The restaurant’s atmosphere and decor
- The weather/ local events
- Personal interests/ hobbies
- Travel experiences
- Favorite types of cuisine/ dishes
Keeping the conversation light and friendly can enhance your dining experience and help build positive relationships with those around you.
Restaurant English Video
If you prefer a visual guide, there are many great videos on YouTube that cover restaurant English. One example is the “English in a Minute” series by VOA Learning English, which has a video specifically on “Restaurant English.”
The video covers key expressions and vocabulary for ordering food, making a reservation, and paying the bill, and provides examples of how to use them in conversation. It’s a great resource for anyone looking to improve their restaurant English skills.
English For Restaurant Book
English For Restaurant Workers reflects as far as possible the standard practice of international western food restaurants. Users may need to make some minor adjustments to fit the practice and regulations of the establishments they serve.
English For Restaurant Workers (PDF+Audio)
To provide front line personnel in restaurants with:
- The job-related vocabulary and language needed for work in this field.
- The basic skills needed to perform the various tasks in restaurant work.
The User The book is designed for use by:
- The trainee waiter or waitress [high elementary level English upwards, who needs the specific vocabulary and commonly used expressions for their job.
- Any English speaking, an entry-level restaurant employee who needs an easy-to-follow guide to the various tasks in restaurant work.
- The restaurant trainer or language instructor, whose job can be supplemented and facilitated by the material in this book.
The material in this book reflects as far as possible the standard practice of international western food restaurants. Users may need to make some minor adjustments to fit the practice and regulations of the establishments they serve.
- The main tasks in restaurant work are treated in fifteen separate units. Each unit shows a clear step-by-step depiction of a particular task in a picture process format. Captions below each picture frame contain the vocabulary needed for that task.
- Speech balloons in the picture frames give basic functional expressions for that particular task.
- Key Vocabulary boxes at the end of each Unit list all the important and useful words for the given task.
- For Special Attention boxes in each Unit explain idioms and certain words and phrases more fully.
- Other common functional expressions for each task are given in the More Expressions boxes.
- The Glossary at the back of the book is a list of basic food and service related lexical items. It can serve as a useful guide, for both students and trainers, to the target vocabulary needed at this level.
- A recording of the main text, the additional expressions, and the dialogues from the exercises pages are available separately.
In conclusion, mastering restaurant English can make dining out a more enjoyable and stress-free experience. Whether you’re making a reservation, ordering food, or dealing with problems, being able to communicate effectively can help you get what you want and avoid misunderstandings. Practice using common expressions and holding polite conversations, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a restaurant English pro!