At The Restaurant

Would you like a starter? How many bottles of wine? Learn how to order food & drink at a restaurant.


At the beginning of your language learning journey, one of the first opportunities to speak German 'in the wild' may well be at a restaurant.

Let's make sure that you are prepared for this experience, equipped with some helpful German restaurant phrases and important vocabulary, on top of all that we have learned so far!

In this lesson, let's walk through an imaginary scenario. In it, you are heading to a restaurant with a friend. As you enter, a waiter comes to greet you.

Asking For A Table And The Menu

At the door, the waiter asks:

Einen Tisch für wieviele?

A table for how many?

Remember the numbers you learned in the previous lesson? They'll come in handy, here.

Here are some suitable replies, for you to answer with:


Good day! For two people, please.

Hello! We are two.

Zu zweit is an expression that roughly means 'two together', as in 'we are a pair of people'.

At the very least, you may also reply with a simple "Zwei".

Once you have sat down at your table, you would like to ask for the menu.

To do so, you may ask:

Kann ich bitte die Speisekarte haben?

Can I have the menu, please?
menu

If you ever need to get a waiter's attention, you may politely do so by saying: Entschuldigung? or Entschuldigen Sie? This means "Excuse me".

Well done! 🎉

You've now learned a few helpful phrases to get you comfortably sitting down at a table, with a menu in your hands. Now, let's learn how to order some food & drink.

Ordering Food And Drink

Ready to take your order, your waiter says to you:

Möchten Sie bestellen?

Would you like to order?

The verb for 'to order' is bestellen.

Now, when ordering food & drink, there are a few helpful phrases that are commonly used:


I would like to have ...

I take ...

Can I have ...

Let's see what we can order at the restaurant today:

Here are some full sentences, using these phrases, with examples:

Ich hätte gerne eine Cola.

I'd like to have a cola.
Ich hätte gerne zwei Bier.

I'd like to have two beers.
Kann ich drei Pommes haben?

Can I have three (portions of) fries?
Ich möchte zweimal das Huhn bestellen.

I'd like to order two times the chicken.

Notice that you may either simply state the number of the item you would like to order:

or you may also add the suffix -mal to the number:

Alternatively, you may also distinguish between what you would like to eat and drink, by using these phrases:

Ready with his order, your friend tells the waiter what he would like to have.

Let's see if you can understand his order, in the exercise below.

Listen to the recording first:

Ich nehme das Schnitzel mit Kartoffeln und Salat. Zu Trinken hätte ich gerne ein Bier. Kann ich auch etwas Senf zu dem Schnitzel haben? Vielen Dank.

Bestellung Nr. 1

Bestellung Nr. 2

Bestellung Nr. 3

Which picture above reflects the order correctly? Listen to the recording a few times if necessary, before taking a guess.

water
schnitzel
potato
salad
mustard

Good job! 🎉

You have learned how to order at a restaurant.

Asking For The Bill

After your meal, you are ready to pay. To do so, you may ask the waiter:

Können wir zahlen, bitte?

Could we pay, please?

Other alternatives:


Can I pay, please?

Can I have the check please?

When paying, it may also come in handy to learn these helpful terms:

cash
credit card

... or these phrases:


I want to pay cash.

Can I pay with card?

Great! 🎉

Now you know how to ask for the bill: the final important step in this lesson!

Next up, we will further develop our vocabulary, by learning the German colors. Whenever you're ready, let's go.



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