Travel English: ordering at a restaurant

Eating out at restaurants is great. You don’t have to worry about cooking anything or cleaning up after yourself. How do you feel about eating out at restaurants? Do you prefer to cook? Well, if you’re like me, and love being served at a restaurant, take a look at some of these words and phrases before you head out to eat!

Let’s start from the beginning, when you walk through the doors of a restaurant you will be greeted by a ‘host’ or ‘hostess’. This is the person you see first and who will help you find a table to sit at. They might ask you, “How many are in your party?” meaning how many people are in your group. If you are lucky, you will be seated right away. If there is a wait, your name will be added to the ‘waiting list’ and called when a table becomes available.

Now that you’re all seated you will usually have a small booklet given to you, that’s the ‘menu’. This is where all the food and drinks that are offered by the restaurant are listed. First, you order drinks. If you want a small snack to start with, it is often called an ‘appetizer’. The main meal is called your ‘main course’.

The most polite way to order anything at a restaurant is to say, “May I please have…” So for example: “May I please have a coke to drink and the hamburger as my main course.

Did you order through your ‘waiter’ or ‘waitress’? Excellent. These are the people who will be serving you everything. After you’re done eating your main course perhaps you will want something sweet? ‘Desserts’ are what I’m talking about! Ice creams, pies, cakes: you name it.

order food restaurant

Did you have any ‘complaints’ about your meal? Was everything cooked as you like, and did your food taste good? A ‘complaint’ is a statement you make to indicate you weren’t happy with something.

If everything was good then be sure to ‘tip’ your waitress or waiter. Depending on which country you are in, tipping is rather essential. This especially goes for eating out in the US. Tipping is actually the only way the server makes any money. The tip is extra money you give to the server for doing a nice job.

Can you think of any other restaurant related words? Have you ever had to complain about your food in a restaurant? Do you tip in your country? Tell us about your restaurant tales in the comment section below.

image: willem!

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