Survival English for eating out
Eating is simple. Eating out isn't … if you're traveling in a foreign country, that is! But don't panic – we won't let you starve. Check out this list of important dining phrases that will surely help you ease those hunger pangs!
1. I'd like to make a reservation. For some restaurants, you’ll need to call in advance to secure a table. Be prepared to give the number of people in your group, the time you will arrive and your name. "I’d like to make a reservation for four at 8 p.m. for Kristi." The receptionist may ask for your phone number or about your smoking preference, so have this information ready.
2. Could you repeat that, please? This phrase isn't unique to eating out, but it's very important. Restaurants can be loud. Waiters talk fast. If you don't understand something, ask them, "Could you repeat that?" Of course, a simple, "Excuse me?" will also work. Don’t be afraid to use it often!
3. We need another minute. Use this phrase if the waiter approaches to take your order, but you’re not ready. You’ll hear, "Are you ready to order?" Respond with, "Not yet. We need another minute," or "Can we have another minute?" Be aware that "a minute" in a busy restaurant usually means the waiter will return in five.
4. I'd like/I'll have ... These are the two most important phrases! Use "I'd like …" or "I'll have …" when ordering your food and drinks. For example, "I'd like the spaghetti and some tea," or, "I'll have a sandwich and a soft drink." Pointing at the menu always works, too!
5. Could you bring …?/Do you have …? If there's something you need or would like more of, say, "Could you bring some extra napkins?" If you'd like an item you’re not sure the restaurant has then try, "Do you have …?" For example, if you want orange juice but don’t see it listed, ask, "Do you have orange juice?"
6. This isn't what I ordered. If the server brings you the wrong dish, say, "This isn't what I ordered, I ordered …" and continue with the name of the dish you wanted. It doesn't happen often, but when it does, make sure you do something about it.
7. Check, please! When you're ready to go, catch the waiter's attention and say, "Check, please!" for a short and simple end to your meal