Spanish Vocabulary for Dining in a Restaurant

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  • 0:05 Restaurant Eating
  • 0:35 Seating
  • 1:25 Ordering
  • 2:37 Service
  • 3:14 Paying the Bill
  • 3:46 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Ashley Zehel

Ashley has a M.A. in Spanish as well as a B.S. in Foreign Language Education. She has taught K-12 and now teaches college level.

It's a fact of life: you gotta eat. But when you're in a restaurant, there are a few middlemen between you and your food. This lesson will help you communicate effectively to make the dining process as easy as possible.

Restaurant Eating

Imagine you are abroad dining al aire libre (in the fresh air, outside) in a Plaza Mayor in Buenos Aires, Argentina or in a little hole-in-the-wall off the beaten path. Artists have made paintings and cinematographers have captured such moments romanticizing these experiences. These scenes can take quite the suspenseful twist when trying to dine in a foreign language. So, let's learn to do just that and continue to envision how this story plays out to have a satisfying ending.


¿Cuántos son? is usually the first question you will encounter, which means 'How many?' You will respond with the number of people in your party. If we're talking about the romantic scene, it's probably uno or dos.

Pase, pasen, adelante, or por aquí are just a few ways that you might be told 'Right this way;' your cue to follow.

¿Esta mesa está bien?, 'Is this table fine?' might be another question you could encounter. Respond with a Sí, gracias or a Prefiero esa, por favor (I prefer that one, please) to be polite. Prefiero una mesa al aire libre - I prefer a table outside - or Prefiero una mesa adentro - I prefer a table indoors - might also be helpful depending on the restaurant.


¿Les gustaría algo para tomar?, 'Would you like something to drink?' is a common first question. To respond, you will say Me gustaría. . . followed by the drink of your choice. For example, if I wanted to say 'I would like red wine,' I would say Me gustaría un vino tinto. Other ways to ask what you'd like to drink include ¿Qué desea tomar? or ¿Qué desea pedir?

¿Qué puedo traerles para comer? is one way your mesero or mesera, waiter or waitress, might ask what you'd like to order to eat. You can once again respond with Me gustaría. . . or Quiero. . . (I want. . .). Other ways to ask what you'd like to drink include ¿Qué desea comer? or ¿Qué desea pedir?

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