English Language Practice: Ordering at a Restaurant

A mom and her daughter enjoying cake at a cafe

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Knowing how to order food at a restaurant is an important task for any beginner-level English learner. Here are two short dialogues to help you learn common questions and answers used at restaurants.

Dining at a Restaurant Alone

This dialogue includes most of the basic questions you'll need to know when going to a restaurant alone. Practice it with a friend.

Waitperson: Hi. How are you doing this afternoon?

Customer (you): Fine, thank you. Can I see a menu, please?

Waitperson: Certainly, here you are.

Customer: Thank you. What's today's special?

Waitperson: Grilled tuna and cheese on rye.

Customer: That sounds good. I'll have that.

Waitperson: Would you like something to drink?

Customer: Yes, I'd like a coke.

Waitperson: Thank you. (returning with the food) Here you are. Enjoy your meal!

Customer: Thank you.

Waitperson: Can I get you anything else?

Customer: No thanks. I'd like the check, please.

Waitperson: That'll be $14.95.

Customer: Here you are. Keep the change!

Waitperson: Thank you! Have a good day!

Customer: Goodbye.

At a Restaurant With Friends

Next, use this dialogue to practice speaking at a restaurant when eating with friends. The dialogue includes questions to help you choose what to eat. For this role-play, you'll need three people instead of two.

Kevin: The spaghetti looks really good.

Alice: It is! I had it the last time I was here.

Peter: How is the pizza, Alice?

Alice: It's good, but I think the pasta is better. What would you recommend?

Waitperson: I'd recommend the lasagna. It's excellent!

Alice: That sounds great. I'll have that.

Waitperson: Fine. Would you like an appetizer?

Alice: No, lasagna is more than enough for me!

Kevin: I think I'll have the lasagna as well.

Waitperson: Right. That's two lasagnas. Would you care for an appetizer?

Kevin: Yes, I'll take the calamari.

Peter: Oh, that sounds good! I can't decide between the chicken marsala and grilled fish.

Waitperson: The fish is fresh, so I'd recommend that.

Peter: Great. I'll have the fish. I'd also like a salad.

Waitperson: What would you like to drink?

Kevin: I'll have water.

Alice: I'd like a beer.

Peter: I'll take a glass of red wine.

Waitperson: Thank you. I'll get the drinks and the appetizers.

Kevin: Thank you. 

Key Vocabulary and Phrases

Here are some key phrases used to discuss food in a restaurant when ordering and deciding on what to eat:

  • Could I have a menu, please?
  • Here you are.
  • Enjoy your meal!
  • Would you like ...
  • Can I get you anything else?
  • I'd like the check, please.
  • That'll be ...
  • Have a good day!
  • The spaghetti/steak/chicken looks good.
  • How is the pizza/fish/beer?
  • What would you recommend?
  • I'd like my steak rare/medium/well done.
  • Are there any nuts/peanuts? My child has allergies.
  • Do you have any vegetarian dishes?
  • Could I have a glass of water, please?
  • Could you tell me where the restroom is?
  • I'd recommend the lasagna/steak/pizza.
  • Would you care for an appetizer/a beer/a cocktail?
  • I'd like to have a beer/steak/glass of wine.