English Language Practice: At a Restaurant

Mom & toddler girl having cake joyfully in cafe
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Knowing how to order food in a restaurant is an important first task for any beginning level English learner. Here are two short dialogues to help you learn common questions and answers used at a restaurant. 

Dining At a Restaurant Alone

This dialogue provides most the basic questions you'll need to know when going to a restaurant alone: 

Waitperson: Hi. How are you doing this afternoon?
Customer: 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, practice eating with friends at a restaurant with these questions to help choose what to eat:

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 / a glass of wine.