Restaurant English

Here’s how to ask about the menu and more.

Describing the menu

“The dish of the day” / “daily special” = what the restaurant is featuring.

“What’s the dish of the day?”
“It’s the chef’s omelette.”

“set menu” = a menu where the starter, main course and dessert are chosen by the restaurant.

“a la carte” = where you choose what you want to eat from the menu.

Asking for a description of the food

“What is ‘fisherman’s pie’ exactly?”
“Is this dish vegetarian?”
“What’s in spaghetti vongole?”
“Does this dish come with any vegetables?”
“Can you tell me how this dish is prepared?”

Describing food

“It’s a meat dish, garnished with parsley.”
A garnish is something that is served with the food, not mixed in.

“It’s topped with cheese.”
Topped is something that goes on top of the food.

“It’s served with a side salad.”
Side salad is salad served in a bowl or separate plate.

Sauces can be cheesy (made with cheese), savoury (not sweet), creamy (smooth), spicy (made with chilli peppers) or delicate (a subtle, rather than strong taste).

Desserts can be rich (very filling with a strong taste, like chocolate gateau), light (not heavy in taste or texture, like a sorbet), tangy (with a sharp taste of lemon or orange, like a lemon pie), or fruity (made with fruit, like trifle).

Ordering in a restaurant – things waiters say

“Are you ready to order yet?”
“Have you decided what you are having?”
“Would you like anything to drink with your meal?”
“Can I recommend the chef’s special?”

Ordering in a restaurant – things customers say

“We’d like a little longer, please.”
“Could you give us a couple more minutes?”
“We really can’t decide. Can you advise us?”

* See also Food Vocab in the Vocabulary section.

4 thoughts on “Restaurant English

  1. gerges eisa

    I’m Georges eisa. i,am from minia ,Egypt. I get Germany Hotel school certificate for the hotel business .my certificate is from the Federation of German Industry and Commerce. I spent two years of training at the Sheraton Hotel Miramer El Gouna in hurghade egypt
    I get American Egyptian HACCP certificate for hygiene and food and beverage skills. I work now as a second Commis in Coral Sea Resort in El sharm AL shaikh.
    I had my training in cold, butcher, bakery, hot, Italian, Oriental kitchen, I know the basic of each area and i able to work in each kitchen. I wish to get a scholarship to study and training for 3 months to know our work science

  2. Clare Post author

    Thanks for your reply! It sounds like you’ve got a lot of useful skills and experience in the food and beverage industry. Good luck with your future plans!

  3. cassio

    hi clare i like so much your videos i from Brazil and i expeted some day visited your country
    a lot of kisses

Comments are closed.