Italian Phrases and Words to Use At Restaurant

On this page, you will find a list of sentences that will make your life easier when you’re at a restaurant in Italy.

Before going through the list, you might also want to know that it is customary to be seated or make a reservation, especially on weekends.

Types of Restaurants in Italy 

There are mainly fou different types of restaurants, in Italy:

Ristorante: This is a place where you can expect full service, a touch of gourmet, a professional staff, and higher prices. It’s the place to experience more sophisticated food. The atmosphere should also be more sophisticated.

Trattoria: Less pricey and less formal than a restaurant, a trattoria is usually a family-owned business. It’s the place to enjoy traditional and comforting Italian food. The atmosphere is usually rustic.

Pizzeria: In Italy, a pizzeria works just like any other restaurant. You make a reservation for a table and then order from the menu. Often, antipasti are also served.

Rosticceria (mainly in the South of Italy): This is an informal takeaway place with few or no tables, where Italians love to buy ready-to-eat comfort fried food such as arancini, calzoni, mozzarelle in carrozza, and the likes.

Reserving a Table on the Phone

Volevo prenotare un tavolo per domani sera alle 19I’d like to book a table for tomorrow night at 7 pm.
Volevo prenotare un tavolo per domani a mezzogiornoI’d like to book a table for tomorrow at midday.
Volevo prenotare un tavolo per domani alle 13I’d like to book a table for tomorrow at 1 pm.
Volevo prenotare un tavolo il 27 aprile alle 20I’d like to book a table on April 27th at 8 pm.

The person at the other end of the phone might also ask you:

Per quante persone?For how many people?
Mi lascia un recapito telefonico?Can you leave me your phone number?
Il suo nome per favore?Your name, please?

Phrases to Use at the a Restaurant in Italy

Posso avere il menù?Can I have the menu?
Posso vedere il menù?Can I see the menu?
Potrei avere la carta dei vini?Could I have the wine list?
Potrei avere il menù dei dolci?Could I have the dessert menu?
Avete un menù per bambini?Do you have a children’s menu?
Avete un menù del giorno?Do you have a daily menu?
Qual è il piatto del giorno?What is the dish of the day?
Sul menù c’è un ‘antipasto della casa’, che cos’è?On the menu, I read ‘Antipasto della casa’, what is it?

Phrases to Use when Ordering

Per me / Prendo / Vorrei…I’ll have
Per cominciare, prendo…To start with, I’ll have
Come antipasto, prendo…As a starter, I’ll have
Come primo, prendo…As the first course, I’ll have
Come secondo, prendo…As the second course, I’ll have
Una porzione di…A portion of
Un piatto di…A dish of
Una fetta di…A slice of
Un pezzo di…A piece of

How to Order Meat in Italian 

If the waiter asks you “Come preferisce la cottura della carne,”? (How would you like your meat cooked?), you should answer like this:

  • (carne) al sangue – rare meat
  • (carne) poco cotta  – medium rare
  • (carne) ben cotta  – well-done meat

Asking Questions to the Waiters 

have some…(bread? A bottle of water? Some olive oil?)
Cosa mi consiglia?What would you recommend me?
Cosa ci consigliate?What would you recommend us?
Sono allergico (or allergica)I am allergic…
ai latticinito dairy products
al glutinegluten
Sono vegetarianoI am a vegetarian
Sono veganoI am a vegan
Non mangio carne di maialeI don’t eat pork

Questions a Waiter Might Ask You 

Siete pronti per ordinare?Are you ready to order?
Avete già prenotato?Have you reserved a table?
Posso portarvi da bere?Can I get you something to drink?
L’acqua gasata o naturale?Is the water sparkling or still?
Ha qualche allergia/intolleranza?Do you have any allergies/intolerances?

Complaints

La pizza è bruciataThe pizza is burned
L’insalata è sconditaThe salad is undressed
La zuppa è freddaThe soup is cold
La pasta è freddaThe pasta is cold
C’è ancora molto da aspettare?Is there still a long wait for our food?
Stiamo aspettando da troppo tempoWe have been waiting for too long

Paying and Asking for the Bill

Il conto, per favoreThe bill, please
Paga in contanti o con carta?Do you pay cash or by card?
Pagate insieme o separatamente?Do you pay all together or separately?
Posso pagare con carta di credito?Can I pay by credit card?
Dividiamo il contoLet’s split the bill
Other thins you could hear at a restaurant
Posso offrirle un caffè o un amaro?Would you like an espresso or a liquor on the house?
Il pranzo / la cena è di vostro gradimento?Did you like the meal?
Tutto apposto?Was everything alright?
Vuole qualcos’altro? No grazieDo you want anything else? No, thank you.

Tipping Culture in Italy 

When it comes to paying, unlike many other countries, a tip is not expected because it is included in the bill under the voice “coperto.” However, if the service was excellent, you can leave a tip to show your satisfaction.

About the Author

Serena Capilli

I’m the creative force behind both this blog and my collection of short stories in simple Italian for language learners, available on Amazon.

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Ciao, I’m Serena!

I’m the creative force behind both this blog and my collection of short stories in simple Italian for language learners, available on Amazon.

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