How To Order Food In Spanish: Common Phrases & Words

how to order food in Spanish

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If you are anything like me (a foodie), then learning the most common vocabulary related to food should be a top priority when learning a second language. So in this post, you will learn how to order food in Spanish, whether you find yourself traveling in a Spanish speaking country, or want to chit chat with the waiting staff at your local taco house.

*warning: you may get hungry reading this post*

We present a lot of the material from this post in the following video. As you work through the post we include additional videos where you’ll be presented with food and drink vocabulary, and with restaurant situations, in order to practice what you’ve just learned.


1) Getting a nice table

Let’s get started by knowing how to greet the waiting staff and choosing where you’ll sit.

Waiter, waitress English
– Buenos días,

– Buenas tardes,    bienvenido(a)s…

– Buenas noches,

– Por favor, tome(n) asiento

 – Permítame llevarlo(s) a su mesa

– Good morning,

– Good afternoon,    welcome to… 

– Good evening,

– Please, take a sit

– Let me walk you to your table

Customer English
– Buenos días,

– Buenas tardes, (una) mesa para __  persona(s), por favor

– Buenas noches,

– Disculpe, ¿Podemos elegir donde sentarnos?

– Good morning,

– Good afternoon, a table for ___ people, please

– Good evening,

– Excuse me, can we choose where to sit?

Sidenote: In some countries such as Colombia or Venezuela, you might hear the expression “buenas”, without “días”, “tardes” or “noches” word, since it is a slightly informal way to greet at any time of the day.

2) Ordering a drink

Ok, let’s have a drink to whet the appetite.

Waiter, waitress English 
– ¿Qué le(s) traigo de tomar?

– ¿Desea(n) algo de tomar?

– ¿Qué va(n) a tomar?

– What can I bring you to drink?

– Would you like something to drink?

– What are you going to drink?

Customer English 
– ¿Qué bebidas tiene?

– Quisiera / me gustaría un(a)… por favor

– Tráigame / tráeme un(a)…, si es tan amable / por favor

– ¿Me traería…?

– Un vaso de…(agua, leche etc.), por favor

– Una botella de…por favor

– What drinks do you have?

– I would like a… please (formal)

– Bring me a…, if you please

– Could you bring me…?

– A glass of…(water, milk etc.) please

– A bottle of…, please

Sidenote: Some phrases may sound kinda rude when translated to English (“bring me”), but these phrases are commonly used in Spanish. If in doubt, simply make sure to include  “por favor” (please) to avoid sounding rude.

Bebidas habituales Typical beverages
Café Coffee
Café con leche Coffee with milk
Café negro / solo Black coffee
Agua Water
Agua mineral Bottled water, mineral water
Agua con gas Sparkling water
Refresco Soft drink, soda
Limonada Limonade
Naranjada Orangeade
Té helado Iced tea
Chocolate caliente Hot cocoa
Tónica Tonic water
Leche Milk
Jugo, zumo de… (fruta) (Fruit)…juice
Batido Milkshake
Cerveza Beer
Vino Wine
Vino Tinto Red Wine
Vino Blanco White Wine
Vino Rosado Rosé Wine
Ron Rum
Güisqui Whiskey
Cóctel Cocktail
Champán Champagne

3) Ordering food in Spanish

Once you’ve had a chance to browse the menu, and know what you are going to order, the can use the verbs Pedir (to ask for) or Ordenar (to order).

Waiter, waitress English

– Aquí tiene el menú/carta

– ¿Le(s) puedo tomar su orden?

– ¿Desea ordenar?

– ¿Que desea(n) comer? / ¿Qué va a comer?

– ¿Podría hacerle(s) una sugerencia?

– Le recomiendo probar…

– ¿Con qué lo/la quiere?

– ¿Cómo lo/la quiere?

– El combo número ___ lleva ___ y ___

– ¡Buen provecho!

– Here is the menu

– Can I take your order?

– Would you like to order?

– What would you like to eat?

– Could I offer a suggestion?

– I recommend you to try…

– What do you want it with?

– How do you want it?

– Set number ___ includes ___ and ___

– Enjoy your meal!

Customer English

– ¿Me podría mostrar el menú? Por favor

– ¿Cúal es la especialidad de la casa?

– ¿Qué me/nos puede recomendar?

– ¿Qué trae este platillo/plato?

– ¿Hay algún combo disponible?

– Para empezar me gustaría…

– Quisiera un/una…

– Quiero un/una… – Prefiero un/una…

– ¿Me/nos traes un/una…?

– Pediré / ordenaré este plato

– No he(mos) decidido aún, estoy/estamos en eso

– Soy vegetariano(a) – Soy vegano(a)

– Can you show me the menu? Please

– What is the restaurant’s specialty?

– What can you recommend me/us?

– What does this dish include?

– is there any set available?

– To start I would like…

– I would like…

– I want…- I prefer…

– Will you bring me/us a…?

– I will order this dish

– I/we haven’t decided yet, I/we am/are working on that

– I am vegetarian – I am vegan

Platos habituales Typical dishes
Pollo Chicken
Pollo asado Roast chicken
Pollo frito Fried chicken
Pollo a la parmesana Chicken parm
Pescado Fish
Filete de pescado Fish fillet
Camarones Shrimps
Bistec Bistek
Carne Guisada Stewed meat
Chuleta Chop
Ternera Veal, beef
Arroz blanco Plain rice
Puré de papas Mashed potatoes
Papas fritas French fries
Papas salteadas Sauté potatoes
Sopa de verduras Vegetable soup
– Asado(a)

– Frito(a)

– A la plancha

– Crudo(a)

– Roasted

– Fried

– Grilled

– Raw

Ok in the last couple of sections we covered a bunch of vocab for different drinks and foods. Do you think you’ve learned them? Try your memory with this video where you’re presented with the English words, giving you a moment to recall your new words for drinks and foods in Spanish.

4) Finishing up the meal

So you’ve enjoyed a delicious meal, and now it’s time to wrap things up.

If you are in the US, then you may be used to the unspoken cue that happens when the waiter asks “Can I get you anything else?” and once you say “no”, they will bring you the check.

However, in Spain and Latin America, normally a waiter will not bring you the check until you ask for it.

Waiter, waitress English
– ¿Desea(n) un postre?

– ¿Le(s) puedo ofrecer algo más?

– Would you like a dessert?

– Can I get you anything else?

Customer English
– Sobró mucho. ¿Me/nos podría poner esto para llevar? Por favor

– Disculpe, (tráigame) la cuenta, por favor

– ¿Me puede traer la cuenta?

– There’s a lot left over, could I get this to go? please?

– Excuse me, (bring me) the check, please

– Can you bring me the check, please?

5) Conclusion: Time to practice!

In this post, we’ve gone through the common phrases and words for how to order food in Spanish. We started off with the introductions, so you can get a table and see the menu. Then we covered ordering drinks, with a nice list of common drinks. Ordering food came next, with several categories of meals. In addition, for both food and drinks, we gave links to our specific posts with even more specific vocabulary for each. We rounded out the post with some useful phrases for finishing up the meal and getting the bill.

With all that, do you feel like you know how to order food in Spanish? Why don’t you give it a try! We’ll leave you with one more video where we show some restaurant situations and give you some time within the dialogue to practice what you’ve learned. Now have a seat and get ready to place your order!


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