Who doesn’t love an amazing meal? From paella to tortillas, Spanish and Latin American food both taste delicious and can teach you something about local traditions.
Visiting a restaurant in a Spanish-speaking country is a great way to immerse yourself in a culture and learn a language fast, but between navigating reservations and ordering, it can be a daunting experience.
Don’t worry! These handy Spanish phrases will help you eat and order just like the locals. ¡Buen provecho!
Getting a Table in Spanish
Getting a table at any restaurant can be stressful anywhere, let alone in a foreign country. When traveling abroad to a Spanish-speaking country, check to see if the restaurant you want to go to takes reservations. If so, make sure to secure a table online or on the phone for you and your party so you aren’t left stranded and hungry!
Below are some key Spanish phrases that can help you reserve a table with ease.
Me gustaría reservar una mesa para ___ personas.
I would like to make a reservation for ___ people.
Tenemos una reserva a nombre de ___.
We have a reservation under the name __.
Una mesa para ___, por favor.
A table for ___, please.
¿Podría sentarme en el bar, por favor?
Can I sit at the bar, please?
Ordering in Spanish
Once you’ve been seated, it’s time to order! Make sure to say please (por favor) and thank you (gracias) as much as possible to show the server respect and avoid conflict.
¿Hay menú? Is there a menu?
It’s common for restaurants in Spain to have a set menu for weekday lunches, but the server might not share this with you unless you ask. If you are unsure, simply ask your server if there is a set menu for the day!
¿Hay algo fuera de carta? Do you have anything outside of the menu?
Take a chance and ask your server if there are any specials or seasonal delicacies you can try.
Vamos a compartir. We are going to share.
Oftentimes in Spain, meals are served on plates in the center of the table. Tell your server you are going to share so they can bring you individual empty plates.
¿Qué vino me recomiendes? What wine do you recommend?
In Spain and many Latin American countries, wine is an essential part of the meal. If you are questioning which wine works best with what you have ordered, just ask!
If you have any food restrictions or allergies, you should stay on alert in a Latin American or Spanish restaurant. In many Latin American countries, meat is a staple part of any meal, so it’s important to communicate your needs to the server and clarify what you are getting.
¿Está hecho con carne? Is it made with meat?
is a good phrase to know if you are a vegetarian.
Asking for Help
Sometimes when traveling things don’t always go according to plan. While it’s important to keep an open mind and be accepting of new cultures, it’s also important to have an enjoyable dining experience.
If you are having trouble with your order or need assistance from a server, try one of the phrases below.
Perdón. Pardon me.
This phrase is common in Spain, but if you say it in Latin America, people will also understand you.
¿Podría traerme __ , por favor? Could you please bring me ____?
If you need more napkins (servilletas) or a glass of water (vaso de agua), ask your server to bring you one.
Me gustaría pedir algo más. I would like to order something else.
If you didn’t receive what you ordered, or are unhappy with your food, use this phrase to order something else.
Perdón, hay algo en mi comida. Excuse me, there’s something in my food.
Nobody likes to be surprised by something unpleasant in their food, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay silent. Kindly let your server know that there’s a problem.
Ending the Meal in Spanish
You’ve enjoyed your meal, the evening is coming to a close, but make sure to save room for dessert! In Spain and Latin America, there are many incredible sweets to try and enjoy at the end of your meal.
Below are some phrases that can help you smoothly order dessert and get the check.
¿Puedo ver la carta de postres, por favor? Can I see the dessert menu please?
If service is a little slow, politely ask to see the dessert menu and remind your server that you still want to order.
Para mi, un descafeinado, por favor. Decaffeinated for me, please.
In Spain, it is common to have a coffee at the end of your meal. If you don’t want to ruin a good night’s sleep, ask for a decaf espresso (un cortado descafeinado).
¿Es casero? Is it homemade?
If you are unsure if the desert is homemade or not just ask and your server might surprise you with something off the menu.
¿Puede traerme la cuenta, por favor? Could I have the check please?
Keep in mind that small restaurants in Latin America will not accept credit cards (tarjetas de crédito) so it’s best to carry some cash (efectivo) on hand in case of emergency.
If you are out with a big group and want to split the check, try saying ¿Puede dividir la cuenta, por favor? Can we split the check, please? This will ensure that nobody is paying for more than their share.
Visit a Spanish Speaking Country (and Restaurant) with TruFluency!
Eating out in a Spanish-speaking country can be a wonderful experience, especially if you know a few basic phrases. If you want to fully immerse yourself in the Spanish language and reach fluency, work with one of TruFluency’s experienced tutors.
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