This Italian language article will teach you some Italian restaurant vocabulary and phrases in no time.
On arrival at an Italian restaurant
When you arrive at an Italian restaurant you are most likely going to be asked:
- In quanti siete? = How many of you are there?
To this you might answer:
- Siamo in due/tre/quattro/cinque/sei. = There are two/three/four/five/six of us.
- Mangio da solo = I am eating by myself.
You are also likely to be asked:
- Ha prenotato? = Have you reserved? (Talking to one person)
- Avete prenotato? = Have you reserved? (Talking to more than one person)
Asking for a menu/wine list in Italian
Once you are sat, you may say:
- Un menù, per favore = A menu, please
- La lista dei vini, per favore = The wine menu, please
How to get the attention of an Italian waiter/waitress
To get the attention of a waiter or waitress you can say:
- Cameriere! = Waiter!
- Cameriera! = Waitress!
After a few minutes the waiter or waitress will likely ask you something along the lines of:
- Desidera?/Che cosa desidera? = What do you want?
- Ha/Avete scelto? = Have you chosen?*
*"Ha" is the polite "Have you" when speaking to one person whereas "Avete" is "Have you" when speaking to more than one person.
Reading an Italian menu
The meals written on a menu are likely to be:
- Primi piatti = First courses
- Piatti principali = Main courses
- I dolci = Desserts (= "Sweet things")
You may wish to order saying:
- Vorrei.... = I would like....
- Per bere, vorrei.... = To drink, I would like....
Some food items you may see on an Italian menu are:
- L’insalata = Salad
- Un panino con formaggio = A cheese sandwich
- Un panino con prosciutto = A ham sandwich
- Le patate = Potatoes
- Le patatine fritte = Chips
- La pesca = Fish
- Il pomodoro = Tomato
- Il riso = Rice
- Le verdure = Vegetables
Meats and Seafood Items on an Italian menu
Some types of meat and seafood you may see on an Italian menu are:
- L’agnello = Lamb
- L’anatra = Duck
- I calamari = Squid
- la carne di maiale = Pork
- Il gamberetto = Prawn
- Il manzo = Beef
- Il merluzzo = Cod
- Il pollo (arosto) = (Roasted) chicken
If you wish to say how well you want your meat cooked "ben cotto" means "well cooked" whereas "al sangue" means "rare" (literally "on the blood").
Italian vocabulary for drinks
Some useful drinks in Italian are:
- Un bicchiere .... = A glass....
- Una bottiglia.... = A bottle....
- ...di vino bianco = ....of white wine
- ....di vino rosato = ....of rosé wine
- ....di vino rosso = ....of red wine
- ...d´acqua = ....of water
Other useful Italian drink names are:
- Un’aranciata = Orangeade
- Una birra = A beer
- Un cappuccino = Cappuccino
- Una cioccolata calda = A hot chocolate
- Un espresso = A very strong (small) coffee
- Un succo d'arancia = An orange juice
- Una spremuta di limone = A lemon juice
- Un caffè = A coffee
- Un tè = Tea
- con/senza zucchero = with/without sugar
- con/senza latte = with/without milk
At the end of the meal
After you have eaten and you wish to pay you can say "Il conto, per favore" ("The bill, please").
Learn to speak Italian with confidence by taking Italian tuition
After reading this article you should now feel better prepared with understanding Italian in Italian restaurants. You could learn even more and gain confidence using the Italian language by taking some Italian language sessions. One-to-one Italian tuition is £23 for a hour. See more details on Italian tuition offered here.