Imagine going into a restaurant in Italy, or an Italian restaurant in your hometown and doing everything in Italian – from greeting the waiter to asking for the bill. Find out how in this episode of 5 Minute Italian.
To help you remember what you learnt in today’s lesson, below you’ll find bonus materials like word lists, quizzes and flashcards. But first…
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Today’s Italian words
Buonasera = good evening
Un tavolo per due = a table for two
Un tavolo per tre = a table for three
In quanti siete = in how many are you?
Siamo in due = there are two of us
Siamo in tre = there are three of us
Siamo in quattro = there are four of us
Posso avere il menù? = can I have the menu?
Posso avere il menù in italiano? = can I have the menu in Italian?
Posso avere il menù in inglese? = can I have the menu in English?
Posso avere il conto? = can I have the bill?
Che cosa vi porto da bere? = What shall I bring you to drink?
Un bicchiere di prosecco = a glass of prosecco
Un bicchiere di vino rosso = a glass of red wine
Un bicchiere di vino bianco = a glass of white wine
Una bottiglia di vino rosso = a bottle of red wine
Una bottiglia di vino bianco = a bottle of white wine
Take the Quiz!
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Click here to take the quiz for this episode: How to order food in Italian (part 1)
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Please note, this is not a word for word transcript
Katie: Imagine going into a restaurant in Italy, or an Italian restaurant in your hometown and doing everything in Italian, from greeting the waiter to asking for the bill. Find out how in episode 24 of 5 minute Italian.
Ciao a tutti e benvenuti a 5 minute Italian, hi everyone and welcome to 5 minute Italian. I’m Katie…
Matteo: And I’m Matteo. Ciao.
And in today’s lesson, we’re answering a question from Craig, who got in touch and asked us to talk about the most important skill of all, how to order food in Italian.
Katie: This topic is important and there’s a lot to talk about, so we’re going to do it in two episodes. Today, we’re going right from the beginning, you’ll learn how to greet the waiter, ask for a table, the menu and order drinks and most importantly, understand what the waiter is saying to you in these situations.
So you walk into a restaurant in Italy and the waiter greets you. It’s probably the evening, so he’ll say
Katie: Good evening. And you can say that right back to him. Buonasera. Next, you want to ask for a table. Let’s say for two. How would you say “a table for two?”
Matteo: Un tavolo per due.
Katie: Tavolo means “table”, so un tavolo is “a table”. Per means “for” and due of course means “two”. Un tavolo per due. How would you say “a table for three?”
Matteo: Un tavolo per tre.
Katie: Alternatively, as often happens in Italy, the waiter might preempt you and ask: How many of you are there? How do you say that in Italian?
Matteo: In quanti siete?
Katie: In quanti siete literally means in how many are you? In means “in”, quanti means “how many” and siete means “you are” or “are you” when we’re speaking to two or more people. So the waiter asks you in how many are you – in quanti siete? And you reply…
Matteo: Siamo in due.
Katie: which means there are two of us. Siamo means “we are” and due means two, so literally it means “we are in two”. If you wanted to say “there are 3 of us”, literally, “we are in 3”, you’d say:
Matteo: siamo in tre
Katie: or 4?
Matteo: Siamo in quattro.
Katie: Great. Now, let’s learn the two most important words you need to know for ordering food in Italian: posso avere.
Matteo: Posso avere means “can I have” and it’s a really useful phrase to use because you can use it to ask for anything.
Katie: For example, menu is il menu. So how do you say “can I have the menu?”
Matteo: Posso avere il menu.
Katie: And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can ask for the menu in Italian
Matteo: Posso avere il menù in italiano?
Katie: Or you can ask for it in English.
Matteo: Posso avere il menu in inglese?
Katie: And skipping to the end of the meal for a moment, the bill is il conto. So how would you say “can I have the bill?”
Matteo: Posso avere il conto?
Katie: Great, so let’s go back to where we were. You’ve got the menu in inglese, or in italiano. Next, the waiter asks “what shall I bring you to drink”.
Matteo: Che cosa vi porto da bere?
Katie: Che cosa, means “what”, we talked about that in episode 22. Vi means “you both” or “you all”. The plural version of “you”. Porto means “I bring” And da bere means to drink. So here you can see that Italians say it in the opposite order. They literally say “what you I bring to drink”
Matteo: Che cosa vi porto da bere?
And if you can remember last week’s episode, a glass of Prosecco is…
Matteo: un bicchiere di Prosecco.
Katie: But if you want to blend in with the Italians, you won’t ask for a Prosecco at a restaurant because Italians usually drink Prosecco before dinner, almost never with a meal.
Matteo: If you want to blend in with the Italians, you can ask for a glass of red wine un bicchiere di vino rosso, or white wine un bicchiere di vino bianco. Or a bottle: una bottiglia di vino rosso or una bottiglia di vino bianco.
Katie: So we’re in il ristorante, we’ve got il menu and we’ve ordered da bere to drink. Next week we’ll pick it up from here and go into detail about how to order the dishes.
K: That’s all we have time for today, thanks for listening. And if you’d like to get more mini Italian lessons delivered to your inbox, don’t forget to subscribe by following the link below. Grazie, and ciao for now, see you next time, or as we say in Italian, alla prossima!
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