Ordering Food in French (Guide To Restaurant Phrases)

Ordering food in French is essential for eating in a restaurant in France. This lesson covers a a comprehensive list of French restaurant vocabulary and phrases including “Je voudrais _, s’il vous plait” (I would like _, please) and “L’addition, s’il vous plaît” (the bill please). After this lesson, check out our French food vocabulary list.

How to make reservations

Learning how to make restaurant reservation is extremely important as many higher-end French restaurants require that you book the table in advance. These two other lessons will come in handy for making reservations: French telephone vocabulary and telling time in French.

  • Connaissez-vous un bon restaurant dans ce quartier? Do you a good restaurant in this neighborhood?
  • Pouvez-vous m’indiquer un restaurant bon marché près d’ici? Can you suggest an inexpensive restaurant near here?
  • Je voudrais réserver une table pour deux personnes. I’d like to reserve a table for two people.
  • On va arriver à dix-neuf heures. We’ll arrive at 7.00pm.
  • Je vourdais une table sur la terrace/près de la fenêtre. I’d like a table on the terrace/near the window.

How to order a meal in French

The following list of phrases are what you will use with the waiter (le serveur) or the waitress (la serveuse). The traditional word for waiter is ‘le garçon’, which literally means ‘the boy’. This term is now outdated. The restaurant vocabulary list below also includes words for silverware.

  • Monsieur/Garçon/Mademoiselle! Sir!/Miss!
  • Nous sommes prêts à commander. We’re ready to order.
  • Puis-je avoir la carte? May I have the menu?
  • Avez-vous des menus? Do you have set/fixed-price menus?
  • Nous commandons à la carte. We’ll order separate items off the menu.
  • Que recommandez-vous? What do you recommend?
  • Quelles sont les specialités du/chef de la région? What are the chef’s/ region’s specialties?
  • Je voudrais… I would like…
  • Pourrais-je avoir… May I have…
  • du pain some bread
  • du beurre some butter
  • de l’huile d’olive some olive oil
  • du sel some salt
  • du poivre some pepper
  • du sucre some sugar
  • une forchette a fork
  • une cuillière a spoon
  • un couteau a knife
  • un verre a cup
  • une serviette a napkin

How to talk about dietary requirements

The following offers a comprehensive list of phrases you can use to express specific dietary requirements. Gluten allergies (les allergies au gluten) have become increasingly common so much restaurants offer gluten-free (sans gluten) options.

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  • Avez-vous des plats végétariens? Do you have vegetarian dishes.
  • Je suis végétarien/végétarienne. I’m a vegetarian.
  • Je suis allergique au gluten. I’m allergic to gluten.
  • Je suis allergique au lait de vache/produits laitiers. I’m allergic to cow’s milk/dairy.
  • Avez-vous des plats pour les diabétiques? Do you have any dishes for diabetics?
  • Je dois évieter le/la/les… I must avoid…
  • Est-ce que c’est cachère? Is it kosher?
  • Je ne mange pas le porc. I don’t eat pork.
  • Pas trop épicé/piquant, s’il vous plaît. Not too spicy, please.
  • Je voudrais encore. I’d like more.
  • Puis-je avoir encore un peu de… May I have some more…
  • Donnez-moi une petite portion de… Give me a small portion of…

How to express compliments and complaints

In French culture is is very common to lavish compliments and express praise to the chef and restaurant staff. Be sure to memorize the first to phrases on the list below.

  • C’était délicieux/très bon! It was delicious/good!
  • Nos compléments au chef! Our complements to the chef!
  • C’est trop cuit. It’s over-cooked.
  • La viande est trop cuite/saignante/dure. The meat is overcooked/rare/hard.
  • Ce n’est pas ce que j’ai commandé. It’s not what I ordered.
  • C’est trop sale/amer/sucré. It’s too salty/bitter/sweet.
  • C’est tout froid. The food is cold.
  • Pourquoi ça prend tant de temps? Why is it taking so long?
  • Ce plat ne me plaît pas. I don’t like this dish.
  • Ce n’est pas frais. It’s not fresh.
  • Je voudrais renvoyer ce plat. I’d like to send this dish back.
  • Je voudrais parler avec le maître d’hôtel. I’d like to talk with the head waiter.

Paying the bill

Be very careful with the phrase, ‘Je vous invite’. While it literally translates to ‘I invite you’, it means ‘It’s my treat’! Separately, in France you generally do not have to ask if the service is included. This is because the service is almost always included in the bill and it isn’t necessary to give a tip (donner un pourboire).

  • Je te/vous invite! It’s my treat!
  • L’addition, s’il vous plaît. The bill, please.
  • Chacun paye sa part. We’re going Dutch.
  • Il parraît qu’il y a une erreur dans l’addition. It looks like there’s a mistake in the bill.
  • Le service/tout est compris? Is the service/everything included?
  • Acceptez-vous les cartes de crédit? Do you accept credit cards?

Ordering food – video lesson

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