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  • Writer's pictureTeacher Stefano ENG

Very IMPORTANT phrases to use at a restaurant in Italy + useful CULTURAL tips

Would you like to learn some useful sentences to use at a restaurant in Italy to feel more part of our culture and impress the people you are traveling with? And would you like to learn more about our culture in restaurants? Then, read the article!

Do you want to take your Italian to the next level? Check out my Online Italian course for beginners "Be Italiano" and start learning today to become a real Italiano, like me!

Ciao a tutti and welcome to a new article. In today’s lesson, we will look at a few extremely useful sentences to use at a restaurant. Let’s start.

How to book a restaurant

Although now there are several apps to book your table at a restaurant, I still think the best way to do it is by calling. So how would you reserve a table? Let’s look at a few examples:

  • Buongiorno, vorrei prenotare un tavolo per due persone stasera alle 21:00. Good morning, I would like to reserve a table for two people tonight at 9 pm.

  • Buonasera, è possibile prenotare un tavolo per cinque domenica a pranzo? Good evening, it is possible to reserve a table for five on Sunday at lunch?

  • Salve, vorrei fare una prenotazione per un tavolo domani a pranzo alle 13:00. È possibile avere un tavolo fuori? Hello, I would like to make a reservation for a table tomorrow at lunch at 1 pm. Is it possible to have a table outside?

How to tell the staff about your reservation or a table

Now, you go to the restaurant and you want to let the waiter know about your reservation. You could say:

  • Buonasera, ho prenotato un tavolo per due a nome Stefano. Good evening, I booked a table for two for Stefano.

What if you don’t have a reservation? You’ll need to tell the waiter how many people of you there are. The structure of this sentence in Italian is completely different. We say:

  • Buonasera, siamo in due —> note the use of the preposition “in”. We would say “siamo in tre, quattro, dieci…” and so on! Good evening, there are two of us.

  • Buonasera, avete un tavolo per due? Good evening, do you have a table for two?


Now you’re seated and looking at the menu and ready to order. Let’s go through some useful sentences:

  • Io prendo le tagliatelle al ragù, grazie. I will have tagliatelle al ragù, please.

  • Vorrei il risotto allo zafferano. I would like saffron risotto.

  • Quali verdure ci sono nella caponata? What vegetables are there in the caponata?

  • Mi scusi, questo piatto è piccante? Excuse me, is this dish spicy?

  • Da bere prendiamo una bottiglia di Primitivo. We will get a Primitivo wine bottle to drink.

  • Scusi, può portarci un po’ di pane? Excuse me, can you bring us some bread?

Asking for the check

It’s time to leave the restaurant so you need to ask for the bill. It’s very important to know that in Italy waiters are not going to bring the bill to your table unless you specifically asked for it. If they do it without you asking, it’s very rude and if it happens to me I will make sure not go to that restaurant ever again! So, in order to ask the bill you could say:

  • Scusi, ci può portare il conto, per favore? Excuse me, can we have the check, please?

Now they will bring the bill to the table or ask you to pay at the register (that in Italian is called “cassa”). Here, you might express your payment preference and say:

  • Pago in contanti. I will pay cash.

  • Posso pagare con carta? Can I pay with the credit card?

If you are American, most of your credit cards are not going to work in contactless mode, unless you pay with your phone. I think, and correct me if I am wrong, that in the United States you swipe your card to pay but that is not going to work in Italy. So you will have to insert your card. To specify that, you could say:

  • Devo inserire la carta. I have to insert the car.

I hope these sentences helped and let me know how your trip to Italy goes!

If you have any questions about this topic, don't hesitate to send me a message in the contact section of my website.

Un abbraccio dall'Italia,

Teacher Stefano

Do you want to take your Italian to the next level? Check out my Online Italian course for beginners "Be Italiano" and start learning today to become a real Italiano, like me!



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