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22 Everyday Conversations - The Restaurant


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22 Everyday Conversations - The Restaurant


Dining out in restaurants in the UK is a formal situation, where politeness is expected if you want good service.

It is important to say please and thank you to the staff who look after you, and serve you with your meal, or you will be considered rude. You will notice everyone saying " May I... " or " Could I have ..." because this is the polite way to ask for something.

Restaurant staff in the UK tend to be friendly and chatty, but they normally interact with customers in a formal way, and will probably call you sir or madam.

If you order a bottle of wine, you will be invited to taste it first, before it is poured for everyone else at your table to drink.

In the UK, it is customary to leave a tip of at least ten percent of the bill, for good service and food. You will cause offence if you overlook this.

Typical vocabulary that you would come across in a restaurant:

booking - an arrangement made with a restaurant in advance, to eat there a particular time.

a party - a group of people who arrange to eat together.

menu - a printed list of meals that a restaurant serves.

cutlery - knives, forks, and spoons.

napkin - a cloth or folded piece of soft paper that you use to mop up spilt food.

starter - the first course of the meal. Small portions of food, served either hot or cold.

main course - the main part of the meal. Medium to large portions of food, served either hot or cold.

side dish - a small portion of food. Typically bread, salad, or vegetables in sauce, that you eat with a main meal.

dessert - the last course of a meal. Typically a sweet dish, such as cake, pudding or ice-cream.

Useful Expressions and Phrases:

Arriving At The Restaurant

If you have booked a table: - "Hello. We've booked a table for people." (say how many people are in you group.)

If you haven't booked a table: - "Hello. Do you have a table free?"

"Do you have a table for free?" (say how many people are in you group.)

"Hello. We haven't booked a table. Can you fit us in?"

Ordering Food

"Could we see the menu, please?"

"Could we see the drinks menu, please?"

"Could we see the wine list, please?"

Choosing What To Eat:

"We're not ready to order yet."

"Could you give us a few more minutes, please? "

"We're ready to order now."

"We would like to order now, please."

"Could I have...?" (say what you would like to eat)

"I would like..." (say what you would like to eat)

"I would like some water, please."

Paying For Your Meal

"Could we have the bill, please?"

"Can I pay by credit card?"

"Is service included?" (if you pay by cash, and want to leave a tip)

"Add on ten percent for yourself."

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Getting Seated

  • YOU
  • I
  • HELP

Waiter: Can (1) ?

  • LIKE
  • TWO
  • FOR
  • A
  • WE'D

Diners:Yes, (2) please.

  • TO
  • YOU'D
  • IF
  • LIKE

Waiter: (3) me.

  • GIVE
  • THE
  • ME
  • YOU

Waiter: let (4) .

  • THE
  • YOU
  • LIKE
  • TO

Waiter: Would (5) in the meantime?

  • WE
  • LIST
  • THE
  • SEE
  • WINE

Diners: Yes please, I'd like some water, and (6) please?

  • IT'S
  • BACK
  • THE
  • OF
  • AT

Waiter: (7) menu.

  • YOU
  • LIKE
  • OR

Waiter: (8) water?

  • BOTH
  • A
  • OF

Diners: (9) please.