Italian Words and Expressions to Use at the Restaurant

Italian food is delicious, isn’t it? But, would you know how to order your meal in an Italian restaurant? If you have any doubt, watch this amazing video about some useful words and expressions used when you go to the restaurant! Ah, and don’t forget to do the exercises!


Have you heard what Rocco and Graziana told each other in the video? Good! Now let’s see together when these Italian expressions are used and their meanings!

Da quanto tempo! / Che piacere rivederti! (It’ been a while! / Nice to see you!) → These expressions are used to talk to a person we haven’t seen for a long time, but we are pleased to meet again.

Promozione a lavoro (Promotion at work) → Raising up to a higher level at work (the employer gives the promotion, the employee receives it).

Non mi dire! (You have got to be kidding me!) → Expression that indicates surprise for something we have just heard, to express that we don’t believe what we are hearing.

Offrire qualcosa (To be on someone→ Paying somebody something; in our case a meal!

Piacere un sacco (To like a lot) → Expression used to say that you really like something or someone!

Essere a dieta (To be on a diet→ Eating lower quantity of food to lose weight or because of health reasons.

Prova costume (Dress rehearsal) → Expression used to indicate the moment in which we try our swimsuits to be sure they still fit us. Usually, this moment coincides with the beginning of the summer.

Essere un figurino (To look great!) → Being in perfect shape.

Fare uno strappo alla regola (To bend the rules) → Not respecting an order or rule.

Tavolo all’angolo / vicino alla finestra (Table in the corner / Close to the window Position of the table at the restaurant. If you have a preference, tell it to the waiter!

Accomodiamoci! (Let’s have a seat!)→ Expression usually used to invite our guest to sit with us (If we have already sat or we aren’t supposed to sit, but we want to invite our guest to do so, we say «Accomodati!», without including ourselves).

Ho un certo languorino! (I’m a little peckish Being hungry.

Un calice di vino (Glass of wine “il calice” is the traditional glass used to drink wine.

Lattina (Can) → A tin container that contains beverages such as orange juice, tea…

Menù completo (Full Menu)It indicates a meal in the restaurant that includes all the courses (appetizer, first course, main course, side dish, fruit, dessert).

Menù (Menu→ Piece of paper in which you can read all the food the restaurant serves.

Antipasto, primo, secondo, contorno (appetizer, first course, main course, side dish)  Typical courses of a complete Italian meal.

Piatto del giorno (Dish of the day) → A special dish made by a restaurant on a given day!

Cin cin! (Cheers)Expression that Italians use to toast, followed by the sound of clashing glasses. How do you say in your country?

Buon appetito! (Enjoy your meal! Sentence used to wish the people we are eating with a good meal. It is said before eating.

Altrettanto! (likewise) → Sentence used to reply to  «Buon appetito!» and every other good wish we receive.

Conto (Bill→ Total price that we have to pay in a restaurant after eating (the client asks for it, the waiter brings it)

Pagare con carta / in contanti (Paying by credit card / cashThese are the two main methods of payment: with a credit card or “real money”, coins and banknotes.

Servizio (Service) → When used to refer to a restaurant this expression indicates the behavior of the waiters, the cleanliness of silverware and glasses and so on: it can be “pessimo” (bad), “buono” (good) or “impeccabile” (flawless / great).

Mancia  (TipMoney usually given the waiter by the customers, especially if the service was great.

Did you enjoy this lesson? We have many other Italian lessons that you should have a look at!

Do you struggle with the Italian subjunctive? We have the best Italian subjunctive course!

Let’s see if you’ve mastered the contents of this class. Have a go at completing the exercises!

One thought to “Italian Words and Expressions to Use at the Restaurant”

  1. My brother wants to bring his girlfriend to an Italian restaurant to propose to her. It was mentioned here that it will be best to learn Italian expressions that he can use to order food and acquire services in the restaurant. Moreover, it’s recommended to consult experts before going to an Italian restaurant.

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