Ordering Food in Spanish: Happy Hour!

Ordering Food in Spanish: Happy Hour!

Imagine wandering around a Spanish-speaking country, stomach rumbling, but you’re stumped on how to order food in Spanish. I’ve been there! Learning how to order food in Spanish is a must. Whether you’re ordering food at a restaurant, cafe, or even at a street stall, it might be the first thing you’ll do after arriving in a Spanish-speaking country. I am familiar with the classic “una cerveza, por favor”, but I can’t live on a drink alone! While speaking a new language might seem scary, ordering food is straightforward—there’s no need for long chats. Before we move on, let’s cover some essential food words because it’s good to know what’s on the menu first before we can talk to the waiter! This website summarizes it perfectly and breaks it down into 3 main groups: types of meat, side dishes, and beverages. Another online resource categorizes ordering food based on meal types: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I found them very helpful!

Also, it is important to note that there are a lot of different ways to say things in any language. Take ordering food in English, for example; we can say it so many ways without even thinking There is a  YouTube video from the Language Tutor – Spanish channel that introduces very helpful words and phrases for ordering food at a restaurant. It’s a good starting point for learning how to talk in restaurants before exploring more ways to say the same things. However, I felt like it wasn’t as organized as other lessons I’ve used from this channel before, so this week I’m focusing on learning from different online sources instead. I found this online website that is written by someone who’s learning Spanish and working as a waitress. It has useful phrases from both sides – what the waitress might say and how you should respond.

Order Anything you Want with Just 5 Phrases

1.”¿Me pones…?” means “Can I have…?” in Spanish. It’s your go-to phrase for ordering in restaurants, bars, or anywhere else. While it doesn’t translate directly, it essentially means asking someone to put something in front of you. 

  • Waiter: Hola (Hello)
  • You: ¿Me pones una cerveza, por favor? (Can I have a beer, please?)

2. “¿Me das…?” means “Will you give me…?” It’s a simple, polite, and effective phrase to get exactly what you want.

  • Waiter: ¿Qué quieres para tomar? (What would you like to have)
  • You: ¿Me das una Corona, por favor? (Can you give me a Corona, please?)

3. “Quiero…”  means “I want….” and it works for ordering anything from drinks to food. Simple and to the point!

  • Waiter: ¿Qué desea ordenar? (What would you like to order?)
  • You: Quiero una hamburguesa, por favor. (I want a hamburger, please.)

4. “Para mí…”  means “for me” or “to me.” When the waiter asks what you’d like, you can say “Para mí” followed by your order.

  • Waiter: ¿Y usted señor? (And you sir?)
  • You: Para mí, los tacos, por favor. (For me, the tacos, please.)

5.Tomar…” means “to take” or “to have” when referring to food or drinks.

  • Waiter: ¿Qué quieres tomar? (What do you want to drink?)
  • Customer: Tomo un refresco, por favor. (I’ll take soda, please.)
assorted of mexican food with fajitas, chili con carne and nachos with avocado, beef and cheese
Photo by M.studio on Adobe Stock

Deciding on Your Order or Needing More Time

If you’re unsure what to order and want something local, try asking “¿Qué me recomiendas?” This phrase can help you discover new dishes. If you need more time to decide, you can say “Todavía no estoy listo” (I’m not ready yet) or “Necesito más tiempo” (I need more time). For example:

  • Waiter: “¿Listo para ordenar?” (Ready to order?)
  • You: “No, necesito más tiempo.” (No, I need more time.)

Waiter’s and Waitress’s Common Questions

A conversation with a waiter/waitress usually follows a standard pattern, including the following common questions and responses:

  1. Question 1: ¿Algo para tomar? (Would you like something to eat/drink?). Your response: Sí, un agua, por favor. (Yes, water, please.)
  2. Question 2: ¿Están listos para pedir? (Are you ready to order?). Your response: Me das/me pones/quiero la ensalada con pollo (I’ll have, or I want the chicken salad). No, necesito más tiempo (No I need more time). Todavía no estoy listo(I’m not ready yet).
  3. Question 3: ¿Algo mas? (Anything else?). You can respond by saying: No, gracias (No, thank you)
    Me pones/me das/quiero/ me traes… (Can you bring me …)
  4. Question 4: ¿Puedo retirar? (Can I take your plate?) or ¿Terminaste? (Are you finished?). Your response: Si, gracias. (Yes, thank you.) Todavía no. (Not yet.)
  5. Question 5: ¿Quieres postre? (Do you want dessert?). Your response: ¡Si, claro! (Yes, of course!) No gracias, estoy a reventar/ estoy lleno. (No thanks, I’m full.)

Paying the Bill

Before paying the bill, I think it’s important to get the attention of the waiter or waitress politely, especially during busy times. “Disculpa” or “Perdón” are both polite ways to say “Excuse me” or “Pardon me” in Spanish.

man paying bill at fancy restaurant
Photo by cherryandbees on Adobe Stock

Here are the phrases you’ll need when paying the bill:

  • You: ¿Me traes la cuenta? (Will you bring me the check?) or La cuenta, por favor. (The check, please.)
  • Waiter: ¿Quieres pagar con tarjeta o efectivo? (Do you want to pay with a card or cash?).
  • If paying with card: ¿Débito o crédito? (Debit or credit?).
Overall, this week was really productive—I learned a lot of new Spanish phrases and words for ordering food. I put together a quick video using Canva Video Creator & Editor to sum up what I’ve learned. It’s such a great tool for making videos! If you’re interested in getting the hang of it, you can take a look at one of my earlier blog posts where I’ve put together a simple guide to help you get started! Next week, I’m planning to tackle asking for directions. Wish me luck! 🙂



How to Order Food in Spanish

Ordering Food in Spanish

How to Order Food in Spanish Like a Native?



6 thoughts on “Ordering Food in Spanish: Happy Hour!

  1. Hi Mariia!

    That sounds like an incredibly productive week! Learning new Spanish phrases for ordering food is such a valuable skill, and putting together a video to summarize your learning is a fantastic idea. Canva Video Creator & Editor is indeed an excellent tool for content creation. Your willingness to share your knowledge and provide a guide for others shows your generosity and helpful nature. Best of luck with tackling asking for directions next week!

    1. Hi Rowena! Thanks for your support throughout my learning project journey! Your comments are always so kind and encouraging! Thank you 🙂

  2. Hi Mariia,

    So fun! What a great learning project! I know if I were going to a spanish speaking country… either who to bring with me OR the blog i should check out before I go.
    Seems like this week was a great week for you! I am excited to see some videos of you speaking some of these spanish phrases… OOOOO or if you were to do a fun little spanish podcast. So many oppurtunities to show case your talents.
    good luck 🙂

    1. Hi Kyla! Thanks for your comment! Yep, videos are coming out soon! I’m practicing those phrases to sound like a native speaker haha. Stay tuned! 🙂

  3. Hi Mariia,
    I enjoyed reading your post and I have learned some useful information from your post, and they will be helpful when I start learning Spanish. I plan learning basic Spanish for my trip to Europe next year.

    1. Hi Ola, thanks for your comment! That’s awesome! I’m sure you’ll have lots of fun in Europe 🙂 I am glad you found my post helpful. Stay tuned for more next week!

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