Ordering in a restaurant is one of the most common situations for tourists. Moreover, if that tourist is also a student of Spanish, he or she can take advantage of the opportunity to practice. However, beginners tend to always use the same phrases to communicate with waiters, either for convenience or because they don’t know the synonyms. Now that we are in summer and beaches are full, let’s learn different options for ordering in a restaurant in Spanish.

Ordering in a Restaurant: Contacting the Waiter

These days, beach bars, pubs and restaurants are usually full to overflowing. And if they are located on the boardwalks, it can be impossible to get the attention of a waiter. While it’s understandable that customers may lose their cool and speak in a rude manner, we’re going to offer you polite options for contacting the waiter:

  • ¡Cuando pueda!

  • ¡Si no es molestia!

  • ¡Perdone!

  • ¡Disculpe!

Usually, while we say the phrases above, we raise an arm to aid eye contact.



If there were more familiarity with the waiters, either because of their youth or because it is a place where they already know us, we might use:

  • ¡Camarero!

  • ¡Jefe!

  • ¡Chico/a!

Ordering from a Waiter

To order in a restaurant in Spanish we have different options, depending on the degree of formality of the situation. Ordering in a fine and elegant restaurant is not the same as ordering in a beach bar crowded with shirtless customers.

Unfortunately, the more formal option also requires more grammatical knowledge. Thus, we will use more of the imperfect subjunctive with the verb querer and the conditional of verbs such as gustar, querer or poder. Even the imperative of the form usted is also acceptable.

We remind you that if you want to learn how to use the Spanish verb tenses, you can take a look at the free grammar resources section of Spanisviaskype.com.


Recursos gratuitos de la nueva web de Spanishviaskype


Now, let’s see some expressions for ordering in a restaurant in a formal way:

  • Quisiera una ensalada de la casa.

  • Me gustaría probar el chuletón a la brasa.

  • Querríamos una paella para cuatro personas.

  • ¿Podría traernos una jarra de sangría?

  • ¡Tráigame la cuenta!

Of course, these requests should end with a polite expression such as gracias, por favor, cuando pueda, si no es molestia

However, if we want to order in a tasca, garito or antro, that is, an establishment where it is not necessary to be so formal and polite, we propose other options. These are dominated by the absence of verbs, the informal imperative or the use of the present indicative with a command value:

  • Ponme una cerveza.

  • ¿Me traes una tapa?

  • ¡Un café con leche!

  • ¡La cuenta!

  • ¿Cuánto te debo?

Now you are ready for ordering in a restaurant and mingle with the locals, whether in a chiringuito or in a “Michelin star restaurant”. If you want to learn more everyday expressions to get by on your trip to Spain or America, we recommend you our conversational classes at Spanishviaskype.com. You will speak Spanish non-stop from the comfort of your own home.