How to Order Food in Spanish: A Complete Guide

Many students wonder how to order food in Spanish naturally. In this guide, you’ll find the vocabulary and phrases you need not only to order food in Spanish, but also to communicate effectively at the restaurant.

Phrases to Order Food in Spanish

  • Para mí, va a ser… – For me, it’s going to be
  • ¿Me puedes/podrías traer…? – Can/Could you bring me…?
  • Quisiera… – I would like…
  • Voy a querer… – I’ll have…
  • ¿Qué platillo me recomiendas? – What dish would you recommend to me?

Although there are many ways to order food in Spanish, these are the most common phrases for this context. Let’s look at some notes so you can correctly use these phrases. 

Para mí va a ser refers to a singular dish or beverage.  

Para mí, va a ser un jugo de naranja. 
For me, it’s going to be orange juice

This means you must adjust the verb if referring to a plural noun (van). Also, you can use different prepositional pronouns in Spanish to order for others: 

Para ellos, van a ser dos cafés. 
For them, it’s going to be two coffees. 

To order food in Spanish more casually, you can say:

Yo voy a querer dos burritos.
I’ll have two burritos. 

¿Me puedes traer una orden de hot cakes?
Can you bring me an order of pancakes? 

The formal counterparts are quisiera and ¿me podrías…?

Quisiera ordenar la ensalada de frutas. 
I’d like to order the fruit salad.

¿Me podrías traer la sopa del día?
Could you bring me the soup of the day?

This last expression can be customized by changing the indirect object pronoun

Take Note: Like in English, in Spanish, ¿me puedes traer…? and its formal variation can be used to ask the waiter to bring anything, including glasses, napkins, or cutlery. 

Asking for recommendations and ingredients

¿Qué platillo me recomiendas? can work on its own as a cue to order something. However, if you have specific requests for the recommendation, you should use the following formula. Be aware that, in real-life situations, the order of the elements may change:

¿Qué + [noun] + [indirect pronoun] +  recomiendas + que + [present subjunctive]?

¿Qué platillo me recomiendas que no tenga carne?
What dish would you recommend without meat?

¿Qué sopa que lleve pollo nos recomiendas?
What soup that has chicken do you recommend?

In Spanish, the verb llevar is used to inquire about the ingredients in a dish. 

¿Qué lleva la paella?
What’s in the paella?

¿Las enchiladas llevan carne?
Do the enchiladas contain meat? 

El jugo de naranja no lleva azúcar. 
The orange juice doesn’t contain sugar. 

Take Note: Depending on the formality of the situation, you may need to choose between using formal or informal you with the restaurant personnel. 

Correcting your order

Now that you know how to order food in Spanish, here are some phrases you can use to point out mistakes in your order. Note that to make these expressions more polite, you can use the word disculpa (excuse me). 

[Indirect pronoun] + [pedir in preterite] + [dish/drink]

Disculpa, te pedí la ensalada sin queso. 
Excuse me, I ordered the salad without cheese. 

Le pedimos dos cafés y un té. 
We ordered two coffees and a cup of tea. 

The second option you have is:

[Dish/drink] + [ser in imperfect tense] + con/sin + [ingredients]

La hamburguesa era sin catsup. 
The burger was without ketchup. 

Disculpa, las limonadas eran con agua mineral. 
Excuse me, the lemonades were with mineral water.

How to Ask for the Bill in Spanish

  • ¿Me puedes traer la cuenta, por favor? 
  • ¿Me das la cuenta, por favor? 
  • ¿Te encargo la cuenta, por favor? 
  • ¿Te puedo pedir la cuenta, por favor?

The previous expressions are the most standard ways to ask for the bill in Spanish. If you’re in a more casual setting, you can also say:

  • ¿Cuánto va a ser? – How much is it going to be?
  • ¿Cuánto es? – How much is it?
  • ¿Cuánto te/le debo? – How much do I owe you?

How to Take an Order

So far, you’ve learned how to order food and how to correct your order if there’s a mistake. Here are some expressions the waiter may use to take your order in Spanish: 

  • ¿Está listo para ordenar? – Are you ready to order?
  • ¿Qué desea ordenar? – What would you like to order?
  • ¿Necesita unos minutos más? – Do you need a few more minutes?
  • ¿Qué sería para usted? – What would you have?
  • ¿Desea ordenar las bebidas primero? – Would you like to order the drinks first?
  • ¿Qué va a ser para tomar? – What would you like to drink?
  • ¿Su bebida sería con agua mineral o natural? – Do you want your drink with mineral or natural water?
  • ¿Desea acompañar su platillo con algo más? – Would you like to add something else to your meal?
  • ¿Le puedo retirar la carta? – Can I take the menu? 
  • ¿Está todo bien? – Is everything okay?
  • ¿Le puedo ofrecer algo más? – Can I offer you something else?
  • ¿Desea un postre? – Would you like to order a dessert?
  • ¿Le gustaría ver el menú de postres? – Would you like to see the dessert menu?

Key Vocabulary for Ordering Food in Spanish

Here are some words you may find useful in the restaurant context. 

  • Aperitivo: Appetizer
  • Azúcar: Sugar
  • Baño: Toilet 
  • Café: Coffee 
  • Con: With
  • Cuchara: Spoon 
  • Cuchillo: Knife 
  • Cuenta: Bill
  • Hielo: Ice
  • Mantel: Tablecloth
  • Menú / Carta: Menu
  • Mesa: Table
  • Mesero: Waiter
  • Mesera: Waitress
  • Orden: Order
  • Para dos: For two
  • Para llevar: To go/To take
  • Plato: Plate
  • Postre: Dessert
  • Propina: Tip
  • Refresco: Soft drink
  • Sal: Salt
  • Salero: Salt-shaker
  • Servilleta: Napkin
  • Sin: Without 
  • Taza: Cup
  • Tenedor: Fork
  • Terraza: Terrace 
  • Vaso: Glass
  • Vino: Wine

¿Qué aperitivo nos recomiendas?
What appetizer do you recommend?

Para mí, va a ser un café sin azúcar.
For me, it’s going to be coffee without sugar

¿Me puedes traer otro tenedor y un vaso?
Can you bring me another fork and glass?

¿Tienes una mesa para dos en la terraza?
Do you have a table for two on the terrace?

Daniela Sanchez

¡Hola! Soy Daniela Sanchez, I've been studying Spanish professionally as well as teaching it in Mexico and online for over 10 years. I’ve taught Spanish to a wide array of foreigners from many backgrounds. Over the years, I've made it my mission to work hard on refining many challenging to understand grammar topics to make my students' learning experiences easier, faster and more enjoyable. Read More About Me

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