Order like a GERMAN NATIVE in a RESTAURANT

Order like a GERMAN NATIVE in a RESTAURANT

German Food is amazing, so going to the restaurant there is something you definitely should do.

Ich bin Spring German Lehrerin Brunhild. Heute sprechen wir über Restaurantbesuche!
(Today, we talk about going to the restaurant!)

1) Ein Getränk bestellen (To order a drink)

Usually, the first question der Kellner (the waiter) will ask you, is:

  • Was möchten Sie gerne trinken? (What would you like to drink?) or
  • Darf ich Ihnen schon etwas zu trinken bringen? (Can I get you something to drink?), or the short version:
  • Darf’s schon was zum Trinken sein? (Can I get you something to drink?)

That way, they can already prepare your drinks while you decide on food.

WAITER
Darf ich Ihnen schon etwas zu trinken bringen?
(Can I get you something to drink?)

GUEST
Ja, gern. Ich hätte gern ein Pils, bitter.
(Yes, gladly. I would like a Pilsner, please.)

WAITER
Möchten Sie ein großes oder kleines Pils?
(Would you like a big or a small Pilsener?)

GUEST
Ein großes, bitter.
(A big one, please.)

WAITER
Kommt sofort.
(Coming right up.)

GUEST
Danke.
(Thank you.)

CHUNK ALERT!

Kommt sofort (Coming right up, lit.: comes immediately) literally means “Comes immediately.” It’s a reassuring phrase when we’re about to fetch something for someone. It works in any context, from asking your friend for a Kaugummi (chewing gum) to ordering food in a restaurant.

Chunks are word combinations often used by native speakers, which you can learn as a whole to sound like a local faster. Download our free essential German Chunking kit for more useful chunks!

2. Essen bestellen (To order food)

To order anything, you have to study die Speisekarte (the menu). We already talked about ordering:

  • ein Getränk (a drink), zum Beispiel ein Bier (a beer). But what food can we order? We can order
  • eine Vorspeise (starters), zum Beispiel einen Salat (a salad)
  • eine Hauptspeise (a main dish), zum Beispiel ein Schnitzel mit Pommes (a schnitzel with fries) and
  • eine Nachspeise (a dessert), zum Beispiel einen Apfelstrudel (an apple strudel).

Many restaurants in Germany have “Ein Tagesgericht” (”A meal of the day”) which is on a separate Speisekarte (menu). Often in paper form or written on a blackboard somewhere, because it changes every day.

Das Tagesgericht (the meal of the day) is often served around lunchtime and is comparatively cheap, because there is a huge batch of it which doesn’t require extra preparation.

LAURA
Was nimmst du?
(What are you having?)

MARIE
Ich suche etwas Vegetarisches. Viel ist nicht zur Auswahl. Und du?
(I’m looking for something vegetarian. There isn’t much to choose from. How about you?)

LAURA
Ich nehme das Tagesgericht. Das it total günstig und hört sich lecker an!
(I’ll have the meal of the day. It’s totally cheap and sounds delicious!)

Now, how do you place an order? Let’s say you would like to order a pumpkin soup. Here are three excellent ways how to do that:

  • Ich hätte gern die Kürbissuppe. (I would like to have the pumpkin soup.)
  • Ich möchte gern die Kürbissuppe. (I would like the pumpkin soup.)
  • Ich nehme die Kürbissuppe. (I’ll have the pumpkin soup.)

The following example illustrates what it could look like in a very fancy restaurant.

DAISY
Herr Ober! Wir sind schon soweit.
(Waiter! We are already ready.)

WAITER
Was darf es bei Ihnen sein?
(What would you like to have?)

DAISY
Ich hätte gerne einmal das Entrecote mit Rotweinsoße.
(I’d like the entrecôte with red wine sauce.)

WAITER
Sehr genre.
(With pleasure.)

HUSBAND
Und ich nehme den Kabeljau mit Möhren und Senfcreme.
(And I’ll have the cod with carrots and mustard cream.)

WAITER
Eine ausgezeichnete Wahl. Hierzu empfehle ich Ihnen, noch einen Blick auf die Weinkarte zu werfen. Hier, bitte sehr.
(An excellent choice. For this, I recommend you take another look at the wine list. Here you go.)

DAISY
Dankeschön.
(Thank you.)

Disclaimer! The lady said Herr Ober” (Mr waiter), which is a somewhat obsolete term for the waiter, which, if at all, only is used in very upscale restaurants. It’s better if you don’t address the waiter by any designation and call them by just saying “Excuse me!”- “***Entschuldigung!***” (Excuse me!) For more ways to catch someone’s attention, you might also enjoy this video about asking for help in Germany://

3) Die Nachspeise (The dessert)

When it’s time to clear the table, the waiter is likely to ask you something like:

  • Hat es Ihnen geschmeckt? (Did you enjoy the food?) or
  • War alles recht bei Ihnen? (Was everything alright?) to which you could reply
  • Ja, es war sehr lecker! (Yes, it was delicious!)

If you weren’t satisfied with the food, you could say something like:

  • Nein, es war zu wenig gewürzt. (No, it wasn’t seasoned enough.) or
  • Nein, das Fleisch war zu zäh. (No, the meat was too chewy.) However, in a case like this, I recommend that you give the waiter this feedback right away. In Germany, cooks are proud and prone not take you seriously if you eat the food and complain afterwards. If it wasn’t great, but not terrible enough to complain, either, you could say:
  • Es war in Ordnung. (It was fine.) Which indicates that there’s room for improvement.

The waiter may also ask you if you would like a dessert:

  • Möchten Sie noch eine Nachspeise oder einen Espresso? (Would you like a dessert or an espresso?)
  • Haben Sie sonst noch einen Wunsch? (Is there anything else you would like?), which literally means “Do you have any other wish?”. It is a very nice and polite way to ask if someone would like anything else. To this, you could reply:
  • Ich hätte noch gern einen Apfelstrudel und einen Kaffee. (I would still like to have an apple strudel and a coffee.) Which is, by the way, a choice with which you can never go wrong!

WAITER
Hat es Ihnen geschmeckt?
(Did you like the food?)

DAISY
Ja, das Essen war sehr lecker. Vielen Dank.
(Yes, the food was very tasty. Thank you very much.)

WAITER
Schön. Möchten Sie noch eine Nachspeise oder einen Espresso? Unser Tiramisu kann ich Ihnen wärmstens empfehlen.
(Lovely. Would you like a dessert or an espresso? I can highly recommend our tiramisu.)

DAISY
Ja, sehr gern, das nehme ich. Und einen Kaffee Latte.
(Yes, with pleasure, I’ll take that. And a coffee latte.)

WAITER
Haben Sie sonst noch einen Wunsch?
(Is there anything else you would like?)

HUSBAND
Ich hätte noch gern einen Apfelstrudel und einen Espresso.
(I would like to have an apple strudel and an espresso.)

WAITER
Sehr gerne. Ein Glas Wasser dazu?
(With pleasure. A glas of water with that?)

HUSBAND
Ja, danke.
(Yes, please.)

4) Um die Rechnung bitten und bezahlen (Asking for the bill and paying)

When it’s time to leave, you can ask for the bill by saying:

  • Wir würden dann gern zahlen. (We would like to pay, please.)
  • Ich möchte gern zahlen. (I would like to pay, please.)
  • Können Sie mir bitte die Rechnung bringen? (Can you bring me the check, please?), or the short version:
  • Die Rechnung bitte. (Check, please.)

Any of these work just fine. Now, in a fancy restaurant, the waiter would usually just place a folder with the bill on the desk, so that you could then put the money. You wouldn’t talk about money out loud like in the following scene, but in order to learn, Iet’s watch them have an extensive discussion.

MARIE
Die Rechnung, bitte!
(The bill, please!)

WAITER
Natürlich. Bitte schön, die Dame.
(Certainly. There you are, Ms.)

MARIE
Was macht das?
(How much is it?)

WAITER
Das macht 86,90€.
(That’ll be €86.90.)

MARIE
100 €, stimmt so.
(€100, it’s fine like this.)

WAITER
Vielen herzlichen Dank! Ich wünsche Ihnen noch einen schönen Abend.
(Thank you very much! I wish you a pleasant evening.)

MARIE
Vielen Dank, Ihnen ebenso!
(Thank you very much, you too!)

Yes, tipping the waiter is a must in Germany. But of course, you don’t have to tip as much as this guy. Around ten percent is a good tip.

5) Quiz (Quiz)

How do you ask for a large Beer?

a) Ich hätte gerne ein Glas Wasser.

b) Ein großes Pils, bitte.

Okay, this one was too easy. It’s b). Instead of “Pils”, you could also be less specific and say “***Ein großes Bier, bitte.***” (A large beer, please.)

What does the waitress mean, when she says “Kommt sofort”?

a) Go away.

b) Coming right up.

Thankfully, it’s b). Kommt sofort (Coming right up) means: coming right up!

How can you let the waiter know, that you would like to pay?

a) Ich möchte gern zahlen.

b) Die Rechnung, bitte.

Both a) and b) are excellent ways to ask for the bill!

What does the waiter want to know, when he asks “Hat es Ihnen geschmeckt?

a) He wants to know if he can bring you anything else.

b) He wants to know if you liked the food.

Hat es Ihnen geschmeckt? (Did you enjoy the food?) literally means “Did it taste good to you?”, so b) is correct.

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