Common Italian Words You'll Need While Dining

Italy is all about good food and enjoying a delicious meal with family and friends. If you visit Italy, you'll likely spend quite a bit of time in restaurants or eating. We've put together some helpful phrases to make your meal time a breeze.

After you are seated, the first thing you will be asked is if you want something to drink.

Vorrebbe ordinare da bere? = Would you like to order a drink?

Posso avere un bicchiere d'acqua? = Can I have a glass of water?

Acqua naturale o gassata? = Still or sparkling?

L'acqua naturale va bene = Still water will be fine

Prenderò un succo d'arancia = I'll have an orange juice

Vuole qualcos'altro? = Do you need anything else?

Vino rosso/bianco = Red/white wine

La lista dei vini è alla seconda pagina del suo menù = The wine list is on the second page of your menu

Un quarto di vino da pasto/da tavola = A quarter of your  house wine


In Italy the menu is not always brought to the table by the host or hostess, therefore it might take a few minutes before one is actually brought to you. And you just might have to ask for one yourself.

Posso vedere il menu? = Can I see the menu?


Waiters in Italy are not always around, they don't work on a tip and therefore they don't act as sales people. So if you're ready to order you just might have to flag one down and ask.

Posso ordinare? = Can I order?

Le piacerebbe iniziare con gli antipasti? = Would you like to start with some appetizers?

Un antipasto, va bene = An appetizer sounds good

Sono in lista sulla prima pagina del menù = They are listed on the first page of the menu

Io sono affamato = I'm hungry

Io sono un po' di fretta = I'm in a little bit of a hurry

Certamente, signore, è pronto per ordinare? = Certainly, are you ready to order, sir?

Oggi abbiamo riso con il pesce per pranzo = Today we have rice and fish for lunch

E che tipo di minestre avete? = And what kind of soup do you have?

minestra di verdure, di pomodoro, con i funghi = vegetable soup, tomato soup and mushrooms soup

zuppa di fagioli = bean soup

spaghetti al ragù -= spaghetti bolognese

spaghetti alla carbonara = spaghetti with bacon and egg

penne all'arrabbiata = pasta in spicey tomato sauce

linguine al pesto = flat noodles with basil sauce

cannelloni = pasta tubes with a bolognese filling

Era veramente buona = It tasted so good

pane = bread

bruschetta = toasted bread with garlic and tomato

Potrei avere un po' di pane? = Could I have some bread?

Questo pane caldo è squisito = This hot bread is delicious

Sto mangiando così tanto pane che sono già sazio = I'm eating so much bread that I'm getting full

sale = salt

pepe = pepper

formaggio = 'cheese' is the literal translation, but if you mean parmesan cheese, you can say "Parmigiano"

Preferisce mangiare carne o pesce? = Do you prefer meat or fish?

Preferisco la carne = I do prefer the meat

bistecca = steak

Vorrei una bistecca al sangue, poco/molto cotta = I would like a rare,  a medium rare/well done steak

bistecca di filetto = fillet steak

filetto al pepe verde = fillet steak with green pepper sauce

Questa bistecca è troppo grassa = This steak has too much fat

Per favore, mi porti una bistecca migliore = Please, bring me a better steak

Salumi misti = selection of cold meats

frutti di mare = selection of seafood

oil =olio

olio d'oliva ( extra vergine) = olive oil

olio di semi = vegetable oil

vinegar = aceto

aceto balsamico = balsamic vinegar

contorno = side order, usually potatoes (patate), French fries (patate fritte), peas (piselli), tomatoes (pomodori), broccoli = (broccoli)

insalata = salad

insalata di pollo = chicken salad

patate in insalata = potato salad

insalata fresca = fresh salad

insalata mista = mixed salad

insalata caprese = tomato and mozzarella salad

Posso avere il conto? = Can I have the bill?

Quant'è? = How much is it?

E' Euro 40.00 = That's 40 Euros

Va tutto bene qui? = Is everything ok here?

Il totale è di E.40.00 = The total comes to 40 Euros

C'e' un errore nel conto = There is a mistake on the bill

Accettiamo carte di credito = We accept credit cards

Frutta: Mela, Arancia, Banana, Fragola, Ciliegia, Kiwi, Pera, Pesca, Anguria, Ananas

Fruit: Apple, Orange, Banana, Strawberry, Cherries, Kiwi, Pear, Peach, Watermelon, Pineapple

Dessert or Dolce, Gelato, Torta = Dessert, Ice Cream, Cake

Il Tiramisù è il mio dolce preferito = Tiramisù is my favourite dessert

Vengo in questo ristorante da anni = I have been coming to this restaurant for years

Le è piaciuto il pranzo? = Did you enjoy your meal?

Era tutto delizioso, grazie = Thanks, it  was all delicious

Faccia i nostri complimenti al cuoco! = send our compliments to the chef!

Le piacerebbe avere il caffè o il tè con il dolce? = Would you like coffee or tea with your dessert?

Prenderemo quattro caffè, per favore = We'll have four coffees, please

Just keep some of these helpful words and phrases in mind the next time you're ordering scrumptious food in Italy!

By Elisa Bressan


No votes yet


Sunday, February 19TH, 2012 by Guest

some of these seem odd syntax compared with most phrase books and language courses.