For the curious and open-minded traveler, visiting European countries can come with all kinds of unique gastronomic experiences. Not knowing how to read a menu or order food can limit things substantially! Learning how to order food in German may lead you to regional dishes that you’ve never even heard of before. From classic meat entrées and (surprisingly tasty!) vegetarian options to heavenly desserts and local beers, German cuisine has a lot to offer.
Knowing how to order food in German is a basic skill to master on your path to becoming fluent. Ordering food is a simple interaction with plenty of opportunity for real-world practice, which helps build your confidence. It also deepens your understanding of German grammar and broadens your vocabulary.
How to reserve or request a table
If you’re planning on visiting a popular restaurant, it might be necessary to reserve a table in advance. But whether you’ve booked in advance or have decided on the restaurant spontaneously, you’ll have to let a staff member know how many people are in your party. Here are some useful sentences for this kind of scenario:
- Könnte ich bitte einen Tisch reservieren? = “Could I please reserve a table?”
- Haben Sie Platz für zwei/drei/vier? = “Do you have room [a table] for two/three/four (people)?”
- Wir sind zu zweit/dritt/viert. = “There are two/three/four of us.” (Note that there’s a different form for numbers in German when you’re enumerating people.)
Keep in mind that German nouns have genders that determine the article used. Always learn the gender every time you encounter a new German noun (remember: der is masculine, die is feminine, and das is neuter).
- The noun “food” and the verb “to eat” share the same word: das Essen / essen, respectively. (Remember, German nouns are always capitalized!)
- Menu: Die Speisekarte
- Breakfast: Das Frühstück
- Lunch: Das Mittagessen
- Dinner: Das Abendessen
- “To go, please”: Zum Mitnehmen, bitte.
Meat (Das Fleisch)
- Beef: das Rindfleisch
- Pork: das Schweinefleisch
- Chicken: das Hähnchen
- Fish: der Fisch
Vegetables (Das Gemüse)
- Potato: die Kartoffel
- Carrot: die Karotte, die Möhre
- Mushroom: der Pilz / der Champignon
- Broccoli: der Brokkoli
- Lettuce: der Gartensalat
- Garlic: der Knoblauch
- Tomato: die Tomate
Drinks (Die Getränke)
- Water: das Wasser
- Coca-cola: die Cola
- Lemonade (or fizzy drink): die Limo
- Beer: das Bier
- Tea: der Tee
- Coffee: der Kaffee
- Milk: die Milch
How to Order Food
“I would like…” =
Ich möchte (gerne)
Then just name the dish you’d like to order! Make sure to use the accusative. Gerne is optional but it’s generally more polite.
Ich möchte gerne ein Stück Brot. = “I would like a piece of bread.”
If you’d like to learn more about how to order food and use these phrases in different contexts, visit the Yabla German platform. Yabla offers a wide variety of videos – including narrative and documentary film clips, music videos, original content, and more – featuring native speakers and accompanied by games, vocabulary lists, and comprehension questions, so that you can master spelling, grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, and listening skills.
Learn through the interactive subtitles, vocabulary reviews, comprehension questions, and dictation exercises — and go on your own language-learning journey with Yabla.
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