useful spanish phrases

15+ Useful Spanish Phrases and Etiquette Tips for Dining

useful spanish phrases

Are you planning to eat your way throughout Spain? Below, Spanish teacher Breeana D. shares some useful Spanish phrases and etiquette tips for dining out…

Are you planning a big trip to Spain? Chances are you’re going to be eating at a lot of delicious restaurants during your stay.

Before you embark on your trip, it’s a good idea to learn a few useful Spanish phrases as well as some etiquette tips.

After all, the same etiquette rules you follow in the U.S. might not necessary apply in Spain, as the culture is very different.

Below are a few tips for eating out, as well as 15 useful Spanish phrases to assist you while you taste all of the delicious foods Spain has to offer.

Spanish Etiquette for Dining

  • Allow the host to begin eating first: Don’t dive into your dish before the host. Wait until the host begins eating or says, “¡Buen Provecho!” or “¡Provecho!” (Enjoy your meal) to begin eating your meal.
  • Use your eating utensils: You will be given a fork, a spoon, and a knife to use while eating. Large spoons are for foods such as soup and beans. Small spoons are for desserts.
  • Keep your hands visible: Place your hands on either side of the plate when not eating. Hiding your hands is seen as suspicious. Be sure to keep your elbows off of the table, while keeping your hands visible.
  • Don’t dip your bread in the soup: In Spain, it is considered rude to dip your bread in the soup. In fact, it is uncommon to dip bread in anything, including sauces.
  • Call over the waiter for the bill: It’s considered rude for a waiter to bring the bill to the table unsolicited. If you want the bill, make a point of catching the waiter’s eye and making the hand gesture like you’re writing in mid air.
  • Engage in conversation: Spaniards love conversation! Feel free to talk about your day, your family, and your hobbies. Also, don’t be scared to ask others at the table questions about themselves.

15 Useful Spanish Phrases for Dining

Now that you’ve brushed up on your dining etiquette, it’s time to learn some Spanish common phrases that will come in handy when conversing with your waiter or others at the table.

Here are some common Spanish phrases that your waiter may use:

  • ¿Qué desea comer? (What would you like to eat?)
  • ¿Qué desea beber? (What would you like to drink?)
  • ¿Estan listos para ordenar? (Are you ready to order?)
  • ¿Qué quiere? (What do you want?)
  • ¿Lo siento/Lamento, no tenemos _____ (Sorry, we don’t have___)

When answering the questions above, try using these useful Spanish phrases:

  • Un momento por favor. (One moment please.)
  • Estoy/Estamos listos para ordenar. (I/We are ready to order.)
  • Quisiera _____. (I would like ___.)

When asking the waiter/waitress questions, use these useful Spanish words:

  • ¿Cuál es el plato del dia? (What is the dish of the day?)
  • ¿Qué nos recomienda? (What do you recommend?)
  • ¿Cuál trae el plato? (What is in the dish?)
  • ¿Soy alérigico a ___ (I’m allergic to___)
  • ¿Señor/Señora, la cuenta, por favor? (Mr./Ms. the bill, please?)

When talking to the person you’re dining with, these Spanish common phrases will come in handy:

  • ¿Qué nos recomienda? (What do you recommend?)
  • ¿Como es tu comida?  (How is your food?)
  • ¿Qué te gusta hacer?/¿Qué le gusta hacer? (What do you like to do?)
  • ¿Qué libro acabas de leer ?/¿Qué libro acaba de leer? (What book did you just finish reading?)

Useful Spanish Words for Dining

In addition to learning the useful Spanish phrases above, it’s also helpful to learn some common Spanish words you’ll encounter on a menu.

When ordering food, keep these common Spanish words in mind:

  • Una entrada (a starter)
  • Segundo (main meal)
  • Postre (dessert)
  • Vino (wine)

Here are some Spanish words you might come across when reading a menu:

  • Pollo (chicken)
  • Buey (beef)
  • Carne de cerdo (pork)
  • Gambas (prawns)
  • Cerveza (beer)
  • Vino de postre (dessert wine)
  • Vino rosado (rose wine)

If you keep these helpful etiquette tips in mind and practice these useful Spanish phrases and words, you should be well prepared when going to eat out at a Spanish restaurant!

¡Buena suerte y buen provecho! (Good luck and enjoy your meal!)


Post Author: Breeana D.
Breeana D. teaches Spanish lessons in Abington, PA. Specializing in Early Childhood, Elementary, and Special Education, she is currently enrolled in Temple University’s Elementary Education program. Learn more about Breeana here!

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1 reply
  1. Scott
    Scott says:

    I agree that it is important to wait for the host to begin eating or say provecho. I lived in a country in South America for a couple years for school. When I first got there, my host family corrected every little behavior I did that wasn’t proper etiquette. It was hard at first, but when I ate with other people, I sure appreciated I knew how to act politely.

    Reply

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