How to order at a Japanese restaurant

If you’re traveling in Japan you’ll definitely be eating out and ordering in Japanese, so don’t miss this free lesson! We’ll teach you the basics you need to know so you don’t go hungry – just listen to the audio and practice saying these Japanese words and phrases aloud. When you’re ready, why not try them out on the staff at a local Japanese restaurant?


Feel like some sake? Need some extra rice? No problem! After this lesson you’ll be ordering from the menu in Japanese like a pro, and impressing everyone at the table with your Japanese language skills. Is your mouth watering? Let’s get started!

Pronunciation help for ordering in Japanese

As hard as you try, without helpful feedback your Japanese pronunciation is never going to be the same as a native speaker’s. If you've found it difficult to perfect the way you say Japanese words and phrases, this lesson will help you.


Using the blue Rocket Record buttons you can record the way you say each word or phrase, and compare it with the way a Japanese native speaker does. That’s right, with Rocket Japanese voice mapping technology you can record your voice as many times as you need until your pronunciation matches the Japanese speaker!


And when you are ready test yourself using My Level and really power up your learning and recall. Just click the "My Level" tab above to get started!

  • Running sushi - Japanese food

In Japan there are restaurants where you will be seated by the waiter or waitress. Other times, you may be asked to choose the table yourself. In some restaurants the menu will be on the table already otherwise the waiter will bring it over to you as soon as possible.  After being greeted you could get asked one of the following questions…

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お のみもの は なに が いい です か
お 飲み物 は 何 は いい です か
O nomimono wa nani ga ii desu ka?
What would you like to drink?
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ご ちゅうもん おきまり です か
ご 注文 お決まり です か
Go chūmon okimari desu ka?
Have you chosen already?
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なに を めしあがり ます か
何 を 召し上がり ます か
Nani o meshiagari masu ka?
What would you like to order?
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ぜんさい は いかが です か
前菜 は いかが です か 
Zensai wa ikaga desu ka?
Would you like a starter?
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なに に なさい ます か
何 に なさい ます か
Nani ni nasaimasu ka?
What would you like?

Sometimes all you might get asked is…

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はい、 なに を
はい、 何 を
Hai, nani o?
Yes, please?

You could answer by saying one of these phrases…

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もう すこし まって ください
もう 少し 待って ください
Mō sukoshi matte kudasai.
One moment, please.
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まず のみもの を たのみたい です
まず 飲み物 を 頼みたい です
Mazu nomimono o tanomitai desu.
I’d like to order something to drink to start with.
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まだ きめて いません
まだ 決めて いません
Mada kimete imasen.
I don’t know yet.
  • Japanese plates

Not sure what you fancy eating? Just ask the waiter what he recommends…

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おすすめ ひん は なん です か
お 勧め 品 は 何 です か
Osusume hin wa nan desu ka?
What can you recommend?
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きょう の ひがわり メニュー / ていしょく は なん です か
今日 の 日替わり メニュー / 定食 は 何 です か
Kyō no higawari menyū / teishoku wa nan desu ka?
What is the daily special?
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きょう の スープ は なん です か
今日 の スープ は 何 です か
Kyō no sūpu wa nan desu ka?
What is the soup of the day?

Here are the names of some dishes and drinks that you might find on the menu…

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ミネラル ウォーター
-
Mineraru wōtā
Mineral water
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ジュース
-
Jūsu
Juice
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ビール
-
Biiru
Beer
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あか ワイン (あか ぶどうしゅ)
赤 ワイン (赤 葡萄酒)
Aka wain (aka budōshu)
Red wine
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しろ ワイン (しろ ぶどうしゅ)
白 ワイン (白 葡萄酒)
Shiro wain (shiro budōshu)
White wine
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シャンパン
-
Shampan
Champers / Bubbly
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さけ
Sake
Sake
  • Japanese drink
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ぜんさい
前菜
Zensai
Starter
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メイン
-
Mein
Main
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デザート
-
Dezāto
Dessert
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つけ あわせ りょうり
付け 合わせ 料理
Tsuke awase ryōri
Side dish
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スープ
-
Sūpu
Soup
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サラダ
-
Sarada
Salad
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ソース
-
Sōsu
Sauce
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やさい
野菜
Yasai
Vegetables
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じゃがいも
じゃが芋
Jyagaimo
Potatoes
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おこめ/ごはん/ライス
お米/ご飯
Okome/Gohan/Raisu
Rice
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にく
Niku
Meat
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ラーメン/うどん/そば
うどん/蕎麦
Ramen / Udon/ Soba
Noodles
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ぶた にく
豚 肉
Buta-niku
Pork
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とり にく
鶏 肉
Tori-niku
Chicken
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ぎゅう にく
牛 肉
Gyū-niku
Beef

In order to get the dish you want simply say…

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おかんじょう を おねがいします
お勘定 を お願いします
Okanjō o onegaishimasu.
The bill, please.
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お いくら です か
お幾ら です か
O-ikura desu ka?
(I would like to pay) How much is it?

Once you finished your meal you ask for the bill…

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[dish] を ください
-
[dish] o kudasai…
I’ll have…
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[dish] を おねがいします
[dish] を お願いします
[dish] o onegaishimasu…
I would like… please

In Japan, the waiter or waitress will bring the bill to your table but you will have to pay at the cashier, usually at the entrance of the restaurant. If you are eating out with a group you might want to ask to pay together, or separately…

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いっしょ に おねがいします
一緒 に お願いします
Issho ni onegaishimasu
We will pay together
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べつ べつ に お願いします
別 々 に お願いします
Betsu betsu ni onegaishimasu
We will pay separately

It is not expected to tip in Japanese restaurants. Gratuity is included in the check. If you want to express your gratitude, it is common for Japanese customers to yell out, “Gochisō-sama”, which suggest “I have enjoyed the dinner very much”.

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ごちそう さま
ご馳走 様
Gochisō-sama
Thank you for the food!

That’s it for today’s lesson.

Mata kondo!

Signature

Sayaka Matsuura
Rocket Japanese

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