Ordering in Italian

If you’re going to Italy you’ll definitely be eating out and ordering in Italian, so don’t miss this free lesson! The Rocket Italian team will teach you all the basics you need to know – just listen to the audio and practice saying these Italian words and phrases aloud.

When you’re ready, why not try them out at a local Italian-speaking restaurant?

Vegetarian? Not what you ordered? No problem! After this lesson you’ll be ordering from the menu in Italian like a pro, and impressing everyone at the table with your Italian language skills. Hungry? Let’s get started!

Resources for further reading:

Ordering at a restaurant in Italian

It's not common in Italy to be seated by the waiter or waitress. Instead you just 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…

Practice Your Pronunciation With Rocket Record

Rocket Record lets you perfect your Italian pronunciation. Just listen to the native speaker audio and then use the microphone icon to record yourself. Once you’re done, you’ll get a score out of 100 on your pronunciation and can listen to your own audio playback. (Use a headset mic for best results.) Problems? Click here!

Vuole iniziare ad ordinare da bere?

Would you like to order some drinks to start with?

Ha già deciso?

Have you decided already?

Cosa vorrebbe ordinare?

What would you like to order?

Vuole l'antipasto?

Would you like an appetizer?

Cosa desidera?

What would you like?

Cosa desidera ordinare?

Would you like to order?

Cosa desidera mangiare?

What would you like to eat?

Italian cuisine

Sometimes all you might get asked is…

Sì, prego?

Yes, please?

You could answer by saying one of these phrases…

Un momento, per favore.

One moment, please.

Vorrei cominciare ad ordinare da bere.

I'd like to order something to drink to start with.

Non lo so ancora.

I don't know yet.

Not sure what you want to eat? Just ask the waiter what he recommends…

Cosa mi può raccomandare?

What can you recommend?

Qual è la specialità del giorno?

What is the daily special?

Qual è la zuppa del giorno?

What is the soup of the day?

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

Il dolce


Il contorno

Side dish

La zuppa




La salsa or Il sugo / il condimento


La verdura


Le patate


Il riso


La carne


La pasta


Il maiale


Il pollo


Il manzo


Italian water

L'acqua minerale

Mineral Water

Il succo di frutta

Fruit juice

La birra


Il vino rosso

Red wine

Il vino bianco

White wine

Lo spumante

Bubbly / Champers

Lo champagne



Appetizer / Starter

Il primo

First Course

Il secondo

Entree / Main Course

In order to get the dish you want simply say…

Io prendo…

I'll have...

Io vorrei…

I would like...

Once you finished your meal you ask for the bill…

Il conto, per favore.

The bill, please.

Vorrei pagare, per favore.

I would like to pay, please.

In Italy the waiter or waitress will then bring the bill to your table. If you are eating out with a group you might get asked whether you want to pay…





In Italy tipping is not a common custom but waiters or waitresses really appreciate as a sign of having provided a good service to customers. Usually tourists leave around 10% of the bill total it at the table. The word for tip is…

La mancia


Here are a few recommended Italian lessons to try next!

A presto!

Maria DiLorenzi and the Rocket Italian Team

Make It Stick With Rocket Reinforcement

Reinforce your learning from this lesson with the Rocket Reinforcement activities!