Ordering in a Japanese restaurant

If you’re traveling in Japan you’ll definitely be eating out and ordering in a Japanese restaurant, 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!

Ordering in a Japanese restaurant

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…

お飲み物は何はいいですか

おのみもの は なに が いい です か

Onomimono wa nani ga ii desu ka?

What would you like to drink?

ご注文お決まりですか

ごちゅうもん おきまり です か

Gochūmon okimari desu ka?

Have you chosen already?

何を召し上がりますか

なに を めしあがり ます か

Nani o meshiagari masu ka?

What would you like to order?

前菜はいかがですか

ぜんさい は いかが です か

Zensai wa ikaga desu ka?

Would you like a starter?

何になさいますか

なに に なさい ます か

Nani ni nasaimasu ka?

What would you like?

Sometimes all you might get asked is…

はい、何を

はい、 なに を

Hai, nani o?

Yes, please?

You could answer by saying one of these phrases…

もう少し待ってください

もう すこし まって ください

Mō sukoshi matte kudasai.

One moment, please.

まず飲み物を頼みたいです

まず のみもの を たのみたい です

Mazu nomimono o tanomitai desu.

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

まだ決めていません

まだ きめて 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…

お勧め品は何ですか

おすすめ ひん は なん です か

Osusume hin wa nan desu ka?

What can you recommend?

今日の日替わりメニュー / 定食は何ですか

きょう の ひがわり メニュー / ていしょく は なん です か

Kyō no higawari menyū / teishoku wa nan desu ka?

What is the daily special?

今日のスープは何ですか

きょう の スープ は なん 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…

ミネラル ウォーター

ミネラル ウォーター

Mineraru wōtā

Mineral water

ジュース

ジュース

Jūsu

Juice

ビール

ビール

Bīru

Beer

赤ワイン

あか ワイン

Aka wain

Red wine

白ワイン

しろ ワイン

Shiro wain

White wine

シャンパン

シャンパン

Shanpan

Champers / Bubbly

さけ

Sake

Sake

Japanese drink

前菜

ぜんさい

Zensai

Starter

メイン

メイン

Mein

Main

デザート

デザート

Dezāto

Dessert

付け合わせ料理

つけ あわせ りょうり

Tsuke awase ryōri

Side dish

スープ

スープ

Sūpu

Soup

サラダ

サラダ

Sarada

Salad

ソース

ソース

Sōsu

Sauce

野菜

やさい

Yasai

Vegetables

じゃが芋

じゃがいも

Jyagaimo

Potatoes

お米/ご飯

おこめ/ごはん/ライス

Okome/Gohan/Raisu

Rice

にく

Niku

Meat

ラーメン/うどん/蕎麦

ラーメン/うどん/そば

Ramen / Udon/ Soba

Noodles

豚肉

ぶた にく

Buta niku

Pork

鶏肉

とり にく

Tori niku

Chicken

牛肉

ぎゅう にく

Gyū niku

Beef

In order to get the dish you want simply say…

お勘定をお願いします

おかんじょう を おねがいします

Okanjō o onegaishimasu.

The bill, please.

お幾らですか

おいくら です か

Oikura desu ka?

(I would like to pay) How much is it?

Once you finished your meal you ask for the bill…

…を ください

…を ください

…o kudasai

I'll have…

…をお願いします

…を おねがいします

… 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…

一緒にお願いします

いっしょ に おねがいします

Issho ni onegaishimasu

We will pay together

別々にお願いします

べつ べつ 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”.

ご馳走様

ごちそう さま

Gochisō sama

Thank you for the food!

That’s it for today’s lesson.

Here are a few recommended Japanese lessons to try next! - There's lots of wonderful sights in Japan. Let's talk about sightseeing in Japanese.

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