Eating Out in French : French restaurant vocabulary

Wherever you are in France, having a meal in a typical French restaurant is a must. Food is an important part of the French culture and being able to experience it will make your trip more complete. In today’s article we are going to identify some of the most common French restaurant vocabulary and expressions that will be useful to you.

Types of eating/drinking places:

Le restaurantWhere you go for a big French meal (un grand repas français)
Le bistro(t)Smaller, more casual restaurants
La brasserieA brewery: offers good beer and hearty food.
Le caféHere you will find everything: complete meals, snacks and drinks
La crêperieSells savoury galettes and sweet crêpes
Le barHere you can have a drink without eating anything
Le bar à vinWine bar


Saying how many people you are:

On est trois (informal) / Nous sommes trois (more formal) – We are three


Saying whether you want to eat or drink:

Pour mangerTo eat
Pour boireTo drink
Pour le petit-déjeunerTo have breakfast
Pour déjeunerFor lunch
Pour dînerFor dinner


Saying where you prefer to sit:

Je préfère l’extérieur – I prefer the outside.

Je préfère l’intérieur – I prefer the inside.


Types of Menus:

La carteThe menu
Le menuSet menu
L’ardoiseThe boards where the specials are written. They’re usually at the entrance of a restaurant or hanging on a wall
La carte des vinsWine menu
Une dégustation / Menu dégustationTasting menu
à la carteItems that you order off the menu; these would have their own price
Plats du jourDaily special

Categories in a la carte menu:

Les entréesAppetizers
Un amuse-bouche/amuse-gueuleSmall snack
Un apéritifA cocktail / pre-dinner drink
Les platsMain courses
AccompagnementSide dish
Les fromagesCheeses
Les dessertsDesserts
Les boissonsDrinks
Le caféCoffee
Un digestifAfter-dinner drink


Ordering food:

Avez-vous choisi? / Vous avez choisi?Have you chosen?
Qu’est-ce que vous voulez comme boisson?What would you like to drink?
Qu’est-ce que vous buvez?What will you have to drink?
Je vais prendre…I’m going to take…


Ending your meal:

Terminé? / Vous avez terminé? / Avez-vous terminé?Have you finished?
Oui, merciYes, thanks
Ça a été? / Ça vous a plu?Did you enjoy your meal?
Oui, c’était bon / Oui, c’était vraiment délicieuxYes, it was good / Yes, it was delicious
Vous désirez un dessert ou un café?Would you like dessert or coffee?
Je voudrais la carte des desserts, s’il vous plaîtI would like the dessert menu, please
Rien pour moiNothing for me
S’il vous plaîtThis expression is used to grab the waiter’s attention. Once you have his/her attention all you need to say is l’addition (the bill)


We hope this French restaurant vocabulary will help you to enjoy your meals in France as much as we do!

If you’re considering studying French in France, let us know and we’ll be happy to help you!