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 restaurant Where you go for a big French meal (un grand repas français)
Le bistro(t) Smaller, more casual restaurants
La brasserie A brewery: offers good beer and hearty food.
Le café Here you will find everything: complete meals, snacks and drinks
La crêperie Sells savoury galettes and sweet crêpes
Le bar Here you can have a drink without eating anything
Le bar à vin Wine 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 manger To eat
Pour boire To drink
Pour le petit-déjeuner To have breakfast
Pour déjeuner For lunch
Pour dîner For 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 carte The menu
Le menu Set menu
L’ardoise The boards where the specials are written. They’re usually at the entrance of a restaurant or hanging on a wall
La carte des vins Wine menu
Une dégustation / Menu dégustation Tasting menu
à la carte Items that you order off the menu; these would have their own price
Plats du jour Daily special
Assiette Platter

Categories in a la carte menu:

Les entrées Appetizers
Un amuse-bouche/amuse-gueule Small snack
Un apéritif A cocktail / pre-dinner drink
Les plats Main courses
Accompagnement Side dish
Les fromages Cheeses
Les desserts Desserts
Les boissons Drinks
Le café Coffee
Un digestif After-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, merci Yes, thanks
Ça a été? / Ça vous a plu? Did you enjoy your meal?
Oui, c’était bon / Oui, c’était vraiment délicieux Yes, 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 plaît I would like the dessert menu, please
Rien pour moi Nothing for me
S’il vous plaît This 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!