中級日本語ー Ordering In A Restaurant

October 25, 2010 § Leave a comment

How do you order in a restaurant? Do you carefully go over the menyu (meh-nyooo; menu), or do you look to see what other people are eating? Do you ask the ueta (oo-ehh-tahh; waiter) or uetoresu (oo-ehh-toh-reh-soo; waitress) for direction as to what’s good? Do you routinely order a zensai (zehn-sah-ee; appetizer), an o-nomimono (oh-noh-mee-moh-noh; beverage), and a dezato (deh-zahh-toh; dessert) in addition to your entree? In this section, I provide you with phrases and concepts that you need to order in a restaurant. 

Whether you go to a four-star restaurant or the corner pub, your waiter or waitress will ask you questions like these:

  • Gochuumon wa. (goh-chooo-mohn wah; Your order?)
  • Nani ni nasaimasu ka. (nah-nee nee nah-sah-ee-mah-soo kah; What will you have?)
  • O-nomimono wa. (oh-noh-mee-moh-noh wah; Anything to drink?)

Here are a few phrases that you can use when talking to the waitstaff:

  • Ramen o mittsu onegaishimasu. (rahh-mehn oh meet-tsoo oh-neh-gah-ee-shee-mah-soo; Can we have ramen noodles for three please?)
  • Sushi to sashimi to misoshiru o onegaishimasu.(soo-shee toh sah-shee-mee toh mee-soh-shee-roo oh oh-neh-gah-ee-shee-mah-soo; Can I have sushi, sashimi, and miso soup please?)
  • Wain wa arimasu ka. (wah-een wah ah-ree-mah-soo kah; Do you have wine?)
  • Osusumehin wa? (oh-soo-soo-meh-hin wah; What do you recommend?)

To list several dishes, use to (toh) between dishes to link them. (Think of to as a verbal comma or the word and?) To specify the quantity of each item you want to order, use the counter that applies to food items, -tsu:

  • hito-tsu (hee-toh-tsoo; one food item)
  • futa-tsu (foo-tah-tsoo; two food items)
  • mit-tsu (meet-tsoo; three food items

If you can’t read the menu at a Japanese restaurant, don’t worry. Most restaurants in Japan have colored pictures on the menu or life-sized wax models of the food in their windows. The easiest way to order is to follow this simple formula: Point to the picture of the dish on the menu, say kore o (koh-reh oh; this one), and say onegaishimasu (oh-neh-gah-ee-shee-mah-soo; I’d like to ask you) or kudasai (koo-dah-sah-ee; please give me) at the end.

Do you see any of your favorites on this dinner menu?

  • bifuteki (bee-foo-teh-kee; beef steak)
  • bifu shichu (beee-foo shee-chooo; beef stew)
  • masshu poteto (mas-shoo poh-teh-toh; mashed potato)
  • mito rofu (meee-toh rohh-foo; meatloaf)
  • pan (pahn; bread) y sake (sah-keh; salmon)
  • sarada (sah-rah-dah; salad) lS supu (sooo-poo; soup)

Which of the following Japanese dishes would you like to try?

  • gyudon (gyooo-dohn; a bowl of rice topped with cooked beef and vegetables)
  • oyako donburi (oh-yah-koh dohn-boo-ree; a bowl of rice topped with cooked chicken and eggs)
  • shabushabu (shah-boo-shah-boo; beef and vegetables cooked in a pot of boiling broth)
  • sukiyaki [soo-kee-yah-kee; beef and vegetables cooked in warishita (wah-ree-shee-tah; a mixture of soy sauce, sugar, and liquor)]
  • tempura (tehm-poo-rah; deep-fried vegetables or seafood)
  • unagi (oo-nah-gee; eel)
  • yakiniku (yah-kee-nee-koo; Korean-style barbecue)
  • yosenabe (yoh-seh-nah-beh; Japanese casserole of vegetables, fish, or meat)

Setting your table

If there’s anything missing on your table, ask the waiter for it. below table lists some items that might be missing.

Dining Utensils
Japanese Pronunciation Translation
fo-ku fohh-koo fork
gurasu goo-rah-soo glass
kappu kahp-poo cup
naifu nah-ee-foo knife
napukin nah-poo-keen napkin
o-sara oh-sah-rah plate
supu-n soo-pooon spoon

If you’re having Japanese food, you may need some of these items:

  • hashi (hah-shee; chopsticks)
  • o-chawan (oh-chah-wahn; rice bowl)
  • o-wan (oh-wahn; lacquered soup bowl)

Chatting With The Waiter

// Ask questions of your ueta (oo-ehh-tahh; waiter) or uetoresu (oo-ehh-toh-reh-soo; waitress), or just chat with them about the food they served. 

  • Kore wa nan desu ka. (koh-reh wah nahn deh-soo kah; What is this?)
  • Watashi wa ebi ga taberaremasen. (wah-tah-shee wah eh-bee gah tah-beh-rah-reh-mah-sehn; I can’t eat shrimp.)
  • Kore wa yakete imasu ka. (koh-reh wah yah-keh-teh ee-mah-soo kah; Is it well done?)
  • Oishii desu ne. (oh-ee-sheee deh-soo neh; This is delicious, isn’t it?)
  • Chotto hen na aji desu. (choh-toh hehn-nah ah-jee-deh-soo; It tastes sort of strange.)
  • Totemo oishikatta desu. (toh-teh-moh oh-ee-shee-kaht-tah deh-soo; That was very delicious!)
  • Omizu o kudasai. (oh-mee-zoo oh koo-dah-sah-ee; Water, please.)
  • Toire wa doko desu ka. (toh-ee-ree wah doh-koh deh-soo kah; Where is the bathroom?)

Paying for your meat

When you eat with your friends, do you warikan ni sum (wah-ree-kahn nee soo-roo; go Dutch), or does one person ogoru (oh-goh-roo; treat) everyone? How about when you eat with your boss? He or she probably pays, but it never hurts to say O-kanjo o onegaishi-masu (oh-kahn-johh oh oh-neh-gah-ee-shee-mah-soo; Check please), especially if you know that your boss won’t let you pay.

The following phrases are handy when you pay for your meal:

  • Betsubetsu ni onegaishimasu. (beh-tsoo-beh-tsoo nee oh-neh-gah-ee-shee-mah-soo; Please give us separate checks.)
  • Isshoni onegaishimasu. (ees-shoh-nee oh-neh-gah-ee-shee-mah-soo); Please give us one check.)
  • O-kanjo o onegaishimasu. (oh-kahn-johh oh oh-neh-gah-ee-shee-mah-soo; Check please.)
  • Ryoshusho o onegaishimasu. (ryohh-shooo-shoh oh oh-neh-gah-ee-shee-mah-soo; Receipt please.)

You don’t have to tip at any restaurant in Japan, but you still get very good service 99 percent of the time. For very expensive meals, the tip is automatically included in your bill as a sabisuryo (sahh-bee-soo-ryohh; service charge).

Most restaurants accept kurejitto kado (koo-reh-jeet-toh kahh-doh; credit cards), but many of them still only accept genkin (gehn-keen; cash). If you’re not sure about a restaurant’s policy, ask before you’re seated.

Words to Know
chuumon chooo-mohn order
okanjo oh-kan-johh check, bill
kurejittokado kop-reh-jeet-toh kahh-doh
genkin gehn-keen cash
o-mizu oh-mee-zoo water
yoyaku yoh-yah-koo reservation

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