Dining Out in Italy –
Food and Drink Vocabulary List

In Italy, most people don't just eat to live, they live to eat. Italians take their food very seriously, and restaurant culture is quite popular. When you travel to Italy, it's important to know the basics of dining out.

The phrases below can help you learn how to order key items, and you will hear these phrases quite often in Italian restaurants. Some of them, such as "waiter" and "a beer" will be familiar to you, while others such as "digestivo" and "fizzy water" might be less so.

Please note the difference between formal and informal tenses. When in doubt, use the formal.

Dining Out in Italy
  Expression in Italian Expression in English Pronunciation
Cosa prende/Cosa prendi? What would you like? (Formal/Informal)) Coh-sah prehn-deh/Coh-sah prehn-dee
Vorrei… I would like… Vohr-ray…
Un'acqua Water Oo-ah-quah
Una birra A beer Oo-nah beer-rah
Una bottiglia di... A bottle of... Oo-nah boht-tee-lee-ah dee
Un vino rosso Red wine Oon vee-noh rohs-soh
Un vino bianco White wine Oon vee-noh bee-ahn-coh
Il piatto del giorno The dish of the day Eel pee-aht-toh dehl johr-noh
Il pesce The fish Tel peh-sheh
La carne The meat Lah cahr-neh
Le verdure The vegetables Leh vehr-doo-reh
Il conto The bill/The check Eel cohn-toh
Mi scusi/Scusa Excuse me (Formal/Informal) Mee scuh-see/Scuh-sah
Quanto costa… How much is… Quahn-toh coh-stah…
Un piatto vegetariano A vegetarian dish Oon pee-aht-toh veh-jeh-tah-ree-ah-noh
Un antipasto An appetizer Oon ahn-tee-pah-stoh
Il primo The first course (pasta dish) Eel pree-moh
Il secondo The main course Eel seh-cohn-doh
La frutta The fruit Lah fruht-tah
Il formaggio The cheese Eel fohr-mah-joh
Il dessert/Il dolce The dessert Eel dehs-sehrt/Eel dohl-che
Un digestivo An after dinner alcoholic drink Oon dee-jehs-tee-voh
Un tovagliolo A napkin Oon toh-vah-lee-oh-loh
Un caffè A coffee (usually espresso) Oon cahf-feh
La mancia The tip Lah mahn-cha
Non mangio carne. I don't eat meat. Nohn mahn-joh cahr-neh
Cameriere! Waiter! Cah-meh-rieh-reh
Aperitivi Aperitifs Ah-peh-ree-tee-vee
Forchetta Fork Fohr-keht-tah
Coltello Knife Cohl-tehl-loh
Cucchiaio Spoon Cuhk-kee-ah-yoh
Piatto Plate Pee-aht-toh
Acqua frizzante Fizzy water Ah-quah freez-zahn-the
Acqua naturale Still water Ah-quah nah-tuh-rah-leh
Piccante Spicy Peek-kahn-teh

Slang/Commonly Used Expressions:

  Expression in Italian Expression in English Pronunciation
Sono molto affamato/a. I'm super hungry. Soh-noh mohl-toh Ah-fah-mah-toh
goloso/a foodie goh-loh-soh
Sono pieno/a. I'm so full. Soh-noh Pee-eh-noh
Che profumino! What a nice smell! Ke Proh-foo-mee-noh
Scotta! It burns! Scoht-tah

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