Spending time at restaurants can really factor into your cultural immersion and Spanish language discovering experience.

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Access to a fully-equipped kitchen deserve to be difficult to come by while traveling, and you may well choose to dedicate your time to seeing the sights rather than grocery shopping (though I’ll be the first to tell you that experimenting a local market have the right to be exceptionally fun). Talk to locals, discover out wherein the local warm spots are, and ask about regional cuisine. People love come talk around food as much as lock love to eat it!

No plans come travel? join in ~ above the fun by visiting a local Mexican restaurant or Spanish tapas bar with a Spanish-speaking staff.

Before you come at your destination, equip yourself with the following words and also phrases therefore you have the right to order your meal choose a aboriginal Spanish speaker!

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Spanish Restaurant Vocabulary: 89 Words and also Phrases You should Know

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Finding your table

If you’ve liked a swanky bistro that is frequently flooded with dedicated patrons, you may need to make a reservation ahead that time. Call them up on the phone and be sure to greet with a friendly salutation. Next, tell them “I would favor to make a reservation for # people.” “Quisiera hacer una reserva para # persona(s).” They will then questioning you, “Under whose name?”¿Bajo el nombre de quién?”

If you’re favor me and, uh, frequently fail to plan well in advance, you have the right to slip into a complete restaurant by requesting a seat in ~ the bar:

May ns sit in ~ the bar? ¿Podría sentarme en el bar?(poh-dree-ah sen-tar-may en el bar)

Special dietary choices are frequently viewed with a suspicious eye in Latin America. Friend really need to specify through your server what it is that you can not eat. Clearly state:

I to be vegetarian – Soy vegetariano, vegetariana (soy veh-heh-tah-ree-ah-noh, veh-heh-tah-ree-ah-nah)

I am allergy to X- Tengo alérgia a X (tehn-goh ah-lehr-hee-ah ah)

I don’t eat X – No como X. (no koh-moh)

I can’t tell girlfriend how countless times I’ve checked out Ecuadorian restaurants offer meat-laden soups come disappointed vegetarian friends. So, mine advice to you is to always double-check the your bespeak doesn’t save on computer something girlfriend don’t want to eat.

Navigating the restaurant

Restaurant – restaurante (rehs-taur-rahn-teh)

To stimulate – pedir (peh-deer)

I would prefer – quisiera (kee-see-eh-rah)

The menu – el menú (ehl meh-noo)

Waiter, waitress –camarero (cah-mah-reh-roh), camarera (cah-mah-reh-rah)

Waiter, waitress (Latin America only) –mesero (meh-ser-oh), mesera (meh-ser-ah)

Table – mesa (meh-sah)

Plate – plato (plah-toh)

Fork – tenedor (teh-neh-door)

Spoon – cuchara (coo-chah-rah)

Knife – cuchillo (coo-chee-yoh)

Napkin – servilleta (sehr-vee-yeh-tah)

Bill – cuenta (kwehn-tah)

Bring me the check, please – Tráigame la cuenta, por favor (trai-gah meh lah kwehn-tah, bad fah-vohr)

The paper-signing hand gesture converts smoothly enough. Most tiny restaurants in Latin American will certainly not expropriate credit cards, tarjetas de crédito (tahr-heh-tahs deh creh-dee-toh), therefore it’s ideal to carry some cash, efectivo (eh-fek-tee-voh), top top hand in instance of emergency.

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It’s one entertaining way to immerse yourself in Spanish the way native speakers really usage it, while actively building your vocabulary.

Understanding local food traditions

While traveling, always ask the locals:

What is the common food of this region?¿Cuál es la comida típica de esta región? (kwahl ehs lah koh-mee-dah tee-pee-kah deh ehs-tah reh-hee-ohn)

What perform you recommend? – ¿Qué me recomienda? (keh meh reh-koh-mee-ehn-dah) Don’t be afraid to asking the waiter what the or she recommends.

Drinks – Bebidas (beh-bee-dahs)

When seated at a restaurant, the an initial thing a waiter will certainly ask is what you’d choose to drink. Recognize your refreshment vocabulary so girlfriend can get straight to reading the menu!

White wine – vino blanco (vee-noh blahn-koh)

Red alcohol vino tinto (vee-noh teen-toh)

Coffee – café (cah-feh)

Iced tea – té helado (teh eh-lah-doh)

Soda – cola (koh-lah)

Lemonade – limonada (lee-moh-nah-dah)

Juice – jugo (hoo-goh)

Smoothie or milkshake – batido (bah-tee-doh)

Common seasonings of juice or smoothie you might like come order are:

Melon – melón (meh-LOHn)

Watermelon – sandía (sahn-dee-ah)

Orange – naranja (nah-rahn-hah)

Strawberry – fresa (freh-sah) or frutilla (froo-tee-ah)

Grape – uva (oo-vah)

Breakfast – Desayuno (deh-sah-yoo-noh)

Breakfast is arguably the most essential meal of the day. Learn just how to stimulate breakfast for this reason you have the right to fuel your adventure-filled job abroad!

Bread – pan (pahn)

Jam – mermelada (mehr-meh-lah-dah)

Scrambled eggs – huevo revuelto (way-voh reh-vwehl-toh)

Omelet – tortilla (tohr-tee-yah)

Bacon – tocino (toh-see-noh)

Oatmeal – avena (ah-veh-nah) Don’t be alarmed if you gain something unexpected. In Latin America, oatmeal is most commonly served together a cool, sweet beverage as opposed come the difficult glop friend know and love. It’s delicious!

Lunch – Almuerzo (ahl-mwer-zoh)

In Latin America it is an extremely common to find yourself in a restaurant that has actually no menu. Because that lunch, neighborhood restaurant-goers will just strut in, chair themselves, and request “one lunch, please” – un almuerzo, por favor (oon ahl-mwer-zoh, bad fah-vohr). Provide it a try!

An almuerzo is a great representation of usual home cooking, and is normally the ideal bargain. They offer something various daily, for this reason you are welcome come ask:

What’s for lunch today? – ¿Qué tiene el almuerzo de hoy?(keh tee-eh-neh ehl ahl-mwer-zoh de oy)

What’s today’s menu? ¿Cuál es el menú de hoy? (kwahl ehs ehl meh-noo deh oy)

Does this come with X? ¿Viene con X?(bee-eh-neh kohn X)

Almuerzo generally includes:

Soup sopa (soh-pah)

Entrée – plato fuerte (plah-toh fwer-teh).This is commonly a large plate heaping v a huge part of rice and beans alongside little portions the meat and also salad.

Dessert – postre (poh-streh)

Dinner– Merienda (meh-ree-ehn-dah)/Cena (ceh-nah)

There are two frequently used words because that dinner: meriendaand cena. In most parts that Latin America, merienda refers to an median evening meal and also cena is booked for one-of-a-kind occasions – favor a big Christmas night turkey dinner. In Spain, merienda is a tiny meal meant to birds you over in between el almuerzo and la cena. In both contexts, merienda is a light, simple meal – often bread and also cheese, a warm chocolate, or an additional modest snack. Don’t issue though, after an yes, really almuerzo over there is a good chance you won’t also be hungry through the evening!

Here’s some necessary menu lingo that will gain you through ordering any kind of meal:

Seafood–Mariscos (mah-rees-kohs)

Seafood, shellfish – mariscos (mah-rees-kohs)

Shrimp – camarones (kah-mah-rohn-es)

Crab – cangrejo (kahn-greh-hoh)

Lobster – langosta (lahn-gohs-tah)

Fish – pescado (pehs-kah-doh)

Squid – calamares (pool-poh)

Tuna – atún (ah-toon)

Meats–Carne (car-nay)

Sausage – chorizo (choh-ree-zoh)

Ham – jamón (hah-mohn)

Pork tenderloin – lomode cerdo(loh-moh deh ser-doe)

Steak – bistec (bees-tehk)

Turkey – pavo (pah-voh)

Quail – codorniz (coh-dohr-neez)

Fruits and also Vegetables –Frutas y verduras (froo-tahs ee ver-doo-rahs)

Asparagus – espárragos (ehs-pah-rah-gohs)

Avocado – aguacate (ah-wah-kah-teh)

Chard – acelga (ah-sehl-gah)

Eggplant – berenjena (beh-rehn-hay-nah)

Pumpkin – calabaza (cah-lah-bah-zah)

Spinach – espinaca (eh-spee-nah-kah)

Food preparation

Fillet – filete (fee-leh-teh)

Grilled –a la plancha

Roasted – asado (ah-sah-doh)

In garlic sauce – al ajillo (ahl ah-hee-yoh)

Breaded – apanado (ah-pah-nah-doh) orempanadoorempanizado*very local word

Barbecued – a la parrilla (ah lah pah-ree-yah)

Dessert–Postre (poh-stray)

Cake – torta (tor-tah) or Tarta (Spain)

Fruit salad – ensalada de frutas (ehn-sah-lah-dah deh froo-tahs)

Gelatin (Jell-O) – gelatina (heh-lah-tee-nah)

Culinary Specialties of the Spanish-speaking world

Here’s what you’ve been waiting for! when at house or abroad, try to look for out timeless cuisine from the Spanish-speaking people to better immerse friend in the language and also culture. There’s nothing far better that justifying indulgence with an educational experience!


Ceviche – A lemony seafood soup served all follow me the coastlines of central and southern America. Each nation has its own unique flavor and style!


Chicharrón – Pork rind extravaganza! This fried, jug pig skin is a beloved snack transparent Latin America and parts that Spain.


ChurrosCrispy, sugar-coated fried dough – how can anyone resist?


Dulce de tres lechesA moist, super-sweet cake that features three forms of milk (natural, dried, and also condensed).


GazpachoThe cold, refreshing tomato soup popular in Spain.


PaellaA standard Spanish dish that blends rice, beans, seafood, meat, and savory seasonings.

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Patacones/TostonesThese crisp, fried plantain slices room a typical side food throughout Latin America.