Japanese Expressions You Need to Know at Restaurants

How many days do you have before you travel to Japan? Oh my! One more day? On the plane now, but haven’t studied Japanese at all?

No worries! Let’s get you started with some Japanese phrases that you can squeeze in last minute! First, let’s master phrases related to food. We’ll introduce you to must-know phrases that are necessary when ordering at a restaurant.

1. Ordering

Key expression

…o kudasai. …をください。 = Please give me….

Just remember this phrase, “…o kudasai(…をください)”. It’s so useful! For example, if you want coffee, put coffee into the “…”.

• Coffee o kudasai. コーヒーをください。 = Please give me a coffee.

It’s pretty easy, isn’t it?
Even if you do not know the vocabulary in Japanese, let’s say it in English. There are actually many English words which are used in Japanese.

• 「Menu o kudasai. メニューをください。」 =Please give me a Menu.
• 「Beer o kudasai. ビールをください。」 =Please give me a beer.
• 「Set A o kudasai. セットAをください。」 =Please give me Set A.
• 「Receipt o kudasai. レシートをください。」 =Please give me the receipt.

Key expression

…o onegaishimasu。…をお願いします。 = …, please.

This is a phrase that can be used in the same way as “… o kudasai(…をください。).” “… o kudasai(…をください。)” is a direct request whereas “… o onegaishimasu(…をお願いします。)” is a more formal form of expression and sounds elegant.

• Coffee o onegaishimasu.コーヒーをお願いします。 = A cup of coffee, please.

Here are some examples using this phrase.

• 「Menu o onegaishimasu.メニューをお願いします。」 =Menu, please.
• 「Beer o onegaishimasu. ビールをお願いします。」 = A glass of beer, please.
• 「Set A o onegaishimasu. セットAをお願いします。」 =Set A, please.
• 「Receipt o onegaishimasu. レシートをお願いします。」 =The receipt, please.

2. Seek the waiter/waitress’ attention

Key expression

Sumimasen. すみません。 = Excuse me.

Try this phrase when trying to get attention from the waiter or waitress. In addition to “Excuse me”, this expression can also be used when you want to say “I am sorry.” Or “Thank you.”
It is a useful expression that you can use even when you want to apologise or when you want to thank somebody.

3. Saying thank you to the waiter/waitress

Key expression

Arigatoo gozaimasu. ありがとうございます。= Thank you.

This expression may seem to be a bit long. “Arigatoo” alone is enough to express your appreciation, but this is a casual expression often used among close family and friends.
You may appear as an arrogant person if you say ”Argatoo” to the waiter or waitress.

4. Getting your bill

Key expression

Okaikee o onegaishimasu. お会計をお願いします。 = Bill, please.

In Japan, you would usually pay your bill at the cashier near the entrance, so you may not need to ask for the bill that often. However, if you do need the bill, trying using this phrase, “Okaikee o onegaishimasu.(お会計をお願いします。)”

Key expression

Credit card wa OK desuka. クレジットカードはOKですか。 = Is credit card OK?

When you want to pay with a credit card, try the expression above.
「…OK desuka(OKですか。)」is also very useful.
• 「Visa wa OK desuka(VISAはオーケーですか。).」 =Is Visa OK?
• 「Tobacco wa OK desuka(タバコはオーケーですか。)..」 =Is tobacco OK? Is it okay to smoke?

You could probably use it in different situations.

5. Telling someone that the food was delicious

Key expression

Oishikattadesu. おいしかったです。 = It was delicious.

Try saying this phrase after finishing the bill and before you leave the restaurant.
You may have heard of “Oishiidesu. (おいしいです。)”, but “Oishikattadesu. (おいしかったです。)”, is the past tense of “Oishiidesu. (おいしいです。)”.” “Oishiidesu. (おいしいです。)” is used while eating, “Oishikattadesu. (おいしかったです。)” ” is used after you finish eating.

6. Take our mini quiz before you try it out!

To conclude this lesson, let’s practice the phrases we learned today! You have learnt a lot today so now show us what you can do!
Look at the conversation in English and translate it into Japanese.
You would be able to get the most out of this quiz through a quick role-play in your plane with your friend.

Asking for a menu at an Izakaya (Japanese pub)

You:Excuse me.
Waiter:How can I help you?
You:Menu, please.
You:Thank you.

Waiter:Hai. Doozo. (Yes, please go ahead.)
You:Menu, onegaishimasu
You:Arigatoo gozaimasu.

Ordering at an Izakaya (Japanese pub)

You:Excuse me.
Waiter:How can I help you?
You:Order, please.
You:Please give me a beer.

Waiter:Hai. Doozo. (Yes, please go ahead.)
You:Order, onegaishimasu.
Waiter:Doozo. (Please go ahead.)
Your:Beer o kudasai.
Waiter:Wakarimashita. ( Certainly. )

Asking for the bill

You:Excuse me. Bill, please.
You:Is credit card OK?
Waiter:Yes, it’s ok.
You:It was delicious.
Waiter:Thank you much.

You:Sumimasen. Okaikee onegaishimasu.
Waiter:Hai. Arigatoo gozaimasu.
You:Credit card OK desuka?
Waiter:Hai, OK desu.
Waiter:Arigatoo gozaimashita.

That’s all for today! Wishing you a wonderful trip to Japan, and make sure to eat lots of delicious food!