Restaurant Phrases

Note: I updated this page to include a consolidated alphabetic list at the end of this page.

As I go along extract and translating restaurant offerings I find some phrases that might be something you’ll see in your restaurant adventures so I include them here.

El menú de precio fijo incluye entrante, plato fuerte y postre The fixed price menu includes a starter, main entree, and dessert

This translates in a fairly literal way and also represent a common way to see food offered at a restaurant, equivalent to prix fixe in restaurants elsewhere in the world. You can parse the phrase and conclude entrante=starter, plato fuerte (literally ‘strong’, meaning “main”)=main entree and postre=dessert. Usually some form of drink (bebida) and possibly bread (pan) is included as well.

Another variation of this is:

Menú del Día    Menu of the Day


Menú degustación tasting menu

where there are three (or more in tasting menus) courses with various choices in each, all at a fixed price. Frequently Menú del Día is only for lunch, also frequently only on weekdays. The courses are Primeros (First) or primer plato (plate) [salads or appetizers], Segundos  (Seconds) or segundo plato [main entree] and Postres  (Desserts). At the bottom you may see something like this (different at each restaurant):

* Pan, agua mineral o vino tinto incluidos. * Bread, mineral water or red wine included.

or, alternatively

Bebida no Incluida Drink not included

And frequently at the bottom (possibly on other menus as well)

 (IVA incluído) (VAT included)

VAT for the rest of us is effectively the same as sales tax other places. It stands for Impuestos (tax) sobre (or, about) el (the) Valor (value) Añadido (added)

And often a title for a list of items:

Segundo plato a elegir: Second dish to choose:
SPM (Según precio de mercado) SPM (According to market price)

A useful one to know since it means having enough conversational Spanish to ask about the price and understand the answer.

Todos precios son por unidad y/ó en función de la cantidad All prices are per unit and/or depending on the quantity

Probably many variations on the exact phrasing so get ready to do your own translation when you see something like this (esp. with precios in phrase)

pvp (instead of precio (price))  abbreviation of

Precio de Venta al Público

 Public Price (is their an implication there is some other non-public price?)

Also, options may be indicated by:

Disponible previo encargo Available upon request

Clearly takeout is available at some types of restaurants, possibly just to the tables outside the restaurant or to your lodging.

Comida para llevar (Takeaway) Takeout items from this restaurant


 se preparan pedidos para llevar orders are prepared to carry


 tambien para llevar also to take

There are a number of variations of this basic phrase but basically it indicates food items you can take away from the restaurant (llevar, a verb meaning literally ‘to take’ or ‘to carry’) is probably the key part of variants of this phrase you want to find.

Pescados rigurosamente “salvajes” y sujetos a disponibilidad de Mercado Fishes strictly “wild” and subject to market availability

This phrase is likely to vary between restaurants so the key words are: salvajes (wild) and disponibilidad (availability).

Alphabetic consolidated list: In this list the notation {x|y} means this word occurs with either x or y in this position, usually this is gender in adjectives, so {a|o}. [x] means optional, most often [s].

a elegir to choose [from]
a [tu] elección at your choice
acompañad{a|o}[s] accompanied
abierto open
al centro in the center (of table, i.e. for sharing)
al estilo X in the style of X
{al | a su} gusto to taste (doneness), i.e. cooked to order
al peso by weight
asiento seat
bebida[s] drinks
camarero/camarera} waiter/waitress
carta the a la carte menu
casa literally house, from this restaurant
caser{a|o} homemade
cena dinner
cerrado closed
combinados combinations
consultar disponibilidad check availability
cuchara spoon
cuenta bill
degustación tasting/taste (often a separate menu)
del día of the day
desayuno breakfast
diario daily (available item or open)
elaboración preparation
eliges tú los ingredientes you choose the ingredients
en temporada in season
entrantes starters (aka appetizers)
especialidad specialties
gratuito free of charge
horario hours (as in when it is open)
incluid{a|o}[s] included
ingredientes ingredients
mesa table (furniture, different from tabla)
para acabar to finish (after main part of meal)
para comer to eat (main part of menu)
para compartir to share
para picar to nibble on (aka snacks or appetizers)
por encargo on request
postres desserts
precio[s] price
primeros [platos] (primer) first course
propina tip
segundos [platos] second course
selección/seleccionado selection/selected
servido [con] served [with]
suplemento surcharge
surtido assortment
taberna bar
tabla board/plank or platter (usually an assortment, often of ham)
unidad unit (abbreviation uds)
vari{e|a}d{a|o}[s] assorted, varied, variety