100+ Easy Phrases on How to Order Food in German Restaurants and Pubs (Tips & Examples)

Germany and other German-speaking countries have a rich and wonderful cuisine. So, why wouldn’t you try some German restaurants?

In this blog post, we’ll share 100+ easy phrases on how to order food in German restaurants & pubs. We’ll give you chunk, tips, and examples. Spring German (this is a project I co-founded) made a useful video that teaches you how to order anything in a restaurant like a German native:

Are you ready now? Because we’re exploring the common German phrases for food & drinks!

We know you’re here to learn how to order your food as quickly as possible in German, but if you want to go beyond the food and truly master German, we have just the thing for you: Conversation Based Chunking.
This method focuses on learning natural phrases and expressions (chunks) without worrying about grammar rules. Want to learn how to implement it?

1. How to order food in German

There are different ways to order food in German from the menu. Depending on the level of formality, you can say multiple things. Let’s explore the most common ones with words & phrases, then explore the real-life German sentences with chunks!

GermanEnglish
Ich hätte gerne… / Ich möchte…
I would like…
Kann ich bitte die Speisekarte sehen?
Can I please see the menu?
Was empfehlen Sie?
What do you recommend?
Ich nehme…I’ll take…
Ich hätte gerne eine Flasche Wasser.
I’d like a bottle of water.
Ein Bier, bitte.
A beer, please.
Ein Glas Weißwein / Rotwein, bitte.
A glass of white wine / red wine, please.
Haben Sie vegetarische / vegane Optionen?
Do you have vegetarian / vegan options?
Kann ich bitte ein Glas Leitungswasser bekommen?
Can I please get a glass of tap water?
Ich hätte gerne einen Kaffee.
I’d like a coffee.
Ein Stück Kuchen, bitte.
A piece of cake, please.
Ich nehme das Tagesgericht.
I’ll take the dish of the day.
Haben Sie Allergieninformationen?
Do you have allergy information?
Ich hätte gerne eine Vorspeise.
I’d like an appetizer.
Ist das Gericht scharf?
Is this dish spicy?
Ich möchte das ohne…I’d like this without…
Können Sie das Gericht anpassen?
Can you customize the dish?
Noch eine Runde, bitte.
Another round, please.
Können wir bitte zahlen?
Can we pay, please?
Die Rechnung, bitte.
The bill, please.
Kann ich mit Karte bezahlen?
Can I pay by card?
Ich möchte ein Dessert bestellen.
I’d like to order a dessert.
Gibt es eine Weinkarte?
Is there a wine list?
Ein Tisch für zwei, bitte.
A table for two, please.
Haben Sie Reservierungen?
Do you take reservations?
Ich hätte gerne einen Tisch am Fenster.
I’d like a table by the window.
Ich nehme den Salat.
I’ll take the salad.
Ein Glas Mineralwasser, bitte.
A glass of mineral water, please.
Können wir bitte die Speisekarte noch einmal sehen?
Can we see the menu again, please?
Haben Sie glutenfreie Optionen?
Do you have gluten-free options?

In the table above, you can see various examples for ordering food and drinks.

Effortless Answers

The most common way to order anything in a German restaurant or pub is to say: Ich hätte gerne… / Ich möchte… + saying what you want to order. This translates to ‘I would like…’ in English.

You probably also saw question on how to ask for the menu or the bill, or ordering different types of food and drinks: an appetizer, the main dish and the dessert. We’re going to explore everything in a little bit, but first, let’s see how a standard conversation could go between you and a waiter in a restaurant:

Kellner: Guten Abend, kann ich bitte Ihre Bestellung aufnehmen? (Good evening, can I please take your order?)
Gast: Ja, ich hätte gerne ein Glas Weißwein und das Tagesgericht. (Yes, I would like a glass of white wine and the dish of the day.)
Kellner: Sehr gerne. Möchten Sie noch etwas dazu? (Certainly. Would you like anything else with that?)
Gast: Nein, das ist alles. Die Rechnung, bitte. (No, that’s all. The bill, please.)

2. Learn German phrases to ask for the menu items

Before ordering, it’s essential to know WHAT you want to order. And you can only know that if you see the menu. You can most certainly fight your nervousness when speaking German, so you can order the German menu and see the menu items for yourself.

Maybe you’re only looking for the vegetables in German or the fruits in German, but if you want to have a full meal, the main dish is your go-to. Here’s everything you need to know about the menu words in German:

GermanEnglish
Vorspeisen
Appetizers
Hauptgerichte
Main courses
Desserts
Desserts
Salate
Salads
Suppen
Soups
Beilagen
Side dishes
Getränke
Beverages
Fisch
Fish
Fleisch
Meat
Geflügel
Poultry
Pasta
Pasta
Pizza
Pizza
Vegetarische Gerichte
Vegetarian dishes
Vegane Gerichte
Vegan dishes
Glutenfreie Gerichte
Gluten-free dishes
Kindermenü
Children’s menu

Depending on what kind of restaurant you visit, the menu typically starts with Vorspeisen, and goes on to include the Hauptgerichte, Desserts and so on. Most of the dishes are categorized into easy-to-follow sections, so you don’t have to look for a long time.

If you have questions about the menu, you should check the following examples:

GermanEnglish
Was ist das Tagesgericht?
What is the dish of the day?
Gibt es vegetarische Gerichte?
Are there any vegetarian dishes?
Ist das Gericht scharf?
Is this dish spicy?
Welche Beilagen gibt es?
What side dishes are available?
Haben Sie vegane Optionen?
Do you have vegan options?
Gibt es eine Suppe des Tages?
Is there a soup of the day?
Welche Desserts haben Sie?
What desserts do you have?
Können Sie eine Empfehlung geben?
Can you give a recommendation?
Haben Sie Kindergerichte?
Do you have children’s meals?
Gibt es glutenfreie Gerichte?
Are there gluten-free dishes?
Können Sie das Gericht anpassen?
Can you customize the dish?
Welche Fischgerichte haben Sie?
What fish dishes do you have?
Gibt es eine Salatbar?
Is there a salad bar?
Haben Sie spezielle Angebote?
Do you have any specials?
Ist das Fleisch gut durchgebraten?
Is the meat well-cooked?
Welche Getränke bieten Sie an?
What drinks do you offer?
Welche Weine haben Sie im Angebot?
What wines do you have on offer?
Kann ich ein halbes Gericht bestellen?
Can I order a half portion?
Gibt es laktosefreie Optionen?
Are there lactose-free options?

Because sometimes it’s enough to order a half portion, or maybe you’re with your kids and want a children’s menu. We’ve got you covered!

3. Different phrases for ordering food: appetizers, main dishes, salads, desserts

Once you’ve chosen the best meal of the day, it’s time to order it. You already know how to use Ich möchte gern…, and now, it’s time to get familiar with the different categories: appetizers, main dishes, salads, desserts and so on.

An inviting German restaurant with a traditional ambiance. The scene includes wooden furniture, beer steins, cuckoo clocks, and framed art on the walls. Rustic chandeliers provide soft lighting, and a long bar offers various German beers on tap. The restaurant is empty of people. For those curious about how to order food in German, try saying, “Ich hätte gerne...” followed by your desired meal

An all-in-one comprehensive table:

CategoryGermanEnglish
Appetizers
Vorspeisen
Appetizers
Bratwurst
Grilled sausage
Hühnersuppe
Chicken soup
Kartoffelsalat
Potato salad
Gurkensalat
Cucumber salad
Main Dishes
Hauptgerichte
Main dishes
Wiener Schnitzel
Viennese schnitzel
Rinderbraten
Roast beef
Schweinshaxe
Pork knuckle
Spätzle
Egg noodles
Knödel
Dumplings
Salads
Salate
Salads
Kartoffelsalat
Potato salad
Gurkensalat
Cucumber salad
Rotkohl
Red cabbage
Desserts
Desserts
Desserts
Apfelstrudel
Apple strudel
Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte
Black Forest cake

4. Making special requests at a German restaurant

Nowadays, you can customize your dish basically any way you want it. Making special requests in German restaurants isn’t considered rude, so you can freely pick anything you’d want. You can order a bigger portion, a smaller one, ask for a custom dish with or without some special ingredients.

Wondering how all of this could sound in German? Here it is:

GermanEnglish
Können Sie das Gericht anpassen?
Can you customize the dish?
Ich möchte das ohne…
I’d like this without…
Haben Sie vegetarische / vegane Optionen?
Do you have vegetarian / vegan options?
Können Sie das Gericht glutenfrei machen?
Can you make the dish gluten-free?
Ich hätte gerne eine extra Portion…I’d like an extra portion of…
Ist es möglich, das Fleisch durchzubraten?
Is it possible to cook the meat well-done?
Können Sie die Soße separat servieren?
Can you serve the sauce separately?
Ich hätte gerne weniger Salz im Gericht.
I’d like less salt in the dish.
Können Sie das ohne Zwiebeln machen?
Can you make this without onions?
Gibt es laktosefreie Optionen?
Are there lactose-free options?
Ich bin allergisch gegen…
I’m allergic to…
Können Sie das Gericht milder machen?
Can you make the dish milder?
Kann ich das Dressing separat bekommen?
Can I get the dressing on the side?
Ist es möglich, das Gemüse zu ersetzen?
Is it possible to substitute the vegetables?
Können Sie das Gericht ohne Knoblauch machen?
Can you make the dish without garlic?
Ich hätte gerne eine kleinere Portion.
I’d like a smaller portion.

With these common phrases, you can order an extra portion, or ask for the main dish without an ingredient you dislike.

5. Drink order at a restaurant

Pairing the traditional German food with some good beer in German regions is a great addition. Or pair it with a great wine.

if you learn how to order food in german, you can receive a fantastic chicken soup with beer and bread in a typical german restaurant

In these examples, you can find everything related to drink orders at German restaurants

GermanEnglish
Ein Bier, bitte.
A beer, please.
Ein Glas Weißwein / Rotwein, bitte.
A glass of white wine / red wine, please.
Ich hätte gerne eine Flasche Wasser.
I’d like a bottle of water.
Ein Glas Mineralwasser, bitte.
A glass of mineral water, please.
Kann ich bitte ein Glas Leitungswasser bekommen?
Can I please get a glass of tap water?
Ich hätte gerne einen Kaffee.
I’d like a coffee.
Ein Tee, bitte.
A tea, please.
Ein Apfelsaft, bitte.
An apple juice, please.
Ein Orangensaft, bitte.
An orange juice, please.
Haben Sie eine Weinkarte?
Do you have a wine list?
Welche Getränke bieten Sie an?
What drinks do you offer?
Noch eine Runde, bitte.
Another round, please.
Können Sie eine Empfehlung für einen Wein geben?
Can you recommend a wine?
Haben Sie alkoholfreie Getränke?
Do you have non-alcoholic drinks?
Ein Cocktail, bitte.
A cocktail, please.
Ein Glas Sekt, bitte.
A glass of sparkling wine, please.
Ein Radler, bitte.
A shandy, please.
Ein Cappuccino, bitte.
A cappuccino, please.
Ein Espresso, bitte.
An espresso, please.
Eine heiße Schokolade, bitte.
A hot chocolate, please.

6. German tipping culture (das Trinkgeld)

Tipping in Germany (das Trinkgeld) is customary in restaurants. It’s not as obligatory as it is in some other countries.

You have to know that in Germany, a service charge is often included in the bill – the waitstaff are paid a regular wage. Still, a common practice is to leave a tip as a gesture of appreciation for good service. Usually, you can just round up to the nearest euro or add around 5-10% to the total amount paid.

Let’s say, you have to pay €27.50, and you can round this up to €30. For smaller services, like a cup of coffee or a drink at a bar, you can leave a smaller tip, too.

7. Practice how to order food in German with our worksheets

Fill in the blanks with the correct phrases!

8. Learn how to order food in German with a special language learning method: Conversation Based Chunking

If you read this article, you already know the basics on how to order food in a German restaurant. But if you want to learn more effectively, and want to get to know the German culture, we advise you to check out the German Conversation Based Chunking Guide.

In this guide, you’ll find an essential German chunking list – with the most common phrases used by native German speakers, my favourite resources to learn German, and you’ll even get access to our Full Practice Worksheet Library.

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