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Eating out: Russian Phrases for Visiting Restaurants


Why is it important to study restaurant phrases?

No trip to Russia is complete without visiting local restaurants and cafes. But to enjoy Russian food to the fullest and not end up getting something strange on your plate, it is better to know in advance the basic Russian restaurant phrases, what popular dishes are called in Russian, how to book a table, and other nuances.

Of course, many restaurants have menus with pictures, which greatly simplifies the task for those who are new to this vocabulary. But wouldn’t you like to know how to order food in Russian and not just point the finger at the dish in the picture?

So today’s “special” is useful Russian vocabulary and the most common Russian restaurant phrases. From this article, you will learn Russian restaurant phrases, how to place an order, ask for a bill in Russian and make a dialogue in a cafe or restaurant.

A Man and a Woman Making an Order

You can also practise your social skills when dining out

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Russian Table of Contents
  1. Booking a table
  2. During Dining
  3. After Dining
  4. Tipping etiquette in Russia
  5. Conclusion

1. Booking a table

Being able to reserve a table in a restaurant helps to get rid of a lot of stress. You don’t have to waste time looking for places with empty seats or waiting for a table already at the restaurant.

If you are going to dine at a famous restaurant, you need to book a table (зарезервировать столикzarezervirovat’ stolik) in advance, for example, by phone. At the same time, it is important to give your name, tell the number of seats required, as well as the exact time of booking. Specify where you would like to reserve a table.

Могу ли я заказать столик на троих на субботу, 7 мая, на 17:00?Mogu li ya zakazat’ stolik na troikh na subbotu, 7 maya, na 17:00? – “Can I reserve a table for 3 on Saturday May 7th at 5pm?” 

В вашем ресторане есть свободные места на террасе в пятницу?V vashem restorane yest’ svobodnyye mesta na terrase v pyatnitsu? – “Does your restaurant have free seats on the terrace on Friday?” 

Let’s see in the dialogue how to book a table in a restaurant in Russian:

А: Доброе утро! Я бы хотел зарезервировать столик.Dobroye utro! Ya by khotel zarezervirovat’ stolik. – Good morning! I would like to reserve a table.

В: Конечно. На какое число и время?Konechno. Na kakoye chislo i vremya? – Certainly. For what date and time?

А: Завтра днём в два часа.Zavtra dnyom v dva chasa. – Tomorrow afternoon at two p.m.

В: Сколько вас?Skol’ko vas? – For how many people?

А: Нас будет четверо.Nas budet chetvero. – There will be four of us.

В: На веранде или внутри?Na verande ili vnutri? – On the patio or indoors?

А: На веранде, пожалуйста.Na verande, pozhaluysta. – On the patio, please.

В: Скажите, пожалуйста, ваше имя?Skazhite, pozhaluysta, vashe imya? – Can you please tell me your name?

А: Иван Петров. – Ivan Petrov. – Ivan Petrov.

В: Какие-нибудь особые пожелания?Kakiye-nibud’ osobyye pozhelaniya? – Any special requests?

А: Больше ничего. Спасибо!Bol’she nichego. Spasibo! – That will be it. Thanks!

В: Спасибо, что выбрали нас. До свидания!Spasibo, chto vybrali nas. Do svidaniya! – Thank you for choosing us. Goodbye!

А: Всего доброго!Vsego dobrogo! – Have a good day!

2. During Dining

After you have sat down at the table, ask them to bring you a menu if the waiter has not already done so. Then you can order your dishes, as well as choose a drink and dessert.

In a good restaurant, the staff will always meet the guest with a smile and show them to the table, after which the waiter will immediately come up to you, bring the menu and introduce himself. During the meal, you can refer to the waiter by name. To attract attention, you can use a gesture of a raised hand, as well as a nod of the head to invite the waiter.

A Man Is Calling a Waiter

It’s actually encouraging for servers to be called by their name instead of something as rude as a finger snap

Fortunately, the word menu in Russian sounds almost the same. Here are some Russian phrases for waiters at a restaurant:

Могу я посмотреть меню, пожалуйста?Mogu ya posmotret’ menyu, pozhaluysta? – “Can I see the menu please?” 

Подскажите, где находится ванная комната.Podskazhite, gde nakhoditsya vannaya komnata. – “Could you tell me where the bathroom is.” 

В вашем ресторане есть фирменные блюда?V vashem restorane yest’ firmennyye blyuda? – “Do you have specialties in your restaurant?” 

Что вы порекомендуете из горячих блюд?Chto vy porekomenduyete iz goryachikh blyud? – “Do you recommend something for hot dishes?” 

Какое ваше самое популярное блюдо? –– Kakoye vashe samoye populyarnoye blyudo? – “What’s your most popular dish?” 

Предложите мне что-нибудь из традиционной русской кухни.Predlozhite mne chto-nibud’ iz traditsionnoy russkoy kukhni. – “Offer me something from traditional Russian cuisine.” 

A small dialogue:

Как вам приготовить бифштекс?Kak vam prigotovit’ bifshteks? – “How do you want your steak?” 

Хорошо прожаренный. А моему спутнику – с кровью.Khorosho prozharennyy. A moyemu sputniku – s krov’yu – “Well done for me, please. And a medium rare for my companion.” 

Learn more about Russian traditional cuisine in our online Russian article

In Russia, the set lunch or menu of the day, a set of certain dishes served at certain times of the day at a relatively low price, is called a business lunch (бизнес-ланч). The life of a businessman goes at a crazy pace, so it is not always possible to allocate an hour or two for lunch or at least a light snack. Therefore, in Russia, back in the early 2000s, popular restaurants and cafes began to offer their visitors business menus. The food comes out pretty fast, the menu is different every day, and the price is good. Of course, not only businessmen can take advantage of this offer.

Я возьму бизнес-ланч.Ya voz’mu biznes-lanch. – “I would like the menu of the day.” 

Perhaps, when choosing a dish, it will not always be clear to you what it consists of. If you are allergic, be sure to learn the Russian words for the foods you are allergic to and tell the waiter about it. Or if you are a vegetarian. Maybe you just don’t like a certain ingredient? You can ask the chef to prepare a dish without it. Were you served a hot meal at room temperature? Ask to replace it or warm it up. Or maybe you have a dull knife? Ask for another one. In addition, you can ask for some add-ons (sauce, bread) to the order or completely change the order if you wish.

Можно нам ещё морса?Mozhno nam eshchyo morsa? – “Can we have some more fruit drink?” 

Принесите нам белый соус, пожалуйста.Prinesite nam belyy sous, pozhaluysta. – “Bring us a white sauce, please.” 

У нас кончился хлеб. Принесите, пожалуйста. U nas konchilsya khleb. Prinesite, pozhaluysta. – “We’ve run out of bread. Can we have more, please.” 

Можно принести ещё салфеток? Mozhno prinesti eshchyo salfetok? – “Can you bring some more napkins?” 

У меня аллергия на лесные орехи. Можно ли приготовить фирменный салат без орехов?U menya allergiya na lesnyye orekhi. Mozhno li prigotovit’ firmennyy salat bez orekhov? – “I’m allergic to tree nuts. Can you make a house salad without nuts?” 

Это не мой заказ.Eto ne moy zakaz. – “This is not my order.” 

Еда холодная. Yeda hkolodnaya. – “The dish is cold.” 

Блюдо пересолено.Blyudo peresoleno. – “The dish is too salty.” 

У него кислый вкус.U nego kislyy vkus. – “It has a sour taste.” 

Я давно жду свой заказ. Когда он будет готов? – Ya davno zhdu svoy zakaz. Kogda on budet gotov? – “I have been waiting for my order for a long time. When will it be ready?” 

Мы торопимся.My toropimsya. – “We’re in a hurry.” 

Are you going to work while dining in the restaurant, or are you learning online Russian on the go? Many cafes have free Wi-Fi; just ask the waiter for the password.

Скажите, пожалуйста, пароль от Wi-Fi.Skazhite, pozhaluysta, parol’ ot Wi-Fi. – “Please tell me the password for your Wifi.” 

Please, note you can’t smoke in Russian restaurants. Tobacco smoking is prohibited in Russian cafes and restaurants, even on open terraces. It is also not allowed to consume nicotine-containing products (tobacco heating systems, electronic cigarettes, vapes) or use hookahs in public catering premises.

A Woman Is Breaking a Cigarette

From June 1st  2014, all cafes, bars, restaurants, hotels, shops, markets, shopping centers and long-distance journeys on ships and trains became smoke free in Russia

3. After Dining

You can always take food to go. Here are some useful expressions in a restaurant in the Russian language for ordering takeout:

Могу я взять эти блюда с собой?Mogu ya vzyat’ eti blyuda s soboy? – “Can I get these dishes to-go?” 

Можно мне кофе с собой? Mozhno mne kofe s soboy? – “Can I get coffee to-go?” 

Можно мне два контейнера?Mozhno mne dva konteynera? – “Can I get 2 boxes?” 

After a pleasant dinner, it’s time to pay. Call your waiter and tell them you want to checkout using the following phrases:

Спасибо. Принесите счёт, пожалуйста.Spasibo. Prinesite schyot, pozhaluysta. – “Thank you. Can I have the bill, please?” 

У вас можно расплатиться карточкой?U vas mozhno rasplatit’sya kartochkoy?– “Can I pay by card?” 

Давайте заплатим каждый за себя.Davayte zaplatim kazhdyy za sebya. – “Let’s share the bill.” 

And there is no problem if you ask your waiter to call a taxi for you.

Вызовите такси, пожалуйста. Vyzovite taksi pozhaluysta. – Could you call me a taxi, please?

A Taxi Car

Taxi fares are affordable in Russia

4. Tipping etiquette in Russia

According to the new rules, in Russia, it is forbidden to include a tip in the bill. Previously, guests would find an additional service charge printed on the check, but now visitors decide on their own how much to tip. The optimal amount of tipping in Russian culture is considered to be 10-15% of the total amount.

Tips Left with a Cup of Coffee

Typically in Russia the etiquette is to tip anywhere between 10% and 15% of the bill

You can tip when you are completely satisfied with the service, with the waiter’s recommendations on the choice of dishes and drinks, unobtrusive service during dinner, and quick response to your requests. It is no secret that in some restaurants, bars, and cafes, tips are the main income of waiters. 

According to the rules of restaurant etiquette, it is better to leave a tip in a restaurant after paying the bill. It is considered indecent to demonstrate one’s generosity, so it is better to leave a tip without further ado. You should not run after the waiter with money in your hand; leave tips in cash in a special book, box, or bucket. 

Another option is to leave more money and say with gratitude: 

Сдачи не надо.Sdachi ne nado. – “Keep the change.” 

While it used to be customary to leave a tip in cash, today, most restaurants have the opportunity to thank the waiter with the help of non-cash tip systems. To do this, the guest needs to scan the QR code placed on the bill using the phone’s camera or ask the waiter to show the QR code in his mobile application. You can immediately follow the link, select the required amount (it can be indicated as a percentage), then select a convenient payment method and transfer the tip instantly.

5. Conclusion

Now you have learned a list of Russian restaurant phrases and can safely go even to the dining room, even to a classic restaurant. Knowing the proposed set of phrases and expressions, you can enjoy Russian hospitality, appreciate cuisine and drinks.

Don’t forget to explore Russianpod101 — there is a lot of useful and free information and materials which will make your Russian language learning easy. Check Vocabulary lists that are especially useful in restaurants: Twenty Drinks to Quench Your Thirst, Food – Fruits and Vegetables, and Russia 100 Food.

MyTeacher is another great way to learn Russian language — you get a personal 1-on-1 teacher to practice not only the restaurant phrases but to discuss cultural differences and improve your pronunciation. Your teacher will give you personal assignments, personalized exercises, and audio material — all in all, this approach helps to improve your Russian in no time. Enjoy your learning with RussianPod101!

What dish would you order in a Russian restaurant? Please, let us know in the comment section below!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Russian