At The Restaurant: Russian Vocabulary for Eating Out

Dining out is not just about indulging in delicious cuisine; it’s an opportunity to immerse yourself in the culture and connect with locals. To fully embrace this experience in Russia, arming yourself with essential restaurant vocabulary is a must.

In this article, we’ll take you through the key phrases and vocabulary needed to confidently dine out, read menus, communicate with servers, and savor traditional Russian dishes.

Types of Catering Establishment in Russia

In Russia, there are many different types of places to eat that offer different styles of food and dining experiences.

Ресторан [reerstaran] (restaurant) offers a diverse range of cuisines and dining experiences, from fine dining establishments to casual eateries.

Кафе [kafe] (cafe) are typically smaller establishments that serve light meals, snacks, coffee, and pastries. They are popular for quick meals or socializing.

Столовая [stalovaya] is a cafeteria-style dining establishments that serve affordable, home-style cooked meals. They are commonly found in schools, universities and public places. Some workplaces and factories also have canteens that provide meals for employees during the workday.

Закусочная [zakoosachnaya] is a small establishment that offer a variety of snacks, appetizers, and light bites, usually paired with beverages.

Zakusochnaya in Russia

Бар [bar] in Russia serve a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, and some may also offer a limited food menu.

Кофейня [kafyeynya] is a coffee shop that specialize in serving a wide range of coffee drinks and, in some cases, light snacks.

Пекарня [peekarnya] is a bakery where various freshly baked goods like bread, pastries, cakes, and pies are sold.

Киоск фастфуда is a fast food kiosk. It is a small, usually standalone structure or booth that specializes in serving quick and convenient fast food items. These kiosks typically offer a limited menu with popular fast food options such as kebabs, pastries, burgers, hot dogs, fries, and other similar items. They are commonly found in public areas, shopping centers, parks, and near transportation hubs, providing a convenient option for people on the go looking for a quick meal or snack.

Fast-food kiosk

See Also: Essential Urban Vocabulary in Russian

Basic Phrases and Expressions

Let’s start with the basics! When entering a restaurant, it’s important to greet the staff and make a positive impression. Simple pleasantries such as “здравствуйте” [zdrastvooytye] which means “hello” or “добрый вечер” [dobriy vyecher] meaning “good evening” can go a long way.

Make sure you are familiar with polite words in order to understand and communicate with the staff at eating establishments:

Здравствуйте. [zdrastvooytye] – Hello / Greetings (formal)

 

Добро пожаловать. [dabro pazhalavat’] – Welcome.

Спасибо. [spaseeba] – Thank you.

 

Пожалуйста. [pazhaloosta] – Please. / You’re welcome. / Here you are.

 

You will also probably hear the phrase:

Приятного аппетита. [preeyatnava apeeteeta] –  Bon appétit.

To order food in a small café or booth in Russia that sells hamburgers, hot dogs, kebabs, cakes, etc. you can just say hello and name the item you have chosen. For example:

Здравствуйте. Хот-дог, пожалуйста. – Hello. A hot dog, please.

 

Можно мне одну большую шаурму? – Can I have one large kebab?

 

Restaurants are another topic. Here the things are a bit more difficult.

When requesting a table, use phrases like “Можно столик на двоих?” [mozhna stoleek na dvaeeh] meaning “Can we have a table for two?” or “Сколько времени ждать?” [skol’ka vryemeenee zhdat’] meaning “How long is the wait?”.

Other starting phrases:

Мы хотели бы столик на четверых, пожалуйста. [mi hatyelee bi stoleek na chyetvyerih pazhaloosta] – We would like a table for four, please.

У вас есть свободные места? [oo vas yest’ svabodniye meesta] – Do you have any available seats?

Я забронировал(а)/зарезервировал(а) столик. [ya zabraneeraval(a)/zaryezyerveeraval(a) stoleek na eemya] – I have a reservation.

Ordering Food and Drinks

Now that you’re settled at your table, it’s time to order your food. To do so, you will need a menu. Use one of these phrases to ask for it:

Можно меню, пожалуйста? [mozhna menyu pazhaloosta] – Can I have the menu, please?

Меню, пожалуйста. [menyu pazhaloosta] – The menu, please.

Here is an example of how a menu can look like:

Menu in Russian: example
Source: ohot-usadba.ru

Here’s another example. It’s a salads menu, just one page of the many. You can find a full list of items on the website of this restaurant.

Menu of salads in Russian

Now comes the hard part. If you don’t know the names of dishes in Russian, read the article on food vocabulary in Russian. This should help you understand the menu items and familiarize yourself with starters, main courses, desserts, and beverages.

For example, “закуски” [zakooskee] are appetizers, and “основные блюда” [asnavniye blyuda] refers to main courses. Some popular Russian dishes to look out for include “борщ” [borshch] – beet soup, “пельмени” [pyel’myenee] – dumplings, and “блины” [bleeni] – pancakes.

Here’s the list of phrases you may hear or use:

Готовы сделать заказ? [gatovi sdyelat’ zakas] – Are you ready to order?

Здравствуйте, мы выбрали. [zdrastvooytye mi vibralee] – Hello, we are ready to place an order.

Я хотел/хотела бы заказать… [ya hatyel/hatyela bi zakazat’] – I would like to order…

Сколько стоит? [skol’ka stoeet] – How much does it cost?

Какие блюда у вас самые популярные? – What are your most popular dishes?

Что вы можете посоветовать? / Что вы порекомендуете? – What do you recommend?

Я хочу (заказать) стейк/суп/салат/etc. – I want to order a steak/soup/salad/etc.

Я бы хотел(а) заказать стейк с прожаркой medium rare. – I would like to order a steak cooked medium rare.

Как долго / Сколько будет готовиться заказ? – How long will it take for the order to be ready?

Можно ли изменить/поменять заказ? – Is it possible to make changes to the order?

Принесите ещё, пожалуйста. – More, please.

Принесите, пожалуйста, еще одну салфетку. – Can you please bring another napkin, please?

Принесите, пожалуйста, дополнительный стул. – Can you please bring an extra chair, please?

Можно посмотреть винную карту? – Can we see the wine list?

У вас есть безалкогольные напитки? – Do you have any non-alcoholic drinks?

Есть ли у вас меню на английском? – Do you have a menu in English?

У вас есть меню для детей? – Do you have a children’s menu?

Useful Questions and Requests

Don’t hesitate to ask questions or seek recommendations from your server.

If you’re curious about the ingredients or cooking methods of a dish, politely ask “Что входит в состав этого блюда?” [eez chyevo gatoveetsa eta blyuda] meaning “What are the ingredients in this dish?”.

If you have dietary restrictions or special requests, feel confident using phrases like “Я не ем мясо” [ya nee yem myasa] meaning “I don’t eat meat” or “Можно без глютена?” [mozhna byez glyutena] meaning “Can I have gluten-free?”.

Here are some other phrases:

Есть ли у вас ограничения из-за аллергии или предпочтения? – Do you have any allergies or dietary preferences?

Да, у меня аллергия на… – Yes, I’m allergic to…

Без острых специй, пожалуйста. – No spicy ingredients, please.

Какие специи вы добавляете? – What spices do you add to this?

Какое масло вы добавляете? – What kind of oil do you use?

У вас есть вегетарианские блюда? – Do you have vegetarian options?

Requesting modifications or substitutions:

  • Можно заказать без лука? – Can I order without onions?
  • Можно заменить гарнир на рис вместо картофеля? – Can I substitute the side dish with rice instead of potatoes?
  • У меня аллергия на молочные продукты. Можно это блюдо приготовить без молока? – I have a dairy allergy. Can this dish be prepared without milk?
  • Можно ли сделать это блюдо без орехов? – Can you make this dish without nuts?
  • Можно добавить помидоры к этому блюду? – Can I add tomatoes to this dish?

These phrases should help you when ordering food in a Russian restaurant. Remember to speak politely and feel free to ask for any clarifications or special requests.

Phrases for making complaints

We don’t always get what we wanted. This is common in the establishments where we receive service, too.

A man conplaining at a restaurant

Here are some phrases you may want to use to make complaints in a restaurant in Russian:

Мне принесли не тот заказ. – I was brought the wrong order.

Я это не заказывал/заказывала. – This isn’t what I ordered.

Я заказывал/заказывала другое блюдо. – I ordered a different dish.

Извините, но мой заказ приготовлен не верно. – Sorry, but my order is not prepared correctly.

Это блюдо не соответствует моим ожиданиям/описанию в меню. – This dish doesn’t meet my expectations/description in the menu.

Извините, но это блюдо холодное. – Excuse me, but this dish is cold

Блюдо слишком солёное/недосолено. – The dish is too salty/underseasoned.

Вы работаете очень медленно. – The service is very slow.

В моём счёте ошибка. – There is an error in my bill here.

Могу я поговорить с менеджером? – Can I speak to the manager?

Я не доволен/довольна качеством блюд/обслуживания. – I’m not satisfied with the quality of the food/service.)

Я ожидал/ожидала более высокого уровня сервиса/качества. – I expected a higher level of service/quality.)

Я хотел/хотела бы пересесть за другой столик. – I’d like to move to a different table.

See Also: Exploring Words for Taste and Smell in Russian

Payment and Farewell

As the meal comes to an end, it’s time to handle the bill. When requesting it, simply say “Счёт, пожалуйста” [shchyot pazhaloosta] meaning “The bill, please”.

Other variations:

Можно попросить счёт? [mozhna papraseet’ shyot] – Can we ask for the bill?

Принесите счёт, пожалуйста. [shyot pazhaloosta] – Please bring me the bill.

As you settle the payment, you may want to express gratitude to the server. A friendly “Большое спасибо” [bal’shoye spaseeba] meaning “Thank you very much” or a simple “Спасибо” meaning “Thank you” will suffice. Tipping practices vary in Russia, but leaving a small amount as a gesture of appreciation is generally appreciated.

Other useful expressions:

Спасибо, всё было вкусно! [spaseeba vsyo bilo vkoosna] – Thank you, everything was delicious!

Можно оплатить картой? [mozhna aplateet’ kartay] – Can I pay by card?

Можно (получить) чек, пожалуйста? – Can we get the check, please?

When you decide to leave, you can say goodbye in one of the following ways:

Всего доброго [vseevo dobrava] – All the best / Take care.

Хорошего дня/вечера. [harosheeva dnya/vyechyera] – Have a good day/evening.

До свидания [da sveedaneeya] – Goodbye.

Common Scenarios and Roleplay

Let’s put these phrases into practice! Imagine scenarios such as ordering food, requesting recommendations, or seeking modifications. Practice engaging in dialogue with a friend or even roleplay with a partner to simulate real-life dining experiences. This will help build your confidence and reinforce your understanding of the vocabulary.

Dialogue 1

Waiter: Добрый вечер! Добро пожаловать в наш ресторан. Сколько вас? (Good evening! Welcome to our restaurant. How many of you are coming?)

Client: Здравствуйте! Нас три человека. Столик у окна, пожалуйста. (Hello! There are three of us. A table by the window, please.)

Waiter: Пойдёмте за мной, я покажу вам место. (Follow me, I’ll show you the place.)

Dialogue 2

Waiter: Добрый день! Чем могу помочь? (Good day! How may I assist you?)

Client: Здравствуйте! Нам столик на двоих, пожалуйста. (Hello! I would like a table for two, please.)

Waiter: Хорошо, сейчас я вас отведу к свободному столику. (Okay, I will take you to an available table.)

Client: Спасибо! (Thank you!)

Dialogue 3

Client: Здравствуйте! Я бы хотел что-нибудь у вас заказать. (Hello! I would like to order something to eat.)

Waiter: Что вы предпочитаете – мясо, рыбу или что-то вегетарианское? (Do you prefer meat, fish, or something vegetarian?)

Client: Я бы хотел рыбный стейк, пожалуйста. (I would like a fish steak, please.)

Waiter: Отлично. C гарниром и соусом? (Great, with which side dish and sauce?)

Client: Картофель фри и соус тар-тар. (French fries and tartar sauce.)

Waiter: Замечательно, ваш заказ будет готов в течение 15-20 минут. Что-нибудь ещё? (Wonderful, your order will be ready within 15-20 minutes. Anything else?)

Client: Нет, это всё, спасибо. (No, that’s all, thank you.)

Dialogue 4

Server: Вот ваше меню. Выбирайте. (Here’s your menu. Take your pick.)

Customer: Спасибо. Что вы порекомендуете из основных блюд? (Thank you. What do you recommend as a main course?)

Server: Можете заказать наш знаменитый бифштекс. Он приготовлен по особому рецепту и подается с соусом и картофельными дольками. (You can order our famous steak. It’s cooked to a special recipe and served with gravy and potato wedges.)

Customer: Звучит аппетитно! Давайте. (Sounds delicious! I’ll want it.)

Dialogue 5

Waiter: Здравствуйте! Что вы хотели бы заказать? (Hello! What would you like to order?)

Client: Добрый день! Я бы хотела грибной суп и стейк с гарниром из овощей, пожалуйста. (Good afternoon, I would like mushroom soup and steak with vegetable side dish, please.)

Waiter: А стейк какой степени прожарки? (And how would you like your steak cooked?)

Client: Средней. (Medium.)

Waiter: Хорошо, я передам ваш заказ на кухню. (OK, I’ll take your order to the kitchen.)

Dialogue 6

Waiter: Ваш заказ готов. Приятного аппетита! (Your order is ready. Bon appetit!)

Client: Спасибо! А можно ещё соли и перца? (Thank you! Can I have more salt and pepper?)

Waiter: Конечно, сейчас принесу. (Sure, I’ll get it right away.)

Dialogue 7

Customer: У меня аллергия на глютен. У вас есть что-нибудь без глютена? (I’m allergic to gluten. Do you have anything gluten-free?)

Server: Конечно! Попробуйте нашу свежий салат с овощами и заправкой на основе оливкового масла. (Sure! Try our fresh salad with vegetables and olive oil based dressing.)

Customer: Хорошо, тогда я возьму салат. (Okay, I’ll have the salad then.)

Dialogue 8

Customer: Извините, но это блюдо холодное. (Excuse me, but this dish is cold.)

Waiter: Прошу прощения за неудобства. Давайте я его поменяю. (I apologize for the inconvenience. Let me change it for you.)

Dialogue 9

Customer: Это блюдо не соответствует описанию в меню. Здесь нет сыра и лука. (This dish doesn’t match the description in the menu. There’s no cheese or onions.)

Manager: Я приношу свои извинения. Мы разберёмся и прямо сейчас приготовим для вас замену. (I apologize for that. We will look into this issue and get you a replacement right away.)

Dialogue 10

Server: Ваш счёт, пожалуйста. (Your bill, please.)

Customer: Спасибо. Можно оплатить картой? (Thank you. Can I pay by card?)

Server: Конечно, мы принимаем любые карты. (Sure, we accept any card.)

Customer: Отлично. Сколько там всего получилось? (Great. How much is the total?)

Server: 1500 рублей. (1500 rubles.)

Customer: Готово. Спасибо, я отлично провёл время в вашем ресторане! (Done. Thank you, I had a great time at your restaurant! Thank you! Have a nice evening!)

Server: Вам спасибо! Приятного вечера! (Thank you! Have a nice evening!)

Congratulations! You’ve now acquired the key vocabulary and phrases to confidently navigate Russian restaurants. Remember, the best way to improve your language skills is to practice. Feel free to do this using these phrases and adapt them to different dining situations. Remember, clear communication leads to a more enjoyable dining experience!

So, embrace the opportunity to dine out, savor delicious Russian cuisine, and engage with the locals. Enjoy every bite of this linguistic and culinary journey!

Bon appétit, or as they say in Russian, “приятного аппетита” (priyatnogo appetita)!

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