You’re out and about some Italian streets and feel a certain rumble in your tummy, and you want to grab a bite in one of those amazing Italian restaurants all of your peers have been talking to you about. All those amazing plates of pasta, those unique sauces, and perfectly seared meats – or vegetables. Now as you’ve seen in the past on our Blog, we try to help you when in the country with some Italian phrases you can use in various situations, today we’ll give you a quick rundown on Italian phrases about food ( interested in what you eat in Italy?)

From this day on you won’t have any problems when wondering how to order food in Italian you can just whip out our handy StudentsVille dictionary and if you feel like you can’t pronounce certain words you can always just show your waiter/waitress your screen and make it tres easy for you.

So let’s go forth and discover all the Italian food words you’ll be using in the new Italian phrases you’re going to learn today ( discover how to be italian: it’s all right here).

Thinking about it let’s start simple. How do you say Italian food in Italy? Italian’s are just gonna call it cibo (food), technically it’s Cibo Italiano. But if you want my advice, when you’re visiting any city, town, or village, just ask someone (I REALLY mean anyone that you have an interaction with. The guy making your coffee at the bar, the cashier at the supermarket, or even your favorite panino place) “Quale è il piatto più tipico?” (What is the local dish?). Don’t worry they’ll guide you right every time.

How to say Italian food in Italian?

Let’s start from the top, cause maybe you’re still looking for a restaurant to eat in. So, you’re wondering how you can find an Italian restaurant, a recommended Italian restaurant. You could ask your hotel, or if you meet some people while having an aperitivo. The literal translation of Italian food is Cibo Italiano, but I’ll give you some extra knowledge. When you ask someone to recommend a restaurant ask them Dove posso mangiare del cibo tipico della zona? that means you’re asking for something local. Also, you can ask Dove andate/vai a mangiare te quando vuoi del cibo Italiano? this way you’ll be asking them where do they eat when they feel like having Italian. Don’t worry they’ll guide you well.

How do you ask for water in Italian?

You know what this is actually a really important question to ask because it’s the first thing you really want when you go to a restaurant. Keep in mind that Italians don’t drink tap water when out for dinner, probably it’s a cultural aspect, and plus bottled water doesn’t cost that much. Anyway, water is Acqua, but what you really need to know is liscia (that is still), or gassata (sparkling). To answer the internet’s question Is water free at restaurants in Italy? in most places, it isn’t, but you might find some American/English style cafes that do offer such a service.

Mi scusi

First things first how do you say excuse me in Italian? Fear not, cause we have you covered with our first paragraph in our dictionary. “Mi Scusi” you’ve heard it before if you’ve ever seen Eurotrip you’ve definitely had this scene in mind, you know the one that promotes the idea that Italians are pretty pervy.

Vorrei fare una prenotazione

Once you and your friends have decided on where to go to eat your going to want to reserve a table, and you want to know how to say I would like to make a reservation in Italian, so grab that phone of yours dial in the number and start with a “Salve, vorrei fare una prenotazione”. Maybe you don’t even need to phone in, you can simply walk to the place and ask the same. Just to make sure you don’t walk there and it’s closed check the opening times.

Un tavolo per …, per favore

You’ve astonished the Italian staff starting with your wanting a table, now you’re going to find yourself stuck without this next phrase. Let’s say you’re 6, cause that’s a fair number to give a heads up to the restaurant anyway, you look at the staff dead in the eye and say “Un tavolo per sei, per favore” and that is going to be a really weird situation if you did what I told you a second before. You’ll be creating an oxymoron of emotions.

Che piatto è questo?

Now you’re finally sitting down and looking at the menu and can’t seem to understand certain ingredients, or maybe they have a special name for a plate that you are wondering about. So, in this situation how are you going to find out what you need to know? Start with a “mi scusi” and then give them a “Che piatto è questo?”. There you go you’re asking all the questions you need in an Italian restaurant.

Vorrei il …. per piacere

Let’s say that you were convinced by the staff’s explanation on this plate you had some doubts on, let’s say it’s a “Maccheroni alla Garfagnina” (personally I don’t remember what’s in it, so ask the waiters when you’re in a restaurant). You’ll want to order it somehow, and what other way than saying I would like in Italian, you can say “Vorrei I Maccheroni alla Garfagnina, per piacere” cause you can’t just use the Italian word for food and say something like “Vorrei il cibo, per piacere”. You wouldn’t sound very strong in your Italian that way.

Il conto per favore

Now that you’ve finished eating your delicious meal, you’re going to have to pay for it, cause that’s how it works everywhere. Or do something like a classic Florentine movie scene that I’ll post under this paragraph. Anyway, jokes aside the bill in Italian is “il conto per favore”. If the waiter is somewhere that isn’t right next to you and you can make eye contact with him/her you can also make as if you were writing with an invisible pen on your palm. That’s pretty universal.

Posso pagare con la carta?

Like most international students, and international travels it’s more and more a standard to pay by card, cause you can’t always have piles of cash on you when traveling. I mean I feel a bit safer that way. Anyway, once you get your bill you’re going to ask the waiter if you can pay by card. In most places, this is the case, but if you’re a bit paranoid you should ask when you’re reserving your table.

Il servizio è incluso?

Tips aren’t forced on the customer in Italy, because usually service is included in the bill, but hey tips are appreciated everywhere. But hey if you’re a student like I was back in the day you might want to save some money for your next amazing meal (sure food). Now life lessons aside, you’re still wondering about how to ask if gratuity is included, once you receive the bill you simply ask them “Il Servizio è incluso?” They’ll usually show you on the bill, and if you think that isn’t enough up the ante.

Molto Buono – Buonissimo – Squisito

You’ve paid what needed to be paid, and now you really want to let them know how great that meal you just had was, lucky for you-you can pass the words around with your friends cause I’ve got more than one for you to use. “Molto Buono” “Buonissimo” “Squisito” all of these can be used as very good in Italian, now that is some real Italian for you.


Unfortunately, it’s now time to leave, and you can’t stress enough the point on how much you enjoyed service and the quality of the food. Give the service team a simple “Grazie” as you leave, cause thank you in Italian is a must in these situations. You just don’t need to thank everyone personally a general Grazie in the direction of the staff is good enough.



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