Hello and welcome to the series „Absolute Beginners“ here at Slow German. There will be new episodes as before, but I will include a few episodes for absolute beginners. They are meant for people who for example are travelling to Germany and who want to speak a few words in the native language… The first one of these was published some time ago, and today I want to give you all the vocabulary you need to go to a restaurant and eat something. After all, I don‘t want you to starve here in Germany!
At first if you enter the restaurant, you might be greeted by a waiter. This is not at all common in Germany – most people just seat themselves. So if you don’t see somebody steering towards you, feel free to choose yourself where you want to sit. In case a waiter welcomes you, he might ask „Haben Sie reserviert?“ or „Haben Sie eine Reservierung?“. He wants to know if you have made a reservation in advance. You can say, „Nein, tut mir leid“, meaning „No, I’m sorry“, or „Ja, auf den Namen Schmidt“. Of course you have to replace the name Schmidt with your own name.
The waiter might also ask you: „Für zwei?“, meaning „For two?“, if he sees that there are two people in your party. Or „Für vier?“ if there are four. He will then show you to a table that’s big enough for all of you.
Usually, the waiter should present you with the menu without being asked for it. If he’s having a busy day or simply forgot his duty, you might remind him with „Die Speisekarte, bitte.“ meaning „The menu, please“. You can also say: „Kann ich die Karte haben?“, „Can I have the menu?“
Most waiters are not very talkative, so don’t expect them to introduce themselves and ask things like „What would you like to drink today?“. They most simply say: „Zum Trinken?“, meaning „To drink?“. Then they wait for you to answer. Now I don’t know what you would like to order, but I have a few alternatives for you:
„Eine Apfelschorle, bitte.“. Apfelschorle is the favorite non-alcoholic drink of Germans, it is a mix of mineral water and apple juice. „Eine Apfelschorle, bitte.“
„Einen Orangensaft, bitte.“. An orange-juice, please.
„Eine Cola, bitte.“ A coca-cola, please.
„Ein Mineralwasser, bitte.“ Sparkling mineral water, please.
„Ein stilles Wasser, bitte.“
Or, of course, „Ein Bier bitte.“. I guess I don’t have to translate that.
Now let’s think about food. You pick something from the menu and say „Ich hätte gerne…“, and then you say what you would like to eat. If you can pronounce it, I am very proud of you. For example you can order a Schnitzel and say „Ich hätte gerne das Wiener Schnitzel“. If you are a little shy, just say „Ich hätte gerne das hier“, and point to what you would like to have on the menu. If you want something special that you can’t find on the menu, just ask: „Haben Sie …?“. For example: „Haben Sie ein Wiener Schnitzel?“. It simply means: Do you have a Wiener Schnitzel?
Let’s hope everything worked out fine and you’re sitting there with your drink and your food. The waiter will wish you „Guten Appetit“, literally meaning he wishes you a healthy appetite. But something is missing. Just call the waiter by establishing eye-contact, maybe raising your hand and saying „Entschuldigung“, meaning simply „Excuse me“. Then wait until he or she comes to your table. In former times people said „Herr Ober“ or „Fräulein“, but that is thought to be old-fashioned today and some waiters and waitresses even consider it to be rude.
Finally, just ask: „Könnte ich bitte Salz haben?“ if you want to have salt. I give you some more examples:
„Könnte ich bitte eine Gabel haben?“ means „Could I have a fork, please?“
„Könnte ich bitte ein Messer haben?“ means „Could I have a knife, please?“
„Könnte ich bitte einen Löffel haben?“ means „Could I have a spoon, please?“
„Könnte ich bitte einen Aschenbecher haben?“ means „Could I have an ashtray, please?“ But be careful: Most restaurants nowadays are smoke-free.
If you have to use the bathroom, you can ask: „Entschuldigung, wo ist die Toilette?“.
At the end of your meal, the waiter will clear the table and say something like „Hat’s geschmeckt?“, he wants to know if you enjoyed your meal. You can simply answer by saying „Ja, danke.“, or if you really liked it, say „Sehr gut, danke.“.
You can then order some coffee or dessert, and if you’re done, ask for the cheque by saying „Die Rechnung, bitte.“ or „Ich möchte zahlen, bitte!“. Remember, there’s one big difference between dining in Germany and dining in the US. In Germany, you can usually sit at a table as long as you want. After your meal, you can just sit there and enjoy your coffee or drink some more wine or beer and just talk for hours. You don’t have to rush out of the restaurant as soon as you’re done eating. But it is polite to not sit at an empty table, but order some drinks.
That’s it for now – for more information on this podcast visit slowgerman.com or check out the new iPhone app. You can also follow Slow German on Twitter and Facebook. Have fun learning German and Auf Wiederhören!
Das ist eine spaße stil zum deutschlernen. Danke!
Hi Miss T, thanks for asking me that. It is very important to know such customs, otherwise people will think you’re rude… In Germany it is common to give tips to waiters or waitresses. You usually tip 10 percent. If you don’t give any tips that’s a sign that you weren’t satisfied with the service. So let’s say the waiter says „Das macht 36,60 Euro“. Then you can simply say: „Machen Sie 40“ and give him the money. Or if he says „13,40 Euro“, you can say „15 bitte“ and hand him the money, for example a 20-Euro-bill. He will then give you 5 back.
I’ve found your podcasts recently, and I would love to thank you for your incredible work! The vocabulary and phrases you’ve used here seems more than useful!
After listening this specific podcast, I was left with a question about the tradition of giving tips in Germany. Is it common to give tips after a meal in the restaurant or no? Will it be regarded rude in your country? (I want to make it clear for me, cause in some countries it’s not very popular custom, while in some countries it could be even inappropriate). What is it like in Germany? If you do give tips, then how much should you give out of total price?
Thank you in advance!
Muy útil, gracias.
Vielen Dank! Das ist so lieb!
You are best of the bests i love youuu vielen Dank 😍😍
Danke schon! I’m learning German now and although I’m not exactly a beginner, these still help a lot!
you are the best !!!! love u ☺
Wenn du online Deutsch via Skype lernen willst, check https://www.xtranews.de/2017/05/23/was-ist-vor-einer-einwanderung-nach-deutschland-zu-beachten-id31190717.html. Hier kann man leicht gute Deutschlehrer, auch Deutsche Native Speaker, finden. Die Preise sind sehr attraktiv, es ist möglich, nur 7 Euro für eine Stunde zu zahlen. Es ist auch sehr hilfreich, dass man hier einen Lehrer mit Spezialisierung, z. B Deutsch für Anfänger, Wirtschaftsdeutsch, Internationale Prüfungen, finden kann.
Well, language is changing fast… But I am sure no waiter would be offended if he/she sees you’re not a native speaker. 🙂
What a BIG surprise to realize that „Herr Ober“ and „Fräulein“ were obsolete and even rude!
Many thanks for such wonderful update.
All our German textbooks, including those we bought directly at Frankfurt, should be greatly revised. Otherwise, we shall never know why those service people are so unhappy with us …
Thank you very much for your efforts , it is a great place to practice the language.
I suggest please that you introduce some conversations in business work for example between an employer and his employees.
Wow lovely site so good so earsy I’m really enjoying it thanks to my dear friend ma so
I discovered Slow German two days ago and have already listed to 47 episodes! Can you tell I love it?
I learned German 25 years ago and thought I had lost most of it. Your slow pace and clear speech make me feel like I still know the language. Thanks for the boost of confidence.
sehr praktisch und authentisch
Ich warte auf die neuen Episoden über alltägliche Szene.
Guten Tag liebe Annik, ich bin Chilenin, lebe in Deutschland seit drei Jahren und es ist echt eine schwierige Sprache. Ich danke dir für diese Deutsch-Unterrichte. Ich habe den Integrationskurs gemacht, die B1 Prüfung bestanden und ich brauche noch Hilfe zu sprechen und schreiben, wie peinlich! =(
Alles Gute! =)
Hi! I could have sworn I’ve visited this site before but after looking at many of the articles I realized it’s new to me.
Anyhow, I’m certainly pleased I found it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back frequently!
hallo dear annik,
i love you podcast it realy helps!thanx
can you make more episods for beginners
they are a graet help!
Very clear and concise. Also, I enjoyed the cultural tips as well. Thank you.
Hallo! Annik, ich habe deine Podcast gefallen. Er ist richig sehr sehr gut! Ich habe so viel gelernt.
this site is realy helpful, Ich bin devi, ich kommme aus Indonesia, Ich lerne Deutsch zwei monat.my city doesnt provide good course for that. so i learn it by myself, hope someday, i’ll come there to deutschland.
thank you very much for the clear voice and interesting espisodes, Annik. I have once studied in Munich for just three months. After that I began learning German. The slow german helps me a lot. This year, I will go back to Munich again for an entire year studying. I will keep on German learning and visiting this useful website.
Very simple, clear the brevity of the topics makes understanding german easier.
I will begin to study German, rather brush the very little I learnt centuries ago and this web seems to be very helpful………..thanks for it
Gostei muito, ajuda bastante a praticar. Bye
great work and great site – i already send this translations to my american friend who started learning german because fo the famous Oktoberfest!!!
I would like to add, if the waiter or waitress comes to your table with the menu, you can ask her „Haben Sie eine Speisekarte auf Englisch?“ means „Do you have a menu in English language?“. A menu translated to English will make it more easy for you to find a meal you really like. Unfortunately only a few restaurants have menus in other languages.
Thank you very much! That is very interesting information. I don’t know german language, but I want to try to learn it, and the category „Absolute Beginner“ can be very useful =) Danke!
very well information you write it very clean. I’m very lucky to get this info from you.
Hallo, liebe Annik!
endlich kommen die neuen Slowgerman-Episoden wieder heraus. Ich habe lange gewartet!~~
Ich hätte ein Thema: wie schließt man in Deutschland das Studium ab? Und wie feiern die Studenten ihren Abschluss? Ich interessiere mich sehr dafür, weil ich in diesem Jahr das Studium absolvieren werde.~~Freue mich darauf！
your voice is so clear, is a very good podcast, thank you four your time
I love your podcast! it really helps me! I studied German some years ago and i’m trying to brush it up! Elisa from Italy