At a coffee shop or a restaurant


!happyface! 「御注文は?」

= Gochuumon wa?

“What would like to order ?”

:maggie-small: 「ステーキ5人前とサラダ3人前お願いします。玉ねぎは抜いて下さい。」

 = Suteiki go-nin mae to sarada san-nin mae onegai shimasu. Tamanegi wa nuite kudasai.

“Five steaks and three salads please. Please hold the onions.”

Hi, everyone! Did you see Nina sensei’s Japanese lesson? Isn’t she cuuuuute???? This is a follow up lesson for the video. Let’s learn practical Japanese that you can use at a coffee shop or restaurant.

(Please note that sometimes they tend to use peculiar keigo which is grammatically wrong in family restaurants or casual restaurants nowadays. For more information, please check the keigo lesson!)

There are lots of 喫茶店( = kissaten), coffee shops, and all kinds of レストラン ( = resutoran) restaurants in Japan.

When picking restaurant we might ask each other something like:


=Wa you chuu no dore ga ii?

= Which one do you prefer, Japanese food, Western food or Chinese food?

* (wa)   !to right! 和食( = washoku) Japanese food

* (you) !to right! 洋食( = youshoku) Western food

* (chuu) !to right! 中華料理 ( = chuuka ryouri) Chinese food

OK, did you decide where to go? Good! Now let’s go inside.


:mm: When you enter the restaurant or coffee shop.

The first thing you’ll hear when you enter a coffee shop or a restaurant will be:

「いらっしゃいませ」( = Irasshaimase)which means “Welcome to (the coffee shop,the restaurant)!”

And they lead you to the seat saying

「こちらへどうぞ」( = Kochira e douzo) “Please come this way.”

:l: Note: Hereここ( = koko) →more casual or for kids こっち( = kocchi)

There = あそこ ( = asoko) more casualor for kids あっち( = acchi)

こちら ( = kochira) is polite way to say ”this way. The equivalent term for “over there” is 「あちら」( = achira) .



= Oseki ni goannai itashimasu.

= Let me seat you. (Please follow me.)

席 ( = seki ) seat(s) / table

:rrrr: お席 ( = oseki)  more polite

案内する ( = annai suru)  to show you, to lead you 

:rrrr: 案内する ( = goannai shimasu.)  (more polite)

Ex. 「日本に来たらいろいろご案内しますよ。

= Nihon ni kitara goannai shimasu.)

= If you come to Japan, I will show you around.”

Sometimes they ask you how many people are in your party.


=Nanmei sama desu ka?

= How many people in your party?”

If you are alone, they ask you


= Ohitori sama desu ka?

= Are you alone?”

If you have three in your party, they confirm saying:


= Sanmei sama desu ka? 

= Three people?

:i: Careful! When they ask you saying “~ sama”, you never say 「お一人です。( = Ohitori desu.) Nor do we say 三名様です。 (Sanmei sama desu.)

Remember ~様  ( = sama) or “お” ( = o) is honorific expression which you use for others.

So you say


= Hitori desu. 

= One person”.


= San-nin desu. 


= Sanmei desu.

= For three.

Sometimes they ask you,


= Otabako wa suwaremasu ka?

= Do you smoke?

お煙草 ( = otabako )  polite way to say “tabako” =cigarette.

煙草たばこ or タバコを吸う( = tabako wo suu):to smoke cigarette.

cf. 禁煙席 ( = kin-en seki) no smoking area

喫煙席 ( = kitsuen seki)   smoking area

Ex. 彼は今、禁煙しています。

= Kare wa ima kin-en shite imasu

He has been trying to quit smoking.”

OK, now you are seated. As soon as you sit, they will bring you a glass of ( = mizu) water and おしぼり ( = oshibori)(wet hand towel) .

Then waiters will bring you a menu saying,


= Menyuu wo omochi shimashita.

 Here is your menu.


= Omochi shimashita.

Basic form : 持って来る( = mottekuru)  to bring

( :cc: 持つ( = motsu) to hold 来る( = kuru) to come持って来た(= motte kita) →持って来ました ( = motte kimashita)

:rrrr: お持ち致しました。(more polite)

= Omochi itashimashita

!Fork! How to order: 

When you are ready to order, they come to your table and ask you:


= Gochuumon wa ikaga nasai masu ka?

“May I take your order? What would you like to order?”

• 注文 ( = chuumon) order (more polite)  御注文  ( = gochuumon)

• 如何 ( = ikaga) :how

(cf. 如何ですか? ( = ikaga desu ka)  “How is it?/ How are you? /How is~.”)


= Gochuumon wa okimari desu ka?)

Are you ready to order?”/Have you decided what you are having?

決める  ( = kimeru): to decide

A question f0rm : 決めた?( = kimeta?) casual

(more polite)

:rrrr: 決めましたか?

= Kimemashita ka?

= “Did you decide?(basic)

(more polite)

:rrrr: 決められましたか?

Kimerare mashita ka?

(more polite)

:rrrr: お決めになりましたか?

Okime ni narimashitaka?

“Did you decide?”

Usually they say:「お決まりですか?( = Okimari desu ka?) in a restaurant or coffee shop.



= Gochuumon wa nani ni nasai masuka?)

= What would you like to order?

If nobody comes to your table to take an order, you ask a waiter,


= Sumimasen

“Excuse me.”


= Chuumon ii desu ka?

“Can I order?”


= Chuumon mada nan desuga…

“I haven’t ordered yet”.

You can order just pointing out the menu or say

Ex.「A ランチを1つお願いします。」

= A ranchi wo hitotsu onegai shimasu.)

= One “A lunch”, please.

From the picture above:


= Suteiki go-nin mae to sarada san-nin mae onegai shimasu. tamanegi wa nuite kudasai.

“Five steaks and three salads please. Please hold the onions.”

〜人前 ( = nin mae ) for ~ people usually for food. (You can also say 〜人分  ( = ~ nin bun)

Ex. 1人前  ( = ichinin mae) 2人前  ( = ni-nin mae)  3人前  ( = san nin mae) 

抜いて下さい  ( = nuite kudasai.)  Take something out. Without ~ , please.

抜く ( = nuku)  (to remove) is a verb.

You can also say 「〜抜きでお願いします。( = 〜nuki de onegai shimasu.)

Ex. お寿司、わさび抜きでお願いします。

Osushi wasabi nuki de onegai shimasu.

“Please prepare sushi without wasabi.”

After you order your food, they might ask you:


= Onomi mono wa nani ni nasai masu ka?)


Onomi mono wa ikaga nasai masu ka?)

= “What would you like to drink?”

飲み物  ( = nomimono ) drink, お飲物  ( = onomimono) is more polite.


= Nani ni nasai masu ka?

= “What would like?” (What would you like to order?”)



= 〜wa ikaga nasai masu ka?

How would like ~?

are very useful phrases to remember at a restaurant or coffee shop.

Ex. デザートは何になさいますか?

= Dezaato wa nani ni nasai masu ka?

“What would you like for dessert?”

Ex. ドレッシングは如何なさいますか?

= Doresshingu wa ikaga nasai masu ka?

= Would you like some dressing? ” What kind of dressing would like?”

If they have some suggestion, they say

〜は如何ですか?( =  ~ wa ikaga desu ka?) “How about ~?”

Ex. 後のお飲物は如何ですか?

= Shokugo no onomimono wa ikaga desuka? 

“How about a drink after meal?”

• 食後 ( = shokugo)

:(  = taberu/shoku) to eat + 後:( = ato/go) after

食後 after meal

When they take your order, they read it back to you to make sure it is correct.


= Gochuumon wa ijou de yoroshikatta deshouka?)

= “Am I correct? Is that all you ordered? “ in a polite way.

They may say the same thing when they bring the food or beverage to the table.

以上で :( = ijou de)  (after listing out something)  Is that it (all)?

宜しい: ( = yoroshii)  all right

You just day “はい”( = hai) “Yes” if the order is correct. When they put the meal or coffee on the table,

they say:


= Goyukkuri douzo.

= Take your time. →Please enjoy your meal. :

!Fork!  During the meal.

If something is missing, you say:


= Sumimasen. ~ wo tanon danodesuga…

= Sorry, but I also have ordered ~, too.


= Sumimasen. ~ga mada kite imasen(ga)

“Sorry, but ~ is missing.”

(Literally, “Sorry, but ~ still hasn’t come.”)

Or if they serve you something different:

すみません。これ頼んでいませんが….(or 注文していませんが…)」

 = Sumimasen. Kore tanonde imasen ga. or “Chuumon shite imasen ga.”

“Sorry, but I didn’t order this.”

頼む ( = tanomu) / 注文する ( = chuumon suru) : to order

頼んでいない( = tanonde inai) didn’t order

:rrrr: 頼んでいません。( = tanonde imasen.) more polite

注文していない( = chuumon shite inai) didn’t order

:rrrr: 注文していません。( = chuumon shite imasen.) more polite



= Kore chuumon to chigau mono desu ga…

“This is different from what I have ordered.”

〜と違う( = ~to chigau) to be different from ~

Sometimes they come to your table asking you for a refill of water or coffee saying…

お水 (コーヒー)のお代わりは如何ですか?

= Omizu (or koohii) no okawari wa ikaga desu ka?

“Would like a refill of your water (coffee) ? “

  !Anapple! When you finished…

When you finish the drink or food, they come to your table and ask your permission to take your dishes.


= Osage shite mo yoroshii de shouka?

“May I take this (these)? “



= Kochira osumi desu ka?

“Did you finish this (these)?”

If you have finished, you say

「はい」( = hai) ”Yes!”



= Hai, kekkou desu.

= “Yes, please.”

Note :

結構です。( = Kekkou desu.)  “Fine” “Go ahead” “Please”  

「いえ、結構です!」 ( = Ie kekkou desu.) “No thank you.” 

 もう結構です。」( = Mou kekkou desu)  “No more, thank you!”

Ex. 「お水のお代わりは如何ですか?」

= Omizu no okawari wa ikaga desu ka?

“Would you like more water?”


= Mou kekkou desu.

“No thank you. (I had enough.)”

You’ll get the check at the table, but you’ll pay it at the cashier. We usually don’t pay at the table. The check is called「お勘定 Okanjou. If they haven’t left the check, you say:


= Sumimasen okanjyou onegai shimasu.

= May I have a check please.

When you leave the restaurant or coffee shop, they say:


= Arigatou gozaimashita.

“Thank you so much for coming!”



= Mata okoshi kudasai 

Please come again.

また( = mata) again

「来る( = kuru) basic form

→ Command form来い」( = koi ) “Come!(Very strong!)

→「来て!」( = “kite”)

asking 来て下さい 」( = kite kudasai)

asking very politelyお超し下さい。」( = okoshi kudasai) please come/visit

You say


= Gochisou sama deshita!

= “Thank you for the meal ( or drink!)” when you leave. Please check the previous gochisou sama lesson!

There are lots of things to learn in this lesson. I will make more lessons on this subject 「もし気が向いたら( = moshi kiga muitara) ”if I feel like it”.


!to right! Related Lesson:

How to order fast food

Sushi Related Lesson

frenchbulldogマギー先生より (Maggie sensei yori) From Maggie sensei


(Sumimasen. sorekara furaido chikin san-nin mae tsuika onegai shimasu.)

Excuse me! Also please add another three portions of fried chicken please!

(追加:tsuika in addition to something)


Will you be my Patron? 

I appreciate your support!  サポートありがとう!

Become a Patron!


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  1. Maggie sensei please tell if the following would be correct:

    1. 彼は大食漢だ。肉を大盛りにしてください。

      It depends on where you want to use this phrase. In the literature, it works.
      In conversation, you may not use the word 大食漢 so often. (There is a cute word, 食いしん坊)
      How about →彼はよく食べるので肉を大盛りにしてください。

      →The first part is OK. もう少し長い時間 is not natural.
      It depends on how you cook, if it is a boiled egg, もう少し茹でてください。, if it is a fried egg, もう少し火を通してください。・よく焼いてください。


  2. Is this correct to say if I want to change my order?


    Thanks in advance!

    1. Yes, you can say that.

      Variation: to be more clear
      Ex. すみません。カレーライスを注文したんですが、シチューに変えることできますか?
      = Excuse me. I ordered a “curry”. Can I change it to a “stew”?

  3. Hi Maggie,

    I just thought of a phrase that I *always* have to use in English, which is when the server comes and asks what your order is, I have to say “Sorry, I haven’t decided yet!” :)
    Would that be ok to say as すみません, まだ決めていません or is there a better way of saying it?
    After that, how would I say “Please could I have a little more time?” or maybe “Could I order drinks first?”
    My complete guess would be 先に飲み物を注文してもいいですか but I am guessing!
    I would definitely need these!!


    1. Hi Cindy

      You can say
      すみません, まだ決めていません or まだ(なんにしようか)考えています。
      but people usually just say まだです。
      “Please could I have a little more time?”
      すみません、もう少し(or ちょっと)時間ください。

      “Could I order drinks first?”

      先に飲み物を注文してもいいですか is perfectly OK.
      Other variation


  4. Hello! This lesson is very helpful! Thank you very much!

    I just have one question, how would we say “Is there an English menu?” or “Do you have an English menu?”

    In the past I know, from experience, that there are a few restaurants that offer a translated menu- in case one does not fully understand Japanese.

    Thank you for your time!

    1. @愛理

      Hello, 愛理!
      Good question!
      “Is there an English menu?” or “Do you have an English menu?”
      →英語のメニューはありますか?= Eigo no menyuu wa arimasu ka?

      And yes, some of the restaurants have English menu.
      BTW I am working on a new lesson on How to order at a fast food shop. :)

  5. I am sorry for do not fitting in the theme again but..
    do you know something of the chances for foreigners living in japan, I mean if i wanna live there.. I heard many times for an foreigner it’s kind of impossible to live there.. is it true?
    Yes one reason why i wanna learn japanese is because I wanna live there I am just wondering if it’s still possible..
    Thanks in advance!

    1. @Cho

      Of course it is “possible” to live in Japan.
      It is true that some foreign people find it difficult to live in Japan for different reasons but at the same time there are many foreign people live here without any problems.
      Learning language is very important but more than that, be open minded. And I think we can say that to anybody who live in other countries not just in Japan.

  6. おはようございます。

    Sorry for the confusion.
    I am asking the chefs what they would like to drink.
    They cannot leave to get their own drink since they have to take care of making customers order, so I (as a server) can get it for them.


    1. @ミーちゃん

      Oh, I see. You are so nice! Although it is rare, if it is a cozy and friendly place , there might be a customer who would offer a drink to chef.
      You could say

      = Nanika nomaremasen ka?
      = Nanika onomi ni narimasenka?

      If they look confused you can say
      = Zutto tsukutte irassharu kara..
      = You’ve been cooking the whole time so…

      And if you treat them, you say

      = Watashi ga gochisou shimasu.

  7. ありがとうございます。

    I need help on another thing.

    If I’m asking the chefs what they would like to drink, is it appropriate to say: “お飲物は如何ですか? (Onomimono wa ikaga desu ka?)

    You are a great help~

    1. @ミーちゃん
      I’m sorry I don’t quite get the situation. You are going to ask chefs what they would like to drink???
      Or you want to ask them what kind of drink they would recommend?
      “お飲物は如何ですか? (Onomimono wa ikaga desu ka?) is used when you are the one who serves drinks.

  8. Maggieちゃん, please help.

    When we seat customer at a sushi bar, we’re supposed to tell the chef how many people. Example is 二名様です。(when it’s two people) but if one, do we say お一人様です。or 一名様です。and if three do we say 三名様です。or 三人様です。because for four people it is 四人様です。I want to know what to say for up to 8 people because it can get a little confusing..

    1. @ミーちゃん
      Hello ミーちゃん!
      OK, here you go!
      4 people 四人様 = yonin sama /  四名様= yonmei sama
      5 people 五人様= gonin sama / 五名様= gomei sama
      6 people 六人様= rokunin sama / 六名様= rokumei sama
      7 people 七人様= hichinin sama (nananin sama )/ 七名様= shichimei sama (nanamei sama )
      8 people 八人様 = hachinin sama / 八名様= hachimei sama


  9. Maggiesensei, two questions for this lesson :)

    Sensei wrote:

    1) お一人様ですか?
    (Ohitori desu ka?)

    In the Japanese version there is “sama” but in the roomaji it isn’t there. Do they use “sama” in this situation or is it “ohitori desu ka?”

    2) 決められましたか?

    Sensei, one of the biggest challenges I recognize in my learning at this moment is recognizing with ease the difference between “potential” and “passive” verbs. I was wondering if there is a clear rule that could help me differentiate when a verb is “passive” and when it is used as “potential”. Up until now I try to discern the difference by the context in which the verb is used so I was thinking that maybe there is a rule I haven’t encountered yet.

    Thank you sensei. :) And please excuse my apologies for my hunger of knowledge and the constant questions. XD

      1. @NecroMadMat

        I think it is great to have all the motivation to learn Japanese.
        I am always hungry,too! (Literally) :)

    1. @NecroMadMat

      1) That was a typo. Thank you!! I fixed it.
      Ohitori sama desuka? is more polite.

      2) れる・られる form can be either passive or honorifics. And it could be potential form.
      You have to know who is the subject and what the object is.

      This 決められましたか? is an honorific.

      But if you say
      一人で決められましたか?(potential form)
      = Could you decide on your own?

      決められた手順 (passive form)
      = set procedure (←The procedure which was set.)

      It will be a long lesson if I start to explain the whole thing here so we’ll study little by little.
      And your questions are always welcome!

      1. I need to pay attention the the subject and the object and how the verb is related to them. I will study and practice until I get a hang of it, sensei. :)

  10. →(more polite) 決められましたか?(Okime ni narimashitaka?)

    chotto machigai ga aru n..
    sensei wa “kimeraremashitaka” o kakitakatta n to omotte imasu.

    sono ue
    Ex. 「ドレッシグは如何なさいますか?」 “n” ga ushinatta

    kono saito wa nihogo o benkyou suru tame ni sekai de ichiban desu :D

    kyuunenchuu wa osewa ni narimashita.
    goshinsetsu wa wasuremasen.
    gomeiwaku o okake shimashita.

    1. @maggie daisuki (→Haha, What a lovely name you have! :) )

      Thank you for spotting the mistakes. I just fixed them.
      Wow… I made this lesson three years ago. Time flies.

      Anyway 優しいメッセージありがとう!!とってもうれしく読みました!こちらこそこれからも宜しくね!
      = Yasashii messeiji arigatou! Tottemo ureshiku yomimashita. Kochirakoso korekara mo yoroshiku ne.
      Rainen mo mata kono saito ni kite kudasai. !happyface!

  11. How would you ask that you would like an order to go? Like, oh this order will be to go. What does it sound like when they ask you will this be carry out?

    1. @iheartmaggiesensei

      When they usually ask you
      = Kochira de omeshiagari desuka ? Soretomo omochi kaeri desuka?
      = Would you like it for here or to go?

      If you want to take it home, you say
      = Mochikaeri de onegai shimasu.

      If you eat it there, you say
      = Koko de tabemasu.

  12. maggie san, keigo no resson wa subarashii desu. nihongo no benkyo shiteru hitotachi no tameni yakuni tachimasu. kono sito o skutte kurete arigatou gozaimashta.

    1. @kanthimathiさん


      (Note: nihongo no benkyou shieru →nihon go wo benkyou shiteiru)

  13. These lessons are amazing! They cover so much material! I will be spending many hours on this website. Domo arigatou gozaimasu.

    1. usaverageguy-san,

      こちらこそ、このサイトに来てくれて有り難う!(=Kochirakoso kono saito ni kite kurete arigatou!) Thank you for visiting this site,too!
      これらのレッスンが役に立てば嬉しいです。(=Korera no ressun ga yaku ni tateba ureshii desu.) Hope these lesson are useful for you!

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