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Lesson Transcript

British Restaurant, Part 4: At the Table
Finally, you’re in the restaurant and sitting at the table. Now it’s time to order!
In this lesson, we’ll cover the vital phrases that you need to ask for a menu and to order.
The best way to get the waiter’s attention is by raising your hand and simply saying, ‘excuse me’. When the waiter comes to your table, you can ask for a menu by saying, ‘can I have a menu, please?’
Slowly: Can I have a menu, please?
In most cases, you won’t need to ask for a menu because you will be given one when you arrive. But just in case you don’t get one, this is a good phrase to remember. So, once again: “Can I have a menu, please?”
When the waiter or waitress seats you, they may ask you for your drink order right away. This is because drinks are usually the same everywhere you go. If you know what you want, you can order your drink by saying, for example,
“Coke, please.”
Slowly: Coke, please.
If you need more time to decide, you can say: “Please could you give us a minute?” In this case, the staff will give you more than a minute, but it implies that you need more time to decide.
Slowly: Please could you give us a minute?
You can look at the menu and decide what you want to eat while the waiter or waitress brings your drinks.
On a typical menu, you will see ‘starters’, ‘main course’, ‘desserts’, and ‘drinks’. The ‘main course’ dishes may also be categorised under chicken, beef, fish, pasta, etc. You don’t have to order from every category, of course.
A starter is the dish you have before the main course and is therefore smaller. A typical starter would be a salad or soup.
Once you’ve decided, you can call back the waiter or waitress and place your order. For example, if you want the roast chicken, you can say: “Could I have the roast chicken, please? ‘Could I have’ is actually a question, because in English, question forms are often used to make polite requests. So, once again: “Could I have the roast chicken, please?”
Now, there may be some confusion with menus in the UK. One of the most common side dishes you will see is chips. But these aren’t the chips you eat out of packets, instead they are what is known as “fries” in the US. So you’re likely to see dishes such as fish and chips, chicken and chips, or burger and chips on many menus in the UK.
Okay, to close out this lesson we’d like you to practice what you’ve just learned. I’ll provide you with the phrase, and you’re responsible for shouting it out loud. You have a few seconds before I give you the answer. So good luck!
- Could I have a menu please?
- A coke, please
- Please could you give us a minute?
- Could I have the roast chicken please?


Alright! That’s going to do it for this lesson. Bye!