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How to Order Food in Russian: Learn to Tell Your Piroshki from Your Pierogi

Visiting a Russian restaurant can be a lot of fun. It can also be quite embarrassing if you can’t order what you want and instead simply point at dishes on the menu. In this post, we’ll learn how to order food at a Russian restaurant, something you can also do if you study Russian vocabulary with a tutor.

Reserve a Table

The first thing you need to know is how to reserve a table at the restaurant. To do this, you need to call or visit the restaurant and say, “Я хотел бы заказать столик на троих” (Ya khotel by zakazat’ stolik na troikh). This means you would like to reserve a table for three people.

Note that the verb “хотеть” (khotet’) takes the form “хотел” (khotel) in the masculine gender and the form “хотела” (khotela) in the feminine gender. So, women say, “Я бы хотела” (Ya by khotela), while men say, “Я бы хотел” (Ya by khotel).

  • Я хотела бы заказать столик на двоих на шесть часов вечера. (Ya khotela by zakazat’ stolik na dvoikh na shest’ chasov vechera.)

  • I would like to reserve a table for two at 6 p.m.

Order Food

People eat three types of meals: “завтрак” (zavtrak – breakfast), “обед” (obed – lunch) and “ужин” (uzhin – dinner).

Imagine that you’re at the restaurant and want to have dinner. A waiter (официант – ofitsiant) comes to your table and says,

  • Добрый вечер. Пожалуйста, ваше меню. Хотите что-нибудь заказать сразу? (Dobryi vecher. Pozhaluista, vashe meniu. Khotite chto-nibud’ zakazat’ srazu?)

  • Good evening. Here is the menu. Would you like to order something right now?

You probably want to take a look at the menu first, so you answer,

  • Нет, спасибо. Мы сначала посмотрим. (Net, spasibo. My snachala posmotrim.)

  • No, thanks. We’ll take a look first.

When you decide what you want to order, you say,

  • Мы готовы сделать заказ. (My gotovy sdelat’ zakaz.)

  • We are ready to order.

A typical conversation between a waiter and two customers, John and Joe, would look like this:

Джон: Я буду стейк из говядины средней прожарки с картофельным пюре. (Djon: Ya budu steik is govyadiny srednei prozharki s kartofel’nym puire.)

John: I would like to have a beef steak, medium rare, with mashed potatoes.

Официант: Отличный выбор! Что для вас? (Ofitsiant: Otlichnyi vybor! Shto dly vas?)

Waiter: Good choice! What would you like?

Джо: Я возьму лосось и овощи на пару. (Djo: Ya voz’mu losos’ i ovoschi na paru.)

Joe: I’ll take a salmon steak and steamed vegetables.

Официант: Что будете пить? (Ofitsiant: Chto budete pit’?)

Waiter: What would you like to drink?

Джон: Мне, пожалуйста, бокал красного сухого вина и бутылку воды. (Djon: Mne, pozhaluista, bokal krasnogo sukhogo vina i butylku vody.)

John: I’ll take a glass of dry red wine and a bottle of water.

Официант: С газом или без? (Ofitsiant: S gazom ili bez?)

Waiter: Sparkling or still?

Джон: Без газа. (Djon: Bez gaza.)

John: Still.

Джо: Я буду бокал белого сухого. (Djo: Ya budu bokal belogo sukhogo.)

Joe: I would like to have a glass of white dry wine.

Официант: Хорошо. (Ofitsiant: Khorosho.)

Waiter: OK.

Ask for the Bill

When you finish your food, tell the waiter that you would like to have the bill:

  • Принесите, пожалуйста, счет. (Prinesite, pozhaluista, schyot.)

  • I would like to pay.

The waiter may ask you if you liked everything by saying,

  • Вам все понравилось? (Vam vse ponravilos’?)

  • Did you like everything?

You can say,

  • Да, было вкусно. (Da, bylo vkusno.)

  • Yes, it was tasty.

Remember these phrases and you will be able to order food at any restaurant in Russia and have a conversation with a waiter. To learn more conversational phrases, and to learn how to order your favorite food, book a Russian lesson.

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