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Japanese Phrases – At the Restaurant

This is a collection of Japanese Phrases that you can use in a restaurant.  One thing to keep in mind while studying these Japanese phrases is that the service industry in Japan uses a very high form of politeness when talking to their customers.  If you are a beginner, this type of speech may seem much different than what you have been studying.  It’s really not different at all though!  Every word in this phrase guide can be directly linked to a “more casual” form below it.  For example, let’s look at a common one you will see here – “itashimasu” (to do):

Casual Polite Super Polite
suru shimasu itashimasu

They also add a lot of “honorific prefixes” to the beginning of nouns (o-sushi, go-chuumon, etc).  As much as this may seem like you are learning a new vocabulary, there is nothing to worry about.  It’s easy to get used to because the grammar of these Japanese phrases will remain unchanged from their casual versions.  Also, as a customer you only need to speak in the regular polite form.  

Welcoming the Customer


*This is a standard Japanese Phrase used for greeting a customer at any place of service.  It’s the strong imperative form of the verb irassharu (“to come”).  “MASE” is normally added to honorific expressions for that extra dose of politeness.

Finding a Table

nan-mei-sama desu ka
(For how many people?)
(For two people.)
nan-mei-sama desu ka futari

*This is the polite way of asking how many people are in your party. 

Smoking or Non-Smoking?

きつえんですか きんえんですか
kitsuen desu ka kinen desu ka
(smoking or non-smoking?)
kinen de.
kitsuen desu ka kinen desu ka kinen de

* Yep – in Japan it’s still totally normal to smoke in restaurants.  That’s why we listed this as a common Japanese phrase!

Do you smoke?

おたばこは おすいになられますか
O-tabako wa osuininararemasu ka
(Do you smoke?)
suwanai desu.
(I don’t smoke.)
O-tabako wa osuininararemasu ka suwanai desu

*And if you want to light one up, the answer is “suimasu.”

Going to the Table

kochira desu
(this way)
kochira desu

*I cover “kochira” in this Japanese Grammar Lesson.

Handing a Menu to the Customer

おきまりになられましたら およびください。
okimari ni nararema-shitara oyobi kudasai
(Please let me know when you are ready to order.)
okimari ni nararema-shitara oyobi kudasai

*This is common especially in a Japanese restaurant with a call button at the table.

Offering a Drink

Nanika O-nomimono wa
(Would you like something to drink?)
おひやで おねがいします
ohiyade onegaishimasu
(I’ll have a water, please)
Nanika O-nomimono wa ohiyade onegaishimasu
なまちゅう おねがいします
namachuu onegaishimasu
(Beer, please.)
nama chiyuu onegaishimasu

Water is normally “O-mizu”, and beer is usually “biiru”.  However, at Japanese restaurants we use these alternatives.  Why?  I don’t know.  That’s our culture!

Grabbing Attention

(Excuse me…)
hai, tadaima oukagai itashimasu.
(yes, I’m coming right away)
sumimasen hai, tadaima oukagaishimasu

*We cover sumimasen in our Beginner’s Japanese Phrase Guide.  Sumimasen is very appropriate for getting the server’s attention!
*tadaima means “right now” and ukagau is a verb that means “to visit” or “to listen”.
nani ni itashimashou ka
(What can I get for you?)
nani ni itashimashou ka

*itashimasu is a very polite form of shimasu.

Making an Order

go-chuumon wa O-kimari desu ka
(Have you decided on your order?)
 てんぷらとおすしににんまえ おねがいします
tenpura to osushi ni-nin mae onegaishimasu
(tenpura and sushi for two, please)
go-chuumon wa O-kimari desu ka tenpura tō sushi ni-nin mae onegaishimasu
 *kimaru means “to be decided”, so this Japanese phrase could be literally translated as “Has the order been decided on?”. and…
おみそしるも おねがいします
o-miso shiru mo onegaishimasu
(Miso Soup as well, please.)
o-miso shiru mo onegaishimasu

*I cover the use of “mo” in this Grammar Lesson (link).

Finishing an Order

ijou de
(That’s all.)
(I understand.)
ijou de kashikomarimashita

*kashikomarimashita is a an extremely polite form of “wakarimashita” which means “to understand”.
go-chuumon o kurikaeshimasu
(I’m going to repeat the order to make sure…)
go-chuumon o kurikaeshimasu

Confirming the Order

てんぷらと おすしと おみそしる を おひとつ づつ で よろしい です か
tenpura to sushi to o-misoshiru wo O-hitotsu zutsu de yoroshii desu ka
(One each of tenpura, sushi, and miso soup.. is this correct?)
あ、ちがいます。おすしは ににんまえ です
Ah, chigaimasu.  O-sushi wa nininmae desu.
(ah, that’s incorrect.  Sushi for two.)
tenpura to sushi to o-misoshiru wo O-hitotsu zutsu de yoroshii desu ka Ah, chigaimasu.  O-sushi wa nininmae desu

Apologizing to the Customer for a mistake

taihen shitsurei itashimashita
(My bad.  Sorry about that.)
taihen shitsurei itashimashita

*”Taihen” is used to express “very”.  “Shitsurei itashimashita” is an extremely polite version of “shitsurei shimashita.” and in this case means that a mistake has been acknowledged. 

Asking the Customer to Wait

shoushou omachi kudasaimase
(please wait awhile)
shiyoushou omachi kudasaimase

*This is the extremely polite form of “chotto matte kudasai”.  You will also hear this Japanese phrase when you are on the phone with a company before they put you on hold.

Coming back with the Food

taihen omatase itashimashita
(thank you for waiting)
taihen omatase itashimashita

*omatase comes from the verb mataseru, which means “to keep a person waiting”.  This entire Japanese phrase literally means “you’ve waited quite a while”.  At this level of politeness, a better translation would be “I deeply apologize for making you wait so long”.  You may hear this again when you are in line waiting to pay on the way out.
kochira ga tenpura to osushi to omiso shiru de gozaimasu
(here is your tenpura, sushi and miso soup) 
kochira ga tenpura to osushi to miso shiru de gozaimasu

*”de gozaimasu” is the super polite form of “desu“…  
ijou de yoroshii desu ka
(is that all?)
ijou de yoro shii desu ka hai

Ready to Eat

goyukkuri omeshiagari kudasaimase
(Please enjoy your meal!)
goyukkuri omeshi agari kudasaimase

*yukkuri is to take time dong something, so enjoy it while it lasts!  Omeshiagaru is another form of taberu when a server is respectfully referring to the customer.  The customers may refer to their own eating as itadakimasu.

Another Order

すみません なまびーるもうひとつ おねがいします
sumimasen nama biーru mō hitotsu onegaishimasu
(excuse me.. one more glass of beer, please.)
すみません あがりください
sumimasen agari kudasai
(excuse me, can I have tea?)
hai, kashikomarimashita
(yes, I understand)
sumimasen agarikudasai hai, kashikomarimashita

Asking for the Bill

おかいけい を おねがいします
okaikei o onegaishimasu
(Can I get the bill?)

*You will be paying for the bill at the counter on the way out.  It is rare in Japan to pay at the table.

Paying for the Meal

sanzen roppyaku yen desu.
(3600 yen.)
kaado de.
(I’m paying by credit card..)
senzen roppyaku yen desu kaado de

*This use of the Japanese particle de is to mark a means or method, as I explain in this lesson (link).

Leaving the Restaurant

Arigatou gozaimashita.  Mataokoshi kudasaimase.
(Thank you for coming.  Come back.)
gochisōsama desu
(thank you for the meal.)
Arigatou gozaimashita.  Mataokoshikudasaimase gochisōsamadesu
Japanese Phrases - Getting to Know Someone
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