How to Order Food in Greek

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When visiting Greece, one thing you will hopefully do a lot of is eat plenty of authentic food. If you learn nothing else in the Greek language, being able to order food when you go someplace is a crucial skill you won’t want to miss out on. There are not only some vocabulary words that you will need to memorize, but there is also some etiquette to keep in mind. Here’s more information:

Walking Into the Restaurant

When you first arrive in the restaurant, it is customary to greet any staff that you see, especially if you are standing by the door. Not greeting them is considered to be impolite. In some cases, they may even greet you first! If this is the case, you want to look at at them and greet them in a similar manner. Please visit this article for more information on how to greet someone in the Greek language.

Finding a Table

Typically in Greece, no one will be available to show you to a table. In most places in Europe, diners usually select whichever table they want. However, there are exceptions to this. If you called in advance to make a reservation, someone will show you to your table when you arrive. In some of the more touristy areas of Greece, restaurant staff may show you to your table. Just look for social cues in order to determine which approach you need to take.

Asking for the Menu

You may notice that in some places in Greece, there may not be a menu. This is more common in some of the more out of the way places. Restaurant owners simply cook with whatever they have available and then offer it to their guests. In more populated places, such as heavily touristed areas or in bigger cities and towns, restaurants will have a menu. If you need to ask for a menu, this is typically what you’d say:

Μου φέρνετε / Μας φέρνετε έναν κατάλογο, παρακαλώ; Mou fernete/ mas fernete enan katalogo, parakolo? Can you bring me/us the menu please?

Ordering Your Food

Once it comes time to order, you may need to get the staff’s attention. Typically, waitstaff doesn’t come over to your table unless you ask them to unless it’s to deliver your food because it is considered impolite. Here’s how you would get someone’s attention so you could order:

Να παραγγείλω; / Να παραγγείλουμε; Na paragelo / Na parageloome; Can I order? / Can we order?

Then, when you do get their attention and they come over you would say the following as you order your items:

Θα ήθελα / Θα θέλαμε … Tha ithela, Tha thelame … – I would like, we would like ….

Of course, if you forget how to say these words when you’re traveling you can simply point to the menu. Just make sure to remain polite even if you do need to point to the menu.

 


The Learn Greek section on GreekBoston.com was written by Greeks to help people understand the conversational basics of the Greek language. This article is not a substitute for a professional Greek learning program, but a helpful resource for people wanting to learn simple communication in Greek.

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