Ordering in a Restaurant 注文する
So, may I take your order?
At this sushi restaurant you order by touchscreen rather than by server!
At this izakaya in Utsunomiya, the servers are monkeys!
Me want this... got it?
Many visitors to Japan often find themselves in an awkward situation when ordering in a restaurant: without words, we're left pointing at our choice with a desperate look, hoping that the server will understand. Generally this isn't a problem, but how do you order in Japanese?
Deciding what food you want is usually not a problem, as many restaurants have menus with pictures and translations written in English.
Once you've decided, restaurant chains will usually have a button at the table to press to call the server. Otherwise, a simple "sumimasen" is enough to get their attention.
If the server comes to take your order but you haven't decided yet, simply tell them "mada". For information on prices, often clearly visible, you just have to say "ikura desu ka?" (How much does it cost?)
Once at your table, tell the server "chuumon onegai shimasu". You can then simply show them what you want on the menu, or if you are able, say what it is that you want, always adding -kudasai at the end.
Once your order has been taken, the server summarizes by repeating everything back, and if they've got it right, simply reply with an "onegai shimasu". Now all that's left to do is to wait for your well earned meal after so much linguistic effort!
Shall we practice that one more time?
Sumimasen. (Excuse me.)
Chuumon onegai shimasu. (I would like to order, please.)
Kore to kore kudasai. Sore to, kore mo kudasai. (I'll take this and this. And may I also have that, please.)
Onegai shimasu. (Please.)
Arigato gozaimasu. (Thank you.)
Okanjo onegaishimasu. (The bill, please.)