Restaurants are growing more multilingual everyday.  Hard working immigrants from throughout Latin America are respected and appreciated members of the restaurant world.  The language barrier can be daunting, but overcoming it will help you appreciate some of the most interesting people in your restaurant.  Learning enough Spanish to be able to communicate effectively is often a first step towards a good working relationship and friendship.  I can’t teach you the language in a few blog posts, but I can help with some of the basic nouns you need to communicate in restaurants.

The problem with the online translators is that they tend to be too literal.  So I consulted my good friend Senor Espaza for his expertise.  Here are some basic words to know:

Table Mesa
Chair Silla
Floor Piso
Ice Hielo (pronounced “yellow”)
Glasses Vasos
Towel Toalla
Napkins Servietas
Plates Placas
Bowl Cuenco
Fork Tenedor
Knife Cuchillo
Spoon Cuchara
Steak Knife Bistec cuchillo
Soup Spoon Cuchara sopera
Salt Sal
Pepper Pimienta
Sugar Azúcar
Steak Bisteca
Beef Carne
Chicken Pollo
Pork Puerco
Fish Pescado
Lettuce Lechuga
Tomato Tomate
Onion Cebolla
Pickle Escabeche
Cheese Queso
Bread Pan
Bun Bollo
Rare Raro
Medium Rare Medio hecho
Medium Medio
Medium Well Medio Bueno
Well Bien
Clean Limpio
Dirty Sucio
Wash Llevar
Dry Seco
Wet Mojado
Big Grande
Little Poco
Good Bueno
Bad Malo
Happy Feliz
Sad Triste
Tired Cansado
Bored Aburrido
Please Por favor,
Thank You Gracias
I’m sorry Lo siento
Excuse Me Compra miso
Behind You Detrás
Help Ayuda
Manager Gerente (or Jefe for “Boss”)
Hostess Anfitriona
Cook Cocinar

In future posts I will be adding some more conversational Spanish.  Feel free to make any requests in the comments section.  As always the best way to stay up to date on this blog is to join the facebook fanpage.

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