5 Key phrases
In an Italian bar, the person serving (il cameriere or la cameriera) – or the cassiere if you have to pay first – will ask you what you want in one of the following ways:
- Desidera? What would you like? (literally: You want?)
- Mi dica. How can I help? (literally: Tell me.)
- E per Lei? (And) for you?
To say what you would like, use:
- Vorrei… I would like …
- (E) per me… (And) for me
If you need to attract the waiter’s or barman’s attention, you say:
- Scusi! Excuse me!
When the person serving adds up the order to check that they have got it right, they usually begin with:
- Allora... So...
You might also hear customers say buongiorno (‘good morning’) or buonasera (‘good afternoon/evening’) before they place their order.