Ordering with Confidence: A Guide to Hindi Phrases in Restaurants

Imagine stepping into the aromatic embrace of an Indian restaurant, the air rich with the scent of spices and the sound of simmering curries. The vibrant atmosphere is inviting, but the menu, filled with exotic names, can be a puzzle. Fear not, with a handful of Hindi phrases, you can transform from a tentative tourist to a confident connoisseur. Let’s spice up your dining experience with some essential Hindi lingo that will impress the waiter and enrich your culinary adventure.

The Warm Welcome

As you enter, a waiter greets you with a nod and a “Namaste, aap kaise hain?” — “Hello, how are you?” You nod back, the corners of your mouth curving into a smile, responding, “Namaste, main theek hoon, dhanyavad!” — “Hello, I am good, thank you!” It’s a simple exchange, but it sets the tone for a friendly meal.

Snagging the Perfect Spot

The restaurant is buzzing with chatter. You want a seat where you can watch the world go by. Pointing to a corner table by the window, you ask, “Wahaan baith sakte hain?” — “Can we sit there?” The waiter gestures grandly to the spot, “Ji haan, aaiye!” — “Yes, please come!”

Deciphering the Menu

The menu arrives, a canvas of culinary delights. You’re curious about a dish you’ve never tried. With a tilt of the head, you inquire, “Yeh ‘Paneer Tikka Masala’ kaisa hota hai?” — “What is ‘Paneer Tikka Masala’ like?” The waiter’s eyes light up as he describes the dish, his hands painting the air with gestures of richness and flavor.

Placing the Order

Your taste buds tingling with anticipation, you’re ready to order. You confidently state, “Mujhe ek ‘Paneer Tikka Masala’ aur ‘Tandoori Roti’ chahiye.” — “I would like one ‘Paneer Tikka Masala’ and ‘Tandoori Roti’.” The waiter scribbles on his notepad, nodding in approval of your choice.

Customizing Your Dish

Indian food can be spicy, and you prefer a milder palate. “Kya aap isse kam teekha bana sakte hain?” — “Can you make it less spicy?” The waiter assures you with a friendly “Zaroor, aapke hisaab se banayenge.” — “Certainly, we will prepare it to your taste.”

Engaging in Small Talk

While waiting for the meal, the waiter asks, “Aap India se bahar se aaye hain?” — “Are you visiting from outside India?” You reply with a grin, “Haan, pehli baar India aaya hoon.” — “Yes, it’s my first time in India.” This snippet of conversation connects you to the staff, making the meal more personal.

Appreciating the Flavors

The dishes arrive, a symphony of colors and aromas. With the first bite, you’re transported. You catch the waiter’s eye and say, “Wah, bahut hi swadisht!” — “Wow, this is very delicious!” Your compliment is received with a proud smile, a shared moment of joy.

Asking for Recommendations

You’re intrigued by the desserts. “Koi meetha vyanjan suggest kar sakte hain?” — “Can you suggest any sweet dish?” The waiter recommends, “Gulab Jamun try kijiye, ye ghar ka bana hua hai.” — “Try the Gulab Jamun, it’s homemade.” His recommendation is not just a suggestion; it’s an invitation to experience a piece of home.

Settling the Bill

Satiated and content, you ask for the check, “Bill, please.” In most Indian restaurants, the word ‘bill’ is understood, but adding a “Kitna hua?” — “How much is it?” shows that you’re not a stranger to the customs.

Leaving with a Promise to Return

As you leave, the flavors still dancing on your tongue, you promise, “Khana bahut accha tha, hum zaroor wapas aayenge.” — “The food was very good, we will definitely come back.” It’s a vow of return, a bond sealed over food.

Conclusion: Culinary Confidence in Hindi

Navigating a restaurant in India doesn’t have to be daunting. With these phrases in your linguistic pantry, you can order with ease and connect with the people who make your dining experience unforgettable. Whether it’s marveling at the magic of masalas or savoring the sweetness of a gulab jamun, speaking a bit of Hindi enriches every bite.

Are you ready to turn your restaurant visits in India from ordinary to extraordinary? Join our free trial class and expand your Hindi vocabulary beyond the menu. Let’s embark on a delicious linguistic journey together. “Chaliye, Hindi ke saath apne palette ko bhi viksit karein!” — “Let’s develop our palates along with our Hindi!”

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Ash Tayshete


Hi, dear Hindi speaker! I’m Ash and I’ve been teaching Hindi in NYC and on Zoom since 2011.

Ash Tayshete

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