How to Order in a French Restaurant Like a Pro

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Ordering in a French restaurant can be a daunting experience if you are unfamiliar with the language and customs. However, with a little preparation and confidence, you can order like a pro. Here are some tips for ordering in a French restaurant:


  1. Learn some basic French phrases: Even if you are not fluent in French, learning a few basic phrases can be helpful. Start with simple phrases like "Bonjour" (hello), "Sil-vais" (please), "Merci" (thank you) and "L'addition, s'il-vais" (addition , Please).
  2. Review the menu in advance: many French restaurants will have their menus posted outside or online. Take the time to review the menu before you arrive so you can decide what you want to order ahead of time. This can help you feel more confident when talking to the waiter.
  3. Understanding dishes: In France, meals are often served in dishes. Main courses are usually preceded by an entrée (starter) and followed by a dessert. Be aware of the different courses and order accordingly.
  4. Ask for recommendations: If you're not sure what to order, don't be afraid to ask the server for recommendations. They can often provide helpful suggestions based on your tastes and preferences.
  5. Be specific: When ordering, be specific about what you want. For example, if you want your steak medium-rare, say "I would like my steak medium rare."
  6. Be Polite: Remember to be polite and respectful when ordering. Use "please" and "thank you" when talking to the waiter, and avoid being overly demanding or impatient.
  7. Don't rush: In France, meals are often savored at a leisurely pace. Don't rush your meal or try to rush the server. Instead, take your time and savor the experience.
  8. Understanding the wine list: French restaurants often have an extensive wine list. If you're not sure what wine to order, ask the waiter for recommendations based on your meal or personal preference. Don't be afraid to ask questions about different wines, such as region or varietal.
  9. Be aware of dining etiquette: In France, certain dining etiquette rules must be followed. For example, it is considered rude to start eating before everyone at the table has been served, and it is customary to put your hands on the table during the meal.
  10. Don't be afraid to personalize your order: While French cuisine is known for its traditional dishes, many restaurants are willing to personalize your order according to your preferences. For example, you can ask for a dish without any particular ingredient or ask for a sauce on the side.
  11. Pay attention to portion sizes: French restaurants are known for their smaller portions compared to other countries. Keep this in mind when ordering and consider ordering multiple dishes to create a complete meal.
  12. Don't forget to tip: tipping is customary in French restaurants. The standard tip is around 10%, although you can adjust this depending on the level of service you received.


Overall, ordering in a French restaurant can be a pleasant experience if you approach it with confidence and respect for the culture. By following these tips, you can navigate the menu, order with ease, and enjoy the delicious flavors of French cuisine.

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