How to Order in Spanish Mexico

How to Order in Spanish: Mexico

Exploring new places and experiencing different cultures can be an exciting adventure. One aspect that adds to the thrill is trying out the local cuisine. Mexico, known for its vibrant flavors and rich culinary traditions, offers a wide range of delicious dishes to tantalize your taste buds. To fully immerse yourself in the Mexican food culture, it’s helpful to know how to order in Spanish. In this article, we will guide you through the process of ordering food in Mexico, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable dining experience.

1. Learn Basic Phrases:
Before diving into the ordering process, it’s essential to learn some basic Spanish phrases to communicate effectively. Start with greetings such as “Hola” (Hello) and “Buenos días/tardes/noches” (Good morning/afternoon/evening). Polite phrases like “Por favor” (Please) and “Gracias” (Thank you) should also be part of your vocabulary. Additionally, familiarize yourself with numbers and food-related terms, such as “menu” (menu), “plato” (dish), and “bebida” (drink).

2. Choose the Right Restaurant:
Mexico offers a wide variety of dining options, from street food stalls to fine dining establishments. Depending on your preferences, budget, and the occasion, select a restaurant that suits your needs. If you’re looking for authentic local cuisine, try “taquerías” (taco stands) or “fondas” (small family-run restaurants). For a more upscale experience, opt for “restaurantes” or “comedores” (dining rooms).

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3. Understand the Menu:
Once you’re seated, the waiter will hand you a menu. Take your time to peruse it and familiarize yourself with the dishes on offer. Mexican menus often include starters (“entradas”), main courses (“platos principales”), and desserts (“postres”). Look out for regional specialties and popular dishes like “tacos,” “enchiladas,” and “tamales.”

4. Ask for Recommendations:
If you’re unsure about what to order, don’t hesitate to ask the waiter for recommendations. They are usually well-informed about popular dishes and can guide you based on your preferences. You can ask, “¿Qué me recomienda?” (What do you recommend?) or “¿Cuál es el plato más popular?” (What is the most popular dish?).

5. Place Your Order:
Once you’ve decided on your meal, it’s time to place your order. Use phrases like “Me gustaría” (I would like) followed by the name of the dish. For example, “Me gustaría unos tacos al pastor” (I would like some tacos al pastor). If you have any specific requests or modifications, such as removing ingredients or making it spicier, feel free to communicate them to the waiter.

6. Drinks and Sides:
Don’t forget to order your drinks and sides. Popular beverages in Mexico include “agua fresca” (fruit-infused water), “refresco” (soda), and “cerveza” (beer). As for sides, you can order “arroz” (rice), “frijoles” (beans), or “guacamole” (avocado dip) to complement your meal.

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7. Paying the Bill:
When you’re done with your meal, it’s time to pay the bill. You can ask for it by saying, “La cuenta, por favor” (The bill, please). In Mexico, it’s customary to leave a tip, usually around 10-15% of the total bill. You can leave the tip in cash on the table or add it to your credit card payment.


1. Q: Do people in Mexico speak English in restaurants?
A: While some restaurants in tourist areas may have English-speaking staff, it’s advisable to learn basic Spanish phrases to communicate effectively.

2. Q: Can I order vegetarian or vegan food in Mexico?
A: Yes, many restaurants offer vegetarian or vegan options. Just inform the waiter about your dietary preferences, and they will guide you accordingly.

3. Q: Is tap water safe to drink in Mexico?
A: It is generally recommended to drink bottled water in Mexico to avoid any potential health issues.

4. Q: How spicy is Mexican food?
A: Mexican food can be spicy, but not all dishes are. If you’re not a fan of spicy food, you can ask for your dish “sin picante” (without spice).

5. Q: Can I customize my dish based on my preferences?
A: Most restaurants are accommodating and will try to fulfill your requests. Feel free to ask for modifications or special instructions when placing your order.

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6. Q: Are there any regional specialties I should try?
A: Yes, each region in Mexico has its own unique specialties. For example, in Oaxaca, try “mole” sauce, while in Yucatán, try “cochinita pibil” (slow-roasted pork).

7. Q: Do I need to make reservations?
A: It depends on the restaurant and the time of day. For popular or upscale establishments, making reservations is recommended, especially during peak hours.

In conclusion, ordering food in Spanish can enhance your dining experience in Mexico by allowing you to communicate effectively with the waitstaff. Learning basic phrases, choosing the right restaurant, understanding the menu, and confidently placing your order are key steps to ensure a memorable culinary journey in Mexico. ¡Buen provecho! (Enjoy your meal!)