© RTL / Julia Maaluf
The time has come to look at how to figure out what's on the menu, and how to order what you're craving!
It's no secret that people in Luxembourg LOVE eating out. The Grand Duchy boasts a diverse catering industry and, considering the country's size, an impressive number of Michelin-recommended restaurants. We hope you're hungry because today is all about reading menus and ordering food!
Following our last lesson on bakeries and cafés, we thought it might be a good idea to keep the food theme going while we're at it. And in addition, restaurants play a big part in Luxembourg's cultural landscape – going out for lunch or dinner is one of the favourite pasttimes of the Grand Duchy's people.
We once again have a separate vocabulary list for this lesson, which you can check out here. You may want to have a look at this one, even if you're usually not the kind of person to revise a hundred flashcards every day. This list contains a lot of common foods and dishes, which might come in handy during your next restaurant visit. In addition, you'll also find the seventh entry of our grammar-focussed lessons Language Basics, this time all about regular and irregular verbs.
Before we start
As with many things in Luxembourg, the language situation might be a bit confusing at first when it comes to ordering food in restaurant. The first thing to note is that, traditionally, menus are written in French – seeing as there is a lot of overlap between Luxembourgish and French cuisine, this is perhaps not that surprising.
Although many more recently established restaurants do offer an English menu, or at least English translations and descriptions of their dishes, you should still be prepared to deal with a fully French menu, especially if you visit a more "traditional" restaurant (think white tablecloths and fancy chairs).
If you do find yourself confronted with a French-only menu and you struggle with some of the names, typing the name into your internet search engine of choice should give you some sort of visual representation of what you can expect.
Before we get to ordering food, we first need a table, of course. The following list features questions ranging from a spontaneous visit to booking a table for another date in advance:
Asking for a table
A table for … please -> Een Dësch fir … wannechgelift
We / I booked a table on the name of *name* -> Mir / Ech hunn een Dësch op den Numm … reservéiert
May I book a table for *day* at *time*? -> Kéint ech een Dësch fir e(n) … um … reservéieren?
We / I would like to sit on the terrace, please. -> Mir géifen / Ech géif gären op der Terrass sëtzen, wannechgelift.
Alright, you're at your table and you're ready for some great food. But how about some refreshments first?
Many Luxembourgers have the habit of ordering an Apéritif or Apéro, a tradition they share, among others, with the French and the Italians. If you're not aware, an Apéritif usually consists of a drink as well as a light snack and/or nibbles that are supposed to "open" your appetite before the actual meal (the word Apéritif or aperitivo comes from the Latin verb aperire meaning "to open").
While you are of course free to order whatever drink you like best, there are some that are considered "typical" Apéritif drinks. This includes cocktails like the Apérol Spritz, the Gin Tonic, or the Negroni. In Luxembourg, a glass of Crémant is also a popular choice. A lot of restaurants feature an Apéritif section on their drinks menu, be sure to have a look, if you're interested!
But Apéritif or not, at some point, you want to order. Here are some phrases to do just that:
Ordering food and drinks
A glass / bottle of … please -> Ee Glaass / Eng Fläsch … wannechgelift.
Good to know: In Luxembourg, restaurants usually do not offer free tap water and many will refuse to serve it to you, even upon request. As always, there are exceptions, but in general, you should be prepared to order and pay for bottled water.
I'm allergic to… -> Ech sinn allergesch géint…
Is there *ingredient* in this dish? -> Ass / Sinn … an dësem Plat?
I am lactose intolerant -> Ech si laktosintolerant
*name of the dish*, please -> …, wannechgelift.
May we / I have some more bread, please? -> Kéinte mir / kéint ech nach e bësse Brout kréien, wannechgelift?
The bill, please. -> D'Rechnung, wannechgelift.
…you might hear
Inside or outside? -> (Do)bannen oder (do)baussen? (the do is often omitted in everyday speech)
Did you make a reservation? -> Hutt Dir reservéiert?
Anything else? -> Soss nach eppes?
Traditional Luxembourgish dishes
Luxembourg does have some traditional dishes of its own that are definitely worth checking out. If you are interested in learning more about these classic meals, make sure to give this article a read.