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Italian Language Lessons: Making Dinner Reservations

Steve Cohen

This section presents the essentials of making a restaurant reservation by phone. The idea of conducting business on the phone in Italian may seem intimidating, but remember:

  • reserving in advance, even the same day, may make the difference between getting a table or not, especially in the more popular restaurants, and
  • hand gestures aren't very helpful with this one, so it isn't really much harder on the phone than in person.

Reservations Vocabulary


to make a reservation

fare una prenotazione

FAH-reh OO-nah preh-noh-tah-TZYO-neh

for what time?

per che ora?

pehr keh OH-rah?

(your) name

(il suo) nome

(eel SOO-oh) NOH-meh

how many

quanti (m), quante (f)

KWAN-tee, KWAN-teh




this evening



tomorrow evening

domani sera

doh-MAH-nee SEH-rah

half past seven (o'clock)

le sette e mezzo

leh SEHT-teh eh MEHD-dsoh

eight o'clock

le otto

leh OHT-toh

half past eight

le otto e mezzo

leh OHT-toh eh MEHD-dsoh

Sample Dialog

Here is a sample dialog. You are calling the "Osteria il Giardino" to make a dinner reservation for two people the same evening at 8 pm.

You dial the number of the restaurant.

  • telephone: beep-beep...beep-beep...
  • restaurant (answering the phone): Osteria il Giardino - pronto.
  • you: Buon giorno. Vorrei fare una prenotazione per stasera.
  • restaurant: Si, per quante persone?
  • you: Per due persone.
  • restaurant: Due, per che ora?
  • you: Per le otto.
  • restaurant: Nome?

You say your last name and, if you have learned enough of the alphabet, also spell it.

  • restaurant: Va bene.
  • you: Grazie, arrivederci.
  • restaurant: Arrivederci.

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