Guide: How to Say “I Would Like to Order” in French

Greetings! If you’re planning to visit a French-speaking country or simply want to improve your language skills, knowing how to say “I would like to order” is a great start. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore both formal and informal ways to express your desire to order something in French. Additionally, we’ll provide some useful tips, examples, and even touch on regional variations where relevant. So, let’s dive in!

Formal Expressions

When addressing a waiter/waitress or someone you don’t know well, it’s polite to use formal expressions. Here are a few phrases commonly used in formal settings when ordering:

1. Je voudrais commander… (I would like to order…)

This is a common and polite way to express your desire to order something. It can be used in various situations and is widely understood. For example:

Waiter: Bonjour, que souhaitez-vous commander ? (Hello, what would you like to order?)

You: Je voudrais commander un café au lait, s’il vous plaît. (I would like to order a café au lait, please.)

2. Pourrais-je avoir…? (Could I have…?)

This phrase is another polite and formal way to request your order. It shows consideration and respect. Example:

Waiter: Que désirez-vous ? (What would you like?)

You: Pourrais-je avoir une salade, s’il vous plaît ? (Could I have a salad, please?)

3. J’aimerais prendre… (I would like to have/take…)

This expression is commonly used when ordering food or drinks. It maintains a polite tone and can be used in various contexts. Example:

Waiter: Comment puis-je vous aider ? (How can I help you?)

You: J’aimerais prendre un verre de vin rouge, s’il vous plaît. (I would like to have a glass of red wine, please.)

Informal Expressions

When you’re in a casual setting or among friends, it is acceptable to use informal expressions. Here are some commonly used phrases:

1. Je peux avoir…? (Can I have…?)

This expression is commonly used in informal situations to request an order. It’s widely understood among friends or when addressing someone casually. Example:

Friend: Tu veux manger quelque chose ? (Do you want something to eat?)

You: Oui, je peux avoir une part de pizza ? (Yes, can I have a slice of pizza?)

2. Je vais prendre… (I’ll take…)

Similar to the previous expression, this informal phrase is used when ordering among friends or in casual situations. It has a friendly and relaxed tone. Example:

Friend: Qu’est-ce que tu veux boire ? (What do you want to drink?)

You: Je vais prendre une bière, s’il te plaît. (I’ll take a beer, please.)

Tips for Ordering in French

Now that you know some phrases, here are some additional tips to enhance your ordering experience:

1. Be polite and use “s’il vous plaît” (please)

In French culture, politeness is highly valued. Remember to always use “s’il vous plaît” when making a request. Politeness goes a long way!

2. Practice pronunciation

Take some time to practice the pronunciation of the French phrases. Pay attention to nasal sounds, liaisons, and stress patterns. This will help you sound more fluent.

3. Study the menu beforehand

If you’re nervous about ordering in French, take a look at the menu before you go. Familiarize yourself with some dish names, ingredients, and drink options. It will make the process smoother.

4. Use gestures and point if needed

If you’re struggling with the language or want to make your order clearer, you can use gestures or even point at the item on the menu. However, combining them with a polite French phrase is best.

5. Embrace regional variations

French is spoken in multiple countries, each with its own regional variations and specific vocabulary. Embrace and learn from these differences, but remember that the phrases provided in this guide are widely understood across French-speaking regions.


Voilà! You’re now equipped with formal and informal expressions to say “I would like to order” in French. Remember to use “Je voudrais commander…” or “Je peux avoir…?” in formal and informal contexts, respectively. Don’t forget to be polite, practice your pronunciation, and study the menu beforehand. By following these tips, you’ll navigate French restaurants with ease, impress the locals, and enjoy delicious cuisine. Bon appétit!

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