How to Request & Reserve a Table in Italian (Italian Restaurant Phrases – Part 1)

This is a three part series that describes all the most important Italian phrases you can use at a restaurant in Italy. Part 1 deals with expressions for requesting and reserving a table, either in person at the restaurant, or over the phone.

Part 1 – How to Request and Reserve a Table in Italian
Part 2 – How to Order Food in Italian
Part 3 – How to Ask for the Check/Bill in Italian

how to reserve a table in italian

Before you even set foot inside an Italian restaurant, you may wish to play it safe and book a table, especially if the restaurant is very popular, or you plan to go on a Friday or Saturday evening.

Posso fare una prenotazione per due / quattro persone?

Can I book a table for two / four people?

Vorrei prenotare un tavolo per due alle venti / per stasera / per domani.

I’d like to reserve a table for two at 8pm / for tonight / for tomorrow.

Important: Italians tend to use the 24 hour clock, so 7pm is 19h (le diciannove), 8pm is 20h (le venti), 9pm is 21h (le ventuno), and so on.

Per il compleanno di mio marito vorrei prenotare un tavolo per venti persone.

I’d like to book a table for twenty people for my husband’s birthday.

Sometimes you may wish to explicitly state your seating preferences.

Vorremmo sedere dentro / fuori / accanto alla finestra / in un angolo / in terrazza / all’aperto.

We would like to sit inside / outside / beside the window / in a corner / on the terrace / outdoors.


Vorremmo un tavolo dentro / fuori / accanto alla finestra / in un angolo / in terrazza / all’aperto.

We would like a table inside / outside / beside the window / in a corner / on the terrace / outdoors.

Portrait of young Asian woman talking on the phone while sitting on a bench in the park.

Even the best laid plans go awry, which is why it’s good to know how to change or cancel a reservation.

Vorrei cambiare la mia prenotazione.

I’d like to change my reservation.

Vorrei cancellare la mia prenotazione.

I’d like to cancel my reservation.

Not all restaurants and cafes are open seven days a week. Others still may open at dinnertime but not at lunch, and vice versa. For this reason, you may want to ask if and when the restaurant is open.

A che ora aprite / chiudete?

At what time do you open / close?


A che ora apre / chiude il ristorante?

At what time does the restaurant open / close?


Siete aperti stasera?

Are you open this evening?

The following phrases are useful if you’ve already made a reservation, or someone has made it in your name.

Ho una prenotazione per due persone. Il mio cognome è Rossi.

I have a reservation for two people. My surname is Rossi.


Ho prenotato a nome Rossi.

I’ve made a reservation under the name Rossi.

We all like to make spontaneous decisions every now and then – and eating out is no exception! If you haven’t made a reservation, then here are a few questions you might like to ask upon your arrival at the restaurant.

Siamo ancora in tempo per pranzo / cena?

Are we in time for lunch / dinner?


Salve, non abbiamo prenotato. C’è un tavolo libero?

Hello, we haven’t booked. Is there a free table?


Possiamo avere un tavolo?

Can we have a table?


Quanto dobbiamo aspettare?

How long is the wait?

It’s also important to be able to tell the waiter how many people you are expecting to join your party.

Siamo in due / quattro.

There’s two / four of us.


Sto / Stiamo aspettando qualcuno.

I’m / we’re waiting for someone.


Sono solo io.

I’m alone.

And what if you are unhappy with your table, or something isn’t quite right about the seating arrangement? Then you can use these phrases to make things right!

Manca un posto.

We need another place setting.


Posso unire questi due tavoli?

Can we push these two tables together?


Possiamo cambiare tavolo? È troppo vicino alla porta / al bagno / alla finestra.

Can we change tables? It’s too close to the door / the bathroom / the window.

Phrases the Waiter Might Say to You

Here are a few phrases the waiter will probably say to you on the phone or upon your arrival at the restaurant. Don’t worry too much about memorising them, but do try to become familiar with how they sound.

Dove volete sedere?

Where would you like to sit?


Per quante persone? / In quanti siete?

For how many people? / How many of you are there?


Ha prenotato?

Have you booked?


Mi dispiace, siamo al completo.

I’m sorry, we’re full.


È un’occasione speciale?

Is it a special occasion?


Dove preferite il tavolo?

Which table would you like?

Hopefully you’ve learned a few useful Italian phrases that will help you request and reserve a table in a restaurant in Italy. The next, and easily the most important step, is learning how to order food in Italian!

Go to Part 2 – How to Order Food in Italian


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