Today we’re going to be looking at a slightly longer phrase than usual, and one that you absolutely need to know when booking a table at a restaurant in Italy.
The way to say “I’d like to make a reservation” in Italian is “Vorrei fare una prenotazione“. Yes, it’s a bit of a mouthful, but I promise that it won’t look nearly as intimidating once we break it down into its component parts!
Vorrei is, quite simply, the first person conditional of the verb volere (to want), so it literally translates as “I would want”. However, the more accurate translation for vorrei is “I would like / I’d like” and it is used to make polite requests. Here are a couple of other example sentences:
- Vorrei un bicchiere d’acqua. = I’d like a glass of water.
- Vorrei andare alla festa. = I’d like to go to the party.
Fare is a verb that generally translates as “to do” or “to make” (in the case of this phrase, it means the latter). It appears in its infinitive form because it directly follows vorrei.
Finally, we have the noun prenotazione (reservation). Because it is feminine, it takes the indefinite article una (a/an). As tempting as it might be to Italianise the English term reservation, the word riservazione is limited to tourism and hospitality jargon, and is rarely used by the general population.
Another way of wording this phrase is Vorrei prenotare… (I’d like to book…) but it is always accompanied by additional information, such as the time of the booking or the kind of table.
Vorrei prenotare per stasera alle otto.
I’d like to book for tonight at 8 o’clock.
Vorrei prenotare (un tavolo) per due (persone).*
I’d like to book a table for two.
*Note: you can omit the words tavolo and persone in the last sentence above: you will still be perfectly understood in a restaurant.
The construction with vorrei and prenotare is very often used for all kinds of reservations, not just restaurants.
- Vorrei prenotare una stanza d’albergo. = I would like to book a hotel room.
- Vorrei prenotare un volo andata e ritorno per New York. = I would like to book a return flight to New York.
- Vorrei prenotare due posti per il concerto di domani. = I would like to book two seats for tomorrow’s concert.