Spanish Level 2, Activity 08: El restaurante / The Restaurant (Face-to-Face)

Please Note: The activities on the Pathways Project OER Repository were created by upper-division students at Boise State University and serve as a foundation that our community of practice can build upon and refine. While they are polished, we welcome and encourage collaboration from language instructors to help modify grammar, syntax, and content where needed. Kindly contact with any suggestions and we will update the content in a timely manner.  — The Pathways Project

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About the Boise State World Languages Resource Center (WLRC) Language Activity Repository

The activities provided by the Boise State World Languages Resource Center (WLRC) serve as foundational activities which can be adapted by any language and scaled up or down on the proficiency scale. 

This activity was created by upper-division language students working in the World Languages Resource Center at Boise State University. Our activities seek to help students solidify their interpersonal speaking and interpretive listening skills through task-based situations or communicative activities. We recommend using these activities to help reinforce the content students are learning, allowing the students time to feel comfortable using the unit’s vocabulary and grammar structures through application. Further, these activities should be facilitated in approximately 90% (or more) in the target language, per the recommendation of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages.

Using the WLRC Repository’s Activities:

When you are ready to begin remixing the activity, in order to adapt it for your target language and audience, simply click the “Remix This Resource” button at the top of your screen. The text provided in purple is a suggestion of what you might say to your students and should be changed to the target language. 

Most activities contain a connected chapter, two to three “NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do” statements, a warm-up, main activity, and a wrap-up. In addition to the instructions, some activities may include a “cheat sheet” containing the target vocabulary and grammar structures emphasized in the activity. Though most of the lab materials are provided, a computer, projector, printer, and laminator may also be needed to fully utilize materials. 

Many of the activities include printable cards and other instructional materials. If you would like to adapt these materials for your language, please email WLRCLAR@gmail.comand we will provide you with an editable copy. For YouTube videos and other websites, hyperlinks are provided. 


- Boise State World Languages Resource Center 

El Restaurante / The Restaurant (Novice High)

Proficiency Level: Novice High

In this activity the lab assistant will work as the server and the students will be guests at a restaurant. The students will practice ordering food, discussing what is wrong with the food, and paying for their meal. 


Food, Restaurant ordering, handling money, paying, real world context

Relevant National (ACTFL) Spanish Standards:

  • “Standard 1.1 Students engage in conversations, provide and obtain information, express feelings and emotions, and exchange opinions.”
  • “Standard 1.2 Students understand and interpret spoken and written Spanish on a variety of topics.”
  • “Standard 1.3 Students present information, concepts, and ideas in Spanish to an audience of listeners or readers on a variety of topics.”
  • “Standard 4.2 Students demonstrate understanding of the concept of culture through comparisons between Hispanic cultures and their own.”

Relevant Idaho State World Language Standards:

  • COMM 1.1 - Interact and negotiate meaning (spoken, signed, written conversation) to share information, reactions, feelings, and opinions
  • COMM 2.1 - Understand, interpret, and analyze what is heard, read, or viewed on a variety of topics.
  • COMM 3.1 - Present information, concepts, and ideas to inform, explain, persuade, and narrate on a variety of topics using appropriate media in the target language.

Relevant NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do Statements:

  • I can understand the differences in services and dishes between restaurants in the United States and Spain
  • I can order food at a restaurant, including items such as drinks, entrees, and desserts (novice high)
  • I can ask for the bill/check after I have finished eating (novice mid) 

Materials Needed:

  • Google slideshow (linked) 
  • Menú del día (there are two papers that need to be presented to students, the menu and a paper with images of food. Make sure to have both during lab to show the students)

Download: Restaurant Menu

  • Collage with a picture of Spanish food items (these are to help students see what the food looks like) 

Download: Popular Spanish foods with pictures

  • Paper plates
  • Whiteboard to take order (for lab instructor) 
  • Food cards to give as dishes 

Download: Food Cards

Would you like to make changes to the materials? Access the template(s) below:

- Popular Spanish Foods with pictures (Canva Template, free account required)

- Food Cards (Canva Template, free account required) 

Relevant NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do Statements:

  • I can share restaurants and foods that might be familiar to them with peers from Spain restaurants 
  • I can order food at a restaurant, including items such as drinks, entrees, and desserts
  • I can ask for the bill/check after I have finished eating


1. For the warm-up there will be approximately 8 slides that will review key vocabulary and phrases for going to a restaurant. You will ask the students a question or set up a specific scenario on the slides, but DO NOT give them the answers. For each question or scenario, they will have to come up with useful phrases as responses to the given situation. Follow the speaker notes!

1. ¿Cuántas personas hay?
2. ¿Qué quieres para la bebida? 
 ¿Qué quieres para el aperitivo?
 ¿Hay alguien que tiene alergias? ¿Hay alguien que es vegetariano?  
¿Qué quieres para el plato principal?
¿Qué quieres para de postre? 
7. ¿Podemos tener la cuenta? 
8. ¿Me puede dar recomendación? 

En el mundo hispanohablante, los meseros no están revisando los clientes. Ellos no dependen de las propinas (tips) como en los Estados Unidos, tienen un sueldo (salary) más alto. Entonces los clientes deben pedir la cuenta porque le mesero/a no se los va a dar hasta que el cliente pregunte.

In Spanish speaking countries, servers are not constantly checking on their tables like in the United States. Explain this in Spanish to your students so they understand why it is important for them to know how to ask for the check.

If students need some assistance getting the discussion going, use the questions below: 

“¿Cómo van a responder? ¿Cuál es la respuesta correcta?” 

Main Activity

1. Today you all will have the opportunity to eat lunch at the WLRC restaurant. In one minute I leave and then return. When I come back I will not be your lab assistant but I will be your waiter/server. Before I come back, and to practice your words, please make plans to go to the WLRC restaurant as a group of friends. You all are going to do the whole process that we finished describing including ordering food and asking for the bill. The menu that I am going to give you is based on an authentic menu from Spain. In Spain many times lunch is the largest plate of the day. Many restaurants offer a special menu where you can choose two or three plates, a drink, and many times a dessert.

"¡Hoy tienen la oportunidad de comer en el restaurante WLRC! Yo voy a ser su camarero/a (o mesero/a). Van a practicar el proceso de ordenar comida en el restaurante, que incluye pedir la cuenta. Les voy a dar un menu auténtico con comida de España. Cada vez que van a pedir un plato diferente, voy a "fingir" (to pretend) que voy a otro lado del restaurante y ustedes van a hablar de que quieren comer."                 

2.  The process:

a. You will give the opportunity to the students to talk with each other and make plans to go to the WLRC restaurant. Motivate them to use the words and phrases (kitchen, food, and restaurant) that they already know. After their chat they walk to the table.

b. You are going to give the welcome to the students and then ask the following:
         1. “Qué quiere/desea para tomar” 
        2. “Tenemos cafe, jugo, cerveza, vino....” 

c. You are going to ask what appetizer and entree they want.
       1. “Qué le gustaría como un aperitivo / para compartir” 

d. What would you like for dinner?
     1. “Qué le gustaría (quisiera usted) para cenar?” 

e. What do you want for dessert?
     1. “Qué quiere usted de postre” 

f. You are going to bring the food to the students. However you are going to choose incorrect food for one of the plates.

g. After you bring the food wait for a few seconds and then ask the following:
    1. “Cómo estaba la comida?"
    2. "Le gustó el/la _____?"

h. If you gave an incorrect plate to a student you should make it so they try to ask you a question or say a complaint.

i. Now walk away and look busy. The students have to ask for the bill but you shouldn't help them. If too much time passes you can walk to the table and teach the students how to ask for the check and how to sign for the check. (Air draw your signature)

j. Ask every student how they want to pay. Also you can ask if they have a coupon or a gift card.
 1. ¿Cómo quieren pagar? 
 2. ¿Tienen un cupón o una tarjeta de regalo? 


Wrap-up questions (Pick the a few you’d like to ask):

Preguntas para terminar si el tiempo permita: 
  1. ¿Qué frases o palabras nuevas aprendiste con esta actividad?

  2. ¿Pueden compartir algunas diferencias entre la experiencia en el restaurante de Red Robin y el restaurante de España?

End of lab:

• Read Can-Do statements once more and have students evaluate their confidence. 
(Use thumbs up/thumbs down or download our student cards.) 
• Encourage students to be honest in their self-evaluation.
• Pay attention, and try to use feedback for future labs!

Relevant NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do Statements:

  • I can understand the differences in services and dishes between restaurants in the United States and Spain 
  • I can order food at a restaurant, including items such as drinks, entrees, and desserts
  • I can ask for the bill/check after I have finished eating

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