Video: The Art Of Baguette Baking At Lafayette In New York City

If only your 10th grade French teacher had taught you what you really need to know — impressing that special someone at the restaurant where you’re maxing out your credit card. Don’t let that stop you though, because what they say is true: France is a haven for food and wine enthusiasts of all levels, and French cuisine is a palate-expanding experience everyone should have.

Try out some of my extensive choice vocabulary for avoiding snails, raw beef and frogs’ legs (although why would you want to?) or honing the basics for customizing your steak-frites and procuring the right water. Yes, you read that correctly. Bon appétit!

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  • Avec des glaçons: On the rocks
  • La bière: Beer
  • Une bouteille: A bottle
  • Le café: Coffee (typically Espresso)
  • Une crafe: A glass bottle (usually of wine)
  • La carte de vins: The wine list
  • Le cidre: Cider
  • Le jus: Juice
  • Le Kir: White wine with cassis or blackberry syrup
  • Un pichet: A small pitcher (usually of wine)

Things that are potentially disgusting (but are usually delicious)

Know your meat

  • À point: Medium rare
  • Bien cuit: Well done
  • Bleu, saignant: Rare (“blue” or “bleeding”)
  • Le bifteck: Steak
  • À la broche: Cooked on a skewer
  • Carbonnisée: Burned to a crisp
  • La charcuterie: An assortment of cured and dried meats
  • Le porc: Pork
  • Une saucisse/Saucisson: Sausage
  • Une tranche: A slice
  • Le veau: Veal
  • La viande: Meat

All about chicken:

Great dishes

Menu Mainstays

How’s it cooked?

Good to know

  • L’addition: The check (must be requested)
  • Allérgique à: Allergic to
  • And for the Mrs./Miss: Et pour la madame/mademoiselle…
  • L’assiette: Plate
  • La carte/le ménu: The menu
  • Les champignons: Mushrooms
  • Compris/Inclus: Included
  • Le cornichon: The tiniest pickle you’ve ever seen, accompanies charcuterie
  • La cuisine: The kitchen
  • La dégustation: Tasting menu
  • Le déjeuner: Lunch
  • Délicieux: Delicious
  • Le dîner: Dinner
  • Du jour: Of the day
  • Le fromage: Cheese
  • Garçon: What NOT to call the waiter, no matter how many times you’ve seen it in movies. Instead, signal the waiter with “Monsieur/Madame/Mademoiselle, s’il vous plait.”
  • Je voudrais: I would like…
  • Le petit déjeuner: Breakfast
  • Le poisson: Fish
  • Les pommes de terre: Potatoes
  • Le pourboire: Tip (basic gratuity is almost always included in French restaurants, listed as servis compris)
  • Le serveur/la serveuse: Waiter/waitress
  • Végétarien: Vegetarian
  • Végétalien: Vegan

Any other French words or phrases you need to know? Post in the comments and our Frenchie experts will get back to ya.


Now that you’ve mastered French, move on to the 100 Italian Food and Drink Phrases You Need To Know.