1. Arriving at a restaurant

There are generally no hosts or hostesses in Spain, which is why there is no word to differentiate them from waiters or waitresses. No busboys either. “Camarero/a“, depending on gender, is what you call your server. If you have no idea a table is feminine and a fork is masculine in Spanish, read the grammar point on the topic before continuing. Then come back to learn that while the concept of a host or hostess doesn’t generally exist in Spain, it’s still a good idea to wait to be seated.


One of the waiters (camareros) will eventually ask:

Buenos días / Buenas tardes, ¿cuántos son?


Good day / Good evening. How many are you [plural, formal]?

You could reply:

¿Hablas inglés?


But if your greeter had spoken English, he or she probably would have welcomed you with, “Hello. How many are you?” the “-h” closer to the “-ch” in Loch Ness than the one in help.


Somos dos, tres, cuatro…


… is the correct response in Spanish when asked “¿Cuántos son?” Make sure you write that down and repeat it, as “Somos” [pronounced: so-mOs], plus a number, is the first sentence you’ll speak at a restaurant.

Traducción literal: “We are two, three, four…”

Traducción correcta: Party of two, three, four…”


If the place is busy, you can ask…

¿Hay una mesa libre?


Is there a table available?


El camarero will either answer…

“No hay por ahora.”


There isn’t right now

“Sí, hay. Síganme.”


Yes there is. Follow me.


Meet the three “be’s” of Spanish:


ser, estar
& haber

The topic is discussed more in-depth here. Don’t jump ahead yet, however. Here is the first rule.

Ser is used for origin

  • Soy de Estados Unidos, Inglaterra…
  • El marisco es de Galicia.
  • Las leches y los quesos son de Asturias.

Estar is for current location

  • Estoy en España este mes.
  • Estamos en un restaurante.
  • Están de vacaciones.

is the verb “to be” depersonalized.

Míralo aquí

  • hay (there is/are)
  • había; hubo (there was/were)
  • habrá (there will be)
  • habría (there would be)
  • ha habido (there has/have been)
  • había habido (there had been)
  • habría habido (there would have been)


Take the time to write down the first formhay” [pronounced: eye]. It will come in handy in many situations as you will see in the upcoming lessons.



… is also the basis for the quintessential Spanish expression:


Es lo que hay


“It is what it is”.



Sugerencia de Paco. Antes de leer la próxima lección: “How to order a meal“, pasa algunos minutos con el apartado de la gramática que explica más sobre ser, estar y haber. Memoriza sus conjugaciones e intenta comprender sus diferencias. Los tres verbos aparecerán en otras lecciones que te ayudarán a ver cuándo usar uno o el otro.


A suggestion from Paco. Before reading the next lesson…, spend a few moments with the grammar point which further explains: ser, estar & haber. Memorize their conjugations and try to grasp their differences. The three verbs will appear in other lessons which will help you see when to use one or the other.


[WpProQuiz 6]


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