Restaurants 101: Reservations

Welcome to the second installment in our “Restaurant 101” series. I know this may seem like pretty straight-forward information, but there are a few differences and some tips and tricks which can make your dining experience in Geneva easier and better. I thought I’d share everything I’ve learned about dining out in Switzerland to help you out.

Our first post in this series was all about restaurant hours, so be sure to check it out. This second post is all about reservations.

Making a Reservation

In the United States, the vast majority of restaurants don’t require reservations so many Americans aren’t used to making them. However, reservations are very strongly recommended for dinner and even for lunch. When we first arrived, we got turned away from several restaurants because we didn’t have reservations and they were full. If your French isn’t good and you’re staying in a hotel, have the hotel make a dinner reservation for you. If not, here are some phrases to get you by (tip: use google translate to speak the phrases for you):

“Je voudrais faire une reservation” – I would like to make a reservation

“pour deux personnes” – for two people

“a dix neuf heur et demi ce soir” – at 19:30 (7:30 pm) tonight

“le nom est Smith” – the name is Smith

You can also ask if the person speaks English and a fair number will, but there will always be those who don’t! “Parlez-vous anglais?” means “Do you speak English?”

At the Restaurant

At the restaurant, if you have a reservation, you can say “J’ai une reservation, le nom est Smith” to mean “I have a reservation, the name is Smith” or “Nous avons une reservation, le nom est Smith” to mean “We have a reservation, the name is Smith.”

If you don’t have a reservation, you can say “Je n’ai pas une reservation” which means “I don’t have a reservation.” If you’d like to eat (many restaurants are happy to seat you for just drinks), you can say “deux personnes pour manger s’il vous plait” which means “2 people to eat please.”

Want to Know More about Geneva Restaurants? This is a new series so stayed tuned for more restaurant tips! Coming up, we’ll share info about ordering food and drink and paying the bill and tipping.

We are a group of international women living in Geneva, Switzerland.  If you would like to join the AIWC, please visit our website at http://www.aiwcgeneva.org/