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jamzzy's avatar

Whats the best way to learn an Italian Restaurants Menu?

Asked by jamzzy (885points) November 6th, 2010

I just got hired as a take out guy for this Italian Restaurant and yesterday was my first day, everything was pretty straight forward. Pick up the phone, take the order, get the soup or salad, pack it. The only thing I have trouble with is the pronunciation of some of the stuff, for instance, one of the soups we have is Pasta e Fagioli… do I say that. That and among other difficult stuff to say, also this is my first time actually taking down orders, so is there methods people use to familiarize themselves with a menu?

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8 Answers

janbb's avatar

I would buy an Italian-English dictionary or tourist’s language guide that lists menu items and their pronouciation. Similarly, check for sites on the web that offer auditory guidance like and focus on menu items.

gailcalled's avatar

PastafaJOlee. Say it rapidly.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

The absolute best way is to walk back into the kitchen (at a non-busy time of day) and ask the cooks to pronounce the names for you… and allow you to sample the stuff by the spoonful.

That way you will not only know how to pronounce ‘pasta fazhOOL’, for example, but you will have some idea of what’s in it and may be able to recommend it because you know it’s SOOOO good.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

I’d invest in a recorder and ask someone to read the menu. That way, you can play it back with the menu in hand until you master it. It’s also going to help as person taking orders if you can sample the items and learn what the basic ingredients are. Learn something from each order placed. If a customer asks, “Are there onions in that?”, expect it to be asked again, and be prepared to answer.

MissAnthrope's avatar

Menu memorization takes a bit of time and practice. If you really want to memorize or familiarize yourself, make some flash cards or have a friend help you memorize the menu like you would an acting script. It’ll get better and easier as time goes on, with repetition and practice.

Google Translate now has a feature where you can click to hear the pronunciation. You could type in the words you’re unsure of, set it to Italian > Italian, and then click the sound icon to hear. I’d also be willing to help you, if you need any additional help beyond the translator.

The kitchen guys may not know the correct pronunciation, either. I had one cook argue with me for an entire shift about the pronunciation of ciabatta – he insisted his (incorrect) way was correct, even throwing out the ‘Well, I’m Italian’ card. Pasta e fagioli – whatever you do, please do not call it ‘pasta fahzjool’. That is a bastardized pronunciation of the correct Italian (what @gailcalled said) that will make you sound like a Sopranos wannabe. and I don’t care how it sounds in the damn song, it’s still incorrect.

mrrich724's avatar

You don’t need a dictionary for this. I had a similar situation as a cook in an Italian restaurant. With time, you will get it. And don’t get too attached to one pronunciation of saying something, b/c trust me, guests at the place will always come up with another creative way to say something.

Just ask your manager how he says it, odds are, he (or she) can pronounce it properly (unless you work in Idaho, then give it up to God) LOL, just kidding man.

jamzzy's avatar

@mrrich724 i live in jersey haha

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