Going out to eat in a Spanish speaking country? You’ll want to know how to ask for and pay the bill. Here’s a quick answer: to ask for the check, say ‘La cuenta, por favor’ and to say you want to pay, say ‘Quiero pagar’.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll go over several different Spanish phrases you can use to pay the check at a restaurant, cafe, or bar in any Spanish-speaking country. You’ll learn the most common ways native speakers request the bill and say they want to pay it.
We’ll also break down the grammar so you understand exactly what you’re saying.
Asking for the Check in Spanish
When dining out in a Spanish-speaking country, it’s important to know how to ask for the check. Here are some common phrases you can use:
La cuenta, por favor
One of the most straightforward ways to ask for the check in Spanish is by saying “La cuenta, por favor.” This phrase translates to “The bill, please.” It is a polite and direct way to request the check from your server.
¿Me puede traer la cuenta?
Another way to ask for the check is by saying “¿Me puede traer la cuenta?” This translates to “Can you bring me the bill?” It is a slightly more formal way to make the request, but still polite.
¿La cuenta cuando pueda, por favor?
If you prefer to ask for the check at a specific time, you can say “¿La cuenta cuando pueda, por favor?” which means “The bill whenever you can, please.” This gives your server the flexibility to bring the check when they have a moment.
Other Ways to Ask for the Check
There are other variations and regional differences in how to ask for the check in Spanish. For example, in some countries, you may hear “El cuenta, por favor” or “La nota, por favor” which also mean “The bill, please.”
It’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the local customs and phrases in the specific Spanish-speaking country you are visiting.
Paying the Check in Spanish
When dining in a Spanish-speaking country, it’s important to know how to ask for the bill and pay for your meal. Here are some useful phrases to help you navigate paying the check in Spanish.
If you want to ask for the bill, simply say, “Quiero pagar.” This phrase translates to “I want to pay.” It’s a straightforward and polite way to let the waiter or waitress know that you are ready to settle the bill.
Voy a pagar en efectivo/con tarjeta
When it comes to actually paying, you have the option to pay in cash or with a credit card. If you want to pay in cash, say, “Voy a pagar en efectivo.” If you prefer to pay with a credit card, say, “Voy a pagar con tarjeta.” These phrases will let the server know your preferred method of payment.
¿Aceptan tarjetas de crédito?
Before you decide how to pay, it’s always a good idea to ask if the establishment accepts credit cards. In Spanish, you can ask, “¿Aceptan tarjetas de crédito?” which means, “Do you accept credit cards?” This will help you avoid any surprises when it’s time to pay.
Other Payment Phrases
Here are a few additional phrases that may come in handy when paying the check:
- ¿Cuánto es? – “How much is it?”
- La cuenta, por favor. – “The bill, please.”
- ¿Incluye propina? – “Does it include tip?”
- Gracias. – “Thank you.”
Remember, it’s always polite to say “gracias” and thank the server when paying the bill. It shows appreciation for their service and leaves a positive impression.
Tipping Etiquette in Spanish Speaking Countries
Tipping at Restaurants
In Spanish speaking countries, tipping at restaurants is a common practice. However, the tipping customs can vary depending on the country. In some countries, such as Mexico and Argentina, a service charge is usually included in the bill.
If this is the case, it is not necessary to leave an additional tip. However, if the service charge is not included, it is customary to leave a tip of around 10-15% of the total bill. It’s important to note that tipping is seen as a gesture of gratitude for good service, so if the service was not satisfactory, it’s okay to leave a smaller tip or no tip at all.
Tipping Hotel Staff
When it comes to tipping hotel staff in Spanish speaking countries, it’s customary to tip the hotel maids, bellboys, and concierge for their services. A tip of about $1-2 per day for the maid is considered appropriate, while a tip of $1-2 per bag is customary for the bellboys.
The concierge, who assists with various requests and recommendations, can be tipped with $5-10 for exceptional service. It’s important to remember that tipping is not mandatory, but it is appreciated and can go a long way in showing appreciation for the staff’s hard work.
Tipping Taxi Drivers
Tipping taxi drivers in Spanish speaking countries is not as common as in some other cultures. However, it is still appreciated, especially for exceptional service or help with luggage. A general rule of thumb is to round up the fare to the nearest whole amount or add a small tip of around 5-10%.
For example, if the fare is $8.50, you can round it up to $9 or give an extra $1 as a tip. It’s always a good idea to have some small change on hand to make tipping easier.
Tipping Tour Guides
When taking a guided tour in a Spanish speaking country, it is customary to tip the tour guide at the end of the tour. The amount can vary depending on the length and quality of the tour, but a tip of around $5-10 per person is generally considered appropriate.
If the tour guide went above and beyond to provide an exceptional experience, you can consider giving a larger tip. Tipping is a way to show appreciation for the knowledge and effort the tour guide put into making the tour enjoyable.
Asking for the Check and Paying in Different Spanish Dialects
In Spain, when you want to ask for the check, you can say “La cuenta, por favor.” This phrase is commonly used in most regions of Spain, including Madrid, Barcelona, and Seville. After asking for the check, it is customary to wait for the waiter to bring it to you.
When it’s time to pay, you can say “¿Puedo pagar con tarjeta?” (Can I pay with a card?) or “¿Aceptan tarjetas de crédito?” (Do you accept credit cards?). In Spain, it is also common to leave a small tip, around 5-10% of the total bill, although it is not obligatory.
In Mexican Spanish, to ask for the check, you can say “La cuenta, por favor” or simply “La cuenta, gracias.” In some informal settings, Mexicans might use the colloquial phrase “¿Me traes la cuenta, porfa?” (Can you bring me the check, please?).
When it comes to paying, you can ask “¿Aceptan tarjetas de crédito?” (Do you accept credit cards?) or “¿Puedo pagar con tarjeta?” (Can I pay with a card?). It is customary to leave a tip in Mexico as well, usually around 10-15% of the total bill.
In Argentine Spanish, asking for the check is done by saying “La cuenta, por favor.” When you are ready to pay, you can ask “¿Se puede pagar con tarjeta?” (Can I pay with a card?) or “¿Aceptan tarjetas de crédito?” (Do you accept credit cards?).
In Argentina, tipping is customary, and it is usually around 10% of the total bill. Some establishments might include a “service charge” or “cubierto” in the bill, which is a fixed fee for the service provided.
In Cuban Spanish, to ask for the check, you can say “La cuenta, por favor” or “Me trae la cuenta, por favor.” When paying, you can ask “¿Aceptan tarjetas de crédito?” (Do you accept credit cards?) or “¿Se puede pagar con tarjeta?” (Can I pay with a card?).
In Cuba, tipping is not as common as in other countries, but leaving a small tip is still appreciated. It is customary to leave around 5% of the total bill if you are satisfied with the service.
Remember, language and customs may vary within each country and even between different regions. It’s always a good idea to be polite and respectful when asking for the check and paying in a different Spanish-speaking country.
Whether you’re dining out in Madrid, Buenos Aires, or Cancun, knowing how to properly ask for and pay the bill in Spanish is an important skill. With the phrases covered in this guide, you’ll be able to handle the check seamlessly on your next trip to a Spanish-speaking destination.
Just listen for the local dialect and use the appropriate regional phrases. ¡Buen provecho!
To recap, focus on learning ‘La cuenta, por favor’ and ‘Quiero pagar’ for starters. But also try to pick up the useful variations provided above based on the country you’re visiting. Being able to comfortably pay the check is one less headache to deal with in a foreign language!