Tuesday, June 2, 2009

¿Puedo retirar el plato?

This weekend I learned something that I had been wondering about for a long time - how to ask the waiter to pick up plates from the table.

Now, I learned a while back how the waiter will ask you if they can take away plates....

¿Puedo retirar? or ¿Puedo retirar el plato?

But it remained a mystery to me how to make that request of the waiter. Until this weekend, that is.

My amigo Mexicano asked the waiter to take his plate. Finally, opportunity was knocking, so I asked him what it was he said to the waiter.

It was "¿Me retiras el plato? "

I was thinking "Cool, problem solved". And for a brief second, it was.

Well, actually, that did answer the question, it's just that like so many things in Spanish, there's more than one way to say it:

¿Te puedes llevar este plato?

¿Te regalo este plato?

That wasn't so bad, but it's not exactly pan comido.

Since we were on the subject, we started talking about how to ask for a plate.

¿Me traes un plato?

¿Me puedes conseguir un plato?

And if you're in Mexico, or maybe speaking with someone born and raised in Mexico, you can say:

¿Me regalas un plato?

That expression is "muy mexicano", and if you use it with someone not familiar with it, they'll think you're asking if you can have the plate as a gift! So that's why I mentioned the disclaimer above.

You can also use encargar to ask for something.

¿Te encargo unos cubiertos? or ¿Me traes unos cubiertos?

Well, there you have it. Hopefully you'll find these sentences useful as you dine in your favorite Spanish restaurants.


  1. Cool stuff again Rodney!

    One of the expressions has me confused, though.
    "¿Te puedes llevar este plato?"

    Not sure why the "te" is in there.

  2. To answer Rob, It's the same as "¿Puedes llevarte este plato?".

    Gracias Rodney - Acabo de encontrar su blog y melo apreciado mucho!