Menu Items You're Mispronouncing (And How to Say Them)

Some menu items are harder to pronounce than others

It's pronounced "chip-OAT-lay," not "chip-OLE-tay"!

There’s no better way to make a fool of oneself in a restaurant than by horribly butchering the pronunciation of a menu item. Whether you’re on a date or just attempting to sound like you know what you’re talking about, it’s always good to know how to properly pronounce the item you’re attempting to order. In the interest of public service, we’ve rounded up 15 of the most commonly mispronounced menu items, along with the proper way to say them.

Menu Items You're Mispronouncing (And How to Say Them) (Slideshow)

The foods we eat has roots all around the globe, and therefore so do their names. Just like any foreign word can be difficult to pronounce if you’re not familiar with the language, navigating restaurant menu of foreign cuisine can be a linguistic minefield.

Some menu items are legitimately hard to pronounce, especially the French ones or legitimate head-scratchers like Worcestershire. But other words fall into the “nuclear” camp: it’s not that difficult to pronounce it properly, but for some reason — force of habit? — people choose to pronounce it “nooc-yoo-lar” instead of the correct “noo-clee-ar.” Hint: your favorite fast-casual burrito joint is pronounced “chip-oat-lay,” not “chip-ole-tee.”

Also keep in mind that you’re not on your own; if you find yourself desperate to order that bouillabaisse but don’t want to sound like a fool, there’s no harm in asking your server how it’s pronounced. Trust me, it’s far less embarrassing to ask how something is pronounced than to throw caution to the wind and chance it yourself, only to be sternly corrected by the server (or even worse, your date). So read on to learn how to properly say 15 of the most commonly mispronounced menu items.


This traditional French fish stew is about as difficult to pronounce as it is to spell, but once you get the hang of it it’s pretty easy. It’s pronounced “BOO-yah-base.” Boo yah!


While we tend to think of bruschetta as toast with diced tomatoes on it, “bruschetta” is actually the name for the toast itself, and it can be topped with pretty much anything. While plenty of people pronounce it “brush-etta,” the proper Italian pronunciation is “bruce-KAY-tuh.” 

Click here for more words you;re probably mispronouncing.

Rate this Story