In French "Bon appetit", in German "Guten Appetit" or "Mahlzeit", I also know it exists in Arabic and Japanese. As expatriate speaking English daily, I often get confused when I want to say that to my roommates and I end up saying "Enjoy your meal" or "Have a nice meal" which sounds weird to me. Is there anything else one can say?

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    In US restaurants, "Enjoy your meal" is a common exhortation from servers. "Bon appétit", while rarer, is also sometimes heard (though perhaps more so in Britain, whose population is generally better acquainted with French than is the population of the USA). In a family or other informal setting, many Britons will enjoin each other to "Tuck in!" or "Dig in!"
    – Erik Kowal
    Jul 18, 2014 at 6:05
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    Related: “Enjoy!” Enjoy what?
    – ermanen
    Feb 15, 2015 at 20:39
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    "Belly up to the trough and pig out!"
    – Hot Licks
    Aug 3, 2015 at 20:49
  • Japanese was mentioned. The word they have, and I am not sure if I have the romaji correct is itadakimas. But the interesting thing about that, and where it differs from bon appetite, (and typically Japanese) it is said by the guest rather than the host. And it is almost an apology for starting - "do please forgive me but I am about to start - and I understand that it is your food I'm eating".
    – WS2
    Aug 4, 2015 at 6:51
  • In British English, saying anything is unusual. That said, a lot will depend on circumstances. The website "Etiquette Scholar" suggests "At a small table of only two to four people, wait until everyone else has been served before starting to eat. At a formal or business meal, you should either wait until everyone is served to start or begin when the host asks you to." The host will usually glance at the guests and say something like "Please..." and start eating. There is no need to say any more.
    – Greybeard
    Jul 3, 2020 at 19:33

2 Answers 2


Speaking as an Iowan now living in California, I would simply say, "Enjoy."


The intransitive use of 'enjoy' is now fairly extensively used by restaurant staff in Britain too.

I agree with the OP that English greatly lacks a suitable term for enjoining your dining partners in the way that 'bon appetit' does in French.

But English, across the centuries, has overcome natural deficiencies, by simply borrowing a foreign expression. Are there really many people in America who wouldn't understand what 'bon appetit' meant? I alternate it with 'Guten appetit'. But doesn't Spanish have an equivalent which Americans might use?

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    Buen provecho.
    – tchrist
    Aug 3, 2015 at 23:49

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