Is it Rude to Speak Spanish at a Mexican Restaurant?

Mexican restaurants are widespread in Western nations, offering a unique and highly sought-after authentic cuisine from south of the border.

But, what languages are proper to use while dining in a Mexican restaurant, bar and grill, or coffee shop? 

Is it rude to speak Spanish at Mexican restaurants? Or should you stick to the main language of the country you are in? 

Find out the full answer via the in-depth explanation below!

Is it Rude to Speak Spanish at a Mexican Restaurant?

So long as the staff is made up of authentic Mexicans, there is nothing rude whatsoever about speaking Spanish at a Mexican restaurant. 

In fact, in foreign locations (away from Mexico), the Mexican restaurant staff will be thrilled and appreciative of your addressing them in their native tongue. 

However, if you are eating at an Americanized “Mexican” restaurant (like a knock-off Tacobell), speaking in Spanish may merely confuse and frustrate the English-speaking staff.

How Rude Is it?


Out of 1 to 10, speaking Spanish at a Mexican restaurant rates 1 on the rude meter’s scale

The fact of the matter is, most Mexicans are far more skilled at taking orders and speaking in their own language (Spanish) than they are in English (regardless of how proficient their second language skills may be).

But, keep in mind, not all “Mexican” restaurants are actually owned or operated by Mexicans or Spanish-speaking people.

The bottom line? Take a minute to look around and soak up the environment of the restaurant (and the language the staff is using) before you decide whether to speak/order in Spanish or English.

Why is it Not Rude?

It is rarely ever (if indeed, it is ever) rude to speak to someone in their native language.

In this case, that means it isn’t any ruder to speak Spanish with authentic Mexicans than it is to walk into a Mcdonalds’ or Wendy’s and speak in English.

Other Options to Do Instead

Speaking to people in their own native tongue isn’t rude by any means. 

However, it is rude if you assume someone is a certain nationality or speaks a specific language, based on how they look. 

With that in mind, the trick is to avoid guessing what people’s main language is. 

If you are at a Mexican restaurant, listen to the language the servers are speaking to each other, as well as for accents when they speak English.

Only once you are sure the staff will understand you should you then speak up in Spanish.

Common Questions

Do Mexicans speak Spanish?

The national language of Mexico is indeed Spanish. That means the vast majority of Mexicans speak the Spanish language.

However, many Mexican-Americans do not learn proper Spanish, if at all. Hence, never assume that because someone is Mexican that they automatically understand or speak Spanish.

How do you order food in Spanish?

The polite and proper terms for ordering food using the Spanish language are “Me gustaría” and/or “nos gustaría”.

These terms equate to “I want” or “we want” in English. The terms should be followed up with whatever drinks or food you wish to order.