10 Ways to Ask For the Bill in Spanish (2023)

If you’re visiting any Spanish-speaking country, you’ll probably be trying some local cuisine at some point (trust me, you won’t regret it!).

After a slap-up meal, the time comes to pay the bill (the best part, right!?) and you’ll want to show off your language skills to blend right in with the locals. With that in mind, this list of 10 ways to ask for the bill is sure to come in handy!

Some of the phrases and expressions may seem similar, just remember that it’s nuance and variation that enrich the language.

Of course, I’ve also thrown in a few colloquial options for you to try out!

Bill / check (restaurant) in Spanish

First things first, let´s clarify exactly how to say ‘the bill’ or ‘the check’ in Spanish!

There are actually 3 different words, each with their individual nuances – ‘la cuenta’ (the most common), ‘la nota’ (a less common synonym of ‘la cuenta’) and ‘la factura’, which is actually an ‘invoice’ … so not a ‘check’ in the traditional sense of the word.

La cuenta – the bill

If you’re ready to pay the bill in a restaurant, you’ll normally ask for ‘la cuenta’ (which literally translates as ‘the bill’). This is the standard word for a ‘check’ in a restaurant and it´s used in all Spanish-speaking countries.

Erika’s note – notice the article ‘la’, which indicates that it’s a feminine noun. We NEVER say ‘el cuenta’ and ‘el cuento’ means ‘the story’.

La nota – the bill / the check

You may also hear people ask for ‘la nota’ (literally ‘the note’ in English). It’s as valid a term as ‘la cuenta’, but it’s somewhat less common, especially in fine-dining establishments in which asking for ‘la cuenta’ is very much standard practice.

This may be due to the fact that ‘una nota’ (‘a note’) means any form of written message, not just the bill. If you’re ever curious, you could check out all 21 meanings listed by the Royal Academy of Spanish (it´s sure to give you an idea of the word’s ambiguity).

La factura – the invoice

This one might be useful if you’re travelling for business and you need to keep a record of your expenses.

‘La factura’ (‘the invoice’ in English) is usually a more detailed document than ‘la cuenta’; it includes legal information of the transaction in question, normally for tax purposes.

In such cases, you’ll have to ask for ‘la cuenta’ and also ‘la factura’ or a ‘ticket / nota para facturar’ (which is best translated as a ‘ticket for invoicing’). Some bills already include this information, so I recommend that you ask for ‘la cuenta’ first, and if you need a more detailed document you can then ask for ‘la factura’.

Right, now that you’ve now got the words for ‘check’ / ‘bill’ in Spanish on mental speed dial, let’s get into how to actually ask for the darn thing!

Asking for the bill / check in Spanish

¿Me trae mi cuenta, por favor? – Could you bring me the bill, please?

Let’s start with a very formal phrase, perfect for a night out at an elegant restaurant*. ‘Me trae mi cuenta, por favor’ literally translates to ‘could you bring me the bill, please?’.

The verb here is in the formal ‘usted’ form, hence ‘me trae’ (3rd person singular) instead of ‘me traes’ (2nd person singular or the ‘’ form).

Although it´s perfectly acceptable to ask this question using the ‘’ form of the verb, ‘usted’ is much more polite and respectful. It’s basically a safer bet in pretty much any Latin America country!

Comensal – ¿Me trae la cuenta, por favor?

Mesero – Claro, en un momento, caballero.

Diner – Could you bring me the bill, please?

Waiter – Of course, right away, Sir.

*Erika’s note – you’re probably also going to want to leave a tip when dining in fancier establishments.

Be sure to give our article on all the different ways to say ‘keep the change’ in Spanish a quick once over, so you know exactly what to say!

La cuenta, por favor – The bill, please

Looking for something a little easier on the tongue?

Step forward ‘la cuenta, por favor’ (‘the bill, please’ in English).

It’s just as polite as ‘me trae mi cuenta, por favor’, but way easier to say!

Since there’s no verb, you don’t have to worry about ‘’ and ‘usted’, and the phrase ‘por favor’ (‘please’) softens it enough for both formal and informal occasions.

Comensal – La cuenta, por favor.

Mesero – En un momento se la traigo.

Diner – The bill, please.

Waiter – I’ll bring it in just a moment.

La cuenta, plis – The bill, please

In a diner or small café in Mexico City?

You may hear someone asking for the check with a word that sounds a lot like ‘please’.

And, well, that´s exactly what it is!

This is a bit of “Spanglish” for you and it´s very common in certain parts of Mexico as people love to throw English words into everyday conversations. The same phrase would sound odd in Spain, where mixing English and Spanish is definitely not the norm.

Turista mexicano – ¡La cuenta, plis!

Camarero español – En un momento, caballero. Nos visita de México, ¿cierto?

Mexican tourist – The bill, please!

Spanish waiter – In just a moment, Sir. You’re from Mexico, right?

¿Te / lo molesto con la cuenta? – May I bother you with the bill?

This one translates to ‘May I bother you with the bill?’.

It can be said using either the more formal ´usted´ or the less formal ‘’ form without *that* much difference in meaning as it’s such a polite phrase straight out of the box!

Comensal – ¿Lo molesto con la cuenta?

Mesero – ¡Con gusto, señorita!

Diner – May I bother you with the bill?

Waiter – With pleasure, Miss!

Comensal – ¿Te molesto con la cuenta?

Mesero – ¡Enseguida te la traigo!

Diner – May I bother you with the bill?

Waiter – I’ll bring it right away!

¿Cuánto te debo? – How much do I owe you?

¿Cuánto te debo?’ means ‘How much do I owe you?’ and it’s an informal (notice the pronoun ‘te’ again!), yet polite way to ask for the bill!

This one’s great when at a taco stand, for example!

En un puesto de tacos en la Ciudad de México

Jorge – Hermano, ¿cuánto te debo?

Taquero – Serían noventa pesitos, carnal.

At a taco stand in Mexico City

Jorge – How much do I owe you, brother?

Man selling tacos – Ninety pesos, bro.

Erika’s note – if you want to make this one more formal just replace the ‘te’ with ‘le’ – ‘¿Cuánto le debo?’.

¿Me cobras, por favor? / ¿Me cobras, porfa? – Can you charge me, please?

‘¿Me cobras, por favor?’ or ‘Can you charge me, please?’ is another gem of a phrase that´s sure to come in handy when you want to ask for the bill.

The second variant of this phrase, ‘¿me cobras, porfa?’, is more colloquial as the word ‘porfa’ is a less formal abbreviation of ‘por favor’ (‘please’).

Estamos listos para la cuenta – We´re ready for the bill

This phrase translates as ‘we’re ready for the bill’.

Of course, if you’re by yourself then you’ll need to use the first person singular of ‘estar’ (‘estoy’) and change the adjective ‘listos’ (‘ready’) to ‘listo’ (for masculine) or ‘lista’ (for feminine) – ‘estoy listo para la cuenta’ / ‘estoy lista para la cuenta’.

Mi nota, por favor – My bill / check, please

As I said before, you can use ‘la nota’ as a synonym for ‘la cuenta’ in some cases, although it’s far less common.

‘Mi nota, por favor’ means ‘my check, please’, and you´ll likely hear it in more casual situations.

En una cafetería

Mi nota, por favor.

Se la traigo.

At a coffee place

My check, please.

I´ll go fetch it for you.

Quiero pagar mi cuenta – I want to pay the bill

I want to pay the bill’ isn’t the most common of the phrases on this list, but you can use it when you’re in a bit of a hurry (or if the waiter’s rubbed you up the wrong way and you want them to know it!); the waiter will know you need to pay right away!

Add the infallible ‘por favor’ at the end and you’ll sound more courteous.

Juan está de malas y el mesero no le hace caso

Juan (casi gritando al mesero) – Quiero pagar mi cuenta.

Mesero – En seguida te la traigo.

Juan is in a bad mood and the waiter isn’t being attentive

Juan (almost shouting at the waiter) – I want to pay my bill.

Waiter – I´ll bring it right away.

La cuenta y un gendarme – The bill and a policeman

This is a fun one! If you’re ever in Mexico City, especially around older generations, you may hear someone ask for ‘the bill and a policeman.

This is an old colloquial expression and is really a joke for the waiter, implying something along the lines of ‘you may wanna bring a policeman since I’m not sure I´ve got enough money to pay!’.

There’s even a Mexican song called ‘La cuenta y un gendarme’!

Just make sure to use this one in less formal situations (preferably with a waiter that you know), since it’s not really a ‘”proper” way to ask for the bill.

Final thoughts

So, there you have it, an extremely thorough list of ways to ask for the bill in Spanish!

Whether you’re in a luxurious restaurant in a five-star hotel or eating some quesadillas at the local market, you’ll now be able to come up with just the right expression, and even joke around with the waiter!

Just remember to actually pay for the bill if you decide to whip out ‘la cuenta y un gendarme’, otherwise your waiter might not be so amused after all …

Finally, to avoid any nasty surprises when that check does finally come, be sure to check out our article on 10 ways to ask how much something costs.

¡Hasta la próxima!


10 Ways to Ask For the Bill in Spanish? ›

In Spain, you can simply say "la cuenta, por favor" (the check, please) when you catch your server's attention. Another common phrase many locals use is "¿Nos cobras cuando puedas?" (literally "Can you charge us when you can?"). Either one is a perfectly fine way to ask your server to bring the bill.

How do you ask for a bill in Spanish restaurant? ›

In Spain, you can simply say "la cuenta, por favor" (the check, please) when you catch your server's attention. Another common phrase many locals use is "¿Nos cobras cuando puedas?" (literally "Can you charge us when you can?"). Either one is a perfectly fine way to ask your server to bring the bill.

What are the different ways to ask for the bill? ›

Catch the waiter's attention and ask “Can we have the bill, please?” or “Check, please.” to see how much you need to pay. The waiter might ask if you want to pay separately or as a group. Check the bill to see if a service charge or tip has been added. This is money that is given to the waiting staff for good service.

How do you ask for a bill please? ›

"Could we get the bill/check, please? "Excuse me, Bill/check please" is casual and perhaps fine in casual situations, but it's still a little curt. You can't go wrong with a full sentence question.

How do you ask for the bill in a Mexican restaurant? ›

La cuenta, por favor.

Once you're done eating, some helpful Mexican food phrases to know is how to pay for your food. A good phrase to know to ask for the check is “La cuenta, por favor” (check please).

How do you say check please in Spanish restaurants? ›

Once in the table, you can ask for the check. In Spanish, “Check, please” is La cuenta, por favor. La cuenta, por favor. Let's break it down by syllable: La cuen-ta, por fa-vor.

What is the most polite way to ask for something in Spanish? ›

To compose your sentence in the most polite way, include the simple phrase, por favor (“please”). Por favor may be placed at the beginning, middle, or end of your sentence. However, many native Spanish speakers end requests with por favor.

How do you say please pay your bill? ›

Dear {first name} and team, Please find a copy of your invoice {Invoice number} due {due date} attached for the amount of {amount due}. Please remit payment at your earliest convenience prior to the due date. If you need additional information on making r payments please let me know.

Do you say can I get the bill or check? ›

Check the bill

In the UK, you ask for the bill; in the USA, it's the check. If you mix them up, you'll still be understood clearly, but it will help with your cultural immersion and your confidence if you remember the correct term and practice getting it right.

Can I have the bill please in Spain? ›

La cuenta, por favor – The bill, please.

Why do you say check please? ›

Meaning. Definition: An informal way to ask for the bill at a restaurant. The phrase “check, please” is an informal way to ask for the bill at a restaurant. The origin of this phrase is unclear, although its first recorded use was in the mid-19th century.

How do you ask for small bills? ›

Excuse me - could you change this twenty for fives, or a ten and a couple of fives?” Don't ask people in the street, they'll think it's a con.

How do you say the name Bill in Spanish? ›

Translate the name “Bill” to Spanish and you get “Guillermo.”

How do you say cash in Mexico? ›

If you want to say the word for “money” in Spanish, you would generally say “dinero” or “el dinero.” However, a fairly common slang term for money is “plata.” And you can easily find a few dozen other terms across the Spanish-speaking world.

How do you pay bills in Mexico? ›

5 Ways to Pay Bills in Mexico from the US
  1. Paying CFE Electricity Bills Online. ...
  2. Paying Off TelMex Services by Phone, via Mobile App, or Website. ...
  3. Payment at Local Oxxo Convenience Stores. ...
  4. Non-banking Remittance Services. ...
  5. Digital Payment Apps.
Jun 29, 2022

What are the different words for bill in Spanish? ›

Spanish translation of 'bill'
  • 1. ( especially British) (in restaurant, hotel etc) cuenta f ⧫ adición f (Southern Cone) can we have the bill, please? ...
  • 2. ( Business, Economics) (= invoice) factura f. ...
  • 3. ( Parliament) proyecto m de ley. ...
  • 4. ( US) (= banknote) billete m. ...
  • 5. (= notice) cartel m. ...
  • 6. ( Theatre) programa m.

What is la cuenta por Favour? ›

la cuenta, (por favor) the bill, the check, (please)

Do Spanish bills include tips? ›

In most situations, tipping in Spain is not compulsory and is entirely at the discretion of the customer. The majority of Spaniards will not tip as many restaurants that provide table service will already factor this in with the addition of a service charge. Look for “servicio incluido” on the bill.

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