ESL Vocabulary Worksheet: Food Idioms (Intermediate-Advanced)

Free Food Idioms & Vocabulary Worksheet for ESL teachers and students, to learn idioms or prepare ESL lesson plans. (Free download available.)

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Idioms & Vocabulary List

to grab a bite to eat (i)
to go out to eat
Do you want to grab a bite to eat before we see the movie?

it’s on someone (i)
paying for a meal/movie etc. for someone else
Don’t worry about paying for dinner. It’s on me.

to treat someone (i)
to pay for a meal/movie etc. for someone else
You don’t need to bring any money with you tonight. I’ll treat you.

to go Dutch (i)
to split the cost of a meal
We’ve been dating for a long time, so we usually go Dutch.

to cover someone’s half (i)
to pay for someone
I still owe you 20 dollars, so I’ll cover your half and we’ll be even.

whatever one’s heart desires (i)
anything you want
His parents are so rich that he can have whatever his heart desires.

to be starving / famished (i)
to be really hungry
I need to eat something. I’m starving.

to be so hungry one could eat a horse (i)
to be really hungry
I haven’t had time to eat yet. I’m so hungry I could eat a horse.

to pig out (i)
to eat too much
If you keep pigging out all the time, you are going to get really fat.

an appetizer (n)
food before the main course
Do you want to share the calamari for an appetizer?

an entree (n)
main course
Pasta is my favorite entree.

the house specialty (n)
the dish a restaurant specializes in
Their chef is from Japan, so the house specialty is Ahi Tuna.

to be out of this world (i)
to be really amazing.
This chocolate cake is out of this world.

to be mouth watering (i)
to be really delicious
Wow! Whatever you are cooking smells mouth watering.

to start (v)
as an appetizer
Do you want to share the nachos to start?

to wash something down (i)
to drink something to help you swallow food; to drink a lot while eating
I need another beer to wash down all the hamburgers I ate.

to be tasty (adj)
to be delicious
The soup that you made for dinner was really tasty.

one’s eyes are bigger than one’s stomach (i)
an expression used when somebody wants more food than they can eat
You can’t eat all that. I think your eyes are bigger than your stomach.

to skip meal (i)
to miss a meal
I skipped breakfast today, so I’m really hungry.

doggie bag (i)
the bag that leftovers from a restaurant meal are put in, so you can take the food home with you
I couldn’t finish my meal, so I took it home in a doggie bag.

leftovers (n)
food from a previous meal that you eat later
We are having leftovers for dinner tonight.

Dialogue Exercise

Mike: Thanks for inviting me out today. I was feeling kind of sadThere’s nothing better than grabbing a bite to eat with a good friend to make you feel better.

Shaun: No problem. It’s for your birthday, so it’s on me.

Mike: Oh, I thought no one remembered, but you don’t have to treat me. We can go Dutch. Don’t feel you have to cover my half just because it’s my birthday.

Shaun: Forget about it. I’ve got it covered. Order whatever your heart desires.

Mike: Great, because I’m starving. I’m so hungry could eat a horse. It’s time to pig out. Do you know what you’re going to have?

Shaun: I’m going to have the shrimp cocktail for an appetizer, and a medium-rare steak for my entree. It’s the house specialty, and I hear it’s out of this world.

Mike: Wow! There are a lot of mouth watering choices on this menu. Let’s see. I think I’ll go with the caviar to start and the seafood platter for two as my main course. Like I said, I’m famished.

Shaun: Man, it’s going to be pretty hard to eat all that.

Mike: You’re right. It would be pretty hard to eat all that without something to drink. I think I’ll order a bottle of their finest wine to wash down all that tasty food.

Shaun: I think your eyes might be bigger than your stomach.

Mike: Yeah, I might have to skip breakfast tomorrow. But I can always take a doggie bag, so I can have leftovers for lunch and dinner tomorrow.

Shaun: Well, I might have to skip a few meals after paying this bill.

Match the Words Exercise

What comes next:  Match the first person’s comment (1-9) to the right response (a-i)

1. Where do you want to go for lunch?

2. I’m totally starving. 

3. Do you want to go for drinks after work? It’s on me.

4. I have never been so full in my life. 

5. What are you going to have for your entree?

6. Are you going to get anything to start?

7. Do you think we should get a doggie bag? 

8. Would you like something to wash down your meal with?

9. How are things going with your new boyfriend?

A) I’m not surprised. You totally pigged out. I think your eyes were bigger than your stomach, although your stomach looks pretty big right now.

B) I think I’m going to give the house specialty a try.

C) I don’t think so. If I have an appetizer, I probably won’t be able to finish my main course.

D) No. I don’t like leftovers.

E) Sounds like a good idea, but you are always treating me. This time I’m going to treat you and cover your half.

F) I’m not so sure about him. You know last night we went out for dinner for our one-month anniversary. He told me to order whatever my heart desired, but when the bill came he wanted to go Dutch.

G) Yes. I’ll have a large orange juice.

H) How about we grab a bite to eat at that new cafe around the corner. I hear their sandwiches are out of this world.

I) Me too. I’m famished. I’m so hungry that I could eat a horse.


1. When do you usually pig out?
2. What is a dish that you think is out of this world?
3. Do you ever skip meals? Which ones?
4. Do people in your country take home doggie bags? Why or why not?
5. Have your eyes ever been bigger than your stomach?
6. What is the house specialty at your favorite restaurant?

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