The other day I was in a restaurant with some Latin American friends and one Brit. He was keen on learning some Spanish, so we taught him several words and phrases. When it came to asking for the bill, we taught him the "usual" way you ask for it:

La cuenta, por favor.

Here the question that arose: is there any other way in which you can ask for the bill? And we struggled! We could not come up with any other phrase, beyond some trivial expansions of the above, like:

Me trae la cuenta, por favor.

Looking at this question, I can see other words to refer to the bill, which seem to be local in Spain (none of my friends was Spanish). I've never heard of them.

Besides these examples, are there further ways of asking for the bill in Spanish? Maybe not also in terms of specific words used for the bill (as the post above), but different ways altogether?

  • 1
    There is also the international non-verbal request of "writing" with one finger on the palm of the other hand, but since it's non-verbal I don't think it belongs in an answer. Sep 3 '18 at 15:24
  • @PeterTaylor It is surely an answer! I wonder though how universal this is, say in Asia, Africa, Middle East, etc
    – luchonacho
    Sep 3 '18 at 15:31
  • Some times I just say "le/te pago?" Sep 4 '18 at 17:31

In Argentina we sometimes use

¿Me cobrás?

(adding por favor is optional). That is literally, "Do you (please) charge me?" or less literally "Will you (please now) take my payment?" or "Will you come here so I can pay you?". It's in the informal register with voseo. Without it it would be ¿Me cobras?.

I have the native feeling or intuition that this might sound rude in other places, where formality and indirectness are more valued, and even here in Argentina if the place is other than a pub or a cheap café. I would also like to know if there are places where people ask, e. g. ¿Me cobraría (usted) (por favor)?".

  • Interesting one! I've never ever heard anything like this at the other side of the Andes (Chile).
    – luchonacho
    Sep 3 '18 at 11:40
  • 4
    This is used in Spain as well (although obvious without the voseo). ¿Me cobra(s)? is heard all over. Sep 3 '18 at 13:02
  • 1
    En España se dice también: La dolorosa.
    – Lambie
    Sep 3 '18 at 13:18
  • I feel this would be considered rude in mexico
    – Mike
    Sep 5 '18 at 15:04

You have several other options. For instance, you can change cuenta for nota, as stated in one of the many meanings of the word:

  1. f. Cuenta del importe total de una compra o de una consumición.

Nonetheless the use of nota may sound a bit outdated at least in Spain (I don't know if it's used somewhere else).

If you want a completely different way of asking for the bill, you can say:

¿Me dice qué/cuánto le debo?

Maybe a bit more informal is the following, as suggested by Brian H.:

¿[Me dice] cuánto es?

  • ¿qué o cuánto? Any particular geography associated with this one?
    – luchonacho
    Sep 3 '18 at 11:42
  • 1
    @luchonacho sorry, I should have specified that. And you're right, you can use both qué and cuánto.
    – Charlie
    Sep 3 '18 at 11:48
  • 1
    muy parecido a "¿cuánto le debo?" sería "¿cuánto es?", aunque esto es menos bastante menos formal.
    – Brian H.
    Sep 3 '18 at 11:57
  • After rethinking this, I get the impression this is more relevant in an informal setting, where you stand up to pay, rather than asking for the bill to being brought to you.
    – luchonacho
    Sep 3 '18 at 12:03
  • 3
    @luchonacho Agreed, I use "cuánto le debo" when I approach the bar to pay (that is, not table service), but I wouldn't use it to call the waiver over. Sep 3 '18 at 13:03

En Colombia la más usada es la que mencionas en tu pregunta;

La cuenta por favor

Pero también tenemos

  • ¿Cuánto es?

  • ¿Qué/Cuánto le pago?

  • ¿Qué se debe? / ¿Qué le debo?

y cuando estas en el restaurante de confianza donde conoces a todo el mundo incluso decimos

  • ¿Cuánto se perdió?

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