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English has got an expression to eat out, meaning eating but not preparing the meal for yourself (i.e. restaurant, fast food, kebab etc.). What are ways to express the same in German?

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A standard phrase (see DWDS) here in Germany is

essen gehen

(i. e. to go somewhere to eat as opposed to prepare the meal oneself).

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  • Varianten sind "zum Essen ausgehen" und "zum Essen rausgehen". – Paul Frost Nov 10 '20 at 10:30
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    @PaulFrost "zum Essen rausgehen" is not suitable. It means "to go outside (of where you are) to eat", there is no hint someone goes to a restaurant or other place. You could cook on your own and go outside to eat because the weather is fine. You can even only go out of a room to eat for a reason, not necessarily out of the house. – puck Nov 10 '20 at 11:28
  • @puck It may in fact be confused with "draußen essen" oder "zum Essen nach draußen gehen". But it is not unusual to say "zum Essen rausgehen" in the context of the question. Beispiel. "Also zum Essen rausgehen lohnt nicht". – Paul Frost Nov 10 '20 at 11:34
  • The website you linked to indeed uses this phrase, but to me this is a slightly different situation. This is an unspoken comparison. They say it doesn't pay to go out of the hotel to eat, meaning you can stay in the hotel to eat - where "in" isn't "inside" because they mention the terrace right after ;-) It means within the hotel's restaurant. But to express you don't eat at home it would be odd to say "ich gehe zum essen raus" because primarily that says you go outside to eat. It's better to say "ich esse auswärts". – puck Nov 11 '20 at 6:27
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It is

auswärts essen

Möchtest du heute daheim essen oder auswärts?
Would you like to eat at home or out today?

The adverb auswärts has three meanings:

  1. to the outside

Versuchen Sie, Ihre Füße etwas weniger auswärts zu drehen wenn Sie laufen.
Try to turn your feet a little less outwards when you run.

  1. not at home, somewhere else

Ines hat letzte Nacht auswärts geschlafen.
Ines slept out last night.

  1. in another town (mainly in sports)

Der FC Unterhausen hat auswärts 1:0 gewonnen.
FC Unterhausen won 1:0 away.

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    Though "auswärts essen" has a bit of an "official" ring to it. You might find it in the PR material of a restaurant trade association rather than in every day talk. For the latter, "essen gehen" as mentioned in another answer sounds more natural. – Henning Kockerbeck Nov 10 '20 at 8:42
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    @HenningKockerbeck: I think this is a question of personal opinion and maybe regional usage. I do hear any "official" ring when my wife says she wants "auswärts essen". – Hubert Schölnast Nov 10 '20 at 8:55

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