I'm grateful to DL for having us learn this phrase because it's different from English, as several people have pointed out. MichaelBell0's point about a prix fixe is probably most apropos for España or fancy restaurants. Some restaurants really do have different menus depending on the day, as is often the case when the menu depends on the fish caught that week or yesterday. So even in English in such situations we would say "What's the menu today?" although we often would say "What's on the menu?"
Thank you for your post, AniOhevYayin. As others have said, I have never in my life said,and never would say "what's the menu", only ever "what is on the menu" but you have pointed out it can make sense.
In English we would never say "What is the menu today" any more than we would say "What is the newspaper today" or "What is the grocery list today". What is on the menu? What is in the newspaper? What is on the grocery list?
The menu changing does not change how we speak about it. The menu is still a menu, so asking what the menu is will never be the same as asking what is on the menu.
Good point that in English "what's on the menu" is idiomatic. "What's the menu" would be a niche phrase in English. ¿Cuál es el menú hoy? is perfectly good Spanish, as are "¿Cuál es el menú para hoy?" "¿Cuál es el menú de hoy?" "¿Cuál es el menú del día?" In an era of nationalist zenophobia, I find it refreshing to learn how a different culture handles idioms.
Yes, "what is the menu" does indeed differ from" what is on the menu." In this particular exercise, the sentence to translate was "what is the menu." The fact that this expression is little used in the US, except perhaps for small specialty cafes, doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
Whats on the menu today. This should be correct. Its wrong. Instead you expect me to ask someone" whats the menu today?" The menu today is a list of the foods we serve here, just like it is every day.
The menu today is a fresh salad, duck breast, and a lemon tart for dessert. Don't you have that kind of menu in English, a collection of food items in succession? Or you might call it "course meal", I think.
I answered "What's on the menu today?" as well, and it was wrong. I do know that restaurants do have items that change from day to day but we in the USA call it the specialty of the day, and I would think that would be the closest translation.
You can't really map qué and cuál to the English "what" and "which". They get used differently in different circumstances. Here you have a question of the form "¿Cuál es...?":
- ¿Qué es ...? - What is ...? (asks for a definition)
- ¿Cuál es ...? - What is ...? (asks for an answer); Which one is ...?
You can read on about the topic here.
Dictionary says cual is which, would have writen what, as it sounds better. ??