What's the American English equivalent to the British "takeaway" when referring to prepared meals that are intended to be eaten elsewhere?
As far as I know, that would be called takeout (sometimes referred to as takeout food). At least, that's what I've most commonly heard my American and Canadian friends say when talking about a prepared meal that you take home with you or someplace else instead of eating it where you bought it. I guess the reason it's called takeout is because you literally take it out of the building.
I would like a medium French fries, a bottle of coke and a hamburger. Make it takeout, please.
Although that would probably work, a more common way to say it would be make it to-go:
I would like a medium French fries, a bottle of coke and a hamburger. Make it to-go, please.
I think you use takeout more in other contexts like I got takeout for dinner last night. Not when ordering.
It depends on the type of restaurant too. For example, if you go to a fast-food restaurant, you would ask for to-go. If you go to a casual dining restaurant, you might ask for takeout. At a very fancy restaurant, you only eat there and taking it home isn't an option. Pizza is a special case though. If you go to a pizza place, you order carry-out.
Would you like that meal to go or to stay?
This phrase is most commonly used when you are at a fast food restaurant, and they ask you whether you wish to dine there, or take the food with you. I also see this used if you are seated at a restaurant and you want to take home some leftover food. You might say: can I get a to go box, or can I get this to go?
Is that carry out or dine in?
Is that take out or dine in?
These are two phrases you might more commonly hear if you are ordering at a restaurant, they might ask you if you wanted to just pick up a meal you ordered, order a meal to take home, or eat there at the restaurant.
It can vary in the United States, but in general, for fast food it's referred to as "To go". For example, when you order at McDonald's, the cashier will ask "Is that for here or to go?".
For places where you typically call in to place your order, and either pick it up yourself, or have it delivered (Chinese, pizza, etc.), it's called "takeout" or "delivery", respectively.
For example, if someone says "I'm going to grab some Chinese takeout", they place their order, then go pick it up at the place. I think this is the closest parallel to the British "takeaway".
If they said "I'm going to have some Chinese delivered" or "Want to get some Chinese delivery?" they place their order then have it delivered to their home.
Some regions use "carry-out" instead of "takeout".
"Takeout" is referring to food that is not consumed in the place it's prepared"
"To Go" and "Takeout" refer to the same thing, but are used in different contexts.
At the point of actually ordering, "To Go" is used to communicate that the food should be packaged for travel.
This makes the food "Takeout".
So basically "Takeout" food is "To Go" and "Dine In" food is not "To Go"
We also sometimes request a "doggy bag", which is the same thing as take-out.
Example: "Can I get a doggy bag to go?"
Here's an example from Can I Have This to Go?
During a recent meal at Craftsteak, I was impressed by the way the restaurant handled a request by one of my companions that unconsumed portions of food on the table be wrapped up so she could take them away.
After servers cleared the table, one of them returned with a claim check instead of a doggie bag.