Open Table

3 04 2007

Sometimes you have to try inside tricks to get tables at the leading restaurants. Please check numbers locally as some will change over time. All times are local to the city wherein the dining place is located, corrected for summertime or DST

  • Fat Duck (Berkshire, UK; 011-44-162-858-0333): Ring exactly 2 months in advance at 0900
  • Spago (Beverly Hills; 310-385-0880): One table every night for AmEx Platinum or Centurion Concierge. Ask for it. They don’t really check your AmEx card. This is assuming you have ANY AmEx card. You should – lowest rate for exchange (1%) overseas. Apply for a Blue. No annual fee and good cash back policy.
  • Matsuhisa (Beverly Hills: 310-659-9639): Ring at 0900 exactly one month before or after 1000 for that day’s first cancels and then again in the afternoon. It is like jury duty.
  • L’Espalier (Boston; 617.262-3023): Ring as early as possible on that day. Redial. Few weeks’ notice is best.
  • No. 9 Park (Boston: 617.742-9991): Only 6 of 19 tables go open. Ring between 1530 and 1630 for cancels.
  • Grill 23 and Bar (Boston: 617.542-2255): Ring for cancels on Thu or Fri
  • Katsuya (Brentwood: 310.207-8744): Ring after 1500 the same day.
  • Alinea (Chhicago; 312.867-0110): Exactly 2 months ahead on the first day of the month at 1000. Friday at 1100 for cancels.
  • Frontera Grill (Chicago; 312.661-1434): No bookings (officially) but gives out cancels the same day. Ring 0830
  • Tru (Chicago; 312.202-0001): 3 parties seated every 15 minutes until dining room full. Ring Scott at 312.493-4281*
  • Picasso (Vegas; 702.693-7223): Ring after 1400. Best to ring Gilles at 702.296-5203*
  • Nobu (Londontown; 011-44-207-447-4747): Formal! Ring between 1700 and 1900 for cancels.
  • Koi (LA; 310.659-9449): Ring often between 1600 and 1800. Best via concierge at W or Four Seasons. A concierge trick is to determine which level the desk is at, then walk DOWN to it on a stairway or get OUT of the elevator facing the desk and walk straight to the desk. The assumption is you are a guest there – they never bother to check.
  • Cut (LA: 310.276-8500): Ring exactly one month in advance at 0930. 5 of 27 tables for Four Seasons. The concierge will help even if you’re not a guest. Plus he is cute.
  • Nobu Malibu (Malibu; 310.317-9140): Ring exactly one month before at 1000. Ring in am for cancels. Sit at sushi bar.
  • Table 8 (Miami; 305.695-4114): Only 1830 table are opentable. Concierge at Regent SoBe Hotel. Late morning rings for cancels
  • Prime One Twelve (Miami; 305.532-8112): Ring Elisa 305.395-0327*
  • David Bouley Evolution (Miami; 305.604-6090); Nobody eats at 1900 so book it. Ring Dindy 305.672-4709*
  • Davidburke & Donatella (NYC; 212.813-2121): Easy booking. Ring Teddy 917.584-9295*
  • Le Bernardin (NYC; 212.489-1515): 1900 is filled with theater crowd. Eat before/after.
  • Gramercy Tavern (NYC; 212.477-1025): Ring exactly 28 days before at 0900 weekdays (0930 weekends)
  • Le Cirque (NYC; 212.644-0202): Ring for tables early or after 2100
  • A Voce (NYC; 212.545-8555): Ask Dante for his email address when you ring. Blackberry him.
  • Rao’s (NYC; 212.722-6709): Talk to Nick at the bar about cancels. Tip him.
  • Le Comptoir du Relais (Paris; 011-331-4455-5155): Concierge Hotel Relais St-Germain. 1930 for cancels.
  • Mori Venice Bar (Paris; 011-331-4329-1205): Ring Mori 011-33-622-14-08-02*
  • L’Astrance (Paris; 011-331-4050-8440): Exactly 3 months in advance. Variable holiday schedule. 2 days for cancels.
  • Spring (Paris; 011-331-4596-0572): Exactly 1 month in advance. Email Daniel
  • Vetri (Philly; 215.732-3478): Noon exactly two months ahead. Leave voicemail for time stamp. Monday is easy.
  • El Bulli (Rosas; 011-34-972-150-457): Ring mid-October or email Ferran Seats 8000 between April and September, half of them regulars.
  • Cyrus (Healdsburg; 707.433-3311 ): Exactly 3 months ahead at 1030. Email Doug Ask for table #15 or 16. His extension is 104*
  • Michael Mina (SF; 415.397-9222): Nothing at 1900 but lots earlier and later. If you eat at another Mina restaurant, ask the staff there to make a booking for you. Sneaky but that is how I am where I am. Deal with it.
  • Quince (SF; 415.775-8500): Exactly one month ahead at noon. Ring 3 days ahead for cancels, then get placed on a call back wait list.
  • Myth (SF; 415.677-8986): Ring Eloisa at 2100 the night before for cancels.
  • Fleur de Lys (SF; 415.673-7779): Nothing at 1900 but earlier and later. Ring at 1100 for same day cancels.
  • Fifth Floor (SF; 415.348-1555): 2 weeks notice. Walk ups have a 30 minute wait 🙂
  • Minibar (DC; 202.393-0812): Exactly 1 month ahead at 0900. 6 seat restaruant in the Cafe Atlantico. Ring direct – you will be asked about food preferences. No bookings through secretaries or concierges, you naughty person! I love it.

*Personal mobile numbers. Please be respectful and do not call at hours when you would not wish yourself to be disturbed. Between 1000 and 1200 local works best.

So I know you want to know how to get a table at TFL. OpenTable won’t work until they set their system to permit reservations 61 days out (It is still set at 59 for February’s missing days) so you should send them a note. Usually there are two tables available at TFL every day (a four top at 1730 and a four top at 2100). There is nearly never a two top available. Dinner is more competitive so if you shoot for lunch, you have a better shot. Tables open exactly at midnight Pacific time (Change for corrected PDT and summertime). You need to know when the OT clocks strike midnight. All of the OT servers are synchronized so visit and click on the time zone (Eastern for Per Se if you are on the wrong coast. Ha). Be ready. The first person to click the link – you have to be the first to click – and you get a few minutes to fill in your 411 in peace. Once you see the page where you fill out your credit card, you’ve locked the table for a few minutes. Go to this page earlier in the evening. For the time use 1915. OT will look 2 hours plus/minus for a suitable reservation. I’ve seen 1730 and 2100 tables available so 1915 is right in the median. Keep your browser window on the “Your requested date exceeds…” page. Open in a new window (NOT A NEW TAB) the webpage and when 11:59:55 strikes, click RELOAD in your browser until you see available tables show up or a “No tables are available” message. If you see that error message, you lose. Do NOT clock so fast that you don’t get time to process what appears on the screen. If you click RELOAD like a pimply teenager playing Frogger, you might get the option to book a table and then lose it immediately with the next RELOAD. If you are lucky to see a time slot appear, quickly click the time you are offered and enjoy your smugness.