The Insider’s Guide To Booking A Table At The Best Restaurants

Getting a reservation at the most popular restaurants can be tough, but it’s not impossible. When you’re traveling it’s hard to know your schedule in advance and also had to really get a sense of the best local places. But even in your dream meal is at a restaurant with a months long waitlist don’t despair. We have a few a few tips to help you get a seat at the hottest tables in town. They don’t always work, but each has in the past.

1. Michelin-starred chefs are always in high demand, so try to get on their good side. If you know one of them personally, ask for a favor. If not, try to make a connection by complimenting their work or sending them a nice note. We film food shows so we know a lot of the wold’s best chefs (not bragging) but you would be surprised at how many people (suppliers, former employees, cousins) constantly reach out to them for a table. And often it works.

Social media is one way to connect, but we saw firsthand how Rome’s most decorated chef made room one night for a couple who went to the trouble of writing him a letter a month before they were going to be in town. Flattery can never hurt.

2. It’s no secret that hard-to-get tables are the most coveted, so if you’re willing to put in a little extra effort, call the restaurant ahead of time and ask to be put on the waiting list. As soon as you book your trip, call from home and see what the host can do. And if you’re traveling for a special occasion let them know. We once witnessed an enterprising young man get the best seat in one of New York’s most hard to reserve restaurants by telling the host he was going to be there on business and really wanted to impress his boss. Honesty can work too.

3. Sometimes the best way to score a reservation is to simply show up and sit at the bar. We can’t tell you how many amazing meals we’ve had by simply agreeing to sit at the bar rather than ask for a table that doesn’t exist. And as an added bonus, bartenders ALWAYS know the best clubs, best bars and best after hours places to go. As for advice, you won’t be disappointed.

4. Another good tip to help you score a reservation at a popular restaurant is to simply use the app Open Table. Open Table lets you search for restaurants by location, cuisine, and price, and then book a reservation directly with the restaurant. It’s perfect for last-minute bookings as it should offer the most up to date info on a restaurant’s availability. We’ve been able to book a table on the app while another member of our crew was on the phone to the same restaurant being turned down.

With these tips in mind, you should be able to get a reservation at even the most popular restaurants. Just remember to be persistent and have a little patience, and you’ll eventually get the table of your dreams.

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