General Travel Secrets
How to snag a prized table
T+L contributing editor and restaurant guru Anya von Bremzen has two time-honored tips: 1) Show up a half-hour prior to your desired seating to catch any cancellations; and 2) send a fax or e-mail, a strategy known to work at even the most popular spots like El Bulli, in Spain (34/97-215-0457; fax: 34/97-215-0717; firstname.lastname@example.org). Here are suggestions from reservationists at three other hard-to-book restaurants:
- Babbo, New York "Call at 10 a.m. one month ahead of the date you want. And for a last-minute booking, try 9 p.m. the night before, or after 3 p.m. the day of."
- French Laundry, Napa Valley "We're open seven days, so call on the weekend, not during the week. Also, try OpenTable.com—we usually release two tables (one seats two, the other four) on a daily basis to the Web site."
- L'astrance, Paris "Two months before the date you desire, call at precisely 10 a.m. Try to get on the waiting list, as we limit it to three parties; so if you make it onto the list, there's a realistic chance of getting a table."
For additional tips, see T+L's Travel Secrets.