Which restaurants in LA allow reservations for a specific table?
- ipsedixit Jan 21, 2007 04:12 AM
Just asking as an unknown, non-descript patron and not a Holllywood A-list prima donna or a "regular" at the restaurant?
I ask because I recently tried to reserve a specific table (not just in a general area like the patio or upstairs) and was turned down, bar none.
I think that totally depends on the restaurant involved. Some restaurants already have certain tables reserved for notables, regardless of who you may or may not be.
Nonetheless, if you are just another reserver, you can generally get a restaurant to tell you how they number their tables, and if the place is not meant to attract the A-listers, then you will probably get your table, or at least be told why it would not be available.
Generally speaking it's my experience that most restaurants will make a note as well as as attempt to honor such requests of seating location but cannot guarantee it simply because of other similar requests, size of party, the size of the restaurant, the limited number of similar tables like booths, day of week and the need to optimize seating for the maximum return. But I do believe they try. There are a few restaurants like The Ivy that dazzle with their rigidity of virtually no requests and spending minimums but that's generally known. Enquiring minds are obviously curious as to where you're speaking of and if you ended up dining there.
Agreed that it's a touch-or-go proposition, depending upon who you are and what the restaurant is (i.e. how popular it is with the celebrities). If you reserve early, you should be good at most top-end restaurants (or at least any who value their clientele and regular patrons over celebs). If you are reserving later, I think it would depend upon how often you go there and how crowded they are -- for instance, I've reserved tables on the "floor" and tables on the patio/balcony upstairs at AOC on different occasions. I've also called AOC and been told "they are full but would do what they could" on a specific request.
That's right and I'd like to add that restaurants are like any other business in this regard when it comes to building relationships. I've been going to the same dry cleaners for twenty years and often get my clothes a day or two earlier than the established routine and I think I've only asked two or three times during that entire time. Sometimes the honored request or the special gesture is a way for the business to thank the regular guest for their ongoing support. The challenge that the best operators rise to is to not make it seem like it comes at the expense of others. Not easy.
A good restaurant will honor any request if it is possible even if you are not a regular. Software like Open Table also allows restaurants to make notes on guest preferences. Another suggestion is to visit the restaurant before you dine and speak to management about a specific request.