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Jun 1, 2007 04:05 PM

Best places in Lower Manhattan that you can always get a table / same day reservations.

Since my friends and I are very spontaneous people, reservations for good food aren't as common as we like. We do love places where we can get same day reservations, walk in and get a table after a 15 minute wait, et cetera. However, many times we've been forced to walk into the nearest pizzeria or overpriced bad restaurant if only because the waits at normal spots are too long. Because of this, I'd thought this would be a great idea for a topic, but if it's been done before I apologize much.

My standards to make this list are:

Short ~30 minute waits. Shorter is better. This goes for peak dining times as well, and fridays and saturdays are included. Late dining or early dining is never a problem, anyway.


same day reservations during normal dining times are possible. I like places I can call around lunch and make reservations for 7-9 ish.

And the final, most important thing: FOOD MUST BE GOOD. It would defeat the purpose of this thread if I were to ask "what place can I walk into that serves something edible?" Edible is not up to par.

More restrictions than this, and I think i'd miss some places that I would never have thought of going to. Please contribute your best! Write up a sentence or 2 about the restaurant so I can get a feel for it, please.

To start this list off...
I've always had luck with same day reservations at Otto. Overrated, yea yea, but damn I love that lardo and olive oil gelato. Surprisingly, my waits have been at the 30-45 minute mark for 2 at spotted pig recently. Weekdays only, however. And not to forget Tigerland, in the LES. Incredible banh xeo, best I've ever had, incredible clarity of flavor accross the board, and big and plentiful fresh shrimp in the clay pot noodles- awesome for under $25/PP, and to my understanding it's mostly(or fully) organic.

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  1. It's tough to meet all your criteria, but Trinity Place is great, not too expensive and I've always had good luck getting a table. It could be cos this is a big after work drinking haunt, but the dining room in the back isn't always full. The chef, Donal, is an Irish transplant via California and Spago - so the food is great. I had a great duck confit with risotto last time - so it's bistro with a little Cal thrown in.

    It's technically on Broadway a couple of blocks north of Wall, but you've got to walk down the side street to get in.

    4 Replies
    1. re: piggywiggy

      Tough to meet my criteria wasn't what I was going for :( I may edit my post if that's the case. I just wanted easy-to-get-into resto's with good food- but i wanted an emphasis on shorter wait times, rather than draconian limitations.

      I appreciate your post and perhaps I'll try the place out! Thank you for your reply.

      1. re: Souper

        i find that it's only tough to get a table during the day at restaurant's downtown. i've never had a problem anywhere at night, even at a place like adrienne's which is packed during lunch.

          1. re: piggywiggy

            Lavagna and Mangiami on the East side are both good Italian spots... I'm usually able to get a same day reservation at Lavagna with no problem.

      2. I recommend Mercer Kitchen. I have never just shown up for dinner and waited, but every time I have called I have gotten a reservation the same evening. Despite it being a sleeper on Chowhound, I always find the food good and it has become an old standby of mine when I need a place to go on short notice.

        1. Capsouto Frères on Washington Street in Tribeca used to be a really hard table to cop, but lately -- perhaps because it's a large space -- seems to be easy to even just walk in for dinner. The food is always wonderful, and the service even better. It's a big, bustling brasserie, and because they own the building, they've been able to keep the prices reasonable. You should go!

          1 Reply
          1. re: ChefJune

            capsouto freres is a nice looking place, best for brunch i think. I never have a problem getting into any place downtown except for babbo or Nobu ,, but next door to nobu is fairly easy,,tribeca grill always has a table, circle rouge bistro atmosphere not a problem to get in,,Upstairs cooks late and no reservations are taken so can get a seat within 30 minutes,,,odeon can always eat at the bar area,,, ennio and michael great italian food in the village not fancy but good place..