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Jan 29, 2008 06:00 PM

How to make a reservation in Tokyo for English speaker?


I would like to make a reservation for March at one or two restaurants in Tokyo. I emailed the address I could find on the site but it seemed just an info address of the corporate holding company. I do not want to struggle through a phone call or have it screwed up. Any suggestions? Is it the case that the top restaurants will have someone who speaks English? The English is so spotty in general, I just rather email or go about it how best I can without difficulty on both sides. Thanks very much.

Also, if anyone is down for hitting a high end lunch some day during the beginning of March, let me know. Actually, I would interested in other suggestions, too. Thanks again.

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  1. I suggest you request the hotel concierge to help you with the reservation. That is what I usually do.

    1 Reply
    1. re: FourSeasons

      Unfortunately, I am not staying at a hotel. Plus, I would like to make it now for March, or is that too far in advance? Thanks for replying.

    2. So probably you want to make a reservation at a restaurant which serves Japanese cuisine, right ? Just curious, which restaurant are you interested in ?

      5 Replies
      1. re: skylineR33

        Was looking to do lunch at L'osier. I am sure that, now, you will tell me they speak English at the reservation desk since it is French and I am a dope for not just calling and finding out. However, I truly dislike that experience and would prefer to be called out here and know that they do. Anyone prefer Quintessens?Thanks again.

        1. re: gambit50

          I just called L'Osier and they said that they'd do their best to take your reservation in English. I think you should have no problem.

          Too bad they don't take email reservations though....

          1. re: Robb S

            A wonderful gesture, on your part, Robb, to call and ask. Thank you, very much.

          2. re: gambit50

            Hi, I think you should have no problem making reservation at Quintessens as well (I have not been to there though). In fact, I think making reservation by phone at 'top restaurants' serving western food (ie. French, Italian) and hotel restaurants should have no problem. Hope you have a nice trip !

            1. re: skylineR33

              Yes, one would think but I feel more confident in it with the feedback. I must be honest, I mostly cannot stand people who ask questions that a quick search or one iota of common sense and less effort than posting here would take. Example, what time is Restaurant X open? What is on the menu? etc. I hope that the reason for my silly question was sufficient. Thanks to all.

        2. I have found in other countries (where I don't speak the language) that a FAX is often the best solution. They can usually find someone to translate for them - and you don't have to struggle on the phone.
          This also works for hotels.

          8 Replies
          1. re: estufarian

            Speaking of faxes, I also prefer using faxes to make reservations in Japan. It's just easier for me and the restaurant, since some people seem to get freaked out by my crappy Japanese.

            I sent a fax to L'Osier on Saturday with my phone, fax, and e-mail info asking about reservations in May. Generally, how long does it take for staff to get back to you? When I faxed Ryugin, they called the same day and many days after until they were finally able to reach me (they didn't leave a message on my answering machine, but just kept trying to get in touch with me directly). I'm wondering if I should just bite the bullet and call. I'm waiting for them to reply before I finalize my Robuchon reservations.

            1. re: prasantrin

              I would just call. Most of the top end restaurants have an english speaker, it may just be a matter of finding out when he/she is in and calling back.

              1. re: Notorious P.I.G.

                I would also suggest calling. There may not be an English speaker if the restaurant is Japanese, but some of the top French restaurants will have someone in house who speaks English (though finding out when they are in might be difficult), or at the very least French.

                Japan is also the type of country where the "English" information desk at a major train station might not have anyone who actually speaks English, but you can always go into a higher end hotel and see if the concierge will do it for you even if you aren't staying there (just don't tell them outright about it, haha).

                1. re: tjr

                  Thanks Notorious P.I.G. and tjr. I will bite the bullet and call tonight. I can usually make myself understood in Japanese, but it's much easier to do that in person than on the phone. :-) Must gather my courage and bury my pride!

                  1. re: prasantrin

                    Well, problem solved! I gave them a call, and they have a very fluent English speaker on their staff. Turns out L'Osier will be closed during Golden Week until May 6. Oh well!

                    1. re: prasantrin

                      Nice one! Too bad about L'Osier though...

                      1. re: Notorious P.I.G.

                        And Les Creations des Narisawa only accepts reservations for parties of 2 or more! That was my other failure. Oh well, there's always Robuchon! It's pretty easy to get reservations at any of his places, at least for dinner!

                        1. re: prasantrin

                          Ah! Bummer. True about Robuchon, you could do worse. In the end though, you called and that's a huge deal. I think a lot of people would not have the courage and miss out on some spectacular meals just cause they where hesitant to pick up the phone.