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Reservation Question

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radman123 Apr 8, 2009 05:44 PM

Heading to NO in June -- what restaurant - that is a must try - books up the furthest in advance? (or will I not have a problem getting a table anywhere)

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    ScarlettNola RE: radman123 Apr 8, 2009 08:04 PM

    In June you probably will not have as much of a problem, but would probably try to book as soon as the restaurant allows (Commanders Palace has an online reservation system that takes reservations well in advance). Depending on the day of the week and the time of the reservation, you may want to try to book just to be on the safe side. Good luck!

    1 Reply
    1. re: ScarlettNola
      nikinik RE: ScarlettNola Apr 9, 2009 08:24 AM

      I agree that in June you probably won't have much of a problem. Summers here are slow for restaurants. But I'd definitely try to hit up Stella!

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      ScarlettNola RE: radman123 Apr 9, 2009 08:46 AM

      I also advocate using www.opentable.com You have to create a user profile but a lot of restaurants such as August, Stella and Galatoires(upstairs dining room) allow you to book on the site. Of course there are quite a few awesome places not listed on open table, but it is a start.

      10 Replies
      1. re: ScarlettNola
        k
        kibbles RE: ScarlettNola Apr 9, 2009 04:41 PM

        nice thing about Open Table is after X number of dinings book thru them they will buy you a dinner.

        1. re: ScarlettNola
          ddavis RE: ScarlettNola Apr 9, 2009 06:55 PM

          I agree that Open Table is worth using -- as far as it goes. However, I have found that there are times when you can get a reservation by calling the restaurant directly when Open Table has said you can't. I just recently had that experience making a reservation at Stella! on a Thursday night before Jazz Fest. Open table said they didn't have an opening at any time between 5 and 9 p.m. I called the restaurant and made a reservation for 7:30.

          1. re: ddavis
            Bill Hunt RE: ddavis Apr 9, 2009 07:37 PM

            That is pretty common for places that take both on-line and telephone reservations. It's not just Open Table, but I've encountered it with hotels, where their corporate Web site stated "Not Available," but a call to the inn revealed that they DID have rooms available. If a time/date does not show on any booking site, a telephone call *might& yield better results.

            Hunt

            1. re: Bill Hunt
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              gremlin608 RE: Bill Hunt Apr 10, 2009 06:14 PM

              Hunt, you are correct. We own a Bed and Breakfast in NY...and there are times when we show no availability on our on line system but do have limited availability. The reason for this is because we want to be able to choose to say "yes or no" for our convenience...on line it's mechanized so you can't make any decisions at "your discretion". I always call restaurants and Inns when they state there is no availability.

              1. re: gremlin608
                Bill Hunt RE: gremlin608 Apr 10, 2009 06:46 PM

                Thank you for that additional data. I can easily see your point. The same with a Web-based system. What restauranteur, or inn-keeper, wants to tell a telephone caller OK, only to find in a minute, that the Web site has filled that spot.

                Though I use Web-based reservations a lot (OT in particular), I understand this, and if I really, really want to dine at XXX, and OT says no, I'll call first, before I go elsewhere. Same with inns.

                I do, however, appreciate the Web-based services, as I can sit here and nail down a dozen reservations for a trip, while I'll likely spend much time on hold, or getting busy signals. Also, I'm in Phoenix, AZ, so getting to the UK at an appropriate time, might not be so easy. With Web-based reservations, I can reserve around the globe, regardles of the time, with the exceptions noted above.

                From your perspective, were I a previous guest at your inn, I'd probably call via telephone, rather than use any service, just to say "Hello!" At places like Blackberry Farm, The Inn at Little Washington or even the Turtle Bay Resort on the North Shore of O`ahu, I'll call, rather than book on-line, because I want to talk to the concierge/reservation agent, for my specific requirements. I'd guess that you have many return guests, who appreciate the personal touch. I'd not change a thing, from the standpoint of a guest, especially if I am a returning guest.

                Hunt

            2. re: ddavis
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              ScarlettNola RE: ddavis Apr 10, 2009 09:18 AM

              Open Table is generally my 1st stop but if they do not have the desired reservation, I will contact the restaurant directly, I have found that most restaurants will not put every available slot online, but being that you are a few months out from a reservation you will more than likely get your preferred dining slot. But if you are looking the day of it is probably best to contact the restaurant directly.

              1. re: ScarlettNola
                Bill Hunt RE: ScarlettNola Apr 10, 2009 06:51 PM

                I am with you. And, if the first telephone call gives the same answer, and we really want to dine there, I'll call the American Express Centurian Concierge to see if they have a table available for me. If that fails, then I'll call a good friend in that city and demand a "payback" by his/her pulling every string. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it does not. My wife is even more of a Bulldog, than I am. She'll escalate the call up to Guy Savoy, or whomever, until she gets the reservation. I love her, but would hate to have to deal with her - at least where restaurant reservations are concerned.

                Open Table is good, or has been for me, but it is not the final answer, and I understand why it might not be.

                Hunt

                1. re: Bill Hunt
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                  gremlin608 RE: Bill Hunt Apr 11, 2009 03:24 PM

                  I too love opentable for reservations and have made 3 opentable reservations for my upcoming trip to NOLA on Thursday...and Hunt, you are correct, the web based system works well when the timezone thing is an issue...Our web based "on line" system is a great tool and when we have Europeans staying with us they generally use it. But I would always suggest for last minute reservations both at Inn's and Restaurants when Opentable says no, or the Inn's reservation system says no, sometimes it's still a good idea to call because more often than not (and I can speak for my friends in the restaurant business when I say this) there are tables that are still open for "friends" of the chef or GM or whatever, and we have gotten a table based on those situations at a "completely booked for 2 weeks" restaurant at the last minute because we know the chef or owner. Sometimes, I will make exceptions to a person just because they seem so nice on the phone or really want to come to our place, and if you are really nice, sometimes you get what you want...I guess the rule with the hospitality industry is always you attract more bees with honey than vinager!

                  1. re: gremlin608
                    s
                    ScarlettNola RE: gremlin608 Apr 12, 2009 12:07 AM

                    Absolutely true! I looked at Open Table(tonight) to find an Easter brunch reservation for my parents after mass, and Open Table told me there were no slots open. I called the restaurant and after speaking with the hostess and manager discovered that they were able to fit them in for a 1:30 brunch that has been "booked" for a month. It never hurts to double check and 75% of the time you can get that reservation that you truly want. Thanks!

                    1. re: ScarlettNola
                      Bill Hunt RE: ScarlettNola Apr 18, 2009 09:38 PM

                      This is really for the two above posters: we've found the same thing many times. When the normal reservation paths do not pan out, a call will often yield results. If that does not work out, I then rely on the American Express Concierge service (has worked miracles in some instances), and if that fails, then the concierge of the lodge can often "free up" a table. This happened on our first visit to the French Laundry. Nothing else worked, so I finally gave up. When we arrived at our lodge, we asked about a restaurant reservation. The concierge paused, and made a phone call. "How would you like to dine at the French Laundry?" she asked. "OK, how did you do that?" "Well, they had called me, and told me that they had one table this evening, that had canceled. You were dressed appropriately, so I took them up on their offer." Hey, worked for us, and we had tried everyone we knew to get that reservation.

                      I try to keep a few extra "strings" to pull. I've been known to call a chef, who knows the chef, at the desired restaurant, because I know that he/she is a good friend. Sometimes, a table becomes available for the right contact.

                      I recently had to make a new reservation in London, because the planned one fell through. I got what we needed and the GM even asked me about booking his restaurant "on-line." I explained that I really liked Open Table, and mentioned the little text box, for special requests, etc. He had made note of this, but they were new to Open Table. He was a little surprised that a diner from the US would use an on-line service for the UK, but appreciated my feedback. It simplified my bookings, even at the last minute. He also pointed out that we had gotten the last table for six that night. Had I waited to call, when they were open, we'd have missed it. It worked perfectly in this instance.

                      Hunt

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