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Jul 26, 2010 09:22 PM

Difficultly of French Laundry Reservations?

I'm from the NYC area and planning a trip to SF/Napa area towards mid/end October. Just wanted to know - how hard is it to get French Laundry dinner reservations?

In NYC, we have really hard ones like Mario Batali's Babbo and David Chang's Momofuku Ko (which is a little bit easier now).

Do I have to call at 10AM PT exactly 2 months in advance? Is a table for 4 easier than 2? I assume lunch is easier to get than dinner, but I would prefer dinner. Any tips?

Just so I get a sense, what are some of the other more difficult reservations to get in the SF bay area?

Thanks Chowhounders!

The French Laundry
6640 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

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    1. re: bbulkow

      Do I have to call at 10AM PT exactly 2 months in advance?

      YES, but the line will be busy at 10:00:00.5. By the time you can get through, redialing continuously, they are booked.

      Is a table for 4 easier than 2?

      Yes and usually available for a few seconds after the critical moment (which may be midnight rather than 10 AM, but I am not sure) on Open Table. That's your best bet.(I have never seen a 2 available on Open Table.)

      We have never succeeded in getting a reservation because we want a 2 and I won't put up with the FL telephone nonsense.

      Why don't you go to Manresa or Coi or Cyrus or Commis or Saison -- all require several week advance booking and all are very interesting. Also requiring several weeks and very San Francisco (and very excellent) is Delfina. And maybe Benu will be very hot in October -- it opens in August (and we have managed a table shortly after opening!). Also requiring long advance booking (and not worth the trouble in my view, but others obviously love them) are Flour and Water and Frances.

      Keep us posted.

      Manresa Restaurant
      320 Village Lane, Los Gatos, CA 95030

      373 Broadway, San Francisco, CA 94133

      Delfina Restaurant
      3621 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

      Cyrus Restaurant
      29 North St, Healdsburg, CA 95448

      3859 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611

      2124 Folsom St., San Francisco, CA 94110

      1. re: Thomas Nash

        Thanks guys for the quick responses.

        Yea, I was checking out Manresa (a decent trip out) and Coi. I heard Corey Lee is opening something relatively soon too.

        Manresa Restaurant
        320 Village Lane, Los Gatos, CA 95030

        1. re: mjl242

          "I heard Corey Lee is opening something relatively soon too." That would be Benu @ 22 Hawthorne Lane. Last night, OpenTable was showing tables available the week after the opening which is Aug. 10th.

          22 Hawthorne St, San Francisco, CA 94103

        2. re: Thomas Nash

          I've reserved tables for two twice on Open Table, so they are available.

          1. re: JasmineG

            Did you get them at midnight or at 10am? Curious when OpenTable "opens" the tables

            1. re: openhelix

              I got my table for 2 at about 1-2 minutes before 1pm EST. I kept resubmitting my request to Open Table (use 7pm as the default time since OT searches 2 hours ahead and back) and all of the sudden at about 12:58/59pm EST a single table for 2 at 9pm materialized! I grabbed it and then also proceeded to try to connect with them via phone. After redialing furiously for 13 minutes (it's now 10:13am PST) and waiting on hold endlessly, I reached a reservationist. There were no tables of 2 to be had at any time for the evening I had booked.

      2. I'd actually recommend the lunch service. you're talking about a 4 hour experience, easily. I would have been down for the count halfway through if I'd done dinner instead of lunch. Well worth the effort to get the reservation...and OpenTable often has Friday lunch reservations available.

        1. I have reservations for 4... and only two of us! All our lame friends said it was too expensive (granted we are flying up from San Diego to eat there). September 1st, 5:45pm. If you are interested, please email me at I will need to make definite plans by this week on Wedensday August 25th.

          And, yes, first we tried the calling calling calling thing, then I figured out a little trick and succeeded in the table for 4 - but the tables for 2 were already gone. It was a hassle and we will see if the experience lives up to the effort.

          1. We used opentable and right at midnight, 2 months to the date of our lunch...we had everything filled out and got it on the first try.
            Prefer the lunch since it was a 3-4 hours with wine/champagne..keep your wits about you while driving back to the city..being that its wine country and across the street is lovely to stroll.
            Good luck and keep us posted!

            1. I refuse to play the phone reservation game. TFL puts aside some reservations for the high-priced hotels and lodges in the area. If you are going to stay in one, let the concierge or innkeeper know you want to eat at TFL. You might be surprised what you can get.