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Feb 25, 2011 08:46 PM

Reservation Strategy for The French Laundry

I will be in San Francisco later this year and would really like to eat at TFL. I know that reservations open up 2 calendar months in advance but am trying to figure out exactly when and what the best method is. I have seen that oven when I look at dates exactly two months away, OpenTable shows no tables available. Does TFL limit the number of tables available through OpenTable (eg, Do I have to ring up?) or do I literally need to get onto OpenTable at 12:01am 2 months before to score a table?

Thanks for your help.

The French Laundry
6640 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

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  1. TFL only has two tables on Open Table per service (I think it's two for lunch and two for dinner) so if you want to reserve on OT, generally yes, you'll need to get on at exactly 12:00 2 months before, and that even usually won't do it. If that fails, you will need to call -- the lines open at 10 am, and it can take 30-45 minutes to get through. Since it's coming up, if you can swing it, call on February 28, you'd be able to reserve for April 28, 29, and 30th.

    1. Keep calling. And maybe not at 10:00 am. I could not manage to get a reservation before a trip to Napa Valley but did so by getting through on the phone while there. I got through about 2 or 3 pm local time. Be flexible i.e. willing to accept lunch or dinner spots and be open to time. TFL staggers their reservations.

      1. FYI - Lunch menu is the same as the dinner menu

        1. I believe recently FL has been altering the time when the OpenTable reservation opens up. It's not always at midnight anymore and is much more of a crap shoot. Calling is still the way to go, especially if you have 2-3 phones on speed dial.

          3 Replies
          1. re: foodnphotography

            My strategy was with Skype + Moonlight21 (A skype redial plugin) I was able to get a 5:30 PM reservation for April.

            1. re: foodnphotography

              We went there for lunch for our 10th anniversary recently. The tables come available on Open Table at 10:00AM - ish, not midnight. Before I reached the day for making reservations for my anniversary, I practiced a few times on Open Table getting a reservation and then giving it up. I was pretty reliably able to get lunch reservations. I think dinner is harder to get. Friday lunch is the easiest, I think.

              By the way, the comment above that the lunch menu and the dinner menu is the same is not correct. I'd always thought this was so, but I asked about this while I was there and was told it was not true. Indeed, I checked the dinner menu for that night online, and it was different from what we were served.

              1. re: Martin Strell

                It's a different menu, but it's still a nine-course tasting menu, not something scaled down for lunch.