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Nov 23, 2012 07:17 AM

did I get dissed with a 7:30 reservation?

I just made a reservation for 2 at Taillevent in April 2013 to celebrate a birthday. We were offered a 7:30pm reservation on a Tuesday night. We are quite comfortable eating later and slip easily into late night dining when visiting our relatives in Spain. I've been reading here and elsewhere that 9pm is generally the most desirable hour to dine in Paris and we would actually prefer that but I didn't want to push my luck as we rarely eat out as upscale as Taillevent. So advice please: should I kindly request a later reservation now? Were we probably offered only 7:30 because it's roughly the equivalent of a 5pm dinner reservation in New York and we are obviously tourists visiting from the United States, or does Taillevent only offer one or two seatings for the evening? Thanks for any helpful guidance. We want to make this a wonderfully memorable cherished experience.

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  1. I won't say dissed,but......easy pickings.If you made it too easy for them to pick your time?I don't think there is an establishment anywhere that won't take the advantage to fill a difficult,under sold, less desirable and so on time slot with the unaware.

    Me,I would not hesitate to pick date and time.

    1. I just made a reservation at Sola, for example, and was offered 8pm, which I politely declined in favor of a 9pm reservation.

      1. You might not have been dissed as it could have been that the reservation person offerred a time that seem to be popular with visitors. At high-end restaurants such as Taillevent, one should have the table for the entire evening and the diner should be able to choose the time for their reservation. My advice is to call them and ask for a later reservation time. I would be surprise if they don't accommodate you. If their current policy is to squeeze in two seatings per night which I doubt (though have not been in number of years), I would go somewhere else.

        2 Replies
        1. re: PBSF

          I agree; call, what have you got to lose?
          When I call I say I want to reserve for x time for y many covers in the name of z. Sure sometimes they're full but if so, I say OK, then when?

          1. re: John Talbott


            The same applies to tables. Remember that the worst table needs to be filled as well as the best. It makes sense that poorer tables be offered and the diner can request another if he doesn't like the first one he is shown.

        2. There's always the possibility that the 9pm time slot is full. That is the simplest explanation.

          1 Reply
          1. re: RichardBreadcrumb

            Another simple and entirely possible explanation is that the host starts at the top of the Tuesday list and 7:30 was the first open slot.

            Always state your preference of time when making a reservation even if it is as general as 'early dinner' or 'late'.

          2. thanks for all of the helpful input. so, if we keep the 7:30pm start time how lonely will we feel? also we thinking this was going to be a good 3-4 experience for the full tasting menu plus a bottle or two of wine...true?

            5 Replies
            1. re: josiahjosiah

              Given my experience and my preference to dine in a full restaurant, I would feel lonely and touristy having dinner at that hour. In Paris, I never reserve before 9pm.

              1. re: josiahjosiah

                I wouldn't worry about being lonely at 7:30. You will get a proper welcoming from the staff. For highend restaurants that I will be spending a long evening, I usually reserve at 8pm and never felt lonely. There are always a few tables already occupied. I like the leisurely feelinge and the time to chat with the staff. And be able to finish dinner before midnight. I can't speak for how long a tasting menu at Taillevent will take but you can take as long as you wish. From my experience, just dessert, coffee, petit fours, paying the check will take 1 1/2 hour. For the tasting menu at P Gagnaire or Arpege, etc, four hours is the norm for us.

                1. re: PBSF

                  A random check of Taillevent's on-line reservation system shows dinner times from 7:30pm to 10pm, in 30 minute intervals - i.e. no set seatings. So a 3-4 hour meal would bring josiahjosiah well past the time when Taillevent would seat new diners; the table would be his for the evening whether he were to show up at 7:30 or 9pm. As a result, I'd follow your (previous) suggestion to call back & change the time to one that's more comfortable, since it won't make much of a difference to the restaurant's operation.

                  1. re: boredough

                    Always wise to remember in a top restaurant it is less about the availability of the table and more about pacing the kitchen. The reservation slots are spread out to spread out the orders. Even the best kitchens can't cope with a rush of simultaneous orders. Thus the table reservations are spread out evenly through the peak service time.

                    And anyway do many people go for long gourmet meals after 8:00 or 8:30? I realize the majority of locals will book a later table but the majority of people are eating two or three course casual meals and thus the late hour works - in by 9:00 or 9:30 out by 11:00. With a long meal in by 9:30 out by 1:30am sounds s bit extreme.

                    1. re: PhilD

                      Yes, you are could affect the restaurant's pacing were jj to wait until he gets to Paris to make the change. But it is November and jj booked a table for April, so you'd think he could get any time he wanted without disrupting the flow. At least it's worth a phone call to find out.