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Reservations: how far in advance?

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Holiday greetings to those of you in the SF Bay Area,

I'm typically reading the Southern New England board (where I live) and the Italy board (where I would like to live), but I've been lurking on your board while planning a family trip in April. I'll be travelling with husband and two older teen sons (15 and 18). How far in advance does one need to reserve? We're not looking at the high-end locales, which my kids would hate, but more along the lines of Perbacco and Cotogna. Our idea of a good meal is Osteria del Forno, which has some of the most authentic Italian food we've ever had outside of Italy. Pizza is not a big draw, as we have a wood-fired oven and make great pizzas at home. We are also looking for good Chinese--especially good steamed dumplings--as the boys travelled to Beijing last year and are underwhelmed by the admittedly mediocre offerings here on Cape Cod.I know from reading your board that Chinatown is actually not the best place for Chinese food, but we'll be in the North Beach/Russian Hill area and will not have a car.

Any suggestions for us? Thanks.

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  1. Play it safe: reserve now then confirm about two weeks prior to the trip. At worst, whoever answers the phone might think you slightly strange for a second, before he or she is distracted by other tasks. I'm sure that you can live with that :)

    1. Perbacco's relatively easy to get into. Cotogna's hard except at off hours. I'd phone them rather than trust Opentable to be right that you can't get a table when you want.

      Try Jai Yun for Chinese.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        i'd agree on Jai Yun for great Chinese but not for dumplings, as i don't think i've ever had one there....

      2. I live close to the bay area, but prefer to plan ahead for places I have wanting to try. One thing I keep in mind is dining time, I usually have better luck with early reservations, peak times seem to be from 7-8. Later reservations are easier to be had too. I used to dislike eating early, but now I plan for a light dessert and coffee or night cap for afterward to stretch a fun night.