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Oct 8, 2013 09:25 PM


My family of 4 will be travelling from Australia to NYC in December/Jan. I'd like to be organised for New Years eve, but I'm not havnig any luck. I'm not interested in Times Sq, but would like to book a lovely dinner. Our favourites such as Jean-Georges simply say to book 30 days out. I am worried the world will be trying to book 30 days out from New Years. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Has the River Cafe re-opened? I can't tell from the web site.

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  1. Best to learn the reservation system in advance. Open Table starts the reservation clock at midnight, whereas Babbo starts at 9am and Momofuku starts at 10am. Know the policy of the restaurants you're targeting to better your chances of snagging a table.

    For what it's worth, there's fireworks and a midnight marathon in Central Park on New Year's Eve. It's a fun place to ring in the new year without the big expenses and impossible crowds.

    1. Very few restaurants take reservations more than 30 days out.

      River Cafe hasn't reopened yet but soon -- they've done a few private events already.

      Le Bernardin opens its books on the first of the month for the following month. For example, you'd need to call on November 1st for a December 31st booking. You must CALL. Not use OpenTable.

      Annisa takes them 3 months in advance, IIRC.

      Per Se is also 30 days in advance, IIRC.

      All of Danny Meyer's restaurants (Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, etc.) take reservations four weeks in advance including the current day. So this morning, they're taking them for 4 Wednesdays from now.

      Babbo (and all Batali restaurants) take them one month in advance to the numerical date. For example, today is Oct 9 and they started taking bookings for Nov 9.

      Most other restaurants take reservations 31, 30, or 28 days in advance. If you have your heart set on a place, call at an off hour and ask the reservation how far in advance you need to call and at what time.

      You can use OpenTable too but some of the high end places only put the 5pm and 10pm tables on the site.

      > I am worried the world will be trying to book 30 days out from New Years.

      Not really -- many NYers stay home or go to a bar or go to a friend's place since getting around can be irritating (huge crowds in Times Square, big crowds on the subway, not enough cabs to meet demand, much of midtown is blockaded) and prices at notable restaurants are VERY high on NYE, like 200+% of what you'd normally pay. They'll throw in extras like truffles, foie gras, lobster, champagne, and live music as well.

      Lots of places will be doing timed seatings (such as only at 6, 8, 10pm, etc.) with set menus and champagne toast.

      Places like JG won't even offer the regular prix fixe, only a tasting. Last year it was $500pp for the later seating (so that you'll be there when the clock strikes midnight). That's $2,577.50 for a family of 4 after tax and tip.

      As you can see, lots of CHers stay home:

      1 Reply
      1. re: kathryn

        thanks very much for the feedback. I love Le Bernadin & Per Se (although my daughter who is 13 has specifically requested we not go back there, it was a bit of a challenge for her). I'll try my luck at JG & just hope we get in. It seems really odd to me that these places won't take early bookings for New Years. In Australia you can book for New Years nearly 12 months out. I suppose demad exceeds supply so they can do what they want.