Most Exclusive Reservations in the World
While Australian restaurants are making a shift away from reservations, some international destinations are in such high demand that a reservation is a must. woman with drive has found the world’s most difficult dining destinations, that are well worth the effort, and here are a few tips to help you attain that coveted table.
The Fat Duck, Berkshire
This quaint 16th century thatched pub is home to celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal and serves up nothing short of what you would expect from the real life Willy Wonka. Signature dishes include snail porridge, licorice salmon and ‘Sound of the Sea’ which features edible sand and an iPod for a full sensory experience. Reservations are usually taken by phone three months in advance, however, the Fat Duck is closing for six months during 2015 and will be relocating to Melbourne during this time. Under these very special circumstances reservations will be made through a ballot system with lucky guests selected at random. The ballot will be open to the public from October 8 until midnight October 26. With over 40,000 enquires already, only 16,000 diners will secure a seat.
Rao’s, New York
Known as the toughest table in New York, this East Harlem red sauce joint has been serving classic Italian dishes since it was established in 1896.
Current owner Frank Pelligrino is nicknamed ‘Frankie No’ in reference to his tough reservation system. While you can drop by for a drink anytime, dinner reservations are booked out years in advance by regular customers that hold permanent bookings. If you are determined to score one of these coveted tables then your best chance is to buddy up to a regular, such as Woody Allen or Bill Clinton.
Sukiyabashi Jiro, Tokyo
Sushi chef Jiro Ono stole our hearts and tempted our taste buds in the 2011 documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi, which follows his unrelenting passion for the art of sushi. His modest three Michelin star restaurant is in the traditional style, seating only ten patrons at a time along a bar where you can watch the sushi being prepared before your eyes. Bookings are generally made a month in advance but it is not uncommon to be turned away. Several sources advise that having someone who speaks Japanese to make the reservation might increase your chances, so it is not unusual for tourists to go through their hotel concierge or hire a guide for the occasion.
The French Laundry, California
From the outside, this charming heritage building looks like something out of a fairytale, but it’s not until you get inside that the real magic begins. Owned by head chef Thomas Keller, this three Michelin star establishment was named best restaurant in the US three years in a row. Diners are treated to a set nine-course menu of contemporary French cuisine that is almost as much of a delight for the eyes as it is for the taste buds. Generally booked up to two months in advance, last minute guests can chance upon the two tables that are kept free and released each day.
El Cellar de Can Roca, Girona
Owned and operated by the three Roca brothers, El Cellar de Can Roca was announced the World’s Best Restaurant in the Diners Club Best Restaurant Awards 2013, rocketing its reservations to 11 months in advance. Committed to the avant-garde, their cuisine uses techniques of molecular gastronomy to celebrate traditional flavor and locally sourced ingredients. Their signature dessert ‘Anarchy’ is made up of 43 different elements that look like gems scattered across your plate. Bookings can be made online and a new month of booking is open at midnight on the first of each month.
Do you know of any other hard to get reservations that are worth the effort, or have a hot tip for skipping the queue? We would love to hear about your culinary experiences.
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