The World's 8 Hardest Reservations to Secure
From San Francisco to Copenhagen, the restaurant world is more competitive than ever, which means chefs across the globe are showcasing their A game. We've put together a list of the most exclusive restaurants in the world. Scroll through to find out how many months (or years) in advance you need to make all of your foodie dreams come true.
Courtesy of El Celler de Can Roca
San Pellegrino named El Celler de Can Roca the number one restaurant in the world, and since then, snagging a reservation at this world-renowned restaurant is as rare as winning the lottery. Joan, Jordi, and Josep, three highly gifted brothers, are the culinary masters behind this Catalan wonder. But to taste their food, you must make a reservation online, at midnight (Spanish time), on the first of the month, exactly 11 months in advance. Inspired by molecular gastronomy as well as their mother's cooking, these men know how to make your taste buds dance with flavor.
State Bird Provisions is unlike any other restaurant you've ever dined at. Its minimal aesthetic offers a blank canvas on which owners Brioza and Nicole Krasinski can play. The husband-and-wife pastry-chef duo find joy in experimenting with food, and they bring that sense of playful adventure to their patrons. "Eating should be fun," Brioza tells Bon Appétit. "We want to throw a sense of adventure into the dining experience. We're not thinking that every dish that comes out needs to be a masterpiece." The Krasinskis' healthy dismissal of perfection has brought them just that—exquisite taste delivered in a surprisingly daring manner. When you first sit down, carts of small single-bite dishes roll past on carts. Like at a dim-sum restaurant, you are encouraged to point and pick your favorites. Next come the pancakes—from a sourdough version with sauerkraut to a pecorino ricotta number, these are not your ordinary flapjacks. Before you can taste the scrumptious but not-too-sweet desserts, State Bird Provisions has incredible protein dishes like glazed pork ribs and crispy cumin lamb for you to try. State Bird Provisions is usually booked at least three months out, but it does reserve room for walk-ins. Line up early, though; the average wait time is two to three hours, and hopeful diners line the block to try to make the cut.
Courtesy of Talula's Table
In the daytime, Talula's functions as a gourmet grocery market. However, this famous Philadelphia farm-to-table eatery moonlights as a dinner party sanctuary with one of the most exclusive guest lists in the country. The restaurant has two tables: the chef's table, which serves eight and is invite only, and the farm table, which seats 10 to 12 people for an eight-course dinner menu. With one seating night, spots are rarer than snow in July. To book, you must reserve the entire table exactly one year in advance. Reservations usually go at 7 a.m., the minute the shop opens. Keep an eye out for last-minute cancellations, which are posted on the website and Facebook page. We recommend crossing your fingers and hoping for a midweek cancellation. It's definitely your best bet for this culinary sensation.
Courtesy of The French Laundry
The French Laundry, a beacon of the farm-to-table dining and Northern California style, has been one of the world's greatest culinary wonders for over two decades. Named "the best restaurant in the world, period" by famed food critic Anthony Bourdain and the recipient of numerous awards such as Wine Spectator's Grand Award and Restaurant Magazine's Best Restaurant in the World, this three-star Michelin dining oasis is everything you could dream of and more. Just make sure to get the wine pairing with your decadent 12-course meal. In order to secure a reservation for this three- to four-hour meal, call the reservation office at least two months in advance. Ask to be put on the waiting list if you don't make the cut. Waiting-list spots only go to those who call, preferably on a recurring basis.
CNN calls acquiring a reservation at Tickets a "mission impossible," and we can see why. The eclectic restaurant is the brainchild of Ferran Adrià and his follow-up to the world-famous El Bulli. Reservations can be made online at midnight (Spanish time) for a date at least two months in advance. Come to this colorful food paradise hungry. After dinner, guests are ushered into the dessert room for sugary confections and irresistible pastries. Decorated like a strawberry-themed room in Willy Wonka's chocolate factory, the sweet shop will make you really feel like you have died and gone to sugar heaven.
To secure a reservation at Noma, Restaurant Magazine's "world's best restaurant" for two years in a row, start racking your brain for connections to anyone you know who might be even slightly connected to the kitchen or wait staff. Without one, you will have to rely on online reservations, which open two months in advance. You generally have to wait in a queue on multiple browsers for several hours before you are granted access to the reservation system. Dedicating one sleepless night to waiting for a spot at this Nordic gem is worth it. A meal at Noma consists of about 20 small plates, most of which resemble nothing you've ever seen before, such as homemade bread with pork fat and a soft, pickled quail egg on hay. But before you sit down to eat, you are given a tour of the kitchens. Full of 35-plus interns, multiple chefs, and master chef René Redzepi himself, the multistory multimedia cooking chambers are a glorious production in themselves. Subject yourself to an interminable waiting list for Noma—it's the most influential restaurant in the world for a reason.
Courtesy of Vice
AL's Place, a bright, quirky restaurant in San Francisco's trendy Mission District, is Bon Appétit's new favorite eatery in America. Named after and built by owner and chef Aaron London, AL's Place is a vessel of passion and flavor. Bon Appétit's deputy editor says that "there's something about every dish that you realize that there's something going on here. Someone is smart and excited about what they're doing." In our eyes, that's about as wonderful a compliment as you can give someone. Online reservations usually fill up months in advance, but arriving before 6 p.m. on a weeknight for a walk-in reservation is your best bet. Enjoy this small, adventurous eatery before its popularity blocks its entire reservation system for a year.
Sukiyabashi Jiro, the 10-seat, three-star Michelin sushi restaurant located in Tokyo's metro system, is nearly impossible to get into. If you find yourself even considering a trip to Japan, book a seat at this bare-bones restaurant immediately. Most visitors make reservations up to a year in advance. To learn more about the location of the world's best sushi, watch Jiro Dreams of Sushi. The famous documentary will reveal the artful precision, patience, and respect required to make such outstanding food.
Have you snagged a hard-to-get reservation? How did you do it? Did you go to preschool with the host? Share all of your winning ways with us in the comments.