Don’t ask for an 8 o’clock reservation on a Saturday night because everyone wants one. A decent restaurant is far more likely to accommodate you early in the week, especially if you can be flexible with the scheduling, so try a Tuesday night instead. Eating after a show, at 10 p.m., in a large city like London or Paris, offers up a world of potential. Here are some additional sneaky entry points:


  1. Use online reservation platforms like OpenTable, Resy, or Yelp.
  2. Call the restaurant directly to see if they have any available tables.
  3. Try to be flexible with your time, as off-peak hours may be more available.
  4. Check the restaurant’s social media pages for updates on current availability.
  5. If all else fails, walk-ins are always an option and can sometimes create a pleasant surprise.
  6. If you’re looking for a specific cuisine, use delivery or takeout services like Grubhub or Uber Eats to see which restaurants are available and have good ratings.
  7. Use apps such as Nowait or NoLine to virtually put your name on the waitlist and avoid waiting in line.
  8. Look for restaurants with more intimate settings, as they may have more availability than large chain restaurants.
  9. Don’t be afraid to ask the host or hostess if they have any cancellations or unclaimed reservations.
  10. Consider going to a bar or lounge area within the restaurant and having drinks while waiting for a table to become available.
  11. Be friendly and polite with the staff, as they may be more willing to accommodate you if you are pleasant.
  12. If you are a frequent customer or a member of a loyalty program, mention this to the staff, as it may increase your chances of getting a table.
  13. Try off-peak booking hours such as early bird specials or late-night dining.
  14. Be open to outdoor or bar seating, as these areas may be more available.
  15. Finally, always have backup options if your first choice is fully booked.
  16. If you are in a large group, consider splitting into smaller groups and trying multiple restaurants to increase your chances of finding availability.
  17. Plan for the next time, and make a reservation well in advance to avoid the stress of last-minute booking.
  18. Check the restaurant’s website for any special promotions or events that may be taking place, as this could affect availability.
  19. Be prepared to adjust your menu choices based on the restaurant’s availability.
  20. Remember that sometimes last-minute bookings can lead to unique and memorable dining experiences!
  21. If you’re travelling, check local tourism websites for recommendations and options.
  22. Don’t be afraid to ask locals for recommendations. They may know of hidden gems with availability.
  23. Please take advantage of technology and use apps such as Google Maps to find restaurants nearby and their current status.
  24. Consider going to a restaurant earlier or later than your preferred dining time to increase your chances of finding a table.
  25. Stay positive, and remember that the ultimate goal is to have a great dining experience, regardless of where it takes place!
  26. Research restaurants that offer flexible menus, such as tapas or small plates, which can be more accommodating for last-minute bookings.
  27. If you have specific dietary restrictions or preferences, call ahead to see if the restaurant can accommodate these needs.
  28. Take advantage of happy hour specials or pre-fixe menus, which may be more available.
  29. Consider booking a private or semi-private area within the restaurant, as these spaces may be more available.
  30. Finally, always be prepared to modify your plans if necessary, and remember to be understanding and patient with restaurant staff who may be busy during peak hours.


Ask the maître d’ for suggestions on how to get a table in the future if you are unsuccessful in getting into the dining room or bar. He’ll probably advise you when it’s not as busy at the restaurant or how far in advance you need to make a reservation. Additionally, it won’t harm to complete a guest registration so that your information is kept on file; most reservationists give such customers priority seating. Try to make a reservation then, before you depart. You won’t have to endure the cold weather again if you do it that way. After all, its all about how you plan ahead for such rainy days!