We have had French Laundry on our list of restaurants to try for the longest time, and we finally found a reason to book a table there: my 30th birthday!
For those of you who are not familiar with French Laundry, it is one of the few 3 star Michelin restaurants in the US. We both love trying out Michelin rated restaurants for special occasions, and have only gone to 1 and 2 star restaurants. This will be our first 3 star, and we are very excited!
There are a lot of blogs and forums online that discuss how to snag a table at French Laundry. One thing to keep in mind is that reservations open up exactly 2 months before. We did a similar thing for my 28th birthday at Gary Danko, but it was much easier getting a table there compared to what we had to go through to book a table at French Laundry.
Here were the methods that we read about (as suggested from online blogs/forums):
1. Call the reservation line exactly 2 months before at 10 AM Pacific Time. Use multiple phones if possible to increase your chance.
Verdict: We tried this but were not able to get through (we only used 1 phone though :p). After a couple times we gave up.
2. Stay up on midnight and try to book a reservation at Open Table exactly 2 months before. Supposedly French Laundry has 1 table for 2 and 1 table for 4 released each day.
Verdict: We tried this also, and as soon as the clock strike midnight, the tables were not available! We weren't sure if there could possibly be other people staying up at midnight who got those tables!
3. IF you are able to get through the phone line, and your preferred date is not available, then put your name on the waiting list for as many days as possible and be flexible.
Verdict: We didn't try this route since we wanted to go on a specific day. Our friend tried this method, and it worked. They got a call back with a couple of viable dates.
4. If you booked a room at one of the really nice surrounding hotels in Yountville or Napa area, the hotel concierge might be able to get you a table.
Verdict: We didn't try this route either, but definitely something that you can look into.
5. If you have any kind of concierge service from your credit card (AMEX Platinum, Visa Signature concierge), contact them a couple weeks before the 2 months deadline and have them try to book you a table at French Laundry.
Verdict: Dan called our Visa Signature concierge about a week before the 2 months deadline to check whether they could book a table. They said that French Laundry is a very popular restaurant, and that there's no guarantee, but they will try. So we didn't think much about it.
How we finally snagged the highly coveted reservation at French Laundry:
We unsuccessfully tried methods 1 and 2 above. We were not able to get through, so we were pretty discouraged. Dan checked his email around 10:30 AM after we hung up from the reservation line, and miraculously got an email from the Visa signature concierge saying that they were able to secure us a reservation at French Laundry for my birthday!!! Yay :)