Unless your first international trip happened within the last few…
The French Laundry in Yountville, California is one of the best restaurants in the world. It is also known as one of the most difficult to get a reservation at, but it really isn’t as difficult as most people think to secure a reservation there. All you need to do is mention our names and they’ll seat you at once! Just kidding (although that would be nice).
There are a couple of ways to secure your reservation. First, simply call the reservation line when they open exactly 2 months before the date that you would like to visit the restaurant. You might have to call in a couple of times if the line is busy, and you’ll probably have to hold while people ahead of you are processed, but if you call in on time you should get the reservation on the day of your choosing.
The second way to get a reservation is to put your name on the wait list. The French Laundry always has a wait list available and you have a good chance of getting in if you are on it. Reservations must be confirmed 72 hours in advance and people’s schedules tend to change when they’re planning two months out. This means that two or three days before the day you are wait-listed for, you might get a call from the restaurant notifying you of a spot that has opened up. And if not, hang in there because the restaurant will sometimes hold back a spot or two until the last minute just in case a VIP shows up and needs a table. I’m not sure how likely that is to happen at TFL, since it is a bit out of the way, but I’ve been told by reliable sources that wineries sometimes sneak in their VIPs on relatively short notice that way!
The last way to get a reservation is to book the private dining room upstairs. This room can be booked with a deposit up to 1 year in advance and it is handy to know that this options exists in case you want to ensure that you get a table for that special birthday/anniversary/etc. The deposit goes towards your dinner bill when you eat, too. The server told me that he had seen couples as well as groups of up to 12 people in the private room, so there doesn’t seem to be a minimum number of people to snag it, either.
The reservation number is (707) 944 – 2380 and the line opens at 10 am every morning. They take reservations for lunch and dinner daily.