Monday, April 28, 2014

How to Book a Table at French Laundry


I've been trying to get weekend reservations for the French Laundry for my employer, to no avail. I've been using Open Table, pre-loading all of the pertinent data and upon the click of midnight, at 2 months out for the desired date, I'm consistently a nanosecond too late. How can I get these reservations? Is there a backdoor, handshake with a $100 bill? If so, who do I give the $100 to to guarantee this reservation? Help!

I've been following your blog this past year and your candid and useful info is so wonderful to know: The unspoken rules that rule loudly.

Kind Regards,

Dear PG,

Ahhhhhh... The famed French Laundry reservation, so elusive it might as well be the golden ticket!  There are no secret underground tips, as I hear they try to be pretty fair and they are in such high demand they will never have a shortage of clients.  Here are 7 ways to book a table there! Let me know how it goes and please leave me a comment so I know saw this post please!  Thank you!

1. Private concierge
The best and fastest way to get an RSVP is if you or your boss have an Amex Platinum charge card ($450/yr membership fee which comes with private 24/7 concierge service) or the Amex Black card (by invite only).

2. Group/Event Sales
If you go with a group of 12+ or have a private event, you have direct access to their event planner Amali Svien 707-944-0456.

3. Hotel Concierge
You can also book a hotel room at a nice area hotel and get the concierge to try for you. Don't forget to tip that concierge well too! Local hotel concierge have so much pull and power it's an often overlooked resource.

4. Cancelled RSVPs
Try this site and browse around the forum and/or ask for help there. See if anyone has posted a cancellation in the re-homing forum.

5. Phone Persistence
Call French Laundry directly at 10am PST and be ready to have multiple phone lines going on redial. That number is 707 944 2380

6. Open Table
You already know of the Open Table route which is frustrating. Blogs online will give you all sorts of tips: Find a cancellation on OpenTable. Weekday dinners and Friday lunches are canceled regularly. Especially tables for 4. Check back often. At the moment, there are 3 tables available every day: a table for 4 at 5:30pm, a table for 4 at 9:00pm, and a table for 2 at 9:00. On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday there are three lunch tables available also: a table for 2 at 11:00 am, one at 11:15am and a table for 4 at 11:00am. For Per Se, there's a nightly dinner table for 4 at 5:30. I haven't seen anything else available.

The tables are "opened up" manually by someone at the restaurant between 10am and 11am Pacific time.

Go to this page (French Laundry) or this page (Per Se)

For the time, use 7:30 pm. OpenTable will look two hours before and two hours after for a suitable reservation, so this way you'll find both the 5:30 and the 9pm seatings.

Realize that during some months it can be impossible to use OpenTable to book these reservations at all. Because of French Laundry's policy that reservations can be made only 2 months in advance, OpenTable limits tables on their site to 61 days out. This is correct in all months except for reservations in February and September, when the two preceeding months have 31 days each.

7. Use your network
Depending on your boss, he or she may know someone or have connections, so ask around. Although this may be a long shot, what do you have to lose? You can ask around by phrasing it like you already did, "Do you have any tips on how to get a French Laundry reservation?" If they know someone and want to help you, they'll put you in touch with the right people.

***New “rule” - when you ask me a question for anonymous advice and I answer it, could you write an anonymous comment so I know you read the post?  You can just write “Thx!” or something!  :)  

As always, I usually tweet any new posts I have. And anyone can email me questions and I respond only via this blog, not to your personal address. 

I also write over at under Hollywood Executive Assistant.


  1. Replies
    1. The Muser at Musings of a High Level Exec AssistantDecember 4, 2014 at 11:07 AM

      Anon - I assume you are the person who asked the question, but if not, glad you enjoyed the post!

  2. Ohhh that is interesting!!

    1. The Muser at Musings of a High Level Exec AsstAugust 12, 2015 at 1:22 PM

      Gaby - So happy you found this blog helpful!