How to get French Laundry reservations

If you have several hundred dollars that are eating a hole in your pocket — slowly — and you want to make a reservation to eat at the French Laundry in Yountville a couple of months down the road, here’s what you have to do.

french laundry website

  1. Be a party of four. Other sizes have to rely on phone reservation. The odds of getting a table for two within a couple of months by calling the restaurant are probably less than the odds of John Edwards becoming president.
  2. Exactly two months before you want to eat, a little before midnight, fire up the OpenTable French Laundry reservation page
  3. Enter your information and the time 7:15. Every midnight two reservations, one at 5:30 and one at 9:00, open up on OpenTable two months down the road. The 7:15 time puts you in the running for both.
  4. Get your credit card ready to go.
  5. Have some way of knowing exactly what time it is — for example, open up the official U.S. time clock in another browser window.
  6. Finally (quoting from insider, the source of these instructions) “When the clock hits 11:59:56, click the red search button on OpenTable. If you get a page that offers a time, you’ve gotten in. Last night, my husband and I were using separate computers, but followed this method. He got the 5:30pm time, and I got the 9pm.”

The FL consistently scores at the top of Bay Area restaurants.

I hope it’s worth it.

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  1. Good grief – all that work just to get some fancy food? I have no doubt that the French Laundry is a marvelous place to eat but can’t all that work go into something more important, like solving the crisis in the Middle East or resolving issues around global warming? How important can one restaurant be?

  2. I just called and got a reservation for two, which was easier than the “impossibility” I was lead to believe it would be. It’s all in the timing. You will have to call exactly two weeks in advance and call exactly at 10am (california time) I started hitting the call button at exactly 10am… first call was a busy signal, second call was a busy signal, third call I got through and got my reservation. Maybe I’m just lucky?