Sometimes you just want to be spontaneous and go out to dinner. You want to be able to go to the restaurant of your choice. “I don’t want to go to Black Angus tonight!!! I want to go to Mortons Steakhouse!” OpenTable, Urbanspoon and other sites like those tell you that Morton’s has a reservation but it’s at 10pm…for 2 people. But you have five people and 10pm is past your bedtime! Here are a couple of techniques that hae worked for me:
1. Go to your choice of restaurant when they open or closer to opening time. Prime time is 6:30pm to 8pm at most places. Usually there are some openings early evening. Don’t feel like you are your grandparents if you eat at 5 or 5:30. The added benefits are you can enjoy your company and hear each other talk and its healthier to eat earlier in the evening. One drawback (or maybe not) is that some places will tell you that they need the table by 6:30 or 7:00 pm.
2. Every major city is different but in general avoid areas that are major tourist zones. Some cities its best to avoid the weeknight, and in other cities that its best to avoid the weekends. Do a little research and find out how it is in your city. In Los Angeles, its best to head downtown on the weekends! There are a bunch of great places to eat there now!
3. If you don’t care about sitting at an actual table, then sit at the bar (or in the bar area). Many bar stools have backs on them these days which makes them more comfortable. Also it’s usually roomier and quieter in the bar. Sometimes the menu is the same as the one in the main dining room. Sometimes the menu is different and may offer something that speaks to you. If you still want a real table, they might move you mid meal if a table opens up.
4. ALWAYS be nice and courteous! I smile and am polite. Trust me…it works a lot of the time!!