I had previously written about the difficulties in booking a table at some restaurants in Melbourne. I'm simply not organised enough to book so far in advance. When I ring up Afghan Village during the day, it's probably fair enough that they are full. But Shira Nui is just notoriously hard to get a table at. Even when I do get a table, they literally kick me out right on eight. I booked Bistro Guillaume for next Sat three weeks ago, and again was told that I need to leave by 8pm. So I'm not sure whether I'm delighted at the No Reservation policy of Giuseppe Arnaldo & Sons.
On the one hand, the benefits for unorganised people like myself who rarely plan things more than a week in advance, it means that I have a chance to eat that restaurant whenever I choose. But the no reservation policy obviously has its massive downfall as well. When I went there last week, by about 7:30pm, the bar part had completely filled up with patrons waiting for a table. Even ex-sports stars like Chris Johnson had to wait patiently.
With a no reservation policy, to guarantee yourself a table at such a popular place, you have to pretty much be at the restaurant by 7pm. This is fine if everyone can make it at this time and you like to eat early. But what if you like to eat at 8pm, well tough luck. You just have to wait in line, and since there is no defined time for how long other patrons will take with their meals, your wait could be 30 minutes, or 2 hours.
The beauty of making a booking is that you are guaranteed a table, provided you're not incredibly late. The down side of that is that everyone else also books, usually before me. This means I have to not only wait a long time to eat at a particular restaurant, I have to be so organised and get all my friends to agree on a time and date and stick to it. That's the hard part. We planned on going to Vue de Monde and Rockpool Bar and Grill Melbourne so many times, only to be told that it was booked two weeks out. Finally, I booked those two places with two months advanced notice. I'm still trying to get organised enough to book Tempura Hajime and The Press Club. Even when I rang the Press Club a month out, they told me their Saturdays were fully booked for another 3 months. What the?
So after weighing it all up, what's my final verdict. As much as I complain about it, I still want to be able to book at a restaurant. If I want to eat somewhere that night, I want to be guaranteed that I will eat there, unless there is some major disaster. I don't want to turn up and end up being disappointed, especially if it was a special occasion. No reservation restaurants have their place. They work well in crowded areas with lots of other restaurants I think. I wouldn't mind waiting for a particular restaurant with no booking, but if it took too long, I could just go to another restaurant close by that was available.
What are your opinions regarding not having reservations at a restaurant? Do you like it or loathe it?