“Hello, I am not born yet and I will be your server”

Securing a table at the best restaurants is becoming more and more competitive. Here are some of the world’s most challenging reservations.

A 2017 survey on “financial guilty pleasures” found nearly three-quarters of adult Canadians ate at restaurants more than a few times a month. That and an unprecedented growth in high-end eating joints means securing a table at the best restaurants is becoming more and more competitive. Some of the world’s most challenging reservations:

Damon Baehrel

Wait time: 7+ years

Located in upstate New York, this 20-seat restaurant located in the basement of chef Damon Baehrel’s house closed its reservation list in 2014. Baehrel asks guests not to use cellphones, cameras or other recording equipment when dining.

El Celler de Can Roca

Wait time: 11 months

Twice named the World’s Best Restaurant by Restaurant magazine over the past five years, this establishment in Girona, Spain, opens reservations through its website at midnight on the first of every month for sittings 11 months later.

Alo Restaurant

WAIT TIME: UP to 2 months

Ranked Canada’s top restaurant in 2017 by Canada’s 100 Best, this Toronto-based eating place was called the “toughest room in [Toronto] to book” by Bon Appétit last October.


Wait time: forever

This New York eatery first opened in 1896, but after a glowing review in 1977, owner (and former Sopranos star) Frank Pellegrino began allocating tables to regulars. “Every table has been booked every night for the past 38 years,” Pellegrino told Town & Country magazine in 2015. Rao’s diners have included Madonna, Bill Clinton and Martin Scorsese.

The Fat Duck

Wait time: 4 months

The Berkshire, England, restaurant may have 15 tables, but on occasion has received 30,000 calls a day for bookings. In 2012, chef Heston Blumenthal partnered with the actor John Hurt to create an Alice in Wonderland-style video to congratulate guests with reservations on their upcoming visit.


Wait time: 3 months

Once called the world’s “most in-demand table” by the website Eater, Noma estimated it averaged 20,000 phone calls and online inquiries on the day it began to take reservations for the third month out. Located in Copenhagen, Noma closed in 2017 but is opening in 2018 with “a new menu and a new mission”.