How to: shoot the northern lights, and more
The tricks to getting a meal in the world’s most popular restaurants, even when they’re fully booked
1 Don’t take no for an answer
No -shows happen even at the coolest place in town, so calling on the day or turning up and asking isn’t a lost cause. To show you’re serious, tell them you’re prepared to wait.
2 Sit at the bar
Ask if there are communal tables or spare seats at the bar, rather than a proper table for two or four. Many restaurants are increasing capacity in less formal spaces, as solo dining and more relaxed meals grow in popularity.
3 Dress up
If you’re being spontaneous, make sure you look the part. Someone who is smartly dressed stands a better chance of being squeezed in at a soughtafter location than someone in shorts and trainers.
4 Try unusual times of day
A ver y early or late sitting, even breakfast, can be an easier time to score a table. If you’re jetlagged, this might be a time that suits you better anyway. Take note of local peak-time dining periods, which var y countr y to countr y.
5 Ask a local for help
Ask a hotel concierge if they can swing something for you. Their local knowledge and contacts may open something up. If they do, make sure you tip them.
Find more advice in Lonely Planet’s Best Ever Travel Tips, out now in a fully revised and updated edition (£5.99; shop.lonelyplanet.com).