Food & Spirits: Emyr Thomas from Bon Vivant, London's most affordable and personal concierge service, shares his thoughts on how to secure the best table at your favourite restaurant.
Whether it's a birthday, a hot date or an anniversary, we all want to impress when we take someone special out for dinner. Follow these tips and you'll be well on your way! But first, do note that there is no sure way to bag the best table, as most restaurants try to treat all of their guests equally, and exactly which table is best depends on the individual person.
However, there are things you can do to help your quest for that table by the window (or in the cozy corner, or in the centre of the room).
The most important rule is to be polite and well mannered at all times, especially when you call to make the reservation. First impressions really do matter.
If it's a special occasion, then you should mention this at the time of booking, as restaurants will want to make it memorable for you when possible.
If you are in a large group, you may not get the best table, as groups tend to be placed where they won't disturb other guests (which is only fair to other guests).
If you have been before or know the restaurant well, try to request a specific table or area as they will often try to honour your requests.
Being a regular will greatly improve your chances. Restaurants love loyalty and want to reward regular customers.
Phone to confirm the reservation and ask them again about your specific table - persistence can pay off.
When you arrive at the restaurant, dress smartly and look the part - you are far more likely to get the best table if you dress to impress.
Arrive early, or at least on time, and be polite to everyone when you arrive. Then ask again about the table if you've requested a specific one. If you are late, you might lose it.
If you don't mind when you eat, try to book at off-peak times. As demand will be less, and with fewer people to placate, your chances of getting the best table will improve dramatically.
Of course, booking through someone who has a personal relationship with the restaurant, such as a concierge service, can also help, as we often know the restaurant well, have a personal relationship with them, and send regular business to them. And that can also equal best table for your dinner out.