Secrets to Getting a Table at The French Laundry

Patience and flexibility reign supreme for dining at Thomas Keller’s celebrated restaurant.

The French Laundry  is a bucket-list worthy Napa Valley destination for any truffle-loving foodie. The challenge: how the heck do you get Thomas Keller’s incomparable restaurant, recipient of Michelin’s highest 3-star rating? With just 17 tables and one seating per night for Keller’s exquisite nine-course meal (chef’s tasting menu and vegetable options), getting a table at this Yountville restaurant can be daunting, with hours of busy signals before you get through—if you do. Knowing a few tricks can increase your chances of sampling Keller’s culinary magic, and experiencing the restaurant’s impeccable service and country-elegant setting.

First, figure out your dates. Reservations are accepted up to two months in advance for the exact date you want to dine: aiming for June 1, call April 1. Phone lines open at 10; it’s not uncommon to hit nothing but busy signals. Set your phone on autodial and persevere. Once you do get through, ask if there are any cancellations—if your dates are flexible you might get lucky. You can also try making reservations online, or through Open Table , though seats are extremely limited. Finally, consider lunch (offered Fri-Sun)—it may increase your chances of getting a table. Truth is, could there be anything better than whiling away a wine-country afternoon at a place as unforgettable as this?