Determination, persistence, and an appetite; these three things are required to snag an elusive table at one of the world’s most in-demand restaurants. Such restaurants are decorated with Michelin stars and employ the world’s greatest chefs, and as a result, they often provide some of the world’s greatest meals. As a group, they offer a variety of foods and beverages; some take reservations by phone and some by email; but they all have one thing in common: they are almost impossible to get into.
Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare | Brooklyn, New York
Mexican-born Chef Cesar Ramirez opened this Brooklyn restaurant next to a grocery store in 2009. It is the first NYC restaurant outside Manhattan to gain three Michelin Stars. The “Chef’s Table”, a counter, seats up to 18 guests as they encounter a 20-course tasting menu. Naturally, note taking, picture taking and cell phone usage is not allowed inside.
Minibar | Washington, D.C.
Seating only 12 guests at a time, Chef Jose Andres creates avant garde wonders for the scientifically inclined. A proponent of molecular gastronomy, Jose’s modern style of cooking features curry flavored popcorn with a blast of liquid nitrogen and the chef’s instruction to “breathe in.”
Sarma | Somerville, Massachusetts
Head Chefs Cassie Piuma and Ana Sortun have combined, dozens of years experience in cooking Middle Eastern food with the finest quality ingredients. The menu is a large selection of small, seasonal plates (meze) that are designed to be shared.
The Polo Bar | Manhattan, New York
Ralph Lauren’s imagination has made him a giant in the garment industry, and now, his restaurant featuring American fare is studded with stars. Beautiful and homey, the bar and the ambiance of the restaurant is reason enough for the long wait times for a reservation.
Sukiyabashi Jiro | Tokyo, Japan
Featured in an award-winning documentary by Netflix, this 3 Michelin starred sushi-only restaurant can be particularly difficult to get into for foreigners. Insiders instruct that because the staff of the restaurant doesn’t speak any English, foreigners should instruct their hotel to call the restaurant and say that they will eat everything with no exceptions and that they will attend with a Tokyo-native.
Schwa | Chicago, Illinois
Expect a three hour plus fine dining experience, as well as heavy metal and hip hop music, from Schwa, a relatively casual BYOB restaurant located in Chicago. Chef Carlson employs only chefs and with no receptionist there is no wonder as to why this experimental restaurant (featuring jellyfish pad Thai) has seats that are so hard to snag.
The French Laundry | Yountville, California
It’s name coming from the buildings previous use as a French steam laundry, this Napa Valley restaurant is owned by Chef Thomas Keller. It’s sister restaurant, Per Se, is often called the best restaurant in New York City. The French Laundry is considered to be even better.
Talula’s Table | Kennet Square, Pennsylvania
With one reservation taken every day for one year from that date, this farm to table restaurant and gourmet market seats 22 at full capacity. The centerpiece of the market by day, the farm table, is available for private events and the kitchen table is available by invitation only.
yam’Tcha | Paris, France
With tea pairings available for those who don’t drink, this Chinese-French fusion is Michelin starred and a short sashay away from the Louvre. Truly experience The City of Light as you fall in love with the steamed Chinese bread and fried shrimp amuse bouche.
Rao’s | Manhattan, New York
“Some people go to the Harvard Club or the Yale Club or whatever. I go to Rao’s.” This exclusive Italian restaurant in East Harlem is more social club than fine dining experience. Owned by former Sopranos actor Frank Pellegrino, the exclusivity and mystique of this restaurant has become self sustaining as politicians and professional athletes struggle alike to get their foot in the door.