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How necessary are dining reservations?

Indianapolis...
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How necessary are dining reservations?
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Heading to NYC in October. We'll make dinner reservations for certain, but for lunch can we just walk up, or are most restaurants requiring reservations?

Whole family has been vaccinated and we'll have our cards handy.

20 replies to this topic
New York City, New...
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1. Re: How necessary are dining reservations?
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That entirely depends on the restaurants you are going to: causal restaurants, just wait up; fine dining: make a rez.

New York City, New...
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2. Re: How necessary are dining reservations?
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It also depends on when you visit and how popular a place is. Holiday weekends or around holidays are better with reservations. It's easier to make a reservation and cancel than wing it. It also means you have to do so,e research ahead of time which will likely get you better meals. A lot of,places around tourist attractions are overpriced and may not be great food. If you prefer last minute decisions, use the search nearby function on Google maps to find options near wherever you are. Yelp and

Eater.com

Grubhub.com

are good places to look at reviews.

New York City, New...
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10,281 posts
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3. Re: How necessary are dining reservations?
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I should also add that if you have a larger party, you should make a reservation to insure that you won’t have to wait.

Brooklyn, New York
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I can think of very few places that require reservations for lunch - but then, I don't tend to go to buzzy, high-end places for lunch (and not often for dinner, either, if truth be told). So unless there's a particular, super-popular place where you're dying to eat lunch, and that place takes reservations, I wouldn't worry about it.

The way I travel, having to arrange my morning to be at a particular lunch spot at a particular time would be a major hassle and interfere with the pleasure of leisurely exploring. Obviously travel styles vary and YMMV, but the trade-off between the certainty reservations provide and the flexibility/spontaneity of just walking into a place that looks appealing is worth considering. That goes for dinner as well: you will NOT go hungry if you don't make dinner reservations, but you may not be able to get into (or have to wait for a table at) specific places.

New York City, New...
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5. Re: How necessary are dining reservations?
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To get the best advice, if you have specific places you are considering for lunch, please name them. A place like The Smith, for example, is casual. But whenever I have gone there for lunch, I make a reservation. Are there plenty of other places that are similar where you don’t need a rez? Absolutely. But if that’s on your to-do list, then a reservation is advisable.

Brooklyn, New York
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6. Re: How necessary are dining reservations?
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A lot depends what time you want to have lunch. 1230 pm and 230 pm are much easier to obtain than 1-230.

Syracuse, New York
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If you really want to dine at a given restaurant regardless of what meal, IMNSHO reservations are always a good idea. However, I have been known to just wander &, if a restaurant is fully committed walk on & find another place.

Brooklyn, New York
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8. Re: How necessary are dining reservations?
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OK, all of the responders suggesting reservations have made me curious . . . the OP has stated that they plan to make reservations for dinner. When you travel, do you generally make reservations for both lunch and dinner? Maybe I'm an outlier, but I don't think I've *ever* done that. Sometimes I do one or the other, often neither, but never both.

Doesn't it make you just a little tense, to have to get to an assigned place at an assigned time twice a day?

New York City, New...
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Depends on the vacation Linda. And I don’t necessarily read it that they are eating big lunches and dinners every day and every night. I just answer the question asked without trying to read more into it.

There are places that I would make reservations for, even if I wasn’t having a full dinner (like that speakeasy place in the theater district - can’t think of the name of it right now if I wanted to go pre or post theater). Or cocktail places in the Raines Law Group where I may only have appetizers. You just can’t get seated without a rez (most of the time). Or lunch at Bergdorf Goodman - I rarely go there but it is a super pretty room and lovely experience, even if you’re only having a salad or something light. You need a reservation or expect a long wait. (Im more intrigued by people who have three meals a day - I rarely have more then coffee and maybe a croissant, and people ask about these big breakfasts all of the time, along w where to have lunch). And people often get the recommendation on this board to go to upscale/up price restaurants at lunch - definitely need rez for that. Then you may have a light dinner. But still need a rez if it’s someplace unique.

New York City, New...
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10. Re: How necessary are dining reservations?
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LInda, it’s not about what I do but providing best info for OP. Posting now, I think maybe they're coming next weekend when places will be crowded.. And/or maybe they want to go to some place well known like Norma’s or Balthazar.

Yea, what Risa said.🤗

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