Note: Reservation instructions have changed from 2011 (changes are in red). Please refer to the booking website for the latest information on how to secure a reservation.
I always have a strategy when it comes to booking reservations to highly sought-after restaurants. A seat at Jose Andre's 6-seat miniBar, done it. Alinea, done it TWICE. Lotus of Siam, many times with zero waiting. El Celler De Can Roca, yup I got one! The French Laundry is another story but I have gotten into the phone queue within 10 minutes every time.
The key to success: RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH
The next reservation I plan on obtaining is for Ferran Adria's newest restaurant in Barcelona called Tickets. The restaurant recently opened a few months ago but seats are nearly gone every day. Dining at Tickets is probably the closest I'll ever get to having dishes from elBulli.
To prepare my strategy to book a reservation, I first read the fine print on the Ticket's website. It states:
How to book
Click on the Bookings button in this website.
Choose a date in black and click on it (if there are no dates in black it means that there isn’t any availability, and you will have to wait until another day is opened for bookings or until a cancellation is made).
Fill in the booking form.
Once the reservation is made, you will receive confirmation via SMS and e-mail.
It is only possible to make a reservation within 60 days.
Everyday a new day will become available for booking in 2-months-time (for example, at the end of the 31.03.2013, there will be
100 80 seats available for the 29.05.2013).
Every night at 12 am there are 80 places at our clients’ disposal.
It is not possible to book by email or telephone. You can only book in our website option, through the site El Tenedor.
It seems straight forward but it's not. First of all, the
100 80 new seats are available at the start of the day which is 12:00am local time. Now I have to calculate what 12:00am local time is in my time zone. I used another website to convert the time zone from Spain/Barcelona to U.S. Pacific standard time. 12:00am local time is 3:00pm PST the day before.
Finally, I tested this theory. Around 3pm to 5pm PST, I would check the reservation book to see what was available. For a Tuesday reservation, I saw a few openings from 7:00pm, 7:30pm, 8:00pm, 10:00pm. I believe the prime time for dinner in Barcelona is 10:00pm local time. I would suspect weekend dates (Friday-Sunday) are probably harder to get than during the week. Fortunately, a credit card is not needed to book a reservation. I assume the demand is much greater than the supply. I believe a few seats are available each night for walk-ins but I bet the line for this will be long.
So my strategy is to book two reservations for two separate days. If I don't get either day, my back up plan is to contact the concierge at the Hotel Arts of Barcelona to see if they can some how book reservations in my behalf. That's it. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for this one.