Unless you’re AA Gill, getting a table in the eateries that count can be tricky. Stylist gives you the inside track on how to increase your chances of experiencing the world’s best food
Barcelona, Spain, ticketsbar.es
What: El Bulli chef Ferran Adrià’s new tapas bars opened this year.
Bookings open: Daily – a new day will be available in three months.
Increase your chances: Stay up late as the online-only reservations refresh at 00.01. Check the football listings too, as the restaurant gets the most cancellations on a Barça-Madrid match day, or just take a seat at the bar and take your chances.
Best table: At or near the tapas bar, to see the chefs at work.
THE FAT DUCK
Bray, Berkshire SL6, 01628-580 333. thefatduck.co.uk
What: Heston Blumenthal’s three- Michelin star flagship restaurant.
Bookings open: Three months in advance to the day, so bookings open on 7 December for 7 March.
Increase your chances: Be flexible – 80% of guests book here for special occasions on a fixed date so weekday bookings are easiest. Tables of two are gold dust so go in groups of four or six.
Best table: All of the 14 tables are identical so your focus is on the food.
Copenhagen, Denmark, 00 45-3296 3297, noma.dk
What: The two Michelin-starred restaurant, run by chef René Redzepi, has now secured the top spot on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list two years in a row (when the restaurant first won the title in 2010, they received 100,000 new booking requests overnight).
Bookings open: Three months ahead of the date you want to go, with lines opening at 10am Danish time (9am GMT).
Increase your chances: Book en masse. The Staff Room (private dining space) seats up to 15 people (but can be booked for as many or few as you like), and has reservations only a week in advance.
Best table: If in the main dining room, ask for a table with a view of Nyhavn (the waterfront social hub of Copenhagen).
THE FRENCH LAUNDRY
Yountville, California, 001-707 944 2380, frenchlaundry.com
What: Three-Michelin-star molecular gastronomy from Thomas Keller – America’s answer to Heston.
Bookings open: It takes a minimum of two months to bag a table, but you can book up to a year in advance.
Increase your chances: Eating Friday lunch or plan your trip for late January and early February when there is less tourist traffic.
Best table: Alcove or window-view.
London W1, 020-7629 2999, hibiscusrestaurant.co.uk
What: Claude Bosi’s Mayfair address is one of four UK restaurants in San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best for 2011.
Bookings open: A month in advance; telephone (from 10am) or book online.
Increase your chances: Calling 6pm the night you want to go. This is prime cancellation time. Go for the 9.15pm second sitting after the businessmen have finished their early dinners.
Best table: Snug corner table number five for two or four people.