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15 Impossible Reservations to Get in New York City (You Can’t Help But Love)

Hard to get reservations New York City restaurants

No, it’s not just you. Restaurants are getting harder to get into, and some reservations in New York City are borderline impossible to get.

In the spirit of fun I’ve decided to look into the hardest reservations to get in New York City, but offer just enough hope to try. Also, to keep things fair, I’ve left out private restaurants and clubs. Let’s jump in!


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The Hardest Reservations to Get in New York City


Rao’s

Opened in 1896, Rao’s is a small Italian restaurant that’s catered to New York City’s elites for over a century. The likes of John Gotti, Eli Manning, and Mariah Carey have all been regulars at the Harlem restaurant.

Thanks to the constant demand Rao’s has become one of the hardest reservations to get in New York City. The tables are so exclusive that longtime owner, Frank Pellegrino, was given a nickname – Frankie No.

In an interview before his passing, Pellegrino said every table at Rao’s has been booked for the last 38 years. So how do you get your hands on the most elusive reservation in New York City? You pray you befriend a celebrity!

Address: 455 E 114th St, New York, NY 10029


Misi

Misi is the restaurant whose success I feel is my own. Every time I take a friend here they pass it on to their friends, it’s like a pyramid scheme at this point.

Am I responsible for making Misi one of the hardest reservations to get in New York City? Probably not, but I was a part of it. It’s bittersweet but let’s be honest, the pasta dishes are 100% worth the hype!

Address: 329 Kent Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11249 | Reservations

Hardest reservations to get in new York City, Misi

The Four Horsemen

The Four Horsemen would be my go-to date night restaurant if it wasn’t one of the hardest reservations to get in New York City. The Brooklyn wine bar is the full package, and even boasts a Michelin Star.

It’s one of the most affordable Michelin restaurants in NYC, with no entree clocking in north of $35 (just don’t get carried away with the wine menu). The hard part is securing a table, Resy’s go live at 7AM, 30 days in advance.

Address: 295 Grand St, Brooklyn, NY 11211 | Reservations


Carbone

I visited Carbone the week after the Biebers were denied entrance because they didn’t have a reservation. It felt nice knowing I’m not the only one struggling with hard to get reservations in New York City.

While savoring every bite of the spicy vodka rigatoni I knew there were countless others who couldn’t get reservations to the elegant Italian restaurant. My advice: be patient, reservations are available 30 days in advance.

Address: 181 Thompson St, New York, NY 10012 | Reservations

Hardest reservations to get in New York City, Carbone

4 Charles Prime Rib

Another celebrity hotbed, 4 Charles Prime Rib is the steakhouse to end all steakhouses. It’s dim-lit and boasts a tantalizing, exclusive atmosphere that makes it hard for athletes, musicians and actors to resist.

The food is top-notch, which you’d expect from one of the hardest reservations to get in New York City, and has the price tag to match. If you’re one of the lucky few to make a reservation, don’t leave without trying the dessert!

I’ll let you in on a local secret: 4 Charles Prime Rib has one of the best burgers in NYC but folks are often left licking their lips since they can’t get reservations. Instead, head to Au Cheval their sister restaurant for the same burger!

Address: 4 Charles St #3004, New York, NY 10014 | Reservations


The Polo Bar

While there are plenty of restaurants in New York that cater to Influencers, The Polo Bar oozes a sense of old money. It’s elegant and offers high-class drinks and dinner, which you’d expect from a bar run by Ralph Lauren.

Unlike most restaurants in New York City, The Polo Bar still offers most of their reservations old school. Your best chance at getting a table is by phone at (212) 207-8562, but don’t hold your breath. Some folks are on hold for hours only to get a reservation more than a month out. Remember, if at first you don’t succeed, try try again.

If you are one of the few lucky diners don’t forget to follow the dress code. Athletic wear, beach wear, T-shirts, hoodies, ripped jeans, and hats are not allowed, and jackets aren’t required but encouraged for men.

Address: 1 E 55th St, New York, NY 10022 | Reservations (but remember, most are available by phone)

The Polo Bar, Hardest Reservations to get in New York City

Don Angie

The only thing worse than not getting a reservation to Don Angie’s is getting one, trying it, and then chasing that high again but not being able to get a second reservation.

How can I eat anything else when I’ve seen the light?

This is one of the few times I’m glad a restaurant lost its Michelin Star (which Don Angie did in 2023). I’m hoping it makes the New York City restaurant’s reservations a little easier to get. I’m just dying to get back to that lasagna!

Address: 103 Greenwich Ave, New York, NY 10014 | Reservations


I Sodi

Another West Village hot spot, I Sodi follows the traditions of Rita Sodi’s upbringing on a farm near Florence, Italy. The food is simple but so rich in flavor, and with only eight tables it’s one of the hardest reservations to get in New York City. Resys are available two weeks out, refreshing each day at midnight.

Address: 314 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014 | Reservations


Atomix

This fine-dining Korean restaurant has only been open for five years but has been filling up its trophy case.

Atomix boasts two Michelin Stars, was voted the eighth best restaurant in the world in 2023 and head chef Junghyun Park won the James Beard award for Best Chef in New York State (2023).

With so much buzz it’s understandable why Atomix is one of the hardest reservations to get in New York City. They have a partnership with American Express Global Dining Access and also have reservations available on Tock.

Address: 104 E 30th St, New York, NY 10016 | Reservations


Semma

South Indian fare in the coziest of settings? Where do I sign up? Semma is the only Michelin Star Indian restaurant in the U.S., and that success has led it to become one of the most impossible reservations to get in New York City.

I’ll leave you with a pro-tip: order the Gunpowder Dosa. It’s a rice and lentil crepe that will bring you to your knees and make any stress incurred during the reservation process all worth it. Reservations are available two weeks out.

Address: 60 Greenwich Ave, New York, NY 10011 | Reservations


Tatiana by Chef Kwame

Tatiana by Chef Kwame Onwuachi blends African, Caribbean, Southern and New York cuisines into a menu that’s brimming with both originality and flavor.

Take the Truffle Chopped Cheese for example. It takes one of the most beloved street foods in New York City and elevates the dish with quality ingredients and masterful cooking.

The young chef has tapped into a unique market, and folks are eager to give the restaurant a try. So if you want to get your hands on one of the hardest reservations in New York City you’ll have to set an alarm 28 days in advance.

Address: 10 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY 10023 | Reservations


Thai Diner

Thai Diner reservations aren’t impossible to get, but they’re not the easiest in New York City either. The restaurant operates in a mostly walk-in basis and reservations are only available about a week in advance.

Getting a reservation is worth it, though, since sometimes you walk into the restaurant and they don’t have a table for another four hours. Regardless of how you get a table, don’t leave without drinking a Thai iced tea.

Address: 186 Mott St, New York, NY 10012 | Reservations


Via Carota

Via Carota is an Italian restaurant that opened to a lot of fanfare, being owned and operated by two of NYC’s most renowned restaurateurs. I’ve been haphazardly trying to snag a reservation for the last two years, to no avail.

The reservations won’t get any easier to get either. In 2023 Pete Wells, restaurant critic for the New York Times, ranked Via Carota the fourth best restaurant in New York City so the demand will see no end.

The hard to get reservations are available 30 days in advance, and go live on Resy at 10AM daily.

Address: 51 Grove St, New York, NY 10014 | Reservations


Lilia

Plot twist: another Italian restaurant makes the list. I promise I’m not being biased, it’s just New Yorkers can’t get enough of the magic pastas, wines and wood-fired seafood at Lilia.

It almost doesn’t matter the restaurant is housed in a former auto body shop. The hard to get reservations go live at 10AM, 28 days in advance, so set an alarm to dine at one of the most popular restaurants in New York City.

Address: 567 Union Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211 | Reservations


Roscioli

Roscioli has long been one of the best restaurants in Rome, and when the Italian restaurant announced they were opening a location in New York City it stirred up a whirlwind of commotion.

Reservations refresh daily for the New York City outpost at 10AM, 30 days in advance for their tasting menu and 14 days out for a la carte. The restaurant also hosts a variety of wine tastings that are easier to get into, where you get three courses of wine and three paired small bites.

Address: 43 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012 | Reservations


Tips for Getting Hard Reservations in New York City

Set alarms: The most obvious tip for securing impossible reservations in New York City is to set alarms. Most restaurants release a new batch of reservations at specific times. So long as you’re refreshing the website (Resy/OpenTable too) when the reservations refresh your chances of snagging one go up drastically.

Check your credit card for concierge service: If you have one of the premium credit cards with American Express you might have a benefit called Global Access Dining.

Essentially – you call the number on the back of your card and ask for one of these hard to get reservations in New York City. American Express (which owns Resy) then calls the restaurant and they might be able to get you a table.

Expand your group: You’d think that a bigger group means harder to accomadate, but a lot of restaurants will set most of their tables aside for couples. You could have better luck with hard to get reservations in NYC if you look for a table for four, rather than hjyst a table for two.

Avoid Appointtrader: Appointment Trader is a new website/app that allows folks to buy and sell hard to get reservations in New York City. I’ve heard more than one horror story that’s made me stay away. The biggest complaint is folks will sell a reservation and then cancel it, leaving the person who bought it without dinner plans.


Hardest Reservations to Get in New York City (Post Summary)

  • Rao’s
  • Misi
  • The Four Horsemen
  • Carbone
  • 4 Charles Prime Rib
  • The Polo Bar
  • Don Angie
  • I Sodi
  • Atomix
  • Semma
  • Tatiana by Chef Kwame
  • Thai Diner
  • Via Carota
  • Lilia
  • Roscioli

NYC’s Hardest Reservations (Map)


Although these are the hardest reservations to get in New York City, they’re a worthy challenge. Happy hunting, and savor every bite! Until next time, cheers.

Julie Greenwood

Saturday 9th of December 2023

I got lucky at Don Angie once, I showed up at opening with no reservation and was told to come back at 8 for a table. The meal was sooooo worth the wait!