The Divine Secrets of Getting a Reservation at Europe’s Michelin-Starred Restaurants

A new study explores wait times for the continent's Michelin-starred restaurants

chefs in Paris making food yum
Paris is your best bet for getting a table at a place with a Michelin Star in Europe.
Gilles BASSIGNAC/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images
By Tobias Carroll / December 4, 2019 6:15 am

For travelers who enjoy taking in the best food at their destination, the Michelin Guide is an invaluable resource. Going to Paris, London or rural Spain? You might be a stone’s throw from one of the greatest meals of your life. But the wait to get a table at a Michelin-starred restaurant can vary dramatically, depending on where you’re planning to go. You might be able to get space at one within a handful of days, while others require making a booking weeks or even months ahead of time.

A new study from Celebrity Cruises crunched the numbers for reservation wait times at Michelin-starred restaurants with two and three stars across Europe. It’s a useful guide for travelers who might not want to base their entire trip around one reservation (which is a thing now), but are still looking to dine at one of the world’s best restaurants. 

Paris Is the Best Overall Destination for Easy Booking


That there are a tremendous number of great restaurants in France is stating the obvious. But what might be less obvious is how accessible many of them are, including 12 restaurants across the country with three stars which can be booked within two days. Two of those, L’Ambroisie and Guy Savoy, are located in Paris, and no less than four other Parisian restaurants have tables available within a week of booking.

Barcelona Also Offers Numerous Convenient Options


Like France, Spain has plenty of two- and three-starred restaurants where you can book a table with less than a week’s notice. Many of these restaurants, including the three-starred ABaC and Lasarte, are located in Barcelona. There are no less than five restaurants with two or three stars in Barcelona where you can make a reservation one or two days before your meal. 

Plan Ahead If You’re Visiting London — Unless You’re in Mayfair


London offers diners a host of Michelin-starred restaurants with two or three stars — but to get a table at many of them, you’re going to have to plan in advance. Chelsea’s three-starred Gordon Ramsay, for instance, has a wait of two to three months to get a table; getting a table at the two-starred Dinner by Heston Blumenthal is even longer. A group of two-starred restaurants in the Mayfair have a much shorter wait time, however. 

Some of the Longest Waits Are In the Netherlands and Norway


In the case of the Netherlands, the restaurant in question is the three-starred De Librije; the estimated wait for a reservation there is over six months. Though given that the restaurant in question has been hailed for its innovative tasting menus and its blend of traditional styles and unexpected techniques, this one might well be worth planning your trip around. Oslo’s three-starred Maaemo has a slightly shorter waiting time: only three to four months to book a table.