The waiting time for tables at some of Europe’s best Michelin-starred restaurants


If you thought that booking a table at a top Michelin-starred restaurant required months of planning, then think again.

A study of waiting times for restaurants across Europe with either two or three Michelin stars has revealed that at 175 of them, out of 349 in total, securing a table only requires a phone call less than two days in advance. 

One three-star restaurant in the Netherlands, however, has a waiting time of over six months.   

The Hand and Flowers restaurant in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, which is run by Tom Kerridge and boasts two Michelin stars. A study has shown that a table here can be booked with 48 hours’ notice

The study was carried out by Celebrity Cruises, which spent weeks contacting restaurant reservation teams around Europe to discover how hard it really is to secure a booking. 

In the UK and Ireland, there are a total of 14 two-Michelin-star restaurants that can be booked within two days, such as The Hand and Flowers in Marlow run by Tom Kerridge; Raymond Blanc’s Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons in Oxford; Cornish-based Restaurant Nathan Outlaw in Port Issac; Patrick Guilbaud, a two-starred Michelin restaurant in Dublin, and La Dame de Pic, which offers French cooking in the heart of London.

Three two-star restaurants have a three to four-day waiting list on average. These are L’Enclume in Cumbria, Nottingham’s Restaurant Sat Bains and Claude Bosi at Bibendum in London’s Chelsea. 

London's quirky Sketch restaurant in Mayfair, which has three Michelin stars. Research has shown a wait for a table can be one to two weeks

London’s quirky Sketch restaurant in Mayfair, which has three Michelin stars. Research has shown a wait for a table can be one to two weeks 

The study shows that up to two weeks should be given in preparation for dining at Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester (three stars), London’s quirky Sketch restaurant (three stars), Midsummer House in Cambridge (two stars) and the two-star Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles.

The wait for a table at Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck in Berkshire (three stars) is two to three weeks and at the Ledbury in London (two stars), it’s one to two months.

The three restaurants with the longest waits in the UK and Ireland are Core by Clare Smyth (two stars and a two to three-month wait), three-starred Restaurant Gordon Ramsay (two to three months) and two-starred Dinner by Heston Blumenthal at London’s Mandarin Oriental (three to four months).

Heston Blumenthal's The Fat Duck restaurant in Bray, Berkshire. Diners have to be willing to wait at least two to three weeks to dine there

Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck restaurant in Bray, Berkshire. Diners have to be willing to wait at least two to three weeks to dine there

The Ledbury in the Notting Hill area of London, which has two Michelin stars. The waiting list here is one to two months

The Ledbury in the Notting Hill area of London, which has two Michelin stars. The waiting list here is one to two months 

There were only three restaurants with longer waiting times than Dinner by Heston Blumenthal.

One is Maaemo, a two Michelin-starred minimalist fine dining restaurant in Oslo, with a three to four-month list.

The second-longest time is for El Celler de Can Roca, a three-Michelin-star restaurant in Girona, Spain, with a four to five-month waiting time.

While the longest wait for a table in Europe is at three-Michelin-starred restaurant De Librije, which is located in the library of a Dominican Abbey in the Netherlands. Its waiting time is over six months.

The study found that overall, only 27 restaurants in Europe with either two or three Michelin stars require booking a month or more in advance, with almost three quarters (249) bookable in less than a week. 

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, which has two Michelin stars. The wait for a table here is three to four months

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, which has two Michelin stars. The wait for a table here is three to four months 

The longest wait for a table in Europe is at three-Michelin-starred restaurant De Librije, pictured, which is located in the library of a Dominican Abbey in Zwolle in the Netherlands. Its waiting time is over six months

The longest wait for a table in Europe is at three-Michelin-starred restaurant De Librije, pictured, which is located in the library of a Dominican Abbey in Zwolle in the Netherlands. Its waiting time is over six months

France is home to the most two and three-Michelin-starred restaurants in Europe – 113 in total. Although a handful do require up to three months’ notice, including the three-star René et Maxime Meilleur, almost 70 per cent (82) can be booked just a week in advance.

Similarly, the general waiting time for Spain, Portugal and Italy’s most prestigious dining establishments is less than a week. However, Italy’s most sought-after spot, Osteria Francescana in Modena, requires a wait of around four months.

Jody Wallace, head of e-commerce at Celebrity Cruises, said: ‘Fantastic food and travel go hand in hand, and when it comes to the crème de la crème of dining – the Michelin Guide is arguably the best barometer.

‘To open up the world of incredible food, we wanted to show that the world’s best restaurants are more accessible than many may think.

‘We hope this first-of-a-kind reservation guide creates a fun and engaging way to explore the world and we hope the project sparks conversation and inspiration for your next trip.’

  • To see how the reservation waiting times compare for every two and three-Michelin-starred restaurant in Europe, click here.

WAITING TIMES FOR TWO AND THREE MICHELIN-STARRED RESTAURANTS IN EUROPE

UK AND IRELAND WAITING TIMES

LESS THAN TWO DAYS:

Moor Hall, Aughton (two stars)

Raby Hunt (Kitchen Table), Darlington (two stars)

Kitchen Table at Bubbledogs, Bloomsbury (two stars)

The Dining Room (at Whatley Manor Hotel), Malmesbury (two stars)

The Hand & Flowers, Marlow (two stars)

Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, Oxford (two stars)

Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, Port Isaac (two stars)

La Dame de Pic, City Of London (two stars)

Le Gavroche, Mayfair (two stars)

Greenhouse, Mayfair (two stars)

Hélène Darroze at The Connaught, Mayfair (two stars)

Umu, Mayfair (two stars)

Greenhouse, Dublin (two stars)

Patrick Guilbaud, Dublin (two stars)

THREE TO FOUR DAYS

L’Enclume, Cartmel (two stars)

Restaurant Sat Bains, Nottingham (two stars)

Claude Bosi at Bibendum, Chelsea (two stars)

ONE TO TWO WEEKS

Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, Mayfair (three stars)

Sketch (The Lecture Room & Library), Mayfair (three stars)

Midsummer House, Cambridge (two stars)

Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles, Auchterarder (two stars)

TWO TO THREE WEEKS

The Fat Duck, Bray (three stars)

ONE TO TWO MONTHS

The Ledbury, Notting Hill (two stars)

TWO TO THREE MONTHS

Gordon Ramsay, Chelsea (three stars)

CORE by Clare Smyth, Notting Hill (two stars)

Aimsir, Celbridge (two stars)

THREE TO FOUR MONTHS

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, Knightsbridge (two stars)

LONGEST WAITING TIMES IN EUROPE

De Librije – Zwolle, Netherlands – three stars – over six months

El Celler de Can Roca – Girona, Spain – three stars – four to five months

Maaemo – Oslo, Norway – two stars – three to four months

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal – London – two stars – three to four months

Osteria Francescana – Modena, Italy – three stars – three to four months

Core by Clare Smyth – London – two stars – two to three months

Gordon Ramsay – London – three stars – two to three months

Aimsir – Celbridge, Ireland – two stars – two to three months

Le Clos des Sens – Chagny, France – three stars – two to three

René et Maxime Meilleur – Saint-Martin-de-Belleville, France – three stars – two to three months

La Chèvre d’Or – Èze, France – two stars – two to three months

Hostellerie Jérôme – La Turbie, France – two stars – two to three

Michel Sarran – Toulouse, France – two stars – two to three months

Schwarzwaldstube Baiersbronn- Tonbach, Germany – three stars – two to three months

Faviken Magasinet – Jarpen, Sweden – two stars – it is impossible to get a reservation before it closes on December 14, 2019. 

Source: Celebrity Cruises 



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