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Food & Drink

Trend We Love: wait list–only restaurants that are now taking reservations

Trend We Love: wait list–only restaurants that are now taking reservations
Inside the Michael Rietta–designed space

No one likes spending hours in the cold waiting for a table at a hot new restaurant. But ever since The Black Hoof opened in 2008, it’s become de rigueur for new spots to spurn reservations in favour of buzz-building lineups out the door. Thankfully, there are signs of change, and some of those very restaurants have now recanted from their earlier ways. We’ve rounded up the most recent places to make the switch below:

  • When it made the number five spot on our 2012 Best New Restaurants list, Bloordale’s Ortolan was strictly walk-in. But at the beginning of 2013, they started taking limited reservations for groups of two to five (larger groups can opt for the chef’s menu at $45 per head).
  • Local Kitchen and Wine Bar began taking bookings to fill the tables for their Alternalicious menu this year. They liked it so much, they’ve decided they’ll continue once the prix fixe festival is over.
  • The County General, Splendido’s younger sibling on Queen West, started booking guests for weekday lunch few months ago. At dinnertime and on weekends, however, it’s still the wild west out there.
  • Guu opened in 2009, and quickly became as famous for its two-hour lineups as for its then-novel izakaya cuisine. Mercifully, JaBistro, the new sushi restaurant from the same owners, actually takes reservations.
  • We cheered when Pizzeria Libretto decided to take reservations at its second location; now with three new restaurants rumoured to be in works, we can only hope that owner Max Rimaldi stays the course.

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