What Are The Secrets to Scoring a Reservation at Pittsburgh’s Busiest Restaurants?
We’ve rounded up a few of the most popular restaurants in town, and cracked their reservation codes.
If you’ve ever tried to get a Saturday night reservation at DiAnoia’s Eatery or Pusadee’s Garden, you know that it can sometimes feel impossible (and you just know that the newly opened Parlor Dim Sum is going to be a tough seat to get once they start taking reservations). To try to get a leg up, I found out exactly when some of these spots open their books – and when to get those reservations made.
Long story short, it’s very possible to get a table on the date and time that you want – if you plan ahead (see below). Other than that, my signature move is to call a restaurant the day before (and again the day of), and ask if anything has opened up. It’s a long shot, but sometimes you can pick up a cancellation pretty quickly.
Notifications are also your best friend in this situation. All the major reservation players (OpenTable, Resy, Yelp) offer notification services if a table opens up for your preferred date and time. Social media notifications also work, too – I’m a big believer in turning on those Instagram story notifications for my favorite restaurants, and seeing if they post a day-of open spot. It happens all the time.
Also, let’s normalize dining out on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays! Through reporting this story, I found that even the busiest restaurants typically have mid-week tables open, even if they’re on the early or late side. And, don’t knock a 5 p.m. dinner reservation. You’re done by 7, and you still have enough time for after-dinner drinks to be in bed by 10. It’s a win-win-win for me.
But, if you have a special date and place in mind, it’s helpful to know exactly when to get online and get those reservations made. We’ve rounded up a few of the most popular restaurants in town, and cracked their reservation codes, for parties of two to four (bigger parties, always call the restaurant directly). Good luck!
Reservations open up 43 days in advance at 8 a.m. on Resy (which means, the number of days, including today’s date, that are available at all times). Owner Aimee DiAndrea Anoia also encourages people to use the “notify” feature in Resy, and to act first, adjust later. “We always say it’s better to lock in a reservation and try to adjust it later, than to call back later and find that your spot has been taken, which can happen very quickly,” she says. As a last resort, DiAnoia’s has seating in their bar area and outside that is always available for walk-in guests, though you could definitely be looking at a wait. (2549 Penn Ave., Strip District)
Reservations at Pusadee’s Garden are released 30 days in advance at 7 a.m. on Resy, and they also use the service’s ‘notify’ option to let diners snag last-minute cancellations. Also, if your heart is set on enjoying Pusadee’s today, get there right as they open at 5 p.m. It’s not guaranteed, but you’ll have a pretty good shot of getting in the door. (5319 Butler St., Lawrenceville)
It’s not impossible to get a seat at Gi-Jin, though sometimes it feels like it is. Richard DeShantz’s wildly popular sushi restaurant takes reservations 13 weeks ahead of time on OpenTable. You can also sometimes score a last-minute reservation at the counter (you may get lucky as a single diner), and if you ever want to employ the “Instagram notifications” trick for a restaurant, this one would be it. Also, if you’re OK with eating later, reservations after 9 p.m. are usually available, regardless of the day. (208 Sixth St., Downtown)
Still one of my absolute favorite restaurants (thank you for making the lobster spaghetti available nightly!), Poulet Bleu’s reservations open two months in advance on Yelp. Prime seats (around 7 p.m.), tend to book up about a month ahead of time, but you can often find early (around 5 p.m.), and late (around 9 p.m.) tables most days, even on short notice. (3517 Butler St., Lawrenceville)
Reservations at Morcilla in Lawrenceville open two months ahead of time, and those 7 p.m. spots on Fridays and Saturdays fill up about a month out. Early and late seats are easier to snag any day of the week, and you can always try your luck walking in to have a seat at the bar. (3519 Butler St., Lawrenceville)
The times I have tried, and failed, to get a Saturday-night reservation at Dish… it makes me weep. Reservations are available 30 days in advance on Resy, and those prime dinner spots are gone in a flash, especially on the weekends. Walk-ins are welcome at Dish, though, and early and late tables (it’s very European to eat at 10 p.m.) are usually available day-of. (128 S. 17th St., South Side)
Truly one of the toughest reservations to get in town, if you want to dine at Upper St. Clair’s Wild Rosemary, you’ve got to call them at 412-221-1232, anytime after 2 p.m., Wednesdays through Saturdays (do NOT leave a message). They fill up fast, so for this one, you really need to plan ahead. Right now, they’re taking reservations for October and November – and we really have to recommend trying to get one of those tables this Fall. (149 Bower Hill Road, Upper St. Clair)
If you spent all summer jealously looking at Instagram shots of those Churchview Farm dinners, this is how you can get there yourself. Join their mailing list, then set your alarm for the date and time that their tickets go on sale in November. I use three computers, and make my husband get in on the action, to make sure I get the dates that I want – and, I wasn’t being overly obsessive, because they sold out in 9 minutes last year. They also send out updates on other events happening at the farm aside from the chef dinners, including happy hours, Hungarian dinners and multi-course ‘On the Farm’ dinner series, so even if you miss out on the chef dinners, there are still plenty of options throughout the season. (3897 Churchview Ave. Baldwin Borough)
This story was produced in partnership with GoodFoodPittsburgh.com.