How Long Is Too Long to Wait For a Table at a Restaurant?
New Yorkers are certainly no strangers when it comes to obscene wait times for meals, but, hey, it's different in the Valley. So whether you have reservations or not, is waiting for a table at a popular restaurant worth it in the end? I asked Valley chefs and restaurateurs how long they would stick around, and here's what they had to say:
If I am alone, I will wait about 15 minutes. If I can have a social beverage to take the edge off and am with my wife and friends for company, I can wait 45 minutes. My longest wait was for Pizzeria Bianco at 2.5 hours, but we were having a great time at Bar Bianco playing cards, and we expected a long wait as a part of the experience.
If you have a reservation, then hopefully no more than 15 minutes past your reservation time, unless the place is really busy -- then, perhaps, 30 minutes. Without a reservation, 30 to 45 minutes may be a standard wait, but if I'm hungry, I might look around and see what other options are available.
If I have a reservation, I expect to be seated no longer than 20 minutes past my reservation time.
Waiting for a seat or waiting to order can be a painful experience. In my mind, if I do need to wait, I'm waiting for a dish that I can't live without that day, and usually, in the end, it's worth it. If it's worth it, I will wait up to 30 minutes. Nothing past that time.
I would never complain about a wait as long as the food is good.