How to Get French Laundry Reservations at Yountville, Napa

Beautiful Life

Two years ago, Isa first mentioned "French Laundry restaurant" to me, as recommended by a close friend.   It is a world-renowned French restaurant, one received Michelin Guide 3-star located at Yountville, Napa. We knew the dinner price would be pricey to us, so we set some milestones as motivation for us to complete and to receive French Laundry dinner as our reward.  I started to look into dining reservation for two and prices as well.
Traditional ways to reserve did not work
  1. I made more than 20 calls around the time French Laundry opens for the day.  The phone calls never got through.
  2. Last time we visited Napa, we intentionally dropped by at the French Laundry. They do not take reservation from the public that way.
  3. I tried to book reservation via with no success either.
Googling about booking French Laundry confirmed that I would need additional help, as I did not think I had the luck to connect to French Laundry through phone call.

Concierge Services

It was my first time to use concierge service.  The concierge service is free of charge.

MasterCard Concierge 800-336-6420
Visa Concierge 800-953-7392
American Express Platinum Concierge 1-800-345-AMEX (1-800-345-2639)

I called MasterCard Concierge service, as I have Chase Ink Bold MasterCard.  They responded courteously that they would do their best to make a reservation within the preferred date range I provided.  (Asking to book on a specific date would not likely work).  That was all I needed to do: called concierge service.  Six weeks later, I was thrilled to receive the following email from MasterCard Concierge.

Dear Mr. Wong, 
I am so happy to inform you that we were able to secure your reservation at The French Laundry for Saturday, November 23 at 9pm.  The reservation is under the name, Patrick Wong and is for two guests.
All reservations must be reconfirmed 72 hours prior to the reservation date.  We will be honored to reconfirm your reservation for you on October 30th.  Unfortunately changes in party sizes cannot be guaranteed and may result in the forfeit of your reservation.
Please note that jackets are required for gentleman.  In addition, tennis shoes, shorts, or tee shirts are not allowed.
I hope you have a wonderful time!  It has been my pleasure to assist you.   
At your service,

Thank you for using the MasterCard Concierge Service. It has been a pleasure to assist you and we look forward to helping you with all of your future needs. Don’t forget to visit us online at or call us directly the next time you need to make travel arrangements, dinner reservations or need ideas for things to do this upcoming weekend. To ensure that you continue to receive your emails from MasterCard Concierge, please to your Address Book or Safe List.

On November 23, 2013, we had our dinner at the French Laundry.  Isa was very pleased.

Dress code for Men and Women
Dress the best you can, as if attending a formal wedding ceremony.  No jeans.  Jacket is required.  I regretted not wearing suit.  The restaurant reserves the right to not let the guest to dine unless dress code is observed.

As of 2013 November 23, with some food choice upgrades, we paid about USD $600 excluding wine.
  • French Laundry experience would be more exciting if not knowing what food you will be served, so I do not post the menu here.   
  • Go dining with a low expectation.  It is nice to be surprised.
  • It is a full-course dinner, lasting about 2 hours.  Do not worry about the tiny quantity.  I did not feel hungry at the end.  In fact, we were so full that we requested to have desert to-go.
  • Can not emphasize again.  Dress nice and smile.

Chocolate Mousse Cake
Isa likes French Laundry.  Probably because I do not know how to cook, I could not appreciate the full beauty of delicate French cooking and presentation.  It was still a very merry experience.

Are there credit cards which offer concierge service and does not have annual card membership fee?
There are two that I know: Citi Hilton HHonors Citi Visa card, Chase Freedom Visa Signature Card.

Where to stay overnight at Napa?

Our simple king-bed room
There are plenty of fine hotels/B&Bs at Napa.  I prefer to tap into my vacation currency Hilton HHonors points or Chase Ultimate Reward points for Hyatt.  Because we only had two months in advance to know when we had the French Laundry reservation, redeeming Hilton hotel overnight stay using HHonors point was too late.  I used 18,000 Chase UR points (equivalent to $180) to redeem one overnight stay at Andaz Hyatt at Napa, which would cost $280 before tax.  Andaz Hyatt is about 10 minutes drive to French Laundry, located in the Napa downtown with free parking, and convenient to walk to tour downtown.

Sunny Sunday morning shot
Quite interesting how things have turned out.

No comments:

Post a Comment