I just returned from an amazing weekend up in Napa. I was all set to write reviews of the restaurants we had just enjoyed. As I sat down to check email, I found feedback forms from OpenTable and it occurred to me how much I love their service. Not only are they "instant, reliable and free"; now I can review where I have dined.
I have been using OpenTable for a while now and it's the only way I make reservations, unless of course the restaurant (French Laundry and Chez Panisse, for example) still relies only on phone calls. I enjoy the ease of just going online, selecting the time, the date, the size of my party and seeing what is available. They send confirmation messages to me and any guests. The extra perk is that I have been receiving points for all of my reservations towards dining at one of my favorite establishments.
I use OpenTable when I travel as well. They list the top 10 requested restaurants to give you some guidance, although I still recommend reading reviews. Speaking of which, here's the feedback I gave OpenTable about our Napa trip.
The area is chock full of gastronomical goodies and while we were often wowed by menus, we were also annoyed by the noise in a few places. Tables were to close together in one my favorites, Bouchon. I was privy to entire conversations and could not hear my husband speak. I encountered the same issue at The Girl and The Fig in Sonoma. The other patrons were so boisterous (and likely drunk) that we left as soon as we could. I get the idea of a "bistro", but when you can smell your neighbor's perfume, you are too close.
We had our favorite meal at Mustards. The manager came over to our table to discuss my food allergies. The food and ambiance were perfect. Not to be forgotten, was my soy cappuccino from The Boon Fly Cafe. (Ramon made the best cappuccino ever!) I'm already making reservations for my next trip.