Tokyo Table Trip

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ChuToroZuke

I recently made a booking with a concierge service for an upcoming dinner. I was told that after the booking is confirmed, any cancellations even 60 days ahead would incur the entire cost of the meal, maybe between now and then they could be flexible with changing time with far enough advance notice. Just a heads up to others out there who are mulling over a reservation or even using it as a placeholder, don't. Commit to your reservation or don't go. We need to set better examples as visitors than to those who do not show any decency or respect. In this case, the customer is not always right.

4 个月 ago

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Leo Saito

chief editor, TokyoTableTrip

That sounds like an extreme case.
Of course the customers who do not show up after making reservations are out of question, but I do feel there is an issue with the customer management of the restaurant that handles all the guests from overseas as "foreign tourists." I hear that there are many tourists who are connected to restaurant owners through SNS and make reservations via SNS as well. However, I saw some foreigners bringing souvenirs in order to be popular with the owner. That is not so healthy either...

4 个月 ago
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ChuToroZuke

I agree, there is no balance and finding that optimization is difficult. It does not help that a lot of famous Instagrammers have already curried favor with restaurant owners and are already regulars/VIP and trusted status, and by posting they attract so much envy and copycats.

I suppose the idea of implementing online reservations requiring a credit card hold/deposit with x1.5 or x2 cancellation fee is still a while away. But we don't want them to sell prepaid tickets entirely either, that is a terrible business model where the cost of the ticket (and reservation system) is passed on to the customer.

4 个月 ago
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guest

@ChuToroZuke What do you think about Tableall?

I think Tableall is one of the best things that has happened for foreigners, for some reasons:

1) In some cases it is no longer to go through a hotel concierge while visiting Japan. Paying an extra 4,000-5,000 yen booking fee, in lieu of potentially expensive hotels, is more than reasonable for me, especially given that I prefer to spend a larger proportion of money on dining than accommodations. And the selection on Tableall is superb; I am surprised that they managed to convince places like Ogata, Kimura, and - I would have never thought - Tenzushi to participate.

2) If a restaurant is on Tableall, it is probably more willing to welcome foreigners from the get-go. Concurrently, there is a greater chance that certain restaurants that probably will never appear on Tableall (e.g. if I were to guess some: Morikawa, Kyoaji, Chikamatsu, Shimizu...) preserve a dining crowd that is more informed, since they have to go through higher hurdles to access those restaurants. Yes, it can feel unfair, but at times, perhaps rightfully so.

3) Tableall can help impose cancellation fees on the behalf of restaurant owners who have historically found it difficult to do so. The hope is that this increases accountability for tourists who are not really serious about making reservations and only want to get into the "best" places.

I do think that the price of services like Arry are excessive for those who do not use them frequently but Tableall is a godsend.

4 个月 ago
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guest

Am not chutorozuke, but am not convinced with tableall.

1) Charges are incremental. If you need a reservation for 1 pax, it's a singular charge of 4000yen.If you need a reservation for a group of 4, you are looking at a reservation charge of 16000 yen. If you are using another paid concierge service, like jpneazy, it's only 1000 yen for a group reservation. And for websites like omakase-japan, it costs only a mere 270yen. If you make multiple visits to tableall-affiliated restaurants during a trip, a hotel concierge might be more value for money.

2) Inflexibility. They only do reservations for the restaurants under their list, while voyagin and jpneazy allow you to indicate your own restaurant which you want to book.

3) For highly popular restaurants like tenzushi, they have not been able to book at least based on my personal experience.Have asked for tenzushi in Nov and given a whole week dinner timings and they told me it's all booked and yet was able to do so previously using a 4-star hotel concierge with a 2 months grace period

Not to be seen as totally bashing up tableall, they have gotten me to great places like Ikko sushi or Takiya tempura. Just that, they need more flexibility compared to hotel concierge services, which have managed to get me the reservation on the exact days I want. And probably some comparison need to be made before making a tableall reservation, prime example would be omakase-japan charges 270 yen for teruzushi but tableall 4000 yen.

4 个月 ago
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guest

Thanks a lot for this post, would like to continue this conversation as I find it stimulating. I hope Saito-san doesn't mind.

I agree Tableall isn't all well and good. They totally overcharge for some restaurants. Ishikawa and Teru Sushi both have a quoted price of 35,000 and I believe in this case the booking fee is jacked up to ~8,000-10,000 instead of the usual 4,000. A bit ridiculous since you can call Ishikawa and speak English: it just goes to show that you have to do a bit of due diligence before going through Tableall as well.

Of course, ideally, Tableall would offer greater flexibility by allowing you to choose restaurants, but then again they aren't Voyagin/hotel concierge, nor are they trying to be. However, what I like about them is that they are particularly responsive and reliable. For Voyagin I find that the price of making a booking of your choice is a bit high, and they aren't the most dedicated. I have heard lots of stories of people being "redirected" to restaurants that are comparatively easy to book (ex. Jiro Roppongi). For Omakase-JP getting a reservation at Amamoto is kind of a high-speed-internet gamble, totally frustrating.

I think it just goes to show that each of these platforms has its own strengths and weaknesses, but overall I'm glad that they have managed to facilitate the booking process. Anyway, perhaps we shouldn't clutter up the thread, if you want to continue perhaps we can do so on another medium?

4 个月 ago
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ChuToroZuke

Yeah we are going off topic :-), but I do enjoy the discussion as it is important. I use a variety of sources (all of which have been mentioned) depending on my needs and what's available. TableAll and Pocket have raised their fees, even though TableAll states clearly there is a 4000 yen per person booking fee, it is unfortunately obvious there is some additional padding somewhere for whatever reason that is higher than the actual cost of the meal per person. At least with Pocket you can see the same Japanese language listing and compare it to the English, and you can see that the English portion of the site charges more past the booking fee. In bringing it up with management, Pocket explained to me that it is the cost of translating the items and being a go between with communication/contact/phone in case of cancellation # etc. I get that, but in some cases one meal was almost hitting over US$120 or more, when I knew how much the base meal actually cost. On the surface it seems a bit dishonest, but I guess they do need some sort of insurance policy (also for the restaurants risking a loss with customers who do not honor their reservations for whatever excuses).

I for one am glad to have all these options available, even though they charge a lot more. TableAll has come through for me quite a few times and they will add a few more new listings as time goes by, and although they have raised the price of entry quite a bit, it is also possible that for sushi restaurants that the cost of seafood has shot up a lot and imagine when typhoon season hits what happens.

We can all thank the awful travelers who make reservations and cancel last minute (sometimes with no decency or courtesy). Sometimes Pocket and restaurants take advantage of these last minute/late cancellations and the spots can be filled, but it's still a hairy situation.

So unless you spend the coin to stay at high end hotels with killer concierge service, it's not likely your credit card concierge or some smaller booking service can get you the best spots. For those that accept Go Voyagin, it's a good way to secure a reservation without a local phone number, and you only pay for the booking....the meal you deal with when you are done eating and pay direct to the restaurant. Sometimes that ends up a little cheaper that way. But are those of you out there willing to pay $66 for a booking fee to eat at a restaurant that costs $150 or less? At that point it's at your discretion and perception of value, like bringing a $30 wine or sake to a restaurant that charges $35 corkage fee....sometimes it works wonders to but each their own.

Agreed, TableAll is incredibly responsive, professional and polite. I've had great experiences with GoVoyagin bookings as well. I had one bad problem with Pocket where they cancelled a booking and I had to use TableAll instead for the same restaurant (it was like a short notice 2 days before reservation for a place that was not hard to book).

The Sushi Suzuki scenario where 60 days in advance, cancelling the booking or maybe even changing the date would incur a full charge to the credit card (through Go Voyagin) is super extreme, considering they are not super famous (but well respected by those in the know), but that's not going to stop me from going :-).

Oh, I asked two AirBnB hosts in Tokyo about helping with a booking. One flat out said no they are not a booking service, and the other said sorry cannot help, because she did it before and the visitors never showed up, and her phone # got blacklisted by a lot of restaurants... really sucks about the bad apples ruining it for those who are committed to behaving properly!

4 个月 ago
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Leo Saito

chief editor, TokyoTableTrip

I don't mind, so by all means, please continue your conversation here.

4 个月 ago

guest

Hi saito san,

My hotel concierge tells me the lunch now cost 15000 yen. Is that still a good deal in your opinion?

4 个月 ago

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Leo Saito

chief editor, TokyoTableTrip

It depends on what other potential restaurants you're considering, but I don't think it's a bad choice even at a price of 15,000 yen.

4 个月 ago

guest

Saito-san, how long in advance should i make my reservation to have lunch at sushi suzuki?

4 个月 ago

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Leo Saito

chief editor, TokyoTableTrip

I think that 2 to 3 weeks in advance would be adequate. However, I have heard that they may discontinue serving lunch when the fish market moves from Tsukiji to Toyosu in October, so you might want to verify that information.

4 个月 ago
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guest

Can I book in English?

4 个月 ago

Leo Saito

chief editor, TokyoTableTrip

This is a restaurant we greatly recommend to those who want to relax and enjoy authentic Edomae sushi. (Although many of you may already know.)

6 个月 ago

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