We can all agree that getting a restaurant reservation on a public holiday weekend can sometimes be a near impossible task. That’s why, this past weekend, we decided to use  OpenTable to discover and book the perfect dining experience with ease. As such, we’re qualified to tell you that they are the answer to your girls’ brunch/birthday lunch/date night dinner debacles, with over 1,600 restaurants in Australia and more than 45,000 restaurants globally to book from.

What really struck me was the fact that these guys are genuinely solving a problem. Quite often you manage to tee up a date, time and ideal venue to catch up with friends only to have to go back to the drawing board on the venue front because your first choice wasn’t available. If you’re the person coordinating this process that can be a huge headache, and lead to many a complicated group message scenario.

By visiting www.opentable.com.au or downloading the app on your phone for even more convenient use, you start with the sure thing. That is, the date you want a reservation, the amount of people you want the reservation to be for, and (if needed) the area you’d like the venue to be in. You’re then supplied with a list of places that meet the criteria, an indication of how expensive they are and access to previous reviews. This applies to brekkie, lunch and dinner so yep, you CAN book that birthday brunch for ten people (and with minimal stress/phoning around – hoorah!).

For my partner and I, we were after a restaurant that would take a reservation for two on a Sunday night at 6pm in Docklands. This brought up a plethora of options, with us settling on Riverside Teppanyaki – a really cool, modern Japanese restaurant that is home to Australia’s largest teppanyaki table #funfact. It’s a newby to the platform (they’re always adding new venues) and I’d never done teppanyaki before, so we thought we’d give it a whirl. With a couple of clicks (our preferred time, contact details and confirmation) we were booked in.

It was AWESOME. The food was delicious, the service was excellent and the theatre of watching someone cook your food right in front of you with such skill and precision made for a fun and unique dining experience. Plus, it’s easy to share your thoughts with other OpenTable diners afterwards (the app asks you how you found your experience when you next log in – I gave some feedback the next day).

The OpenTable platform made the booking process easy, and introduced us to a cool restaurant we’d never heard about.

To check it out for yourself, head to www.opentable.com.au and follow them on the gram at @opentableau. Article written in partnership with OpenTable.

We enjoyed;

  • a Japanese mojito with Japanese mint and fresh lime muddled with white rum and sugar, covered in crushed ice
  • edamame beans
  • the flaming number one special – crab salad with avocado wrapped in Hiramasa kingfish and flamed on the teppan with their secret sauce
  • hot mushroom salad with oyster and enoki mushrooms, flavoured with seaweed butter on fresh greens
  • seafood selection – a large king prawn, a slice of salmon, and a Hokkaido scallop
  • grass fed sirloin with grilled asparagus, baby spinach and bean sprouts
  • garlic rice
  • red and white miso soup
  • chef’s special dessert (matcha cake with ice cream)
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