Home Food + DrinkBars How to Get Into Hoboken Restaurants That Don’t Take Reservations

How to Get Into Hoboken Restaurants That Don’t Take Reservations

by Cristina Lombardi
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Hoboken has become somewhat of a destination for local residents and out-of-towners alike as a great place to dine with friends and loved ones. Because of the high demand, making those brunch or dinner plans can be more challenging than you think – not only because it’s hard to choose between all the incredibly delicious spots in the Mile Square, but because a handful of those spots do not take reservations. While the majority of restaurants in Hoboken do allow for online reservations (through sites like Resy or Open Table) or over the phone ones by calling the establishments directly, a few of our fave local eateries do not (and we all know waiting for a table can be a gruesome experience at times, especially with that one friend who gets particularly ‘hangry’).   Whether the restaurant books up far in advance, doesn’t take online reservations, or does not take reservations at all – the struggle is real. But not all is lost. We’ve compiled a list of those hard to get into restaurants + some tips and tricks to getting a table. Read for how to get into the Hoboken restaurants that don’t take reservations.

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Pros and Cons of A No-Reservation Policy

Believe it or not, there is a method to the madness when it comes to restaurants not accepting reservations. For instance, some restaurants use it as a marketing tool – that good ‘ol rule of supply and demand. Exclusivity, based on the number of seats available attracts more people and creates buzz. Customers view you as a more exclusive restaurant because seating is limited – you’ll need to arrive early and on time.  Also, a no-reservation policy eliminates no shows altogether which has cost saving benefits for the restaurant.  There’s no delay between tables (a regular occurrence when accepting restaurant reservations), which means restaurants with walk-in seating can turn tables faster, boosting their profits.

On the other hand, people (us included) do not enjoy waiting in line to eat – especially those on a tight schedule or families with hungry children. It also makes it hard to plan your night when you’re unsure of what time you’ll be seated. On the business side of things, if a restaurant doesn’t take reservations, they risk missing out on new customers trying to find a table or who prefer to book online. In addition, not accepting reservations means they don’t know how many guests they’ll have to feed and at what times. If their front of house team doesn’t have any idea how many people to expect, they can’t prepare the best floor plan, which puts unwanted pressure on all staff.

Tips to Get Seated and Served Quickly:

  • Join the waitlist so you are alerted if cancellations occur. 
  • Call ahead to let them know you have a group coming so they can prepare in advance.
  • To save even more time while dining, you can have your party browse the restaurant’s menu online so you have an idea of what you would like to order.
  • If your party is very large, be open to splitting up into separate tables nearby in order to accommodate everyone in a timely manner.
  • Most restaurants tend to be busiest between 4:30PM and 7PM on Friday and Saturday nights. For faster service, try dining Sunday through Wednesday or during off-peak hours.
  • Be aware of the size of the restaurant, which can impact how long it takes for you to be seated. A more intimate restaurant will have a smaller capacity and a limited number of tables. On the flipside, if the restaurant is large or has two floors, servers will need to spend more time navigating a larger space.

With those tips in mind, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorite Hoboken spots that are particularly hard to get reservations for with tips on how to get a table. 

Otto Strada | 743 Park Avenue


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Reservation sitch: No reservations

Otto Strada is a small, BYOB spot that does not take reservations — but it’s definitely worth it to wander over there for a meal. There’s also a comfy outdoor area decorated with vines for when it’s too packed to eat inside. The stuffed artichoke is an awesome way to start off the meal while perusing the large menu, though the kind servers will say that the best thing at Otto Strada is the pasta (and they’re not wrong, considering it’s housemade).

Turning Point of Hoboken | 1420 Sinatra Drive North

Reservation sitch: No reservations

Turning Point is an uptown family-friendly brunch spot with a huge menu of breakfast favorites. Omelets and Bennys are great but you can’t go wrong with the pancake stack – especially with flavors like cinnamon roll and lemon blueberry. From the dining room, you can see the view of the Hoboken Waterfront and Manhattan skyline. Because they don’t take reservations, on the weekends, you’ll need to show up early or put your name down and take a walk along the water until they call you. 

Margherita’s | 740 Washington Street

Reservation sitch: No online reservations, must call restaurant directly 

Pizza is always a good idea, and pizza during brunch is even better. Margarita’s is a must-try spot serving up homemade, fresh pizzas, brunch entrees, and specialty cocktails. The outdoor seating is lively and comfortable, located in the heart of Hoboken. While they don’t provide an option for online reservations, you can call the restaurant directly.

Read More: Freetown Road Project: Delicious Caribbean Food in Jersey City

Augustino’s | 1104 Washington Street


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Reservation sitch: They do take reservations, but we might as well say they don’t – it’s that tough to get one. 

Augustino’s is known around town as a highly-coveted dining spot — partially because it’s tough to get a table (it’s tiny inside) but also because the food is so delicious. The owner, Buddy, opened up back in 1997, naming the restaurant after his father. Fun fact: Buddy’s father sang in the same Italian-American musical quartet as the one and only Frank Sinatra, and there are photos all over the restaurant to celebrate it. This menu is really stacked. The orecchiette + broccoli rabe (pictured above) with sweet or hot sausage is flavorful and rich — and the chicken parm is also a must-try here. But perhaps the best thing to get: the pork chops. Whether served breaded with apple sauce or sautéed with peppers, it’s a winner at Augustino’s. We also highly, highly recommend finishing off the meal with some ice box pie. It has a full bar as well — but heads up: it’s cash only.

Antique Bar + Bakery | 122 Willow Avenue  

Reservation sitch: Very tough to get reservations. May the odds be ever in your favor.

The vibes at Antique Bar + Bakery are unique, and what is even more unique is the perfectly curated cocktail menu. Paired with the mouth-watering brunch menu, the cocktails are designed to put the best flavors and alcohol together, on the rocks, or straight up. Plus, it won the best cocktails in Hoboken of 2020, which is hard to beat. Brunch is offered on Saturdays and Sundays, but reservations full up quickly. You’ll want to plan way ahead if you want to secure a table here. 

Dear Maud | 205 1st Street

Reservation sitch: Tough to get reservations

Dear Maud is a newer Hoboken spot that’s been getting a ton of great buzz, and for good reason. The ambiance in here is awesome — it has a clean, chic, modern feel to it with plants adorning the ceiling and perfect mood lighting. The food is sort of uniquely Irish-Asian fusion, and the cocktails are a must-try here. You won’t be able to get enough of this new spot… when you can get in. This is another place you’ll want to plan plenty in advance.

Moran’s | 501 Garden Street


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Reservation sitch: No online reservations, must call restaurant directly

Located in the heart of Hoboken, Moran’s is one of the oldest authentic Irish pubs in the Mile Square. You’ll find top notch food – from burgers to soups and sandwiches, and of course perfectly poured Guinness. Moran’s has also been featured in Alex Gibney’s HBO documentary Sinatra: All or Nothing At All and the short film Ball and Vase, starring Austin Pendleton. Due to its small interior, the restaurant can get packed – especially during peak dining hours  – so, get there early.

Cafe Michelina | 423 Bloomfield Street


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Reservation sitch: No online reservations, must call restaurant directly – but even that is not a guarantee for a table.

This is a more rustic BYOB Italian restaurant. It’s family-owned and has been open in Hoboken since 1994. At Cafe Michelina, we adamantly point you to the vodka sauce. The gnocchi with vodka sauce topped with burrata and fresh herbs is absolutely magnificent and, as we like to say, tastes like little pillows. The lobster ravioli is another must-try dish — though because everything is homemade, there’s really no wrong turn here. It’s worth the hype, and the wait.

Court Street | 61 6th Street

Reservation sitch: Only take reservations for groups of 6+

Nestled between Willow and Washington, Court Street is a Hoboken staple that’s famous for its specials and excellent food. Their Sunday brunch lasts from 11:30AM-3:30PM and the menu is diverse and extensive, with options for everyone. The ambiance is timeless and there is lots of seating available, so make sure to call ahead for a reservation, but only for a group of six or more.

Blue Eyes | 525 Sinatra Drive

Reservation sitch: No online reservations, must call restaurant directly

This appropriately named Italian eatery located in Sinatra Park serves a menu of pasta and woodfired pizza from the all-season patio. You can admire the view of Manhattan while eating pizza that was cooked in an oven made from bricks that were specially flown in from Naples. It’s a first-come-first-serve restaurant so you may need to wait for a spot outside during warmer months.

Carpe Diem | 1405 Grand Street

Reservation sitch: No online reservations, must call restaurant directly 

Carpe Diem has been an uptown Hoboken staple for almost two decades. Although it is off the beaten path, patrons find it is worth venturing to, as it is always packed. In warm weather, they even have a cute outdoor space to get some fresh air while you eat. Take advantage of their authentic Irish pub fare or try their amazing wings which have won HG‘s Best Wings in Hoboken multiple times.

See More: All About Agave Maria in Belleville

Chango Kitchen | 301 Willow Avenue

Reservation sitch: Online you can only make reservations for parties of 6+ 

Changó Kitchen, a Cuban-Latin restaurant has many delicious menu items such as mofongo (a classic Puerto Rican dish), Cuban sandwiches, vegetarian options, and even a kids menu. Changó Kitchen is also serving up traditional Latin desserts — tres leches, flan, and more are available for your sweet-tooth fix.

Apulia | 1319 Washington Street


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Reservation sitch: No online reservations, must call restaurant directly, and do not miss your reservation

This uptown spot serves up some seriously delicious burrata. It’s on the menu by itself as an appetizer, intended to be paired with other dishes. It can be added to a salad, pizza — or, you know, just eaten by itself. Many uptown Hobokenites will swear by the pizza here, especially a classic Margherita. Apulia rises its dough for 48 hours in a temperature-controlled room and then cooks it in a wood-burning oven, and a simple pie lets that flavor shine through. With a vegan pie and gluten-free crusts available for an additional $5, this is also a great place to bring a crew with dietary restrictions. Reservations can be made online here — but just a heads up, there’s a $25/person last-minute cancellation or no-show fee.

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