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This App Lets You Snag Last-Minute, Impossible Restaurant Reservations

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Photo courtesy of Mélisse
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Los Angeles being a haven for culinary cuisine had its pros and cons. While the food is delicious and we have lots of options, sometimes you want to pull your hair out trying to get a restaurant reservation at decent time at a popular restaurant (we're looking at you, Bestia). We usually end up having dinner with our dates at 9:30 p.m. or booking a month in advance. But a website and app that just hit Los Angeles today may take care of that problem—at a cost.

Table 8, which has already launched in San Francisco, has spread its wings to our city. What their service does is allow you to book last-minute reservations during peak dinner hours— Wednesdays through Saturdays from 7 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.—at hotspots like Melisse, Bestia, and Alma. We also see A.O.C., BOA Steakhouse, Bar Marmont, Crossroads, Dia de Campo, Little Sister, Republique and Lucques listed on their website.

It doesn't cost anything to sign up for an account, and even though some reservations may not cost a penny, others will range from $20 for two people to $25 for four, depending on the restaurant. When you book your reservation online, you'll pay for it then with your credit card. According to Table 8's website, if you have to cancel a reservation at the last minute, you can contact Table 8 via phone or email to let them know. However, they won't offer refunds, and some restaurants may still charge you for being a no-show. Table 8 will let you know if that's the case before you book.

The way Table 8 is able to get these sought-after tables is this is that they have partnerships with these dining establishments and hold these tables in advance. They promise that their prime-time reservations aren't available on any other website, like Open Table. Table 8 then splits the profits with the restaurant on the price you pay on the reservations.

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Not everyone is pleased with the prospect of a pay-for-table situation. Some see it as "separating the haves from the have nots," according to Valleywag, and others have even dubbed it as "table scalping."

We did a search on Open Table, the popular, free restaurant reservation website. We found that though they do have reservations available for the same restaurants Table 8 is offering, their time slots are usually before 7 p.m. and after 9 p.m. However, cancellations look like they're a lot easier on Open Table, as all they ask is that you let them or restaurant know if you can't make it to a reservation at least 30 minutes before it happens, according to their website.

It seems like Table 8 also has some competitors in the same market, as companies like Resy have launched in New York offering a similar pay-for-table app. The L.A. Times reported in May that New York's Shout was expected to expand in Los Angeles this summer, though when we downloaded the app, we received a message that they were still only operating in New York. (Though they're more of a mobile Craigslist where you can sell anything from concert tickets to a dinner reservation.)

So for now, when you need that last-minute reservation to impress a date or a business client—and money isn't a big concern—Table 8 is the only game is town.