The 18 best restaurants in the world where you don’t need a reservation

The Anchorage in Greenville, US doesn't require a booking.

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The Anchorage in Greenville, US doesn’t require a booking.
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William Crooks

  • A shortlist of the best “no reservations required” restaurants around the world has been announced by The World Restaurant Awards.
  • The list celebrates restaurants which allow diners to indulge their spontaneity.
  • The winner of this and other categories will be announced at an awards ceremony in Paris on February 18.

While some people find restaurants with “no reservation” policies incredibly infuriating, others relish the opportunity to indulge their spontaneity.

If you’re in the latter camp, you’ll be pleased to know The World Restaurant Awards has released a longlist for the best “no reservations required” restaurants in the world, ranging from haute cuisine to informal dining on a budget.

The list was created by a gender-balanced judging panel of more than 100 experts representing 36 countries. Famous chefs on the panel, which also featured journalists and industry influencers, included Clare Smyth, David Chang, Yotam Ottolenghi, René Redzepi, Hélène Darroze, and Massimo Bottura.

The winners of all categories – including the best, most remote under-the-radar restaurants around the world – will be announced at the World Restaurant Awards ceremony in Paris on February 18.

Scroll down to see the 18 best restaurants around the globe – in no particular order – where you can get in without a booking.


Aje Kiyacho Donguri — Kyoto, Japan

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Cook your own meat on a tabletop grill
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Shutterstock/ANUCHA PONGPATIMETH

Expect to join the waiting list at this local hotspot. It’s loud, unfussy, and specialises in meaty off-cuts, which diners cook on individual tabletop grills.

Find out more here.


Baest — Copenhagen, Denmark

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Pizza at Baest, Copenhagen
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P.A. Jorgensen

Baest focuses on organic, sustainable, high quality ingredients and cuisine inspired by both Denmark and Italy. Pizza is, of course, on the menu – but the difference is that the mozzarella is handmade using milk from cows at a farm just 40km away.

Find out more here.


Black Axe Mangal — London, UK

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Squid ink flat bread, smoked cod’s roe and oozy egg
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Clerkenwell Boy

If your idea of heaven is eating Turkish food to the soundtrack of heavy metal, a visit to Black Axe Mangal should be top of your to-do list – as that’s exactly what you’ll find.

Find out more here.


Bombay Canteen — Mumbai, India

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Bhutte ka khees at The Bombay Canteen
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The Bombay Canteen

This restaurant and cafe focuses on recreating traditional recipes using seasonal ingredients, showcased in a contemporary form.

Find out more here.


Brown Sugar Kitchen — San Francisco, US

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Chicken and waffles at Brown Sugar Kitchen
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Jody Horton

This soul food spot is famous for its crispy fried chicken and cornmeal waffles.

Find out more here.


Burnt Ends — Singapore

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75 day dry-aged wagyu beef
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Burnt Ends

Burnt Ends began life on the other side of the world as a London pop-up, before becoming a permanent fixture in Singapore.

Find out more here.


Clamato — Paris, France

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Clamato
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S. Monjanel

At Clamato you’ll find high-quality food, served in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere. Don’t miss the seafood tapas.

Find out more here.


Delifucious — Tokyo, Japan

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Delifucious
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Nathanel Foong/@foodforfoong

Delifucious is found in one of the trendiest neighbourhoods of Tokyo – Nakameguro – and serves high quality fish burgers and anago (conger eel) tempura hot dogs.

Find out more here.


Double Dragon — Paris, France

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Double Dragon
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Julien Vélu

Double Dragon in Paris fuses French flair with Chinese, Thai, and Filipino influences.

Find out more here.


Kiln — London, UK

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Dan Vaux-Nobes (@essexeating)

Casual Thai dining spot Kiln in central London was named best restaurant in the UK in the 2018 National Restaurant Awards.

Find out more here.


La Cova Fumada — Barcelona, Spain

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La Cova Fumada
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Krysta Oben

A favourite spot amongst locals, La Cova Fumada is said to be the birthplace of the traditional Barcelona dish, the “bomba,” made from spicy mincemeat and potatoes.

Find out more here.


Mocotó — Sao Paolo, Brazil

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Pork rinds
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Mocoto

Mocotó is a family-run restaurant serving sertaneja cuisine, from traditional dishes such as baião de dois (a mix of rice and beans) to more innovative creations like dadinhos de tapioca (consecrated tapioca cheese cubes).

Find out more here.


Okra — Hong Kong

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Okra in Honk Kong
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Okra

This hidden-away, casual restaurant specialises in artisanal products made in-house and craft sake.

Find out more here.


Parks BBQ — Los Angeles, US

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Parks BBQ

This Korean barbecue joint is worth a visit for both the food and the service: “The cooking alone distinguishes the restaurant; the engaged, near-telepathic staff propels the experience even higher,” said Bill Addison in Eater’s 2018 guide to the essential American restaurants worth visiting.

Find out more here.


Retrobottega — Rome, Italy

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Spaghetti assenzio e pecorino
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Elisia Menduni

Retrobottega is an innovative dining spot serving classic pasta dishes with creative twists – try and get a spot at the bar to watch the chefs at work.

Find out more here.


The Anchorage — Greenville, US

The Anchorage in Greenville, US doesn't require a booking.

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The Anchorage
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William Crooks

You actually can make reservations at The Anchorage, but it’s still included in the list because the idea is that you should be able to get in without queuing for too long if you simply rock up spontaneously. Make sure you try the cocktails.

Find out more here.


Wildair — New York, US

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Chocolate hazelnut tart at Wildair
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Fabian von Hauske

This casual wine bar has a cracking wine list but also serves up experimental and affordable food.

Find out more here.


Yakiniku Yuji — Tokyo, Japan

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Japanese Yakiniku
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Shutterstock/Ong.thanaong

Yakiniku is Japanese BBQ, and this restaurant is particularly famous for its wagyu offal.

Find out more here.