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A huge benefit of living in a city is the multitude of food choices that will be available to you, as restaurants pop up all the time and you can most likely find a cuisine for anything you’re in the mood for not too far away.

Whether it’s Italian, Mexican, Thai, Indian, Ethiopian or something else, it’s a good bet you’ll be eating a tasty meal whenever you are in the mood.

The problem of living in the city, however, is many times these restaurants get booked up fast and, if you haven’t made a reservation ahead of time, you could be waiting a long time for a table. Especially on weekends.

Here are some tips to ensure that your dining experience isn’t ruined.

Make reservations. Obviously, making reservations ahead of time is the easiest way to ensure you will have a table waiting. But the problem is many plans are made day-of and, by then, it’s too late. If you’re someone who regularly goes out to eat, make it a point to decide on the next dinner out at least 3-4 days in advance. If you have a group of friends that just can’t seem to make up their mind or you and your husband are constantly in the “what do you want to have for dinner?” cycle, take charge and reserve something on your own. When the day comes, say, “Oh, I made this reservation at such and such” and everyone will be thankful that you did.

Be on time. If your reservation is at 7 p.m. and you or someone you’re dining with arrives 20-30 minutes late, chances are you might lose your table. Unlike restaurants in rural settings, urban restaurants are packed and there’s usually a long list of people waiting to jump at a canceled reservation. Plan to be there 15 minutes early so if someone does like to come fashionably late, you’ll still be on time.

Become regulars. If there’s a dining establishment you love, and continue to go back to, this can sometimes help you “jump” the line. By getting to know the waiters, host or hostess, when they see you walking through the door, they may just happen to find a table. Many city restaurants keep an open table for big names, and even though you might not consider yourself notable, there’s nothing a restaurant likes more than a regular diner.