How to Create a Restaurant-Like Experience at Home Right Now

For those who find themselves missing dining out, OpenTable is here to help. Even though dining rooms at restaurants are closed, diners can still hack a restaurant-like experience at home, complete with a playlist, restaurant background, catching up with family and friends, and best of all: professionally made food delivered. Here’s how it works.

Plan a time to connect with loved ones

Download free video chatting service Zoom and pick a time that works for your group to connect. The typical video chatting experience shows your actual surroundings, but Zoom allows users to insert a photo as their background for a green screen-like, so you can be transported from your living room to a lively restaurant. Simply select and save the photo of your choice from these options — from modern New York City Indian restaurant Rahi to playful Japanese chain Benihana, listed in full below — and insert by following these steps. With a good imagination, it’ll look like you’re dining at the restaurant in real life.

Pick the right playlist for your mood

Set the scene for brunch with mom, a casual dinner with friends, or a birthday party at home with the right music. Check out these curated playlists of popular restaurant music, with recommendations from chefs Chris Santos of Tao Group and Kathy Fang of Fang in San Francisco, as well as favorites of the OpenTable team for a little inspiration.

Prepare activities and your tablescape

Elevate the ambiance by setting your dining table. Not sure where the salad fork goes? These tips can help you up your game. Plus, to lighten the mood, you can plan activities, such as virtual games or non-coronavirus conversation starters. Good mood lifters include discussing TV shows you’re re-watching, what you’re reading, and debating silly topics like if a hot dog is a sandwich. You get the point.

Order delivery from a restaurant open near you

Support your favorite local restaurants — and get a great meal! — by ordering delivery or takeout. Turn on your location services, and we’ll show you which restaurants in your area are open and delivering. If you’re near any of the restaurants featured as background photos, you can order from them for the most realistic experience. Don’t forget to pair your meal with the perfect drink!

Show us your party

Take a picture and post it while tagging both @opentable and the restaurant you ordered from or “dined in” so we can share your virtual dinner party! 


Benihana: A country-wide Japanese favorite. Recommended order: Hibachi steak

China Live: A San Francisco Chinese market with different dining areas. Recommended order: Char siu BBQ pork “Dutch Crunch” baked buns

Coppa: An Italian bistro from an acclaimed team in Boston. Recommended order: Margherita pizza

Founding Farmers: Farm-to-table fare in Washington D.C. Recommended order: Spicy fried chicken and Jefferson donut

Nic’s on Beverly: Plant-based cuisine in Los Angeles. Recommended order: Falafel sliders

Rahi: Modern Indian in NYC. Recommended order: Housemade saag paneer

RPM Steak: An updated take on the classic steakhouse in Chicago. Recommended order: Steak burger

Spanish Village: Longtime Tex-Mex joint in Houston. Recommended order: Pork tamales en cascara

Wild Ginger: A Seattle staple for Southeast Asian cuisine. Recommended order: Seven flavor beef