Lucia's dining room has only 36 seats – 32 of which can be reserved. A reservation there is probably the toughest in Dallas.

Lucia's dining room has only 36 seats – 32 of which can be reserved. A reservation there is probably the toughest in Dallas.

Brandon Wade/Special Contributor

Scoring a reservation at the 36-seat trattoria is nearly as difficult as it has been since the beginning. 

Don't look for Lucia on Open Table; you must call to book. Reservations are accepted beginning at 9 a.m. on the first of the month for the following month – in other words, June 1 for bookings in July. (If the first of the month falls on Sunday or Monday, when the restaurant is closed, bookings are taken beginning the first Tuesday of the month). Calling then is the best strategy, especially if you're hoping for a prime time or Friday or Saturday slot. Have several possible dates and times in mind and leave a message. Someone will call you back and you'll likely be offered a table.

Hoping for a prime-time May reservation, I started dialing on April 1 at 9 a.m., got through to voicemail at 9:04 and left a phone number (not my own). Co-owner Jennifer Uygur returned the call at 2 p.m., offering a number of evenings and times. Bingo, a Friday- night table was mine – on May 13 at 7:30. (I've since canceled it.)

Not so good at planning ahead? You might luck into a table if you check Lucia's Facebook page, where cancellations are sometimes posted. I've recently booked last-minute tables that way. Or you may get lucky if you call during the week and don't mind a very early or late midweek table. "The more flexible people can be on time," says Jennifer, "the more likely we'll be able to accommodate them. If people don't get the reservation date they're looking for, it's worth it to have us put their name down on a wait list. We use our wait lists all the time ... after all, cancellations do happen."

Meanwhile, the four seats at the counter facing the kitchen are held for walk-ins. Try arriving very early (hopefuls sometimes arrive before the restaurant opens at 5:30) or on the later side, after the early diners have had time to finish. I once arrived around 6:30, put my name down and took a walk around Bishop Arts as I waited for seats to free up. Another time I was out of luck: The stools had already been nabbed for the entire evening.

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