Eating alone can be a fantastic experience. It provides the perfect opportunity to relax, reconnect with yourself and have fun, without pressure from other people. A chance to rediscover yourself – your likes, dislikes, tastes and what brings you joy.
For solo travelers it can be a wonderful opportunity to observe, read or simply immerse themselves in the local culture. For business travelers, limiting yourselves to Starbucks or Subway is a crying shame.
Plus, solo diners can also often gain access to exclusive restaurants more quickly than groups by being willing to eat at the bar!
With that in mind, let’s look at the 10 best places to dine solo!
Amsterdam based Eenmaal is designed specifically for people eating alone. Their chic pop up restaurants feature solo tables, minimalist interiors and an affordable menu (35 euros for a 4 course meal including wine and cocktails). Owner / Designer Marina van Goor let us know that they will be back in the UK near the end of 2016!
€35 for 4 courses, incl. drinks, www.eenmaal.com, Various Locations
Bubbledogs is a fun restaurant in Soho that serves champagne and gourmet hot dogs, including vegetarian dogs, and can provide gluten free buns. The decor features exposed brick, a copper bar and reclaimed wood, matching the ‘premium diner’ feel of the cuisine. It’s perfect for solo diners – quick, delicious and (for a London champagne bar) suprisingly affordable – one deal (Tuesday – Thursday, on until the end of August) has one hot dog, a side and a glass of champagne for just £15! (Just quote “summer lunch” when booking). Solo travel queen Adventurous Kate has extolled the virtues of drinking champagne when dining alone, and we couldn’t agree more!
From £6 for a plain hotdog, to £8 for the Mac Daddy dog. Champagne from £6 a glass to £35 a bottle. 0207 637 7770, www.bubbledogs.co.uk, 70 Charlotte St, London W1T 4QG
3. YO! Sushi
Yo Sushi is popular with solo diners for their friendly, convivial atmosphere, counter seating and conveyer belt food service. Their menu makes for reliable, delicious and varied cuisine, and you can mix it up with tempura, noodles or curry. They also offer a 25% armed forces discount!
From £1.90 for Cucumber Maki, to £5 for Soft Shell Crab Tempura, (5 dishes recommended) 020 7841 0700, www.yosushi.com, Various Locations
4. Eat With
“Eat With” is the brainchild of Guy Michlin, as a way to connect with local people when you travel. Hosts put out an invite and name their price, (Eatwith take 15%). Every host is interviewed by the EatWith team and currently only 4% of all applicants are accepted. While chefs range from the Michelin starred to enthusiastic amateurs, this helps maintain quality and safety. The food is authentic and high quality, and makes for a social dining experience for solo travellers if you want a break from eating by yourself.
From £11 for Macaroni, to £40 for a range of English Classics, 020 7841 0700, www.eatwith.com, Various Locations
5. The Real Junk Food Project
Hit a social café – like the Real Junk Food Project, where the cooks use perfectly good food that would otherwise be binned, and operate a ‘pay as you feel’ model. Gourmets on a budget can hit jackpot – donations have included truffles, caviar and salmon, and the menu changes daily based on what is in season and donated. The cafe has an informal and relaxed atmosphere, where founder Adam Smith, or one of the volunteers may well strike up a conversation with you about the food, which is supplemented by a vegetable garden and an ongoing contract to take Nando’s surplus chicken.
Pay-as-you-feel, average donation £2.42, 01133181844, www.therealjunkfoodproject.org, Various Locations
6. The Basement Galley
A hip combo of pop-up and supper club, Basement Galley is held in a decommissioned 1967 Victoria Line tube carriage. A quirky, fun experience with incredible cuisine by Alex Cooper, a graduate of the Le Corden Bleu School, Paris. The idea is to mix with your fellow ‘passengers’, who you won’t know until the event. Long tables nestle between the Tube seats, along with ‘booths’ set up near the sliding doors. Former diners have raved about the fizzy gin and tonic jelly!
From £40 pp for 4 course tasting menu & coffee, up to £55 pp for luxury dining, 07849472280, www.basementgalley.com, Various Locations
7. The Twilight Soho Food Tour
If you’re a foodie and a history buff, a London food tour could be perfect for you. For example, the Twilight Soho Food Tour, a fab evening tour of London’s Soho that boasts “you’ll try everything from Spanish Jamón to Chinese dumplings.” You can see the stalwart theatres that stayed open while the Blitz raged above, the blue plaques of local heroes and the music legends spawned there, while sipping green tea and demolishing a delicious tiramisu.
From £75 per tour, 020 3289 6327, www.eatinglondontours.co.uk/twilight-soho-food-tour/, Soho, London
8. Soupe de Jour
Soup restaurants in general are a great place for the solo diner, as food is fast, nutritious, delicious and filling. Soupe de Jour, is a London based a European flavoured delight. They feature a choice of individual and communal tables, as well as counter seating – which is perfect if you just need to grab a quick bite. There are gluten free and dairy free options
From £3.50 for a small tomato soup, to £7 for the meat soup and salad combo, 020 7283 7395, www.soupe-du-jour.com, 38 Houndsditch, EC3A 7DB London
9. Dans le Noir
If you feel self conscious, why not try Dans le Noir, a dark café? The concept is that you dine in pitch darkness; that lack of sight intensifies flavours and lowers inhibitions, improving diner’s social interactions. Visually impaired wait staff lead you to your table, and serve a selection of four set menus, inspired by French food.
From £44 for 2 courses, to £79 for the Gastronomique menu, 020 7253 1100, london.danslenoir.com, 30-31 Clerkenwell Green, London EC1R 0DU
Wagamama is a chain of Japanese restaurants serving noodle dishes and veggie food in a signature ‘ramen bar’ style venue. Customers sit on large communal tables which seat as many as 16 people at a time. Coupled with affordable cuisine and a vibrant and social atmosphere, Wagamama’s is ideal for solo diners. Connoisseurs recommend the Chicken Curry Katsu Rice!
From £4.35 for Endamame, to £13.95 for Teriyaki Beef Soba 020 7403 3659, www.wagamama.com, Various Locations
About This Post
Women Who Travel Solo
Women Who Travel Solo is a weekly column that shares the stories of women’s solo travel adventures in hopes of spreading the message that traveling alone is not only safe, but wildly rewarding. Inspire other women to travel solo by sharing your story or solo travel tips with Something In Her Ramblings. Email Lauren at email@example.com.