The Rise of Solo Dining
In recent years, there has been a rise in solo dining. More and more people are choosing to eat by themselves at restaurants. Let’s face it, sometimes the best company is our own. We know ourselves better than anyone, so why not treat ourselves to a nice meal out on the town?
This trend is attributed to a number of factors, including increasingly busy work schedules, people simply enjoying eating without distractions, as well as those just not having someone to dine with. But whatever the reason, solo dining is on the rise and is becoming looked at as more socially ‘normal’, not that it ever wasn’t.
What is Solo Dining?
Solo dining is exactly what it sounds like—dining by oneself in a restaurant setting. While this may seem strange or even depressing to some, more and more people are enjoying meals by themselves. In fact, solo dining has even become somewhat of a trend in recent years with more restaurants offering seating and meals for those dining for one.
Some people enjoy eating alone because it allows them to have control over their environment, they can eat at their own pace, and they don’t have to make small talk or engage in social interactions that they may find uncomfortable or draining. Additionally, some people may enjoy the solitude and the quietness of eating alone, as it allows them to relax and reflect
Is Eating by Yourself Weird?
In short, no! While solo dining may not be everyone’s cup of tea, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying a meal by yourself every now and then. In fact, it can be quite freeing! There are several legitimate reasons why someone may be dining on their own.
People often eat alone on their lunch breaks or if they’re traveling out of town. Food critics also often dine alone as well as regular diners who are just looking for a quick bite to eat or a meal without any distractions.
If you still feel uncomfortable, you can always bring a book or use your phone to keep yourself preoccupied. We promise you, nobody will even think twice on why you are dining by yourself. And if there is some odd character who finds it weird, they will not say anything to you nor will they ever see you again– so screw them!
You may even give off an air of confidence when walking into a restaurant solo and enjoying a full meal on your own. Who knows, you may even meet someone interesting– another solo diner perhaps, and find yourself on an impromptu date.
The Pros and Cons of Solo Dining
There are both pros and cons to solo dining. On the plus side, eating by yourself can be a very freeing and relaxing experience. You can order whatever you want without having to consult with or cater to anyone else’s preferences. You’ll most likely spend less money eating for one than if you’re out with a group ordering additional appetizers and drinks.
You can also enjoy your food without having to keep up with a conversation if you’re not in the mood to. And if you’re the type of person who enjoys people watching, solo dining gives you the perfect opportunity to do just that.
If you are single, it may also be a great opportunity to meet someone. People may be less inclined to approach someone when they’re in a group. If you’re not looking for a dining partner, you can politely decline and go about enjoying your meal solo.
On the downside, some people find eating by themselves to be very lonely and depressing. If you’re not used to being alone, it can be hard to adjust to eating in silence. Some may find themselves feeling self-conscious as if everyone in the restaurant is wondering why you’re eating alone. Did you get stood up on a date? Do you have no friends?
You may also run into restaurants that only serve large, family-style portions that may add a bit to your wallet and waistline. You’ll also only be limited to the dishes you order instead of being able to sample your buddy’s dish.
Famous Solo Dining Restaurants
There are many famous solo dining restaurants around the world. Some examples include:
- Momofuku Noodle Bar in New York City, with a smaller intimate setting and plenty of counter seating, Noodle Bar serves a constantly changing roster of noodles, in-house steamed breads and buns, soft serve, and daily dishes.
- bar Toilet in Tokyo, Japan, which is a unique and quirky restaurant that offers a variety of small plates and drinks, and is popular among solo diners.
- Table in Paris, France, which has small innovative plates with thoughtfully sourced ingredients served in a snug, brick-lined restaurant, with several solo dining counter space.
- Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare in NYC is a 3 Michelin-starred restaurant that only serves solo diners. Guests sit at a counter overlooking the kitchen and watch as the chefs prepare their meal.
- The Counter (CA – NY – FL) This casual burger chain is a great place to enjoy a meal by yourself. With its build-your-own format, you can customize your meal exactly to your liking without having to worry about pleasing anyone else.
- El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain. This 2 Michelin-starred restaurant has a special “solo diner” menu that includes dishes like sea urchin with wild herbs and squid with sobrasada sauce.
- Ippuku in San Francisco. This Japanese yakitori restaurant only has counter seating, so it’s the perfect place to enjoy a meal by yourself.
- Eleven Madison Park. This Michelin-starred fine dining establishment is one of the best places to enjoy a luxurious solo meal. The tasting menu changes frequently, so you’ll always be able to try something new and exciting.
Whether you’re looking for a casual meal or a high-end dining experience, solo dining is a great way to take a break from the hustle and bustle of daily life and treat yourself to a delicious meal. It may take a few times for you to not feel uncomfortable but after a few successful meals, you may come to find yourself really enjoying your own company along with the food.
The next time your stomach is growling and you don’t have a pal to grab a quick meal with, take yourself out on a night for one. You may feel a bit self conscious at first, but after a few successful, tasty meals you’ll be wondering why you didn’t try it sooner!