There are two kinds of people in this world: those that like to dine solo, and those that don’t know what they’re missing. Count us in the first group. We're not recommending you become a recluse with zero human interaction, but sometimes it’s nice to eat by yourself. And we're not talking about grabbing things on-the-go either - go sit down at a restaurant for lunch or dinner.
The best part of eating alone is nobody will judge you for staring at your phone the whole meal. That, and the fact that it's actually relaxing. Posting up at a bar is usually the best way to do it, so you'll notice places with good bar seating is a common theme. Here are 15 Chicago restaurants “Perfect For” Dining Solo.
Ramen is a good way to ease into this eating alone thing. Get in, eat quick, get out, and you won't worry about people staring at you. There are a lot of ramen spots we really like, but the accessibility and quality of Furious Spoon makes it our go-to. Slurp those noodles like nobody is watching, even if they are.
There's no wrong way to eat a Reese's, and there's never a wrong time to eat at Athenian Room. It's is one of those spots that makes you feel good about life as you tear into a chicken kalamata or gyro on the spot. Real dining solo pros know you can eat at the Glascott's bar next door.
Get down with your bad self at the Cold Storage oyster bar. Eat oysters, have a beer, and transition into a sandwich or small plates you can handle all on your own.
The best way to deal with Avec's no reservation policy and always-crowded ordeal is to hit it up solo during the week. Seriously. In Chicago for business? Happen to be in the neighborhood? Treat yourself. Swing by Avec, post up at the bar, and grab a personal order of bacon-wrapped-chorizo-stuffed dates. Add another small plate or two plus a glass of wine and consider yourself living the dream.
Half Shell has all the characteristics we love about a dark, depressing bar except for we promise it's not actually depressing. The garden unit space on the border of Lincoln Park and Lakeview feels like an old dive bar with its Christmas lights and other goofy sh*t on the wall. But it's an old dive bar that serves awesome crab legs. A lot of crab legs and melted butter makes for an awesome meal that would only be ruined by having to share.
The best part about eating alone is people watching, and Dove's is a great spot to do it. We like to sit at the counter facing Damen Ave. and guess where random strangers are going. If it's nice out the answer is probably Big Star, but in winter the possibilities are endless. Who shops at that Levi's store around the corner anyway?
Fish Bar is meant to feel like an East Coast seafood shack, which makes it another great spot to check out by yourself. It's all about the satchmo po'boy for us - fried shrimp & crawfish, roasted garlic aioli, and bread & butter pickles on a roll. Start with some gumbo or clam chowder first and you'll be set.
If you're more of a meat eater than a seafood person, check out Fish Bar's sister restaurant next door - DMK Burger Bar. The thing here is all vegetables, all the time. Ok, that's not true. How f*cked up would it be for a restaurant called DMK Burger Bar to only serve vegetables? Luckily, that's not the case, and you can get everything from simple Big Mac style cheeseburgers to more interesting lamb burgers with feta and olive tapenade.
3 Greens is one of our favorite spots to hang, particularly when we're alone and want to get work done. It's also like a Power Rangers Megazord with its many food options: hot and cold salad bars, Green Street Smoked Meats, Small Cheval burgers, Dillman's pastrami sandwiches, and Doughnut Vault donuts. Make yourself comfortable and get something to eat.
If you live anywhere near Andersonville, then Little Bad Wolf should be the spot when you don't know what else to do with yourself. Bored? Lonely? Friends out of town? It's late and you're hungry? Hit up Little Bad Wolf. The kitchen is open late every night, and the high quality bar food is great. The extensive beer and whisky list doesn't hurt either.
Wyler Road has really become part of the neighborhood in Logan Square, particularly because it's on a side street next to a bunch of houses away from all the action. Combine that with the filling and semi-fancy sandwiches, and you've got yourself a perfect recipe for shunning your friends in favor of yourself.
We love sitting at a sushi bar by ourselves and strongly believe it's one of the most enjoyable dining experiences you can have. Mirai Sushi in the Gold Coast might strike you as fancy spot on the surface, but we promise the prices are no different than other sushi joints that aren't half as good. The sushi bar chairs are also super comfortable, which is a nice touch to go along with quality fish.
It should be illegal to eat at High Five Ramen with anyone else. The tiny basement ramen joint beneath Green Street Smoked Meats has only a handful of seats, and as we already said, ramen is the best kind of food to eat alone. Get the namesake High Five Ramen if you like things spicy and don't forget a cold Sapporo to wash it down.
In town for business or happen to have a dinner to kill by yourself in River North? Hit up Shaw's. But skip the formalities of the dining room and find space in the oyster bar. Oysters are a necessity, and follow them up with anything seafood-related after that.
Residents of River North and the Gold Coast should thank God, Jesus, Buddah, Moses, and Tom Cruise for 25 Degrees. Yes, Portillo's is close, but this is a different kind of dining solo spot. It's an ideal place to catch a low-key game during the week or just escape and build your own burger, because every now and then that's something you should do.