28 Great London Restaurants For A Relaxing Meal Alone

Done right, solo dining is one of life’s great joys and these London restaurants are perfect for a meal all to yourself.
28 Great London Restaurants For A Relaxing Meal Alone image

photo credit: Giulia Verdinelli

Eating out on your own has to be the biggest restaurant-related stigma there is. The judgy looks from bored couples. The pointedly worded pie 'for 2-3'. The crushing realisation that it’s just you and your interior monologue... again. But it shouldn’t have to be like this. Because dining solo is a lovely thing to do. So choose one of these spots for some quality (and delicious) you time.


photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch



$$$$Perfect For:Casual Weeknight DinnerDate NightDrinking Good WineLunchOutdoor SeatingSmall Plates
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Café Deco is a temple of thoughtful contentment disguised as a cafe, British restaurant, and wine bar in Bloomsbury. In the daytime, the dining room is a light-filled sanctuary where you can tuck into homemade soups or warming fish pie. At night, grab a seat at the counter and enjoy a room happily full of murmuring voices and yellow candlelight, elbows on the table, and spoons getting stuck into apple fritters and ice cream.

The counter at Persian restaurant Berenjak is one of our favourite places to eat alone in Soho. Not just because you don’t want to share your chenjeh kabab with anyone—the chicken is lovely, and the lamb rump is even better. But because it has some of the most mesmerising entertainment around in the shape of a glistening rotating shawarma. Also coming here alone drastically increases your chances of getting a last-minute counter seat if you didn’t make a booking.  

Stools snake around Sweetings’ 130-something-year-old dining room, along the bar where oysters sit, and also facing the windows that look out onto The City. This stalwart British seafood institution isn’t just full of trust funds, it's completely trusted too. Comforting fish pies and pints, followed by sticky toffee pudding and a pool of custard. Considering it’s only open in the daytime, in the week, it’s one of London’s most unique solo meals.

Wong Kei—a Chinatown Chinese institution—isn't where you come for the finest roasted meats or the most deeply flavoured wonton soup. But you know you're always going to get seated immediately and fed well. It's a no-nonsense affair. Order a bowl of wonton noodle soup with crispy pork belly. It comes with prawn and pork-stuffed wontons, an indefinable salty broth, and an extremely healthy scoop of their electrifying chilli oil. Job done.

A cafe is an obvious choice when it comes to finding somewhere to hole up on your own, but Catalyst isn't the kind where you simply curl up by the nearest plug point. The predominantly daytime Holborn spot is one of the best cafes for food and drink in London. Its Greek-leaning menu, towering sandwiches, and superb house-roasted coffee mean that you can't help but get comfortable here. Especially on one of their stools by the window: perfect for watching the world go by.

Like most hyped Soho restaurants, the pros of Kiln are genuinely fantastic Thai food with the downside that the queue makes it a logistical ball-ache. Especially if your friends don’t do the ‘give us your number and we’ll call you when your table’s ready’ thing. Eating here by yourself is a good way to get around it, as it’s much easier to grab a seat at the bar. As well as being able to watch your food being made, the portions are perfect for solo diners (get the lamb skewer and crab noodles). 

photo credit: Rob Greig



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There’s something a little heavenly about the all-white, signal-less bar at St. John in Clerkenwell. So much so that we’d be more than happy to spend the rest of our days at the British restaurant. During the week the bar area is, hands down, our favourite place to eat alone in London. It’s quiet. It’s peaceful. Nobody can use their phone. There’s a bar stocked with an excellent range of drinks. And we could, if pushed, eat that Welsh rarebit forever and ever.

Koya is a small Japanese spot in Soho that’s made for solo diners to slurp through some very good curry miso udon on the counter for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. In fact, their fried egg, bacon, and shiitake porridge breakfast is probably the best thing here. It’s walk-in only which translates to: ideal for one person and a bowl of udon.


Follow the smell of slowly cooking, deeply flavoured lamb shawarma in N4 and you’ll find Palmyra’s Kitchen, sandwiched in between the glassy development behind Finsbury Park. A Middle Eastern restaurant that serves dishes from Syria and Lebanon, this homely spot suits solo diners whose sole desire is to inhale a superb shawarma. Everything is flavour-first: the labneh has an officious fizz of garlic, the tabbouleh is fittingly 90% parsley, and the soujuk oozes cumin and pepper.

We’ve eaten Xi’an’s cold liangpi noodles and steamed pork and vegetable dumplings alone precisely three million times. This is our first stop whenever we’ve spent any elongated time out of London and realised that 1) London is the best city in the world, and 2) living a life without these Xi’anese noodles and dumplings is not a life worth living. Xi’an is opposite Arsenal’s stadium in Highbury, it’s quiet, it’s casual, and it’s always perfect for alone time.

Few things make us happier than opening the fridge to find a few takeaway boxes filled with hummus, cacik, imam bayildi, cold beyti kebab, salads, and flatbread ready to be warmed in the oven. That always happens after we’ve been to 01 Adana in Newington Green. The big Turkish spot is open from early morning until midnight, making it a no-brainer when you’re on your own and need somewhere delicious to eat. Leftovers are always welcome for the next day.

A bowl of Seto’s delicate miso ramen is a perfect meal any night of the week. The low-key Japanese restaurant in Camden is a bustling hub of solo diners, students, and groups of friends. You'll want to call ahead as a free table, even for one, is not a given. It’s the noodle soup you should pay the most attention to. The carefully made broth is a pork and chicken mixture, and you can get it topped with chewy chashu pork, moist chicken breast, as well as piles of bamboo shoots, spring onion, and gooey ni tamago egg. 

One of our favourite ways to spend a solo evening is with a podcast and a huge bowl of biang biang noodles at this casual Xi’anese restaurant in Euston. Murger Han does indeed serve some pretty great murger—a traditional Chinese snack involving slow-cooked meat in flatbread—but they also serve clay pot dishes, dumplings, soup, and those excellent biang biang noodles. Plus, the speedy service will mean you’re ready for the bill before that podcast ends. 


photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

There is something about Mystic Burek, a Balkan spot in Sydenham, that makes you feel like Shania Twain has just drawled, “let’s go girls”. The gaggle of warm staff who sing along to the pop anthems playlist, the excellent burek served on silver trays with pink parchment, and the granny-core aesthetic all make you feel like the hot slice you’re eating. And these slices of burek are good enough to cross London for. Each comes with a generous scattering of parmesan, and the layers of filo are light and crispy. Visit during the day for a takeaway slice.

This restaurant is best described as a much-needed exhale. Light floods into The Garden Museum Cafe’s paired-back room from its leafy green courtyard, and the vibe is like The Secret Garden meets MasterChef. Getting a table for one—preferably outside when it’s warm—and tucking into their modern British menu of things like homemade brawn or umami-rich venison mince and mash is a form of self care. It’s tranquil, it’s gorgeously green, and it’s almost nicer to experience alone than with the distraction of others.

Slump into Kaieteur Kitchen in a huff and you can guarantee that your frown will be turned upside down by any number of things. This Guyanese spot’s heartwarming hospitality is well known, not just in Elephant and Castle but all over London, and its food is excellent. Pepper pot is a slow-cooked meaty puddle of brown deliciousness, with meat so tender it gives up before your plate is put down. The sauce is so rich with cloves, cassava, and cinnamon, that leaving even a drop is a crime. Roti is a must. 

Located on a quiet street corner in Peckham, Ganapati serves delicious thali weekday lunches with enough food to keep you satisfied for at least six hours. We’re talking creamy chicken curry, rice, poppadoms, a refreshing raita, and a mung bean salad, all for under £15. There are also kerala goat biriyanis, dosas, and flaky parathas on their all-day menu and there are plenty of solo tables at the back.

Hummus, a pineapple, and a tin of beans with little sausages. That’s what we picked up the last time we went to our corner shop looking for solo dinner inspiration. But that’ll never happen at Persepolis. This Persian shop, deli, and restaurant serves the people of Peckham (and beyond) a range of brilliant tasting and priced vegetarian and vegan dishes. It’s perfect for a healthy solo lunch or early dinner, especially as the one-person mezze plate is around tenner.

Worried that eating alone is like Terminator 2: Judgement Day, only instead of murderous robots there are couples with beady eyes? At Nandine in Camberwell you'll get none of those looks. This homely Kurdish restaurant is welcoming and comfortable, and it shows in their food. The mezze plate is the thing to get which is, perfectly, designed for one person.


Bao are very good at restaurants. So, it's little surprise that their take on a Taiwanese noodle shop (in the heart of Shoreditch) is full of comfortable bar seating and window-facing stools. Perfect for getting your head down and intimate with something brothy. The Tainan beef noodle soup is a heartwarming bowl of slurpyness—don’t skip on the beef butter—and one of these is a perfect solo meal.

Just like baths and sleeping, a bowl of pasta is best enjoyed alone. Just you, some saucy carbs, and a deceptively deep piece of crockery. The bar at Officina 00 in Old Street is perfect for satisfying this unique (and every Monday recurring) desire. Start with a deep-fried cacio e pepe-filled raviolo and don’t stop until you’ve got through a bowl of gnocchi, beef short rib pappardelle, or truffle and walnut butter tagliatelle as well. Oh, and those profiteroles aren't optional either.

The Chongqing noodle and Sichuanese spot in Spitalfields is a peaceful getaway from the hubbub of the market next door. A bowl of niu-rou mian is a face-down, bib-on kind of noodle soup and the same goes for a generous, dry chilli-heavy portion of gong-bao ji ding. Gong-bao chicken done the proper, Sichuan way. That said, if they sound a little heavy you can always swing by for a bowl of dumplings and lang-ya tu dou, wok-fried chips.

The name, the dumplings, the jars of chilli oil that are excellent for book-leaning—was there ever any doubt that My Old Place is the perfect spot for a little bit of you and a big bit of mapo tofu? There’s lots to like about this low-key Spitalfields Sichuan restaurant, and once it’s in your me-time restaurant roster, you’ll find yourself going back again and again.


Cafe Helen is something of a west London institution and for those familiar, it’s a go-to at any hour of the morning. The Lebanese restaurant has two hulking shawarmas spinning from late afternoon to 6am so if you’re after a speedy post-work mezze, or a solo late-night wrap on Edgware Road, this is the place to go. While it’s not the most carefully made shawarma in the world, the fact that you can call on Cafe Helen any time of night more than makes up for it.

This little spot is just up from Alperton station and is a popular sit-down rest stop for an unplanned cup of chai and a little pick-me-up. Like most fast food shops in London, it’s a little scruffy around the edges, but unlike most, the food is carefully made. The buns of the vada pav are just crisp on the outside but soft enough to absorb the chutneys and soft fried potato after one bite. Inhale one and then look towards adding cheese, the pani puri, or maybe a samosa while you make minimal contact with anything that isn’t edible.

photo credit: Giulia Verdinelli


Roti Joupa


From channa-packed baras to newborn-sized rotis, to wedges of macaroni pie with sweet tamarind sauce on top, the range of enormously delicious and incredible value Trinidadian options from Roti Joupa isn’t quite limitless, but it will keep you going for some time. With locations in Finsbury Park and Shepherd’s Bush, you should be grabbing some lunch from this little takeaway spot, stat.

One thing we like to do when we hate everyone and everything, is hide. It’s a very mature technique we learned when we still wore bibs. Normah’s in Queensway Market is one of our favourite restaurants to hide in. The Malaysian spot is a low-key, homely place, where Normah does everything. She fries the crunchy chicken wings and she braises the meltingly good rendang. If maternal warmth and cooking are what you need, look no further.

Every neighbourhood needs a steadfast joint. Your port in the storm when you need a little you time and, for Shepherd’s Bush, that place is Mr Falafel. The Palestinian spot has a pretty basic grab-and-go setup, but their classic wrap is under a fiver and it’s got to be one of the best falafels in London, with hummus, fried aubergine, pickled veg, plus a load of fried cauliflower and potato.

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