29 Great London Restaurants For A Relaxing Meal Alone guide image


29 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.

Eating out on your own has to be the biggest restaurant-related stigma there is. The judgy looks from bored couples. The rudely worded pie ‘for two’. The crushing realisation that it’s just you and your interior monologue, again. But it shouldn’t be like this. Because solo dining solo is actually great. You just need to know how to do it. Here are three tips:

  1. Choose a friendly spot. It doesn't have to be in-and-out. Counter or bar seating helps.

  2. For starters, have a starter. Treat yourself. Don’t rush. This is about you doing you.

  3. Bring a prop. A book, a nice podcast. Most importantly—and in stark contrast to this entire introduction—try not to overthink it. You're good.


photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

Trattoria Brutto review image

Trattoria Brutto


35-37 Greenhill Rents, London
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If you lean back when sitting at Trattoria Brutto’s bar, you will not fall over. Because these mahogany stools have backs. If you order a negroni at Trattoria Brutto’s bar, you will not fall over from the price. Because these negronis cost £5. And if you order food at Trattoria Brutto’s bar, the only thing you will do is fall into a contented slump. The Florentine-inspired trattoria in Farringdon is all about little effort and maximum reward. Anchovies and butter that you can lazily throw on to St. John sourdough. Penne alla vodka for when you need to bow head first into a bowl of pasta. A hunk of tiramisu because, well, when isn’t a hunk of tiramisu welcome. 

The counter at 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. The kabab torki, which is that juicy shawarma mixed with a pile of fries, salad, garlic, and chilli sauce is also an excellent order. 

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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 but completely trusted. Comforting fish pies and unnecessary 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 is the solo dining restaurant in London. The Chinatown 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 mush-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, arguably, the best cafe for food and drink in London. Its Greek-leaning menu, towering sandwiches, and superb house-roasted coffee means 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 food (in this case Thai) with the downside that the waits make 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). It’s perfect for popping in for a snack, but the food’s so good you can easily make it a more leisurely affair. 

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 here. 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.

Some spaces are just more comfortable on your own. Beds, baths, and caffs. Like, proper caffs. And that’s where the Regency comes in, along with a plate heavy with black pudding, hash browns, and baked beans. The Westminster institution has been a place for everyone since 1946 and it’s no different today.

Koya Soho review image

Koya Soho



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Koya is a small Japanese bar 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.

Chang's is a haven for anyone and everyone, and you'll realise that as soon as you walk into this Bloomsbury restaurant. Every time we've been there have been solo noodle eaters—getting through a bowl of their excellent shan xi yo po noodles, phone expertly balanced against a jar of chilli oil.


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 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 when we head to Adana 01 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.

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 on any given night. You'll want to call ahead as a free table is not a given. There's a multitude of options on its menu to match its diners, but it’s the noodle soups 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. With both light broths and creamy tonkotsu options covered, Seto is one of north London’s realest ramen destinations.

Some people believe that podcasts are so popular because, often, they’re free. We believe that podcasts are so popular because everyone’s figured out that it’s the best way to be entertained while still being able to eye up your noodles. 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. Plus, the speedy service will mean you’re ready for the bill before that podcast ends. 


Temaki is a Japanese counter experience in Brixton where you’re constantly on the edge of your seat wondering if that BBQ eel is coming in your direction. The handroll specialist should 100% be a destination if you’re a sucker for sushi, as well as a wooden wrap-around counter, ceramic plates, and a generally slick aesthetic.

Slump into Kaieteur Kitchen in a huff and you can guarantee that your frown will be turned upside down by any number of things. The 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, and a sauce 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 £12.50. 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.

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, Clapham, and Shepherd’s Bush, you should be grabbing a window stool at the little takeaway spot, stat.

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. We’ll be honest, that wasn’t a great meal, 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 £6.

The most common problem people have with eating alone is judgement. It's 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 spots for getting your head down and intimate with something brothy. Just as a noodle shop should be. 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, pappardelle, or gnocchi 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 noodle soup is a face-down, bib-on kind of solo meal 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 those lang-ya tu dou, wok-fried chips.

The name, the dumplings, the jars of chilli oil for your phone to lean on—was there ever any doubt that My Old Place is the perfect place 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.

Your heart's desires can be complicated but your stomach's are extremely simple, especially when you're alone. Beer + Burger in Dalston answers these base level needs in the most straightforward way possible. This spot is pretty much made for lone wolves wolfing down a double cheese with fries and gravy, and a pint of pale ale for good measure. It's casual, it's comfortable, and it's what you want when you're on your own.


One thing we like to do when we hate everyone and everything, is hide. It’s a very mature technique we learnt when we still wore bibs and dribbled on ourselves. 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 herself does everything. She fries the crunchy chicken wings and she braises the meltingly good rendang. If maternal warmth and cooking is what you need, look no further.

A pub-cum-bar with a Lynchian scarlet dining room upstairs, The Cow has been a favourite among Notting Hill locals, celebs, and those seeking a pint of Guinness with half a dozen oysters for years. The seafood-focused menu suits the moody saloon bar to a tee—where you’ll find groups of mates or solo regulars tucking into a bowl of their fiery fish stew and a glass or two of something.

Hunan is a no-menu Chinese restaurant in between Chelsea and Pimlico that takes your choices away from you. You’ll be served 12 or 18 courses, and asked only if you don’t like anything and how spicy you can go. The menu says “trust us”. And when you have lost all trust in humanity, we reckon Hunan may just restore it. The room, all-white and serene, is like a dream sequence where you’ve died and gone to a prawn toast-filled heaven. Of course, 12 courses isn’t exactly a snip at £60-odd pounds, but in terms of elongated, relaxing meals, Hunan gives you bang for your buck.

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. It’s 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. Or, you can get the classic—which is falafel, hummus, fried aubergine, pickled veg, plus a load of fried cauliflower and potato.

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