Eating by yourself is a lost art form. Whether we’re all in too much of a hurry to consider stopping anywhere else besides Starbucks, or simply terrified of being left to our own thoughts for a half hour, walking into a restaurant and eating a full meal by yourself simply doesn’t get the respect it deserves. But we’re here to tell you - it f*cking rocks.
No matter how crowded the place is you’ll always get a seat, you can order exactly what you want when you want, and if all you want to do is stare off and fantasize about being a dog for an hour, no one is going to stop you. This is your time and no one else’s. So throw away that sad granola bar in your glove compartment, and don’t you dare pull into the Arby’s drive-through. These are places you actually need to be eating at alone in LA.
Sushi as a whole is always a solid choice when dining alone. But few places cater to the solo mission better than KazuNori. The stark downtown sushi counter is bar seating only, and that means no one will blink twice when you stroll in as the confident individual you are. And at KazuNori, it’s all about the hand roll. So choose from one of their three set hand-roll menus, and then just sit back, relax, and scroll through Instagram in peace.
You have a meeting in Century City at 10:30am, a Buffalo Wild Wings audition back in Hollywood at 1pm, and you’re worried of collapsing with hunger some point along the way. BCN is here for you. The Barcelona street food cafe in the heart of Weho is cranking out the kind of on-the-go food that’ll actually fill you up while still keep you light on your toes. And that’s needed because your audition will actually just be you jump-roping until they’ve made their decision.
The last thing you need right now is coworker Greg latching on to your lunch plans. The good news is he can’t come with you to Rice Bar, because there’s literally no room for him. The filipino rice bowl shop in the heart of downtown has only a few seats to go around and one of them is definitely yours. So chow down on some pork longganisa in silence or chat with the owner who might be one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. And that’s way better than Greg.
On a chilly 72 degree day in LA, few things beat a bowl of Nong La pho by your lonesome. With locations on both Sawtelle and La Brea now, the modern Vietnamese cafe has built a large following on efficient service and excellent Vietnamese comfort food across the board. The sesame steak banh mi and pork noodle salad are other must-orders for when you come back by yourself tomorrow.
At it’s core, Backyard Bowls proves why LA just can’t be touched when it comes fresh produce. How does a bowl of chopped up fruit taste so good in February? Why did you only spend $8 on it? Is everyone here a Barbie? The Beverly Grove hotspot can admittedly get slammed on the weekends, but come alone on a weekday morning after the gym or on your way to work, and you’ll be treated to California nirvana. Don’t sleep on their cold brew either.
The thing about Chef Ludo’s casual Parisian cafe concept is that it’s almost too small to function. So unless you want to wait two hours to eat your dinner with friends pressed up against a mirror, you’re only move is to come alone. But fly in solo and you’ll be assured a seat at the bar in no time. And despite the tightening grip of claustrophobia around you, the food continues to be worth it. Give us that omelette right now.
You rarely hear a sentence start with “the best burger in LA” and not have it end with “Father’s Office”. But Oaks Gourmet is not-so-secretly giving it a run for their money. What’s essentially a wine shop in Franklin Village, Oaks Gourmet has one of the best burgers in LA, and an order-at-the-counter set up that’s perfect for you after bombing your UCB 101 show around the corner.
Eating pasta isn’t viewed by most people as a solo activity, but you’re not here for them. You’re here that warm bowl of carbs and some actual time to decompress. Few places cater to that agenda better than Osteria La Buca. The casual Italian tavern across the street from Paramount Studios is the ideal spot to pull up to the bar, grab a bowl of pasta, a deep glass of red wine, and realize talking to other people is actually very overrated.
Breathe a sigh of relief people. Our beloved ink.sack recently went under a name change, but we’re happy to report it’s basically the same. The cold fried chicken, the Spanish Godfather, and the banh mi are all back, and the same pick-up-and-go operation is intact. Which means you can still get the best-made sandwiches under $7 in the city, and live your solitary life to its finest.
If you’re out there alone in the world, ramen is always one of your best bets for nourishment. And while you can’t go wrong with most ramen spots in LA these days, our move for a solo journey is always Tsujita LA. The Sawtelle staple has lines out the door before noon, so if you can get over there early, you should. And then stroll up to the bar and enjoy dip ramen in the company of your favorite person in the world.
Strolling into a wine bar alone is one of our go-to power moves, and Froma on Melrose will not only garner you some much-needed solo wine time, but also delicious food as well. The Alpine and Caprese sandwiches are both tremendous, and if you ever get done mindlessly scrolling through apps, the bartenders are really nice too.
There isn’t a single person in LA who looks forward to driving over the Cahuenga Pass, but at least there’s Joe’s Falafel to stop off at until the traffic dies down. This tiny, no-frills strip mall spot has some of the best falafel in town, and plenty of other fantastic Mediterranean staples too. Send word to friends over the hill to go eat dinner without you.
Sushi bowls are one of life’s great hacks - get more sushi, pay half as much. And one of our favorite spots in the city to get that big bowl of raw fish is Murakami. Build your own bowl from scratch or choose from one off the menu (their $15 spicy trio bowl is always the move). If you’re buzzing around mid-city by yourself, Murakami is where you need to be.