The Best LA Restaurants For Dining Solo guide image


The Best LA Restaurants For Dining Solo

Time to break free from the stigma. Eating alone at a restaurant is the best, and here are the best places to experience it.

Eating by yourself is a lost art. Whether you’re in too much of a hurry to consider stopping anywhere else besides Starbucks, or simply terrified of being left to your 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 rocks.

No matter how crowded the place is, you’ll always get a seat, you can order exactly what you want, and if you feel like staring off and fantasizing 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-thru. These are places you actually need to be eating at alone in LA.


photo credit: Jakob Layman

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3655 S. Grand Ave, Los Angeles
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We can’t think of a better definition of “me time” than eating super fresh, inventive seafood dishes all by yourself. Holbox, a counter-service Mexican spot in South LA’s colorful Mercado La Paloma, is our favorite place to do just that. Pull up a stool at their raw bar and order some of their Yucatan-style fish tacos, scallop aguachile, or the kanpachi and uni tostada with heaps of sea bass ceviche, chopped lime, onions, and uni all but hanging off a freshly fried tostada.

Rather than staring at your phone for the duration of your solo meal, head to the bar counter at Pizzeria Sei and watch a chef pull puffy-edged pies out of a wood-fired oven. This Mid-City spot specializes in Neapolitan-style pizzas, ranging from a perfectly-executed margherita pie to a prosciutto and egg masterpiece with a chewy, blistered crust that we find hard to share for selfish reasons. Seating inside this tiny restaurant is limited, so we recommend dropping by for a solo lunch or casual dinner.

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Ceviche Project is one of the few spots in Silver Lake where you’re better off dining solo. You can sit at the bar, have a glass of pet-nat from Baja, and watch the chef assemble your seafood like he’s some sort of tweezer magician. Most of the dishes at this walk-in only ceviche bar are hard to split two ways, so sit back and enjoy a fresh kanpachi tostada, some Kusshi oysters, or scallop and uni aguachile shooters on your own.

Dealing with the crowds at Grand Central Market never seems particularly worth it with a group, but you should make the exception for a solo meal at Sari Sari Store. This Filipino food stall from the team behind Republique serves dishes like crunchy lumpia, crispy sisig fried rice, thick-sliced lechon kawali, and creamy halo-halo. If you come on a weekday, the lines won’t be too long to grab a seat at their wrap-around counter overlooking the tiny kitchen.

This Indian sports bar in Silver Lake has a long bar at the back of the restaurant with your name on it—it’s an easy landing spot where you can dine leisurely on cream-heavy malai rigatoni or pasta shells smothered in a thick parmesan/saffron sauce. There’s also some thin-crust pizza smeared with green chile chutney that you can easily devour all by yourself without anyone batting an eye. If you need something to keep your eyes busy while you wait for your food, just watch whatever game is on TV. 

Unless you’re new to eating in Los Angeles, you probably don’t need us to tell you about Gjusta. This Venice establishment has a huge variety of sourdough loaves and baguettes available over the counter, plus dishes like a tomato confit sandwich, steak banh mi, and tuna conserva. There will probably be a short line here when you arrive, but that just gives you more time to plot your order and scope out an isolated table in their canopied courtyard.

Visiting this classic Inglewood diner is like attending a neighborhood block party—as soon as you walk in, you’ll be greeted by a sea of families, groups of friends, and solo diners who have been coming here weekly for 35+ years. The fried catfish is tremendous, and the waffles are perhaps our favorite in town. Grab a seat at the counter and let the waitstaff shower you in attention, coffee refills, and sparkling conversation.

Tail O The Pup’s newly revamped space includes a massive, two-story patio, a retro interior (with excellent AC, by the way), and an iconic hot dog-shaped stand out front. Our favorite dogs on the menu include the fully-loaded Chicago Pup and spicy Jalapeno Pup, but don’t skip the Sassy Cheese, a fast food-style burger with a layer of crispy, griddled cheese inside. If you’re short of time, ordering here is swift and efficient—you could easily be in and out in 15-20 minutes. Otherwise, we recommend kicking back, ordering a beer or canned wine, and soaking up the nostalgia.

It’s hard to feel self-conscious about dining alone when you’re surrounded by curly fries, black pastrami Reuben sandwiches piled a mile high, and stuffed cabbage. For this exact order, head to Brent’s Deli for a bucket-list experience. This iconic restaurant in Northridge, known for defining Jewish food in the Valley, feels more like a museum than an actual restaurant. The servers will treat you like a regular who’s been coming for decades, and someone will absolutely call you “hun” in an endearing way.

Located on Sunset Blvd. in Thai Town, NTFC is one of the best new Thai restaurants to open in LA in years—and also one of the smallest. The menu consists entirely of Northern Thai specialties, so expect jackfruit salad, one of our favorite bowls of khao soi in town, and a spicy sausage we’re still sweating over. The dime-sized space only has a few tables, so expect to eat your lunch pressed up against a window next to a stack of old newspapers. But when the food is this incredible, you’ll happily eat it anywhere.

Shibumi doesn’t really seem like the kind of place where you’d want to have a meal on your own. It’s a fancy-ish Japanese restaurant Downtown, with lots of small plates and plenty of people on dates. But actually, we love hitting Shibumi solo. Order some sake, the sashimi, and some grilled pork, then laugh at the people who have to share those things. Do that silently though, it’s a bit weird to just start laughing to yourself in a public place.

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 spot features bar seating only, and that means no one will blink twice when you stroll in as the confident individual you are. So choose from one of their four handroll set menus, and then just sit back, relax, and scroll through Instagram in peace.

This Parisian-inspired cafe is almost too small to function. So unless you want to wait two hours to eat your dinner with friends pressed up against a mirror, your only move is to come alone. 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 omelet right now.

Most people might not think of pasta-eating as a solo activity, but you’re not here for them. You’re here for 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 and a deep glass of red wine, and realize that talking to other people is a waste of time.

If you’re out there alone in the world, ramen is always one of your best bets for nourishment. And while you probably can’t go wrong with most ramen specialists in LA these days, our move for a solo journey is always Tsujita LA. The Sawtelle staple usually has a wait 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.

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