The Best NYC Restaurants For Dining Solo
Whether you want to take yourself out for a nice meal or just eat something quick with minimal human interaction, here's where to go.
Maybe you’re meeting for drinks at 10pm and you don’t want to go back to your apartment beforehand, or maybe you’re just really hungry and would rather stare at your phone than talk to another human. Whatever the reason, there comes a time in every person’s life when a solo meal is necessary—and we think those times are actually pretty great. Whether you want to drink a martini and enjoy some lamb tartare or space out while you eat ramen, use this guide to find a good place to dine alone.
photo credit: Noah Devereaux
Ichiran isn’t just perfect for solo diners. It’s perfect for antisocial ones as well. Here, you can sit in a “concentration booth” that looks kind of like a desk or a voting stall and pass your written order through a slit on the far side. Then it’ll just be you, your ramen, and whoever is sitting behind the dividers on either side of you. This was the first U.S. location of a Japanese chain (there are a few others in Midtown now), and, while the ramen is a little pricier than usual, it’s a fun experience.
This handroll bar in the East Village believes their fresh, hot rice and crispy nori should be eaten within 30 seconds, and they’ve made it very easy to do so. Choose from sets of 3-6 handrolls to be delivered to you at your own eating pace by someone in a Hawaiian shirt. The spacious dining room only has counter seating, with plenty of room to guarantee you a spot whether you want to pop-in for a quick 30-minute solo meal or linger for rounds of sake from their vaguely tropical themed bar and ask the person next to you, “You crab here often?” They also have a second location in Williamsburg.
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People tend to be very focused, even silent, when they’re eating their Pecking House chili chicken. The crackly crust and five-spice flavors call you to attention right away, and it’s kind of hard to carry on a full conversation when your tongue is tingling from the Tianjin chilies. The Park Slope restaurant is convenient for a quick solo meal—it’s counter service and looks a bit like a cafeteria at a trendy tech company, but it feels fitting for when you need a quick beer and some chicken that feels like it’s biohacking your brain.
photo credit: Emily Schindler
Gramercy Tavern operates as two restaurants in one. The back dining room is reserved for people working their way through the $165 tasting menu, and the front tavern area has its own casual feel and à la carte menu for walk-in diners. The energy of the tavern room outshines the yawningly-large dining area, and you should make a mental note to stop by for a martini and a burger when you’re already in the area. Don’t plan months ahead or stress yourself out about it—instead, treat Gramercy Tavern as the fun neighborhood spot your Thursday night self would more likely prefer.
Nonna Dora’s Pasta Bar
Nonna Dora’s is strictly a pasta bar, so there are no mains to distract you from their many bowls of perfect pasta. Chewy, al dente pasta is usually the standard for a satisfying bowl of carbs, but here you get silky handmade mezzelune and melty layered lasagne that feels like velvet. Whether you pre-book or walk in, try to get a seat at the bar where you can watch the bartender make whichever one of the 10 elaborate varieties you order from the negroni menu.
At first glance, Dashi Okume is a store. This Greenpoint spot is an outpost of a dry goods seller that’s been at the Tokyo Central Market since 1871. But if you can tear yourself away from the DIY dashi bar and the stunning selection of ceramics, high-end rice, and over a dozen varieties of miso, you can also have an exceptional meal here. Snag a seat at the counter in the back of the store and order the Teishoku set. It comes with grilled fish, rice, a few sides, a cup of tea, and the best miso soup you’ve ever had.
photo credit: Lashevet
This small, charming UES restaurant changes its menu from cafe fare during the day to a full dinner service at night with influences from Israeli, Lebanese, and Moroccan cuisine. Omnivores pay special attention—while there’s meat all over the menu at night, the daytime menu is fully vegetarian with things like avocado toast on pita and fresh, colorful mezze. We love to stop by for a spontaneous cup of Turkish coffee under their kaleidoscopic Moroccan lamps.
Cafe Rue Dix
Cafe Rue Dix is a French-Senegalese spot in Crown Heights where you should spend a leisurely Saturday afternoon. Pop in for breakfast and order some of their famous beignets and a pot of Senegalese tea, or order some beef mafe at lunch and take in the scene. The walls are covered in West African masks, loud Afrobeat music is always playing, and when you’re done you can also browse through clothing by Senegalese designers and get your nails done at Marché Rue Dix, the attached boutique next door.
Villa Brazil Café Grill
If it’s one of those nights when you’re so hungry that everything on your way home looks good, try to hold out until you get to Villa Brazil Café Grill. At this Brazilian buffet-style restaurant you get homestyle food by the pound, and there’s a churrasco window where you can choose from a rotating selection of things like picanha, frango, and sausages right off the spit. The intimate dining room is calm, the buffet spread is impeccably clean, and they’ve got freshly baked desserts behind the counter to take home.
photo credit: Emily Schindler
K’Far is an all-day Israeli cafe, bar, and full-service restaurant from the team behind Laser Wolf. Like Laser Wolf, K'Far is a Philly import that lives in the lobby of the Hoxton, and it's our new favorite place to hunker down at on a weekday. In the mornings, grab kubaneh, boreka, and long, flat Jerusalem bagel breakfast sandwiches on the lounge side of the lobby, where you’ll see people on their laptops. After 5pm, slide into a brown suede booth in the dining room across the foyer. Wind down the workday with some lamb tartare, grouper chraime, and a cocktail.