The Best Philly Restaurants For Dining Solo

You’re better than frozen pizza. Here are the best places in Philly to dine solo.

Maybe you just got your bonus and the only person you want to thank is yourself. Or you’re craving something delicious but would rather stare at your phone than engage with another human. Relatable. Whatever your reason, there comes a time in everyone’s life when a solo meal is necessary–and those times can be pretty great. Whether you want a dirty martini and a juicy burger or a bowl of pasta while scrolling the socials, these are the 13 best places to dine alone.


photo credit: Nicole Guglielmo


East Passyunk

$$$$Perfect For:Coffee & A Light BiteLunchCasual Weeknight DinnerBrunchBYOBBreakfast
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The counter and two tops make up most of the real estate at this plant-filled Mexican spot, so it’s almost like it was designed for solo dining. You’ll find lots of other lone diners popping in for tacos and the signature cemitas that are so good, you wouldn’t want to share them with anyone else. El Chingon also makes fantastic desserts, so leave some room for the arroz con tres leches. It’s the creamy, not-too-sweet mashup of rice pudding and tres leches we never knew we always needed. 

We still really love the salatim at Zahav–but we don’t always love sharing it. After all these years, it’s still annoyingly difficult to get reservations at this buzzy Israeli icon in Society Hill, but getting a solo seat at the bar or kitchen-facing counter top is usually pretty manageable. Get there before 6pm for the daily happy hour, and enjoy the silky hummus, pomegranate lamb shoulder and buttery Persian rice with the only person you’ll never get sick of.

It’s not actually that hard to eat at Tulip. Yes, reservations at this modern Italian spot in Fishtown are impossible, but there are almost always single seats available at the chef’s counter if you stop by early. Even if you arrive later in the evening, a bar seat should still be pretty doable (you might just have to come back an hour or so later), but the mushroom arancini and cacio e peperoncini are worth waiting for.

When we’re really feeling ourselves, Beyonce-style, there’s almost no place we’d rather have a solo date than Sally. The Fitler Square pizzeria specializes in wood-fired sourdough ‘za with unusual toppings (like the clam and leek with grilled lemon) and small plates. It’s a neighborhood spot, so it’s casual, but the velvet seating and '70s soul soundtrack make it ideal for quality alone time (the extensive natural wine selection doesn’t hurt, either). 

We know, we know–memberships are annoying. But it’s worth getting one to this cool South Philly club (and it’s not even hard to do). Pop into Messina Wednesday-Sunday after 6pm, grab a seat at the vintage bar, and pair one of their excellent house cocktails with the king salmon crudo and a bowl of creste di gallo. Even though you came alone, you’ll probably end up chatting with the friendly staff or fellow members, so you’ll get a great meal and a chance to feel pretty hip, however temporary.



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Some days just need to be about you. Whether that means spending an afternoon shopping or heading to a spa, Rittenhouse Square is the place you want to be. Once you’ve spent the rest of your last paycheck “investing in yourself,” grab a seat at, a chic and intimate American bistro, and finish it off with their red curry chicken liver toast and cheeseburger.

Barbuzzo makes some of our favorite pasta, pizza and Mediterranean small plates in the city. Yes, it’s good for a date night or dinner with friends, but the narrow 13th Street space is actually more comfortable (and easier to get into) when dining alone at the first-come, first-serve chef’s counter. There’s not a bad dish to be had here–we like the Asparago pizza, grilled octopus, or pan seared gnocchi. But whatever you start with, though, you absolutely must end with the salted caramel budino.

On a nice day, getting a seat outside anywhere near Rittenhouse Square is tough. Directly on the park? Near impossible. If you get to Parc early enough, though, you can grab a chair at one of the two tops out front, camp out with a book, and order a warm shrimp salad or seafood platter. If it happens to be the middle of the winter, there’s also a long bar inside the French brasserie that serves the full menu, or cozy bistro tables by the windows. Order the french onion soup or half roast chicken and people watch on Locust Street.

Murph’s in Fishtown specializes in huge plates of classic Italian food that come out about five minutes after you place your order. So whether you decide to stay after your seafood manicotti to watch whatever game they’re showing on TV, or you’re just stopping by for tagliatelle bolognese before meeting up with friends, they’ll make sure you’re in and out within the hour.

The best part about Good Dog is that all three floors of the Rittenhouse spot are covered in photos of dogs. Their own dogs, customers’ dogs, and dogs they’ve helped rescue. The second best part? Plenty of seating ideal for face planting into their burger. It’s stuffed with sharp and pungent roquefort, topped with caramelized onions, and served on a challah bun. Sure, you could come with friends, but this is the kind of messy meal better enjoyed without witnesses.

Maybe you want to treat yourself but you’re on a budget. That’s where pho comes in. One of our favorite spots to get a brothy, beefy bowl is at Pho Ha in Little Saigon. It’s the no-nonsense, straight-to-the-point pho spot of our dreams. You’re seated at a communal table, ordered, and served within five minutes. Grab an order of the crispy shrimp and pork spring rolls and the rare steak pho for less than $20.

In the mood for sushi? Looking for some of the best ramen in town? Are you a vegan searching for creative rolls that aren’t deep fried or covered in “cream cheese”? If you said yes to any of the above, Old City’s Tomo is the spot for you. Everything here is fresh and delicious, from the spicy salmon inari (or as we like to call it, the little pouch of magic) to the vegetarian shoyu ramen. The casual BYOB is usually crowded with neighborhood regulars, but getting a seat at the chef’s counter should be easy.

Abyssinia in Spruce Hill serves Ethiopian platters that get us more excited than hearing that dinner is ready on Thanksgiving night. Their stewed lentils, oniony sauteed greens, spicy beef tibs, and warm injera on their own are great, but when you want a spread big enough for tonight’s dinner and tomorrow’s lunch, their $14 combination platters are the way to go. The warm, casual restaurant is almost always crowded with everyone from solo diners to multi-gen families, so you can people watch or make new friends in between bites of garlicky lamb stew. 

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