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Great SF Restaurants For Dining Solo

PHOTO: Krescent Cassaro

Maybe you've already Postmated Beretta three times this week. Maybe you just need to sit in silence and not talk about Chatbots and the future of VR. Maybe you're just really hungry and would rather catch up on your Twitter feed than talk to another human. Whatever the reason, there comes a time for dining solo in every person's life - and we think those times can actually be pretty great.

There are a few criteria that make a restaurant ideal for dining solo, and the restaurants on this list all satisfy them. One, they must have bar seating. Two, they must be places where you'll feel totally comfortable by yourself - that usually means a casual, friendly environment. Finally, they must serve food suitable for one person. Burgers, ramen, tacos, maybe even a big salad? Yes. Tapas? Hard pass.

the spots

8.6
MAP

One of our favorite spots in the city, Cotogna is ideal for treating yourself and only yourself. There are a solid number of bar seats at the back that are usually snag-able. A bowl of pasta or an entree and some of the house focaccia and you’re good to go.

Bar Tartine

Mission
561 Valencia St.
8.5
MAP

If you’re looking to eat at one of the more iconic restaurants in the city, Bar Tartine is where it’s at. The marble bar is perfect for dining solo, and the food is so good you’ll want to be able to devote your full attention to it anyway. The menu is small and changes often, but the famous bread is always on there and you always need to start with it.

Iza Ramen

Haight
237 Fillmore St
8.2
MAP

Ramen is the ideal food for eating alone, since it’s pretty weird to share it with anyone. Hit up Iza, get yourself an obscure Japanese beer, and slurp your ramen unabashedly. This is one of our new go-to's.

Souvla

Hayes Valley
517 Hayes St.
8.1
MAP

What isn’t Souvla perfect for? Bar seats line one whole edge of the restaurant, so order at the counter, and post up back there. It’s impossible to order incorrectly here, but you would be missing out if you skipped froyo for dessert.

Cockscomb

Soma
564 4th St
8.1
MAP

Hit up this carnivore temple near AT&T Park for one of the more decadent burgers in the city and great, meat-heavy pastas. Not for the health-conscious, but you’ll feel zero shame as you eat this food at the bar, gloriously alone.

Maven

Haight
598 Haight St.
7.8
MAP

The mussels, the burger, the cocktails, the living wall...we can go on and on about the things we love at Maven. Add in the fact that the restaurant has two floors of bar seating and it’s pretty much a dining solo mecca.

Mezes Kitchen & Wine Bar

2373 Chestnut St
MAP

Mezes is a great neighborhood Greek spot on Chestnut Street that flies under the radar. The gyros and souvlaki are great, or you can get a few of the smallish apps and make a meal. It's all reasonably priced, and very tasty. The bartenders are also friendly, rounding out the reasons why Mezes is a solid spot for grabbing food on your own.

Causwells

Marina
2346 Chestnut St.
8.0
MAP

Causwells is all about the burger. For good reason - it’s kick-ass. There are a bunch of bar seats inside, or on a nice day grabbing an outdoor table and watching the humans and animals of Chestnut Street stroll by is more than enough to entertain yourself.

Alta CA

Civic Center
1420 Market St.
8.1
MAP

Tons of bar seats, a serious burger, and an excellent cocktail list keep Alta at the top of our dining solo list. Also, save some room for the soft serve ice cream for dessert. You don’t need to share it.

7.0
MAP

Order at the counter, grab a seat looking out over the street, and pat yourself on the back for eating a meal free of any refined sugars, gluten, trans fats...we could go on but you get the point. The steak wrap is our favorite, and most of the plates are strong too. We keep Little Gem in our breakfast rotation as well.

Mamacita

Marina
2317 Chestnut St.
7.3
MAP

The best Mexican in the Marina, Mamacita is usually slammed - but the bar seats are always easy to snag. We’re all in on the duck and goat tacos, and also the enchiladas. There’s a TV at the bar, so we’ve spent our fair share of time watching games over chips and margs here.

Arlequin

Hayes Valley
384 Hayes St.
7.7
MAP

Breakfast, lunch, or dinner, Arlequin is pretty much the perfect casual spot to eat alone. There are bar seats that look out on Hayes Street and a big back patio where it’s totally normal to hang with a book or computer while housing a lamb burger. It’s also attached to a wine shop. Just saying.

8.4
MAP

Hog Island is an oasis in the madness of the Ferry Building. The view is spectacular, and the food matches the vistas. You’re here to eat seafood, so get to it. An abundance of bar seats are waiting for you and your chowder, oysters, and mussels. You might be here a while.

8.2
MAP

If you find yourself in the Tenderloin area and looking for a safe space, pop in here for seasonal American food. Jane bread to start is a must, and then go from there. So many bar seats we don’t even know what to do with ourselves at Huxley.

Marlowe

Soma
330 Townsend St.
7.5
MAP

Marlowe is known for its burger, and yes, it’s good. But so are all the entrees. Definitely don’t skip the brussels sprout chips, either. Plenty of bar seats to be had, and a good wine list too.

Nopalito

Nopa
306 Broderick St
7.4
MAP

Getting a table at Nopalito is usually a bit of an ordeal, but slipping into the bar seats that look over the open kitchen is usually not. The carnitas are awesome and the spicy chickpeas to snack on are also a delight.

Park Tavern

North Beach
1652 Stockton St.
7.6
MAP

In North Beach and need a solo meal that won’t end with you getting poked by the selfie stick of the tourist couple sitting next to you? Get yourself to Park Tavern, set up at the bar, and enjoy. You can order deviled eggs one at a time if you so fancy. Just pace yourself.

7.6
MAP

This little sushi bar in Hayes is basically only bar seats. Hello, non-awkward night of eating dinner by yourself. Domo is a chill, neighborhood spot that you can hit up whether you’re in gym clothes or work clothes and feel perfectly at ease. It’s well-priced, and pretty damn good. Saba Hit or Wiki Wiki are always in our order.

Wayfare Tavern

558 Sacramento St
MAP

Financial District power move time. The crowd is definitely older and more business-like, but who cares, because the fried chicken and burger are fantastic. Or if you really want to test the limits on your corporate card policy (and your body), they have a short-rib-stuffed filet mignon.

7.6
MAP

Grilled cheese is a perfectly respectable thing to eat for dinner as an adult. Or lunch. Union Larder makes theirs nice and fancy, and also brings a strong wine game to Russian Hill. And if you’re not feeling like returning to your childhood, the menu also has salads, charcuterie plates, and a few other solid sandwiches.

Fat Angel Food & Libation

1740 Ofarrell St
MAP

We’re very into Fat Angel for a quick bite at the bar with the best thing on the menu: the kale salad. It has bacon and cheese and almonds and generally rules. Add roast chicken and you have yourself a great dinner. Bar seats and good wine and beer abound.

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