Dining alone does not have to be a harried, self-conscious affair. These days, people dine alone for all sorts of good reasons. One of the best is the opportunity to eat at your own pace and fully take in the experience of the food and atmosphere around you. And while I often enjoy a seat at the bar, there is no reason not to ask for a table where one can have a more intimate experience.
If you find yourself too embarrassed to dine alone, don’t be. As evidenced by OpenTable’s list of 25 top spots for solo diners in America, there are restaurants that are adept at creating a delicious meal just for you. So skip the bad takeout in your apartment and the lukewarm hotel room service. There are thousands of restaurants on OpenTable that are quite happy to reserve your table for one. Below are seven more standout spots for solo dining.
Barking Crab, Boston, Massachusetts
The Barking Crab is a South Boston landmark and one of my favorite summer hotspots. For 21 years, they’ve been serving up New England seafood and microbrews in a casual clam shack setting that makes me yearn for summer all year round. From crabs and lobsters to fresh fish brought in from the docks each day, this is a place to bucket up and chow down. The lively communal seating makes it easy to feel like you’re part of the crowd without feeling conspicuous.
Cipriani Dolci-Grand Central Terminal, New York, New York
There’s seemingly no end to the number of great destinations for solitary food and entertainment in New York. But, for me, one stands out among the others for its superb location and life-affirming people watching. Dining beneath the star-speckled ceiling of the Grand Central Terminal offers no end of fascination as you watch one of the most spectacular acts of daily human migration unfold before you. Nestled in an upper corner on the main concourse of Grand Central Station, Cipriani Dolci offers refreshing cocktails, eye-boggling appetizers (try the Prosciutto Crudo di Parma), and a birds-eye view of pure unbridled humanity. You will witness loves both found and lost, trains both caught and missed. You will make groundless assumptions about the lives, personalities, and aspirations of all before you. And you will leave feeling like the great American bluesman Taj Mahal — “satisfied and tickled, too.”
Cork, Washington, D.C.
With more than 50 wines by the glass, the D.C. wine bar Cork is a fine place to break bread and pay your respect to Dionysus, god of the grape harvest, in simple solitude. Sure, they have dishes to share, but no one says you have to! Prices at Cork are very reasonable, too, with plenty of small plates, cheeses, and charcuterie, and most hot offerings coming in at under $20. Food and wine pairings and wine flights just might make this casual Logan Circle joint your new local.