Scroll down to discover London’s Best Restaurants To Dine Alone.
One of my favourite things to do is wake up early, head to a café with my book or my laptop and enjoy breakfast by myself. I’ve been known to do it a few times for dinner, too. I love it. I don’t have to wait for anyone, I can order what I want and I can enjoy my own company. As well as us just treating ourselves to a solo date, now more than ever the popularity of solo dining is on the rise because more of us are choosing to travel alone. London is one of the most friendliest solo travel destinations in my opinion and there is so much to see, to do and eat here on your own you’re sure to have an amazing time. Below are my choices London’s best restaurants to dine alone whether you’re a local or a solo traveller. You may also like my blog on tips for travelling alone and 50 awesome things to do alone in London.
Padella was the original cool kid of the London pasta scene that kick-started the pasta craze in the city. Every day, hordes of people queue outside their Borough Market restaurant for a chance to try their famous pasta dishes. Upstairs, they have counter seating overlooking the chefs at work and window shelfs that make it a great place for an informal but special solo dining option. Tables turn around and expect to queue (unless you use the WalkUp app featured on my 15 apps to download when visiting London blog)
Pizza Union is possibly my favourite cheap eat in London. It’s got great food, a great vibe and great prices. They have a few locations across London and all of the restaurants are set up where you pay at the counter for your food, you find a seat at a communal table and you wait for your buzzer to ring to collect your pizza. What I love about Pizza Union is that it doesn’t look like a ‘cheap eats’ kinda place and you could easily have a group of mates here and feel like you were really splashing out. The pizza here starts from just £3.95 and the cocktails from £5. I would suggest Pizza Union for anyone who wants something without fuss, if you can’t get a reservation, if you have children or there is a large group of you. Another great option for anyone who’s travelling alone in London and needs a solo dining spot. Check out my list of London’s best pizza for more great suggestions.
Yes, this blog is about the best solo dining options in London, BUT if it was about the most gorgeous restaurants in London Lina Stores would be on that list too. They first opened their strikingly beautiful takeaway Soho deli in 1944 which stocks hundreds of Italian products. Since then, they have opened two restaurants in Central and North London – both totally worth an Instagram snap for their stunning duck egg blue facade. The menu has plates of hand-made pasta which can be enjoyed solo at one their counter seating areas. The upstairs Soho location has counter seating only where as the Kings Cross location has a large seated dining area for groups with solo seating at the chefs counter. One to order a nice glass of wine with your meal. Features on my list of London’s best pasta restaurants.
Ahi Poke is fast food but in a healthier, more elegant kind of way. If you haven’t heard of poke before they originated in Hawaii. Bowls are filled up with your choice of fish, meat, grains and vegetables. You can be super creative with the combinations you make knowing you’re still being good to your body. Either make your own or go with one of their own combinations they have come up with. They have various locations across London all with informal seating areas so no need to book. A great healthy alternative to fast food.
Ole & Steen are a relaxed Danish cafe with various locations across London. They do a variety of Scandinavian inspired sandwiches, cakes and pastries which you pick from the counters around you and then pay at the counter (which is always great when you don’t have to fuss with bill when you’re finished) Think of Ole & Steen as your upgraded café. Yes, it is casual but you still feel like you’re sat in somewhere nice. Inside the space is large with an industrial chic vibe. Its a popular spot for solo lunch goers, pre-theatre munching or a late night coffee and cake. Their cinnamon social is the main reason you have to go there. You can see why on my list of London’s best cinnamon buns.
There are two cheese bars I want to suggest for your solo dining adventures. Firstly, there is The Cheese Bar in Camden which is a restaurant serving dishes focused around great British cheeses. Dining takes place around a large centre island with stool seating so solo dining is not only common by encouraged. Secondly, there is Pick & Cheese. On a moving conveyor belt, cheeses paired accompaniments such as chutneys, crackers and even fudge (honestly, its amazing) are whisked past you ready for you to pick and enjoy as you like. Think of it as the sushi of the cheese world. Depending on the colour of the plates depends on much you pay for each of them so be mindful as they add up very quickly. Such a fun concept.
BAO are a trendy Taiwanese restaurant specialising in bao buns and small plate Asian dishes. If you haven’t heard of a BAO before, they are a small, white, soft bun that has been steamed until fluffy and stuffed with fillings like black cod, beef short rib or their most popular pork bao with crushed peanuts. When you arrive at the restaurant the waiter will give you a paper menu which you tick off your dishes and hand it back to the waiter. While you must order the bao buns, the Taiwanese side dishes such as the beef butter sweetcorn & beef cheek nuggets should be on your hit list too. BAO can be made how extravagant or as cheap as you want. It’s a great place for a solo lunch or dinner with counter seating and tables that turn around quite quickly. They have also recently opened Cafe Bao which serves sweet baked goods alongside their savoury lunch and dinner menu.
London has some amazing food markets on offer. They are always a great option if you’re travelling alone or having a solo date by yourself because they are informal and food is usually made to be eaten as you walk or find a casual spot nearby like a park or kerb to enjoy it in. Some of my favourite food markets in London or Maltby Street Market, Borough Market and Spitalfields Market. You can check out my list of great London markets right here.
I love Pastaio because it’s one of those places you can make as casual or as special as you want it to be. The menu has a great selection of fresh, hand made pasta dishes with excellent vegan options. Inside is really funky with white marble tables, stainless steel features and sophisticated lighting. Most of the restaurant is made up of large communal tables with a few private ones available so great for your solo dinner date. You’ll find them at London’s famous Carnaby Street which is perfect for a bit of shopping afterwards.
Barrafina features on most ‘best restaurant in London’ lists and any time you pass it has a long queue of people eager to see what the fuss is about. They are a high-end Spanish restaurant that does outstanding Spanish tapas and they deserve every bit of credit they get. You could say the menu is a little intimidating because of its Spanish authenticity and if you’re like me you may have to Google a few things but in all honesty, I don’t think you can go wrong in whatever you order at Barrafina. The classic Spanish toritilla, pan con tomate (tomato bread) and the gambas rojas al ajillo (red prawns with garlic are great options. All of the 4 locations in London have mostly got counter seating which means you can sit in the middle of the cooking action like front row seats to a great theatre show. Barrafina is not your everyday restaurant but instead it’s one to treat yourself for a high end lunch or dinner.
Bocca is a really sophisticated pasta experience. Their restaurant is located in the heart of London’s West End, opposite their sister gelato shop, Gelupo that does some of the best ice-cream in town. The menu is very substantial with lots of dishes you won’t find at a ‘typical’ Italian restaurant. They have categorised it into fried, oven and stewed dishes, as well as pasta, of course. Not only that, but you can also order most dishes in a small or large size which makes it great for all your solo diners out there. Bocca also does a ‘bring your own truffle’ menu where you can order a dish for around £10 and they will clean and slice your truffles for you to scatter over your dish. An unusual but fun experience for any foodie.
Bancone means ‘bar’ or ‘counter’. They are an elegant pasta restaurant in the heart of Covent Garden serving up stunning plates of pasta which change seasonally. Inside, the seating is mostly made up of counter stools which offer the best view of the chefs fiercely cooking and dishing up. It’s like going to a theatre show … for pasta! Their most famous dish is their silk handkerchiefs with walnut butter and a confit egg yolk. After much success, they have opened up a second site in Soho. Bancone isn’t your casual place for a plate of pasta but more of something for a special treat to yourself.
If you type in ‘London’s best ramen’ into google Kanada Ya is at the top of most lists. They are an authentic Japanese ramen bar with three locations in London. It started in 2009 in Hong Kong created by Kazuhiro Kanada and arrived in London in 2014. Their rich, warming bowls of Japanese ramen attraction hoards of people everyday, particularly solo diners who you’ll see sat in the steamy window seats slurping chewy noodles. You’ll very rarely see Kanada Ya without a queue its that popular. Inside has its signature Japanese flair with stylish yet simple wooden features. The portions are big and they also do a vegan and vegetarian options.
You might be reading this thinking, WHAT? Pret A Manger is on your list? Its a chain café with thousands of locations in the world, what are you doing! Well it’s on this list for that exact reason. There are hundreds of Pret across London and in my opinion the food and service is exactly what you want for easy solo dining. They have counters filled with sandwiches, salads, hot options and drinks (all of which I think are always so tasty) which you pay for at the counter and enjoy in their designated seating areas. It’s a great place for a cheaper, relaxed lunch or dinner without all the fuss of waiters and bills.
Sometimes its the most unsuspecting places that are the best, isn’t it? Xian Impression is a little further out of town then many first timers would like to go but I recommend you take the tube to Holloway if you want some top Chinese food. They do a menu of hand pulled noodles mixed with pork, beef or vegetables or a bunch of Xian street food such as pot stickers, dumplings and wonton soup. You won’t go to Xian Impression for the impeccable service or luxury decor but you’ll stay for the home cooked food and easy going vibe. They are just outside the Emirates Stadium too if you’re an Arsenal fan!
You can’t visit London without having a full English breakfast at a traditional British café. If that sounds right up your street then you should visit the E.Pellici ,Bethnal Green. Its been around since 1900 and has passed through the generations with the original Italian family still running it today. This East London eatery is what you would call a classic British café mostly famous for their hearty full English breakfast with a few Italian classics at lunch. At this local gem you’ll find lots of solo diners enjoying a top notch breakfast with a newspaper in one hand and a cuppa tea in the other.
Bar Douro sits in a railway arch in London’s buzzing Flat Iron Square. They have brought authentic, refined Portuguese food to London which can be enjoyed in their stunning Mediterranean interiors. Bar Douro is perfect for any solo diners who want to eat somewhere a little bit fancy but don’t like the idea of a full restaurant. The restaurant covers 30 seats along a marble counter top or perched along intimate window shelfs so you don’t feel as exposed. Dishes are smaller and are designed to order multiple from the ‘garden’, ‘sea’ and ‘land’ sections of the menu. Bar Douro is a secluded spot for those who like to eat at more unique places.
Bun House in Soho specialises in Cantonese steamed buns. They are a trendy café in the heart of London’s Chinatown that’s always buzzing with eager customers waiting to try out their famous buns. Choose from the pig bun, beef bun and veggie bun (plus loads more) which are generously filled and super light and fluffy. The great thing about Bun House is that you can come in for a quick casual bun, or order a whole variety depending on your budget or how hungry you are. While you may come here for something savoury you can’t leave without trying their famous custard bun which rose to fame on social media for its signature ooze when ripped open. Snacks include dumplings, fish balls and noodle salad. Bun House is ‘café style’ which means you order at the counter, find a seat and enjoy – ideal for your solo lunch or dinner.
Patty & Bun are a casual burger place but with the quality of a great restaurant. The gourmet burgers they serve arrive at your table wrapped in paper keeping it extra casual and the relaxed nature of the food is reflected in its laid back service and industrial style decor. They do six different beef, chicken and veggie burgers aswell as fries, wings and some exceptional vegan options. In terms of seating each restaurant is quite different with table seating, window seating and counter seating depending on your solo dining preferences. They have seven locations across London so you’re sure to find one wherever you are in the city.
Pophams is a great choice for a solo breakfast, lunch or dinner. They are a beautiful little bakery and pasta restaurant with two locations in London, Angel, North London and Hackney, East London. Since they opened back in 2017 they have stayed in the top spot of one of London’s best eateries and are legendary for their creative flair and quality execution. They are mostly known for their unique pastries and sensational lunch time toasties, plus they have a small pasta menu available on selected evenings only at their Hackney branch. In terms of dining alone, their Angel location has a few window seats inside and a large communal table outside which are perfect for your solo date. Hackney is a larger space with communal tables inside and numerous window sill spots to watch the world go or read a good book. If you want to come here in the evening for pasta , the window sill spots are the way to go without feel too exposed.
I hope you enjoyed reading London’s Best Restaurants To Dine Alone. Here are some simple tips mind to get the best out of your experience!
1. Pick the RIGHT place
Find somewhere that’s got areas that cater well for the solo diners … A stool at the counter, a bar area, seats lined up against a window. Preferably not a large open restaurant with formal tables.
2. Own it!
Be confident. Don’t walk in and think oh gosh I’m on my own everyone must think I’m weird. It’ll radiate all over your face. Truth is most people won’t even think about it or if they do they are probably thinking wow I wish I had the guts to do that like them.
3. Take a prop if it makes you more comfortable.
If you are super uncomfortable not having someone to talk then take a prop. A book, a phone or a laptop is always a good distraction.
Before you go, did you know I have a list of 50 Awesome Things To Do in London for you to download and keep for your next trip or day out in London. Check it out below!