Table For One: London’s Best Places To Dine Alone (& How To Do it Well!)

Table For One: London’s Best Places To Dine Alone (& How To Do it Well!)
Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook

One of my favourite things to do is wake up early, head to a cafe with my book or laptop in hand and enjoy breakfast by myself. I’ve been known to do it a few times for dinner too.  I don’t have to wait for anyone, I can order what I want and just enjoy my own company – something we don’t get to do (or want to do?) nowadays. Wait, you went to eat by yourself? Didn’t you feel like people were looking at you and thinking wow she’s got no friends that’s really embarrassing? …. at one time, yes, but it’s become something that I cherish now rather than be embarrassed about.

Doing a bit of research for this post I came across a restaurant that opened up in Amsterdam in 2013 and then in London a year later called Eenmaal, meaning “one time” and “one meal”.  Eenmaal was a dining establishment specifically for people on their own and I use ‘was’ because it sadly closed shortly after. Does that mean there’s not that many solo diners out there? Or just we’re too embarrassed to do it?

Dining alone shouldn’t be seen as something that sad, lonely people do and let’s face it, nowadays you’re never really alone. Not with the introduction of phones, laptops and wait for it …. even real life paper books! (Shocking I know!)  It should be empowering and liberating and more places should be catering for it! By eating alone we get to enjoy our own company, we don’t have to share our delicious meal and we probably won’t have to wait for a table! Three very good reasons I think!

So, your planning on eating out solo? Here’s 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.

—————-

Now you’re clued up on how to do it well, here are 19 places I’d suggest I think are perfect for solo dining … happy eating!

1. Padella 

Delicious, affordable handmade pasta.  Counter seating or tables that turn around very quickly. Very famous in London. Expect a queue.

Table For One: London's Best Places To Dine Alone (& How To Do it Well!)

 

2. Pizza Union

Super cheap and super fast pizza (under £5!) . My favourite in London. Pay at the counter,  pick up your pizza when your buzzer goes off and sit at a communal table.

Pizza Union - Table For One: London's Best Places To Dine Alone (& How To Do it Well!)

 

3. Lina Stores

Handmade pasta served in smaller portions. Counter seating overlooking the busy chefs. A beautiful place. One where you could order a nice glass of wine for yourself.

Lina Stores - Table For One: London's Best Places To Dine Alone (& How To Do it Well!)

 

4. Nordic Bakery

A Scandi-style cafe serving nordic breakfast and lunch of salads, sandwiches and traditional Scandinavian sweet treats. Pop in for one of their famous cinnamon buns.

Nordic Bakery - Table For One: London's Best Places To Dine Alone (& How To Do it Well!)

 

5.Bun House

Fluffy steamed bao buns in a funky Cantonese style cafe. Informal seating with stools.  Easy menu, VERY affordable and quick turn around on food.

Bun House - Table For One: London's Best Places To Dine Alone (& How To Do it Well!)

 

6. Ahi Poke

Build your own Hawaiian Poke bowl of fish, grains and vegetables.  A fast food kinda setting but in a healthier more elegant way.

Ahi Poke - Table For One: London's Best Places To Dine Alone (& How To Do it Well!)

 

7. The Ned

A New York style food court in a 5* hotel. One for business travelers or those looking for high-end solo dining. Choose from 8 restaurants.

The Ned - Table For One: London's Best Places To Dine Alone (& How To Do it Well!)

 

8. Ole & Steen

Danish cafe. Grab a number and order a sandwich, salad or cake at the counter. Find your own seat in a large, relaxed, industrial space.

Ole and Steen - The Best Places To Dine Alone in London (& How To Do it Well!)

 

9. Jidori

A great one for a solo lunch. Japanese small plates or larger one bowl dishes. Always have a lunch special under £10.

Jidori - Table For One: London's Best Places To Dine Alone (& How To Do it Well!)

 

10. Roti King

Malaysian Street Food in a buzzing underground basement. Expect a long queue that goes down fast and tables that turn around quickly. Don’t go for great service but for delicious food.

Roti King - Table For One: London's Best Places To Dine Alone (& How To Do it Well!)

 

11. Brick House Bread

A large, farm house style bakery & cafe serving breakfast, brunch and homemade pastries. Pull up a chair at one of their window sills and enjoy breakfast watching the world go by.Brick House Bread - Table For One: London's Best Places To Dine Alone (& How To Do it Well!)

12. Cheese Bar

A restaurant dedicated to all things cheese. Mostly stool seating around a large center island counter.

The Cheese Bar - Table For One: London's Best Places To Dine Alone (& How To Do it Well!)
Photo Credit: Square Meal

 

13.Market Halls (Victoria/Fulham)

An upmarket food hall inside an old tube station. Buy food from one of the many traders and take it to eat in the communal seating area. See more about them here.

The Market Halls - Table For One: London's Best Places To Dine Alone (& How To Do it Well!)

 

14. Bao (Fitzrovia Branch)

A small, compact restaurant doing fluffy Taiwanese style bao buns. Seating available at the counter. Usually a queue that goes down fast.

Bao - Table For One: London's Best Places To Dine Alone (& How To Do it Well!)

 

15. Maltby/Borough/ Spitalfields/Broadway Market.

London markets offer AMAZING street food to grab and go. Alternatively, pull a kerb and enjoy.

Markets - Table For One: London's Best Places To Dine Alone (& How To Do it Well!)

 

16. Spuntino

American style comfort food in a small industrial restaurant.  Seating around a counter only and no tables. Intimate. Can take a maximum of 20 people.

Spuntino - Table For One: London's Best Places To Dine Alone (& How To Do it Well!)

 

17.Patty & Bun

Gourmet burgers and fries in a relaxed and really cool space. High-quality ingredients from local suppliers. Much more than just a burger place.

Patty & Bun - Table For One: London's Best Places To Dine Alone (& How To Do it Well!)

Photo Credit: Nic Crilly Photography

 

18.Kanada Ya

Japanese ramen bar. Enjoy a solo session of delicious noodles at one of London’s most famous ramen bars.

Kanada Ya - Table For One: London's Best Places To Dine Alone (& How To Do it Well!)

Photo credit: The Upandcoming

 

19. Pastaio

A stylish restaurant serving up affordable pasta dishes. No reservations, large sharing tables, quick service.

Pastaio - Table For One: London's Best Places To Dine Alone (& How To Do it Well!)

 People tell me that some great other ones are Barrafina for tapas, Bancone and Bocca di Lupo for pasta, Seoul Bakery for Japanese and The Barbary for Mediterranean meets the Middle East. I haven’t been to them (yet) but the recommendation comes from friends who know the food scene well. Of course, don’t forget that most London coffee shops are a sanctuary for a solo breakfast or lunch and you’ll see many people enjoying their own company at one of many in the city so don’t be afraid.

I’ve also gathered loads more ideas from around the internet of best places to dine solo in London.

These from Eater London.

These from the Evening Standard.

These from Infatuation London.

These from the Londonist.

 

Happy Eating! x

 

Wait! Before you go…

You might also be interested in Great Cafes & Spaces To Work in London.

Great Cafes & Spaces To Work From in London

 

 

 

Follow:
Not So Basic London

2 Comments

  1. Michal
    17th February 2019 / 10:22 pm

    I am missing Barrafina in Soho :), really good Tapas, sitting at the bar only, they take no reservations, so ideal for single foodies.

    Also, prices are ok relative to the neighbourhood it is located.

    • Not So Basic London
      18th February 2019 / 5:41 pm

      Hi Michael, Yes certainly lots of other good places but I only recommend places I’ve eaten in so thats why it didn’t make the cut this time. I will be sure to add it when I do. I’ll put a note on the bottom telling people about it aswell as I’ve heard so many good things about it. Thanks for the suggestion. x

Leave a Reply to Not So Basic London Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *