Solo dining tips

I love to eat out, try new restaurants and experience different cuisines. I don’t always want to wait for friends to accompany me. Besides there are some places I like the look of that others don’t want to go to so why should I miss out? For example, my dining in the dark experience was brilliant but quite unique and not everyone’s cup of tea! Although solo dining was quite daunting to begin with and my first time was terrible, I am now very confident at it and love it!

Solo dining in Antigua
Solo dining in Antigua

Each of the solo travel destinations I have been to has a page dedicated to restaurants I have enjoyed solo dining at if you would like some recommendations.

Tips for a great solo dining experience

1. Solo dining at lunchtime

Lunchtime dining is good for the following reasons….

  • Usually a mixed clientele of couples, families and solo diners on their work lunch break
  • There are often set lunch menus as an alternative to a la carte which, if you are on a budget, make even the more expensive restaurants more affordable
  • Restaurants tend to be less busy so you can drop in without pre-booking. This enables you to casually look in the window or view the outside area first, giving you an idea of whether you will feel comfortable.

2. Solo dining in the evening

  • If you know in advance where you want to go, book a table first, especially if you will be dining at peak times (7.30-9.30). Try to reserve a table by the window so you can look out rather than being in the middle of the restaurant feeling everyone is watching you.
  • In my experiences of dining alone it seems less busy from 6-7:30 and after 9:30. If I haven’t reserved a table, I am more likely to get a window seat or, be seated without too many people around me, during those times.

3. Where to sit

I have 4 favourite places to sit when dining alone…

  • By a window – these are great to sit and watch the world go by
  • By the water’s edge – peaceful and give me time to think
  • Countertop dining at the bar area – great for chatting to bar staff and other solo diners. Especially good if you are on vacation and want to find out more about the local area.
  • Outside – more casual/informal

4. Entertainment

If you can turn up somewhere there is entertainment, brilliant! It is always good to have something to watch. For example a band or show gives you and other diners something to focus on. I recently went to a restaurant in Antigua with a steel band playing and Circus in London with bar snacks while acrobats perform.

5. Take a prop!

I usually have a prop with me. I find taking a book, your phone or earphones are good. I may or may not need them but it’s not a bad idea to have them with you just in case.

6. What to wear

Wear something comfortable.  If you are already feeling like you may get more attention from dining solo, you don’t want to enter the restaurant fiddling with your dress that keeps rising.  Or even worse, go skidding across the floor in those heels you haven’t quite got used to yet!  Look confident!

I am now totally comfortable dining solo in the UK where I live or when I go abroad.  The tips above have really helped me enjoy my experiences when eating alone.

Suggested Further Reading:

I hope you have found my solo dining tips useful! Here are some further links to other solo travel tips.

Solo holiday planning tips

Concerns about a solo holiday

Safety tips when travelling alone

Tips for a stress free start to a solo holiday

Language tips for solo travellers

The Solo Travel Handbook

Destinations – recommended places where I have travelled solo

Blog – frequent posts about solo travel and destinations I have been to