I love to eat out, try new restaurants and experience different cuisines. I don’t always want to wait for friends to accompany me. Some places I like the look of, don’t appeal to everyone 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! Here are some top solo dining tips following my experiences of eating alone.
Each of the solo travel destinations I have been to has a page dedicated to restaurants I have enjoyed dining at by myself.
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. Those new to solo dining may prefer somewhere quieter initially.
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. This is preferable to being in the middle of the restaurant feeling everyone is watching you.
- From 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 gives 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. Often you can watch cocktails or food being made
- Outside – more casual/informal
Some venues offer entertainment. Having something to watch means you have something to watch and others are watching it too. They are not paying attention to you! I have enjoyed a drink and snacks at Circus while acrobats perform in London. Some restaurants in Antigua have live bands while you dine such as Pillars restaurant.
5. Take a prop!
I usually have a prop with me. I find taking a book, phone or earphones are good. Sometimes I may like to listen to music or read while I relax and eat. At other times, I don’t want people to talk to me. Plugging earphones in is a good way to prevent that happening!
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.