Friday, October 12, 2012

how to dine solo

I love having Fridays off. In college I was lucky enough to only ever have four days of classes per week. Unfortunately or not, that schedule in grad school translates to four extremely long class days. My Mondays are particularly "bad": 9am-10:20am, 1:40pm-4:50pm, 6:30pm-9:30pm. To remedy the situation, or at least survive it, I've gotten into the lovely habit of taking myself out to lunch.
The first time I dined solo was in Savannah, Georgia. I'd ignored my hunger for two hours to go to a restaurant I later discovered wasn't open that day. So I took myself out for a multi-course meal with wine pairings; similar to the one I enjoyed at a table for one in Iceland actually. And since it's become one of my favorite independent habits, I thought I'd share tips on how to actually enjoy eating out alone.
Believe you have a good reason. I agree, the best meals are shared (hello, Thanksgiving...) but I also know that I sometimes get hungry when I'm out and about by myself and there aren't always friends or family to meet me at all those restaurants I want to try. There's no need for either of us to be hungry nor deprived! Don't get caught up in feeling pathetic to ask for a table for one; be proud of your independence and get excited for the meal to come. With that said, there's also no pressure to jump head first into solo-dining with a late dinner at a romantic restaurant. I've found lunch is a much more "forgiving" time.
Prepare for a positive experience. Although I encourage bringing reading material to keep you company, I'd also advise to choose wisely. I have quite a lot of assigned reading but will choose to take one or two articles as opposed to any of my textbooks. I always put it away when my food comes however. Take advantage of this undisturbed opportunity to really taste your food. People watch, too--whether that means you opt to sit by the window or have a cool view of the kitchen.
Relish in the perks. (1) Prix-fixe menus are popular at lunchtime, especially here in Paris. I love being able to go to a fancy-ish restaurant like Le Petit Niçois for an appetizer and entrée at a reasonable price. (2) You do realize you can go anywhere for anything when you're taking yourself out to eat, right? Just last week I was thinking about how much I miss my New York pizza dates. So, I walked to the tiny Italian restaurant/pizzeria around the corner. I couldn't have been happier to have such a delicious pie all to myself at Le Den. (3) Speaking of not sharing, it's your only option when dining solo. And if you're having, say, a fudgey slice of American-style brownie pie for dessert, such perks are very welcome. Promise :).


  1. I loooove dining alone! I had to teach myself when I travelled solo a lot for my job and make the most of the generous meal allowance. Reading would be my top tip, too!! However, these days, the book has been replaced by a camera and people watching on a sunny Parisian terrace for sure. xx

    1. Glad to find another solo diner! People watching is wonderful :)


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