For those of us who like (or occasionally have little choice but) to dine at restaurants alone, there is the dreaded act (or art) of Solo Dining, with two possible outcomes:

  • You can fall into a bottomless-pit of fear, intimidation, and self-consciousness...

    OR

  • You end up enjoying an evening out, treating yourself, and focusing all your attention on the food!

"The single diner has no other agenda but to eat in your restaurant. They're not there for business, they're not there for romance. They're there for the restaurant's food and service." (NYTimes)

TIP: If you feel funny about dining alone, bring a book or something similar to keep you entertained while you are waiting for your food, etc. You'll feel much less awkward.

Please add to the list below and share your positive solo dining experiences (emphasis on dinners and restaurants with waitstaff):

Restaurant Solo Diner Friendly?
Burgers and Brew Some disagreement about whether this is solo-friendly — see comments below.
Cafe Bernardo ??
Caffe Italia ??
Crepeville Great for this as long as they are not totally swamped.
Davis Oshio Cafe Not terrible. You have to refill your own cup anyway and food still takes forever.
Delta of Venus Not too bad actually. The outdoor seating is solo-friendly.
Davis Noodle City Yes during non-peak hours. Otherwise, tables are scarce and wouldn't recommend going solo.
Fuji Chef Yes, and you are more likely to get a seat at the bar during busy hours.
Kathmandu Kitchen Yes for lunch. You likely won't be the only lone diner.
Monticello Seasonal Cuisine Start coming to the Tuesday wine tastings, have some bar food. They have an amazing atmosphere and the staff is amazing.
Mustard Seed ??
Osteria Fasulo yes
Raja's Yes for lunch.
Seasons ??
Silver Dragon Yes, especially during lunch hours they will constantly fill your glass up.
Sophia's Thai Kitchen Usually very packed and I do not think I have ever seen anyone eat solo here.
Sudwerk If you don't mind sitting at the bar, it's not too bad. Plenty eat solo there. You can pretend you like sports and stare at the televisions too.
Thai Nakorn ??
Tommy J's Always a good option. It can be a bit crowded at peak hours but there's usually a small table open. Not sure about bar service but if you're drinking and its not crowded I'd ask.
Tucos Wine Market and Cafe Yes, you can walk-in and sit at the bar or call ahead and reserve a table.
Village Bakery With small outside tables and benches, you can people watch by the Amtrak station or grab a slice and sit by the fountain across the street and relax
Zen Toro ??

Good Spots to Dine Solo

Comments?

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2009-12-04 21:01:39   @IDoNotExist True, but I suppose I should have specified this page towards a more "dinner" type of dining out alone, which I have not seen occur much (besides myself). It's actually pretty rare, even in the big cities, and I'm still trying to figure out how to specify and orient this page towards that... Whether I should just make two extra columns in the table above for Lunch and Dinner, or something else... —H4rry

  • Then perhaps Crepeville shouldn't be on your list.
    • Removed. Since I haven't been to all of the restaurants listed, feel free to remove any that seem out of place (or add any that are missing) —H4rry

2009-12-05 11:07:16   I'm a little confused on what you are looking for on this list. Is it fancy places in Davis where people might feel awkward eating alone (or happy doing so)? Is it places where people come alone and work all the time? Is it places with entertainment for people who come to them alone? —IDoNotExist

  • As far as what I was hoping to assemble here..: Let's just say, anyone can walk into a sandwich shop, a cafe, a pizza shop, etc. and feel perfectly comfortable dining alone... The situation gets tricky for most people when it comes to going to a restaurant where there is a wait staff and where you can sit at a table or at the bar (and actually have to wait for your meal to arrive)—alone (I've heard many say that they just order "to-go" so they can avoid this and just sit in their car and eat or eat it at home alone or at the office—which is what I used to do). I guess I was trying to assemble an encouraging list of the more "questionable" places to eat alone (e.g. not cafes, pizza places, etc.) and whether they were accommodating to solo diners or not. I'm not expecting the "New York" treatment where they'll send out a bottle of wine and free desert, but I figured it'd be nice to know where you're made to feel welcome, where it's not completely awkward, etc. and actively encourage people to get out and eat, alone or not! —H4rry

I've personally had vastly different experiences at Burgers and Brew when going there alone than when going with people. When I go there alone, I often get shunted to tables that are in *terrible* locations compared to the others - even late at night when there are open tables of the same size in better locations, and its obvious that a larger party is not going to need them, and even when I've specifically asked for a better table. This doesn't happen with a group. I don't think that this has really happened to me at other restaurants in Davis. Most have open seating, and many of the remainder specifically ask me where I would like to sit. —IDoNotExist

  • I too agree that Burgers and Brew should be removed from being solo-friendly. The atmosphere there is just way too social for anyone sitting alone to feel comfortable or even read a book. —hankim
    • I have to beg to differ with both IDoNotExist and hankim on Burgers and Brew... I've had dinner there alone numerous times (without a book, no less—though does a nice pint of beer count as a suitable distraction?), even on weekends and on farmers market nights... and I've had excellent service and good seating (I like sitting at the outside bar so I can see the view of the street and watch people go by—it's 99.9% free for solo diners, even when it's packed)... Now sitting at a regular table there, I can't comment on—which is why I specified outside bar seating above... —H4rry
      • Actually, before I decided to seriously try cutting weight (January through middle of March), I would go to Burgers and Brew several times a week alone and was getting pretty decent service. —hankim
    • Yeah, generally the other stool area is indeed open, even when it is crowded. However, on cold days, that area can be rather drafty, and often smokers like to stand close to the restaurant and the smoke gets sucked in right around there. Besides, even if I'm eating alone, I might prefer a real table to a stool —IDoNotExist