No-one likes to be thought of as billy no mates, so the prospect of dining alone can be a daunting one. But for those who make it a regular feature, solo dining is a simple joy, and actually one of life’s little luxuries. Whether you’re travelling alone or simply need a bit of time out, SL contributor Emma Brady has some tried and tested tips on how to liberate your inhibitions and dine with confidence…
If you like to wear something dressy when you dine out, then do the same if you’re going out on your own – you will feel more confident in an outfit you love.
Although it will just be a table for one, popular restaurants might not be able to accommodate you if you don’t book ahead, so if it’s somewhere you really want to go then make a reservation to avoid disappointment.
If dining out solo at peak dinner times is a little off-putting, ease yourself in with lunch for one or eat before the crowds arrive for the evening. This will banish any lone-diner apprehension and boost your confidence.
Try The Bar
Ask for a seat at the bar. It’s usually the best place to soak up a restaurant’s atmosphere, interact with the staff and fellow diners if you wish, and it's ideal if you're a walk-in and there are no tables left.
Leave Your Phone
Though it’s tempting to pull out your phone whilst you’re dining solo, try to stay away from the default security blanket. If you enjoy reading, take a book to keep you company.
Budget permitting, seek out a luxurious dining event for yourself if you fancy it. Treating yourself to a fine culinary or Michelin star experience is a real indulgence.
Chat to the staff – particularly if you’re travelling, as they often have great tips for your stay. Make sure to ask them for their recommendations from the menu, they’re likely to know a few gems.
Be aware of location as you may be returning home or to your accommodation quite late, so plan the journey back. Check whether public transport will still be operating and whether it is safe to walk from station stops. Get the restaurant to book you a taxi if in doubt.
If you really don’t like the idea of dining by yourself, or if you are away somewhere on a longer trip, then check out EatWith. It’s a communal dining experience operating in over 200 cities around the world, ideal for dining alone without having to truly dine alone.