Food writer M.F.K. Fisher helped to popularize the notion of dining solo, which can be one of life’s ultimate pleasures. There’s something delightful and intimate about not having to engage in conversation with a dining partner or having to explain your presence while simply easing into a meal. Often, staff strike the right balance between banter with customers and peaceful solitude and enjoyment of their meal. Usually the best solo dining seats are at a restaurant’s bar, with the bonus that these seats also frequently provide a great vantage point to the rest of the dining room or into a busy kitchen, all while sipping and eating from some of a city’s best restaurants, no reservation required. Here now are just some of the many great places to dine solo in Los Angeles right now.Read More
Where to Dine Solo in Los Angeles
Full entrees, comfortable bar seating, and quiet dining rooms to eat a meal by yourself throughout LA
The minimal dining room of Kobee Factory, with its smattering of Formica tables, is a great place to be unbothered and enjoy a generously portioned plate of kebabs and other Syrian dishes in a Van Nuys strip mall.
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Sola Japanese Izakaya Dining
The menu is laid out simply at Sola Izakaya, which provides three categories of well-prepared meats, seafood, or vegetables. The deep-fried tofu is immensely flavorful, as is the butter-sauteed squid, or the grilled pork belly.
Pasadena’s expansive Agnes restaurant is a bit of a Swiss army knife, with a full dinner menu and handy lunch bill of fare that can be enjoyed at the bar. Try the tremendous braised brisket melt or a platter of cheese with charcuterie alongside a well-shaken cocktail. Co-owner Vanessa Tilaka also regularly hosts cheese-tasting classes, the ultimate activity for one.
Wife and the Somm
Glassell Park’s cozy wine bar always has room for one at the bar. Upon first glance, Wife and the Somm can feel upscale with an incredible wine list, but after a visit or two, visitors will be on a first-name basis with regulars and staff.
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Clark Street Diner
Sometimes it’s nice to be alone with one’s thoughts — and a giant stack of buttermilk pancakes, or a plate of corned beef has.. or a tuna melt on really good bread. Sidle up to a counter seat at this beloved retro-styled Hollywood diner, taken over by the Clark Street Bread group in 2021, and take a minute to read a book or doom scroll through the phone as the diner buzzes in the background.
Chad Colby’s dining room is always busy but the bar is one of the best seats in the house, where one can take in the sights and sounds of the preparation area. Hours prior, staff prepare excellent handmade pasta on that same marble countertop. To the left is a massive wood-fired hearth where Colby oversees everything coming from the kitchen including the Tuscan grilled pork chops, focaccia, or incredible ice cream.
There’s no better respite from an afternoon spent fighting throngs of shoppers at the Grove than snagging a bar seat at Terroni for a cocktail and a plate of fresh housemade pasta. The bartenders are chatty, the drinks are well-mixed, and pastas like homemade tagliatelli with a classic Bolognese or guanciale-studded bucatini all’amatricana replenishes the soul.
With a bustling marketplace and plenty of places to sit — from bar seats to tables to booths — the sprawling dining areas of Eataly are great for those who want to get away, but not feel like they’re by themselves. Capri has pasta, pizza, and crudo that feel plucked right out of the Amalfi Coast while other areas serve more familiar Italian plates that please a crowd, or a single diner.
The counter seats (or the small booths) at nearly 77-year-old Langer’s are ideal for a solo lunch in Los Angeles, with hefty pastrami sandwiches, comforting matzo ball soups, or loaded chili fries. Sit down and people-watch at one of LA’s most energetic lunch crowds.
With a few choice bar seats, Bicyclette is a terrific place to duck in a weeknight to dine solo. Bartenders are friendly and eager for you to try the newest spirit they’re into. The polished bistro food like the bouillebasse and onion soup provide the right amount of comfort for solo eaters that are looking for a relaxed but upscale meal.
Grand Central Market
The best part about dining alone at Grand Central Market is not having to reach an agreement on where to eat. Take a lap around the space and choose from whatever commands attention from Sarita’s incredible pupusas, Oyster Gourmet’s freshly shucked oysters, or one of the city’s most popular lobster rolls at Broad Street Oyster Company.
Co-chefs Max Boonthanakit and Lijo George dazzled LA with Camphor’s modern French bistro fare, but the apothecary-like bar is where solo diners are made to feel comfortable thanks to the well-versed and conversational barmen. The extra bonus is a direct view into the busy and well-run kitchen.
Japanese restaurants are often very conducive to solo dining, especially at Shirubē in Santa Monica, which has a bustling open kitchen for people eating at the counter to watch. Order up the seared mackerel, the restaurant’s specialty, along with other izakaya bites, all washed down with top-flight sake or ice-cold Japanese beer.
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With almost all bar seats, Mercado La Paloma’s popular Holbox has received rave reviews for its pristine seafood and excellent coastal Mexican food. Order at the counter and wait for the parade of fish tacos, ceviches, and freshly cracked sea urchins for a solo feast done right.
Earle's On Crenshaw
A South LA institution with outdoor seating, Earle’s On Crenshaw is made for solo dining. There’s outdoor seating and indoor counters that face Crenshaw Boulevard, plus a rapid ordering process that includes vegan, chicken, turkey, or beef dogs, excessively decadent chili dogs, and much more.
Those looking for a friendly, easy place to have a solo meal at the bar, Venice’s Coucou is a solid place to eat without feeling alone, per se. The bar is casual and approachable, with great cocktails and reliable bistro fare like a juicy burger, steak frites, and soft serve to finish. Coucou has the polish of a fancy place but with the no-reservations-required vibe that Venice folks love.
Operating since 1999, Dulan’s Soul Food Kitchen is SoCal’s traditional soul food specialist. The Dulan Brothers made a name for themselves by serving shockingly large portion sizes of smothered pork chops, smothered chicken, or oxtails served with mac and cheese, greens, stuffing, and gravy. Though the Century Boulevard location is an ideal place to sit and grub solo, the original restaurant on Crenshaw is set to reopen with new seating this fall.
When dining at this mini diner attached to a bowling alley, take a look around. There are plenty of people eating by themselves and enjoying every bite of Hawaiian fare. It’s likely these fellow solo diners ordered the hearty kimchi bacon fried rice, and the Hawaiian royal — a massive plate of eggs, rice, chashu, and Portuguese sausage.