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 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.
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 doomscroll through the phone as the diner buzzes in the background.
101 Noodle Express
San Gabriel Valley’s popular 101 Noodle Express has a huge menu of crowd-pleasing favorites, though the dan dan noodles with beef roll are must-orders for anyone that hasn’t tried them. The portions are big enough that a solo diner will be able to take home leftovers too.
Chef 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.
The counter seats (or the small booths) at nearly 76-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.
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.
The Apple Pan
Counter-only seating always works for a party of one, especially at the longtime burger destination Apple Pan. Order a hickory burger, fries, a soda, and a slice of fresh pie for a complete meal served in less than half an hour, though be prepared to wait during prime hours.
Tsujita LA Artisan Noodles
A big bowl of steaming ramen equals superior comfort, and few do it better than Tsujita on Sawtelle. There may be a wait for a table or a chance to squeeze in at the bar, but once inside, simply allow the aromas of one of the restaurant’s signature ramen — ranging from charsiu to Negi to vegan versions — to take the edge off whatever ails.
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For a moody and serene evening spent eating sushi and the like, head to Kodō in the Arts District. The restaurant’s warmly lit steel-and-marble bar is ideal for experiencing chef Yoya Takahashi’s creations, which range from sashimi to robata-grilled short ribs or live scallops.
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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.