How to Dine Alone at a Restaurant
There is often a stigma attached to solo dining, and you might feel as if all eyes are on you at a busy restaurant.
However, in reality, it is a rather common pastime, and those who aren’t dining alone are often too immersed in conversation or good food to care.
If you are thinking of going solo to enjoy a delicious dish in an atmospheric setting, read the following advice on how to dine alone at a restaurant.
Start Off Small
If the thought of requesting a table for one at a luxury restaurant is a little scary, maybe start off a little smaller by enjoying breakfast or a coffee by yourself at a café. You’ll likely find many solo diners here, such as hard-working professionals or solo parents with their babies. It will allow you to dip your toe into dining by yourself and could provide you with the confidence to book a table for one at your favourite restaurant.
Avoid Peak Times
To boost your comfort when solo dining, you should avoid peak times. If you already feel uncomfortable eating by yourself, a busy restaurant can amplify your embarrassment. Plus, you might be squeezed next to rowdy customers or loud groups who could tarnish the experience. Avoid disappointment and stress by booking a table a little earlier or later in the evening. If, however, you want to walk in without a reservation, The Telegraph offers advice on how you can avoid busy restaurants.
Take a Prop with You
Waiting for food to arrive can be hard for most people in a restaurant, but solo dining can make the experience much worse. To ensure you aren’t twiddling your thumbs once you have ordered your meal or are waiting for the bill, you should take some props with you.
For example, you could pull out your smartphone to browse the internet, read The Guardian website, or play Unibet games while you wait. You also could read a book or write in a notebook until your meal arrives or the serving staff returns with the check. It will provide you with a much-needed distraction.
Make a Reservation
If the thought of saying “table for one” aloud fills you with dread, aim to make a reservation instead. It will not only ensure you have a seat during a non-peak time, but you also will not need to worry about being turned away at the door because the restaurant can’t currently accommodate a solo diner. Thankfully, as mentioned on GQ, it is possible to reserve a table at a fully-booked restaurant, such as dining at the bar or using the OpenTable app.
Browse the Menu Beforehand
If you have limited experience with solo dining, it might be a smart idea to browse the menu before you visit a restaurant. If you don’t, your head might race with thoughts such as “is that couple staring at me?” or “do I look like I’ve been stood up?”, which could prevent you from selecting the right dish at the table.
So, review the menu online before your visit and shortlist different dishes to order, which could stop you from making a panic order that could ruin your experience at a restaurant.