Years ago, on my first travel blog, I wrote a post on dining solo, which has always received lots of views. Similarly, I get lots of interest in my solo-friendly restaurants map. I know that eating alone is often a concern when people think about travelling solo, so I thought it was time to revisit and update my original post with a short and sweet list of my top tips for eating out by yourself happily.
Pretend to be a food blogger or restaurant critic
Several years back I was having dinner in my local cafe-bar, and got chatting to the waitress there who told me that if someone comes in to eat alone and spends the time writing something down, or asks to see the dessert menu, restaurant staff will suspect that they are a food critic, and will therefore treat them very nicely! This charade is even easier now that blogging is so popular; tap away on a tablet, take photos of your food with your phone, and treat yourself to a pudding, and you might just get some special treatment. If nothing else, it’s sure to make you feel more confident about being there alone.
Take a book to read
Simple but effective. If you’re not the writing type, take something to read instead; a book, newspaper, magazine, whatever. It will give you something to do when you’re waiting for your food, and make you appear self-assured and relaxed, even if you don’t feel it.
Pick your time carefully
Be aware of when the restaurants wherever you are start to fill up – this of course varies from country to country. If you’re the only one in the place then you’re much more likely to feel self-conscious…but if you go at the busiest time, they may (short-sightedly, but it happens) be reluctant to give a table to a solo diner. It’s worth doing a bit of research.
Consider different dining options
Eating out alone doesn’t always have to mean going to a typical restaurant and sitting at a table. In New York City I noticed that many eateries and diners had the option of sitting at the bar to eat, which I saw many solo diners doing. Or there’s takeaway food, which doesnt have to be unhealthy – many restaurants offer take-out now. Depending on where you’re going, you might even find some restaurants offering communal dining options, putting people, solo or not, together. Find what works for you.
Try to enjoy it!
I love taking some time out for myself by going out to eat alone! Act confident – walk in smiling, don’t let them fob you off with a rubbish table when there’s a suitable one free by the window, order a drink (Adventurous Kate recommends champagne for such situations!) and have whatever you fancy to eat, and relax!
Have you got any tips for eating out alone? Share them in the comments below.
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