Meal for one; the top 10 best places for solo dining in London

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While most of us wouldn’t think twice about going for a coffee alone or being a solo diner in a café at lunchtime, eating your evening meal in a restaurant alone is a different matter.

Eating a solitary dinner out is mainly about confidence. 

If you feel self-assured enough, you’ll probably be happy eating alone at the Chiltern Firehouse on a Friday night. There are some dining spots, however, that go out of their way to make the single diner feel more comfortable and at home when flying solo. 

Here is a list of our top 10 hot spots in London: 


Tapas is always a good option for the solo diner and Barrafina is among the best places to eat it in London. It’s also the one in which you are most likely to end up chatting to your neighbours – this is not the place to finally finish The Goldfinch whilst nursing a glass of wine. You do need to keep an eye on how many plates you order as the bill has a habit of spiralling. Everything here is delicious, however, from the pan con tomate to the milk-fed lamb. We are also very keen on the classic tortilla. 

Average price for a meal for one (inc. wine): £30

54 Frith Street, London W1D and 10 Adelaide Street, London WC2N


Solo dining doesn’t necessarily need to be a drawn out affair and you probably won’t be lingering for long at Keu! not least because service is swift. It’s a great place for dinner before heading out drinking. Banh Mi – those chewy, light Vietnamese baguettes – are the speciality here and they come with a range of fillings. Our favourite is the shredded roast duck but other options include slow braised mackerel or smoky aubergine. Located on Old Street, this is the perfect pitstop – the quiet before the storm – before you hit the Pisco Sours.

Average price for a meal for one (inc. wine): £15

332 Old Street, London EC1V 9DR


We might argue that the best reason for eating alone at Ducksoup is so that you don’t have to share your food. If you’re keen to protect your personal space, however, then it is not the place for you. If you are happy to squeeze alongside fellow diners at the bar, we would say it’s worth it. The menu changes daily but our favourite dishes have included fritto misto and slow roasted pork belly.

Average price for a meal for one (inc. wine): £25

41 Dean Street, London W1D 4PY


The last thing we want to do when dining alone is check our emails but in case you want to Instagram your dinner, say, Dishoom thoughtfully offer wi-fi (here known as “chai-fi”) to all their customers. The King’s Cross branch is large enough that you should be able to enjoy your lamb biryani in peace. Other dishes worth trying are the keema (minced lamb curry served with a bun) and the black house daal.

Average price for a meal for one (inc. wine): £22

Stable Street, King’s Cross, London N1C 4AB


Russell Norman, the owner of Mishkin’s, also owns Polpo and Spuntino and any of his restaurants are good venues for the solo diner – part of his motivation for opening restaurants was to cater for people like him, who like to visit them alone. We prefer to go to Polpo with friends, however, as it means you can work through more of the menu together. At Mishkin’s, on the other hand, we’re happy to sit the bar with a salt beef sandwich, some onion rings and a beer or a Pink Gin Saverac.

Average price for a meal for one (inc. wine): £25

25 Catherine Street, London WC2B 5JS


Dotori has been serving up Korean bimbibap and soups alongside Japanese sushi, bento and tempura to the locals of Finsbury Park for seven years. It’s an enormously popular restaurant and whilst you can book, if you want to nab a seat without a reservation, you should try for early evening midweek when you may be able to score one of the stools in the window. As a solo diner, you have a better chance of managing this than anyone else. We are particular fans of their bento boxes but, even if you order something else, you really should make sure you try their airily light tempura in one form or another.

Average price for a meal for one (inc. wine): £15

3 Stroud Green Road, London, N4 2DQ

Grain Store

A brilliant restaurant full stop. It’s only recently that we realised how much fun it is to eat alone at the bar here. The chef Bruno Loubet is keen to present vegetables centre stage so this is a good option for anyone who is vegetarian or just mindful of eating less meat. The menu is changed regularly but one of our favourite dishes from the past is almond crusted goats’ cheese served with artichoke, fennel and garlic confit. There is also a stand out cocktail list.

Average price for a meal for one (inc. wine): £25

Granary Square, 1-3 Stable Street, King’s Cross, London N1C 4AB

ZL Cafe

We’re fans of Brasserie Zedel for eating French classics with a large group on a budget but the Parisian-style café upstairs is your best bet if you are dining solo. It’s a brilliant location –  near Piccadilly Circus tube – and as it is open until midnight, it’s a great place to eat dinner when the tube ride home seems just slightly too long for you to whip up something for yourself. There aren’t many tables but it tends to be very quiet. This is not the place for a three course meal but if you fancy a croque monsieur washed down with a small carafe of Pinot Noir, you should leave here very happy.

Average price for a meal for one (inc. a 250 ml pichet of wine): £18

20 Sherwood Street, London W1F 7ED


The word “Aubaine” means godsend and that’s exactly what this brasserie inside Selfridges can feel like after you’ve been trudging round the department store for more than half an hour. Service is quick and attentive (so you can get back to shopping) and dishes range from a Caesar salad to steak. We’re particularly keen on the Panko crusted fish goujons with a side of French Fries. Whatever you order, this is a brilliant place to pause and re-fuel before you decide whether you really can afford the Chie Mahara sandals you’ve been lusting after (Aubaine is right next to Selfridges’ shoe galleries).

Average price for meal for one (inc. wine): £25

2nd Floor Selfridges, 400 Oxford Street, London W1A 1AB


The easiest way to eat at this wildly popular “no reservations” Tawainese restaurant is alone. Single diners can often skip to the front of the queue whilst couples and large parties wait for adjoining seats to become available. The name derives from the fluffy white steamed buns, “bao”, that are served here with an array of fillings including braised pork with crunchy peanut powder and coriander. It’s the pig blood cake served with an egg yolk, however, that has become one of the most Instagrammed dishes in London right now.

Average price for a meal for one (inc drinks): £15

53 Lexington Street, London W1F 9AS


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