Things You Know If You Like Eating Out Alone |

11 Things You Only Know If You Like Eating Out Alone

Don’t pity the solo person tucking into dinner on their tod – they’re probably having the best time.

Posted on

10 February 2021

Eating Out Alone

All Credits: PA

In New York particular, it’s fairly standard to eat solo in public.

In other places though, solitary diners are often considered a little odd and lonely – and sometimes even a nuisance at fussy restaurants with strict seating plans.

Sure, there are downsides to eating alone – servers asking, ‘Are you waiting for anyone?’, fellow diners assuming you’ve been stood up – but there are also a lot of positives to grabbing a table for one (for instance, not having to begrudgingly split a dessert).

In fact, more people than ever are dining out with just themselves. The Waitrose Food and Drink Report 2017-18 found that eight in 10 people believe eating alone is now more socially acceptable than it was five years ago, with almost a third of Brits having dined solo in the last month.

Here are a few more factors – good and bad – you’ll identify with if dinner out for one is on your agenda…

1. The queue isn’t for you

On busy nights, it’s often easier to find a seat or table for one, than a table for three or more. Solo diners can scooch into vacant seats, fill up spots at the bar or counter, and there’s none of that losing your table because your so-called mate didn’t get out of work on time.

2. The best view is all yours

There’s no scrabbling after the comfiest seat, or fighting over the one with the best view of the chefs at work – you just slide into whichever seat you want. Just make sure the restaurant doesn’t try and squeeze you right in the corner by the loo – you deserve as good a seat as anyone in a group.

3. You can order whatever you like

Eating alone is the best way to sidestep an argument because you both want the lamb but don’t want to look unadventurous in front of the server. There’s no compromising because there’s a veggie or vegan on your table, and no worries about ordering the most expensive thing – you can splash out knowing there’s not going to be an awkward conversation about bill-splitting.

4. It’s ideal quiet time

Sure, you may elicit the odd glance of pity from tables around you, but generally, people will be rather envious that you get to spend an entire meal peacefully, in quiet, only interrupted by food appearing in front of you. Bliss.

5. The paranoia wears off

In fact, you quickly get over yourself – no one really cares whether you’re eating alone. They aren’t silently judging you over their sharing platter of meat, or inventing a lonely backstory for you in their minds.

6. The people-watching is excellent

Just because people aren’t watching you, doesn’t mean you can’t watch other people. Sitting at the bar or at a counter seat in the window, and there’s no need to rely on your phone for entertainment – just watch everyone else coming and going.

7. There will be some food envy

If you’re only eating for one, it’s definitely tougher to work your way through an entire menu – although, feel free to give it a go, the restaurant staff are bound to be impressed, even if your stomach isn’t. If the few dishes you do try are good though, there’s nothing to stop a repeat visit.

8. You don’t have to deal with other people’s (poor) table manners

If it’s just you, you won’t have to sit opposite someone who talks with their mouth churning with food, or who is embarrassingly rude to the server. And you won’t have to deal with any small children knocking over your wine. You’ll survive dinner without calamity – unless of course, you’re the person who is the shambles at dinner, in which case, at least you’ll avoid being tutted at.

9. You can get stuff done

Spread out, answer emails, read a book or a newspaper, scroll through Instagram uninterrupted, write that novel – or just see it as a small chunk of time to be mindful and treat yourself. Because why not?

10. Dinner is way quicker

It probably will only be a short amount of time, because ordering for one means not having to wait for a whole table’s worth of starters, mains, desserts and coffees – you’ll be in and out in a flash.

11. You’ll learn a lot more about the restaurant

Order alone and you’re likely to have more time to talk to your server or sommelier. Ask questions, find out what’s worth trying on the menu and engage with the staff, you’ll probably have a better experience overall as a result.