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Dining Alone

I have been to New York many times, usually part of the trip alone. I will be out this spring, the whole trip alone. In the past, I have saved upscale dining-Jean Georges, etc. for the part of the trip when others are there. I don't want to come to NY without experiencing some upscale dining, but will they hate me for taking up a table in an upscale establishment for one?

I have dined at 21 club and a few others of this caliber alone, and it was fine. What do you think?

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  1. If you feel comfortable dining solo at a table, I think most upscale restaurants would have no problem with it. Of course, dining at the bar is an excellent way to go when you are alone, and many upscale places have that option.

    1. I have travelled all over the world alone and prefer to dine at the bar. You always meet interesting people and if the bartender has a personality it can be alot of fun. It can also be easier to get seated at the more upscale restaurants since you don't need a reservation to dine at the bar, just some good luck. Union Square started this approach many years ago. Of course, it's up to your personal preference.

      1. when dining solo, i prefer eating at the bar. i aim for a seat at the end of the bar (left, right, doesn't matter). i can chat with the bartender, neighbors, or not. it's a relief not to put up with the perceived fussiness of a waiter dealing with a single at a table - way too much goofy interaction in my opinion.

        1. I like to diner alone at Babbo at the bar, great people watching and of course the food is amazing. No need for reservations either.

          1. i dined at the bar at cru alone and i had a great experiance.

            1. I totally don't mind eating at the bar. This is a great suggestion. Thanks to all and if you have any other nice spots to hit up, please post. Thanks again!

              1 Reply
              1. re: skennedy62

                I highly recommend eating at the bar at Perilla. It's a pretty hyped place right now, but justifiably so. The bar is a great spot to eat solo. In fact, at a place like Perilla, I almost feel like you get special, attentive service when you eat at the bar. I've heard that Babbo and Blue Hill are like that as well.

              2. I have dined alone at Vong - at a table, no less - and enjoyed the experience very much. I dine alone a lot (especially when I am on the road). I usually prefer my own table to sitting at the bar. Of course, if I am alone I usually try to go a bit earlier than the fashionable dinner time. Takes a bit of the pressure off. I've found that in the good restaurants servers go out of their way to make a solo diner feel comfortable and welcome.

                1. While not upscale, something to experience, if you haven't already, is Grand Central Oyster Bar, which is designed for dining alone.

                  I've also heard great things about the Gramcery Tavern bar area.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Gluttonous Prime

                    Yes, Grand Central Oyster Bar is a great place for dining alone.

                    I usually have to dine alone when I come to the city. It does bother me, because I know the restaurnats want to get the most out of their tables for any given time slot and want to get as many rotations as possible for the night. I feel guilty taking up their table space and become the reason for their loss of income.

                    I had great experience eating at the bar. I have done that at Union Square Cafe, Balthazar, Michael Jordan (at GC), and a few others. Japanese restaurants are great for this.

                    But at a even higher level, e.g., Le Bernadine, can you do that?

                    I think the choice is still limited. (I heard that in Paris, eating alone is more than normal. Not in NYC, that I know. Regardless of what anyone else says.

                  2. the bar at veritas is also lovely with many wines by the glass. ditto picholine, jean georges in the nougatine part, gramercy tavern in the bar part. you might also consider tocqueville.