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Ideal restaurant environment for a lone diner...

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I'll be up in NYC in early January for some training and will be without my wife for most of my time. I'm looking for some recommendations for restaurants where a lone diner can fit in and enjoy good food. I'm looking for that place where I can sit back, people watch, enjoy a nice dinner, without feeling like the spotlights on me for dining alone. I'm not opposed to dining alone, have done it many times, but I know of some restaurants locally where the environment is ideal for lone diners. I'm open to any type of cuisine and staying in the Financial District, but of course willing to explore other parts of Manhattan. Thanks in advance.

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  1. Try NIcole's--a Michelin one-star--may only be open at lunch, on 60th street. They have a long table where singles can sit and the service is generally very good. Recommended: the daily special soups, pastas and risottos.

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      1. db Bistro Moderne has a great little area with some high tops, prefect for solo dining (and they have great food).

        1. a) choose a restaurant that you like
          b) eat at the bar

          3 Replies
          1. re: Chinon00

            Speaking of bar, if I go to Babbo, say around 5:30, what are my chances of getting a spot at the bar? Also, my wife and I ate there a couple of years ago and I don't recall where the bar was. It's such a small space, I'm having trouble trying to figure out where it could be. We were put at a table near the back by the kitchen.

            1. re: sbouldin

              babbo's on waverly place, two block west from the arch at washington square park (end of fifth avenue). the bar is located just inside the door and, for the most part, runs south. lots of folk hang out at the bar so you might consider arriving fifteen minutes earlier and grabbing one of the two seats on the northwest end of the bar, nearest the entrance and window. no traffic, no stress. make friends with the barkeep and have a good time.

              1. re: steve h.

                lupa, another batali place, is only a few blocks away on thompson street. eating cured meats and pasta at the bar works for me. excellent wine list at a very favorable price point.

          2. I'm with "pick any restaurant you like", but don't eat at the bar. Pick something in midtown - which is a business district and which also has a lot of singles in the adjacent residential areas. All of the restaurants are entirely accustomed to and comfortable with single diners. Bring a book or a newspaper for company if you like. The downtown residential area seems more 'coupled' which doesn't mean it isn't full of singles, but they do all seem happier with a date than with their own company. Those restaurants also tend to be extremely noisy for my ears. The E subway train will take you up 8th avenue, and across to 53rd street on the east side. Follow the subway lines to find an easy trip up and back to your destination.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Jane A.

              Go to Smith and Wollensky Grill on 44th and 3rd. SIt at the bar and have a great steak, good bartenders and great people watching.