Single Diner in Los Angeles, Hollywood, Santa Monica, LAX, North and West Hollywood, Studio City, Van Nuys
I've been living in Hollywood for 7 months, and working in Santa Monica/LAX area for 4 months. My best friend just moved to North Hollywood a few weeks ago.
I've never been much for dining out until I made it to LA, and now I'm curious about what's good and where, both for a single diner (myself), a pair of friends, a small social group of friends, or date night. Yes, I know this is a broad request, but mostly I'm interested in places to go that are good for a single diner.
I enjoy sitting at bartops where the bartender doesn't impose conversation upon you, but is available to chat if you wish to engage. I like patios that overlook something that can be watched, be it traffic, people on the street, the ocean, or really anything so long as it's not staring at a brick wall. Sitting at a table is nice, but it feel awkward in highly family oriented restaurants if you're not with a large group or your family. I don't mind a drive, though finding places close to work (Santa Monica/LAX), or near home (Hollywood/WeHo) would be nice. I'm completely unfamiliar with NoHo/Studio City/Van Nuys and I'd love to find more places around there to try out so that I can take my friend there.
Now for cuisine.. I'm open to anything for the most part. I don't lean toward Asian dining often, though when I do I'm looking for sushi, sushi, and sometimes a wok/table fired meal. Wine or cocktails must be available no matter where I end up. A good salad is hard to find, so anyone who can point me the direction of a nice leafy dish that doesn't taste like bark or isn't filled with ornamentation will be my new best friend. :) I'm not vegetarian or vegan, but I do enjoy both. I love good Mexican food (both the Americanized version, and the true greasy taco-truck style), good American cuisine, Italian, Caribbean, Indian, and sushi.
Ideally, I'd like not to spend more than $20 on myself, though for a good dinner, less than $50 is alright.
Please help, for I know that there are many of you out there who eat alone when you and your significants can't manage to pair up schedules. And, thank you!
I've eaten alone often, and I live in Sherman Oaks.
Here's some places I have enjoyed alone:
Il Tiramisu-sherman oaks
Kyushu Ramen -Van Nuys
Sushi House of Taka -Sherman Oaks
The Great Greek-Sherman oak
Stanleys (The BEST salads) Sherman Oaks
Pico Pica Rica (I think)-Van Nuys on Magnolia and Kester
El Katracho-Van Nuys on Burbank right after Kester
Senior Fred (meh, its OK) -Sherman Oaks
The Clay Oven-Sherman oaks
Simon's Cafe-Sherman Oaks
The Natural Gourmet-Sherman oaks on Van Nuys blvd (good salads)
I eat out alone quite a bit, and feel comfortable in most restaurants. In Santa Monica, I often go to Border Grill. In the valley, there are tons of sushi restaurants along Ventura Blvd. When I lived off Ventura Blvd., I would often eat at Daily Grill or Louise's at Ventura and Laurel Canyon, Hamburger Hamlet on Van Nuys and Moorpark in Sherman Oaks. If Encino isn't too far, I like Emilio's Trattoria near Hayvenhurst or Versailles on Ventura near (I think) White Oak.
Anywhere with a bar - either a bar menu, or they serve dinner at the bar -- you have sooo many choices. And, if you want conversation, most bar patrons are very friendly:
Chaya (either - and they have a great steak salad)
Beachwood (also great salads)
just to name a few that come to mind on the fly.