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Jan 1, 2008 01:16 PM

What are L.A. Hounds' fave places to dine solo?

L.A. is BRIMMING with people "new to L.A." and a lot of us are on our own.

I have friends here who might not necessarily be up for eating out as often as I like to, which is a LOT! So I often find myself looking for a place to contentedly eat alone, and it's not always an easy search for a new transplant from "back East".

I'd love to hear some of your recommendations for great places to dine solo. Bonus points for friendly bar/counter dining, unpretentiousness, and diversity!

Thanks in advance!

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    1. In addition to counter service spots, I like dining solo for burgers, sushi, tacos, and Vietnamese. Part of the fun of dining solo is people watching and so places like Mozza are a lot of fun for me, too. Some cuisines or styles just scream for group dining, especially izakayas, Thai and Korean, so I save those for group outings.

      It also depends on the time of day. Anybody can dine solo at breakfast or lunch.

      1. I love eating alone in LA. On the more upscale front, I've had some of my most enjoyable evenings dining alone at the bar at Lucques -- I've eaten well and met fun and interesting people. My favorite thing right now, by the way, is eating alone at the bar at Cut. In fact, I've been way more times than I can afford, and almost always alone. I don't go there to meet people though, I go to eat amazing meat, drink a 20 dollar glass of Bordeaux, hear extremely loud music, people watch, and flirt with the female bartenders.

        16 Replies
        1. re: la tache burger

          Haven't been to Cut so wasn't aware of the bar option. Does the scene there invite a lot of dining at the bar (like Jar, Luques, etc) or is it more of a drink while you're waiting bar? And is it fair to assume that you can sit and eat at the bar without a reservation, like most places, or do they somehow regulate that area as well?

          Appreciate the low down!

          1. re: wutzizname

            It is a totally separate room, across a "lobby" from the restaurant proper (it's not the main hotel lobby, it's off the back parking entrance). It's a great room in and of itself -- a cocktail lounge with the same basic design as the restauarant, with couches, comfy chairs, and a bar, maybe seating 12. Loud music. They discourage ordering kitchen food in the cocktail area, but encourage it at the bar. No reservations, no micromanaging of the seats, but extremely helpful staff. The last time I was there I ordered a steak and a glass of wine. With my steak came an order of incredble Brussels sprouts with bacon, which I didn't order, and which I was not charged for. I simply said yummy, and thank you. After my steak was finished, the bartender brought out a small dessert sampler and an ounce or so of desert wine, also gratis. At the bar! Hello!

            1. re: la tache burger

              The actual "bar" has the full Cut menu available to anyone sitting at it. The tables have available only a "restricted" menu (at least that was the way it was a couple of months ago) which I am sure that they have done to keep from turning bar lounge into Cutlet.

              1. re: Servorg

                Ah...thanks for the info la tache and servorg. I knew the bar across the way had their own separate apps menu, but didn't realize the Cut goods could be brought over as well. Very sweet option.

          2. re: la tache burger

            I only had a drink at the bar at Cut, but you know I thought it's such an urbane, classy place to eat. And usually I really hate all those pretentioius places. I think they serve the full menu at the bar is that correct???

            1. re: la tache burger

              Me too on eating alone whether in LA or elsewhere; it's quite enjoyable b/c it opens you up to meeting interesting folks. Being alone never stopped me from eating anywhere. That said, I don't differentiate btwn solo & non-solo restaurants. I go where my tummy/cravings lead.

              1. re: OCAnn

                Also, if i go with someone who's not that into food, then they get weirded out by me ordering those crazy or more interesting dishes which puts a damper on the evening.

                ah, there are the hounds, and then there are the non-hounds.

                1. re: kevin

                  I really don't understand non-hounds. I just don't get it.

                  1. re: kchangambrose

                    So agree. Nothing diminishes a meal more than eating with people who don't REALLY care.

              2. re: la tache burger

                After reading this I now know I need to pack my crap and head to Cut right away. That sounds great. I would expect nothing less from Cholicio though so I shouldnt be surprised.

                I dine alone for all the same reasons as La Tache Burger and find myself often falling into a bar seat at Spago, eating some agnolotti (sp?) and exploring their smart by the glass list. Having the lovely Lilly behind the bar to chat with also definately helps.. But I also stop to dine at Campanile pretty often. The seats at the bar are very comfy, the full menu is available while setting there and the bar staff if first rate. They also serve you a very nice plate of assorted olives, extra virgin and La Brea bread to nosh on while your waiting for things to start rolling. They also make a spectacular Hendricks martini there that cant be beat. I live in Pas though and about twice a week land at Houstons on Arroyo by my place. The bar is super comfortable, the staff remembers you like a friend and the full menu is available. In fact, most evenings the bar is full of nothing but regular diners setting alone. And if you are a regular, they will also provide preferred seating whenever matter how busy they are and thats really nice. They have it all figured out..... Enjoy.

                1. re: thomtompkins

                  Thomtompkins, I was at Cut by myself sitting at the bar on Thursday. I, too, decided to go there after reading La Tache Burger's review. Thank you La Tache. I got there at 5:00, parked on the street (meters), no reservation, sipped a few martini's, and munched on complementary olives, seasoned almonds, and homemade potato chips. You can start ordering from the full Cut Menu and Bar Snacks Menu at 5:30. I was treated wonderfully by the bartenders. It didn't start getting crowded until about 7:00. Had the most delicious melt-in-my-mouth Nebraska cut Rib-Eye - 16 oz, no bone. You'll definitely have a good time, but bring lots of $$$$.

                  1. re: omakase

                    Exacty. Just because you're seated at a bar counter, doesn't mean it's going to be $20 per person like at the Apple Pan.

                    Think on at least 55 or so per steak, another ten for a side (unless you order the potato tarte tatin at 16 bux and you probably should, reminscent of the famed Parisian bistor Chez l' ami louis) add in a glass of wine and dessert and an appetizer and it'll easily reach close to 200 per.

                    Omakase and la touche, did you get the cheese popovers and knishes and other tidbits (besides the tray of almonds/olives/chips) when eating at the bar????? thanks.

                    The last time i was at the bar i was at event that ended at one of the banquest halls across the valet stations, and sat there till my car arrived and munched on some olives, smoked almonds, wasabi-peas, and ordered the cheese puffs (i think that was cool ten bucks righ there) and a nice Hemingway cocktail, Great great stuff, and much more relaxing than the bar at Spago for some reason.

                    1. re: kevin

                      Hey Kevin, I missed the cheese popovers. That'll be a must-try next time. Thanks for the rec. The Tuna Tartare is also excellent - on both the Regular Menu and Bar Menu.

                  2. re: thomtompkins

                    >>After reading this I now know I need to pack my crap and head to Cut right away. That sounds great. I would expect nothing less from Cholicio though so I shouldnt be surprised.<<

                    Are you getting Cut (Wolfgang Puck) confushed with Craft?

                    1. re: Servorg

                      Servorg/ yes I did confuse them. The second I hit the sent button, I knew I blew it but I didnt have time to chance it. I knew you guys would get what I meant. Thanks though!

                2. I love the counter at Toscana in Brentwood. Fun watching the food prepared; friendly service, good ambiance and as you watch the food being prepared you can decide what looks good to you. Could be a pizza out of the wood-burning oven, you might be inspired by the salad-maker, the grill chef or the scent and look of a pasta or risotto waiting to be served. I love the counter at Toscana-- lunch or dinner works for me. Off-menu is a chicken salad. Just lovely greens, tomatoes and perfectly grilled chicken breast.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: maudies5

                    Thanks for the info. I eat out by myself a lot, and will definitely try Toscana. Haven't been there for a while.
                    I also find that most good restaurants are very receptive to solo diners. If you're going to a top spot by yourself, it stands to reason you're interested in the food and/or opposed to it being just a social evening. (not that there's anything wrong with that) I've had some lovely solo meals at Patina before and after Disney Hall concerts.
                    And my local neighborhood spot, Blair's, always has a number of happy, solo folks.

                  2. Izayoi (bar/counter)


                    Orris (bar/counter)

                    K-ZO (bar/counter)


                    Hungry Cat (bar/counter)

                    York (bar/counter)


                    All of the above are great when I'm solo...I go to them quite often, alone. The ones that aren't counter/bar are still wonderful even while dining alone.