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eating alone in New York recs?!

  • t


I'm flying in for a meeting from Toronto and need some recommendations as I'll be eating on my own for a couple of nights. I'm staying at the Hilton on 6th Ave and 54th. I've only been to New York once ever about 5 years ago so I really don't know Manhattan at all really.

I want to check out a couple of places that I won't be a complete loser eating on my own, and I'm not interested in the tourist spots. So, good sushi, maybe chinese? Or just somewhere I can hang out and watch the crowd and eat from the bar and maybe drink some wine and chill. Maybe a pub with good food and a nice atmosphere?!

Thanks for any replies!

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  1. Sushi is always good to eat alone, can meet people at the sushi bar,,, Sushi Gari is a good choice there are locations on upper west and east side, or sushi seki (similar style to sushi gari). Degustation on east 5th st. has great small dishes at a 16 seat bar. You'll be fine eating alone there. Katzs deli for lunch on E Houston is real new york and great corn beef and pastrami sandwiches. There is brooklyn diner on 57th for just a bite ,,, if you just want great food ,, go to jean georges,,and dont care if you are eating alone,,,or try the bar at Massa for sushi.

    1 Reply
    1. re: foodwhisperer

      Blue Ribbon Sushi has an out post near the OP as well - and while it's not as good as Gari, I still like it. I agree that Bar Boulud would be good as well - either at the bar or at the communal table.

    2. I think it would be nice to go to Bar Boulud on your own and sit at the big communal table. GF and I have had some extremely interesting (and that isn't code for WEIRD) encounters/conversation we solo diners at BB.

      1. Other good eat at the bar options are Union Square Cafe, Telpan and Ouest and Degustation.

        1. I dont know if you are looking specifically for restaurants in that area, but Otto is a great place to dine alone (at the bar).

          One Fifth Avenue
          212 995-9559

          1. I recently did a solo trip to NY and Eleven Madison Park, Le Bernardin, and Gramercy Tavern treated me like royalty and I felt very comfortable dining alone. Eleven Madison Parks bar is very comfortable to!!!

            1. seriously - there is no place in NYC where you cannot eat alone....

              1 Reply
              1. re: thew

                COMPLETELY agree thew....NYers are very independent. Movies, eating, museums, etc.

                1. bar steak at raouls a very cool "old ny" thing to do. great meat and fries at great price....

                  1. btw i think you can be just about anywhere in manhattan and eat solo not feeling like a loser....

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: jsmitty

                      Thanks for all the replies so far! I've now got a long list of places to consider! Oh, I know that I'll never feel alone in NY, buy I always ask the locals where I should eat and drink....as they always know best! I don't believe in those horrible tourist-trap expensive joints....they are not for me!

                      1. re: Tboy

                        thats a very different question than "where can i eat alone?"

                    2. Thanks for posting. My hubby is going to the Knicks game tonight and you've inspired me to find a restaurant and eat alone instead of eating at home. I'm a foodie but my friends are always broke (wont even go to a cheap foodie restaurant) so I rarely get to experience all the restaurants I want to try.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: secondbecky

                        So let's help you find a place! What area are you interested in? Have you been to Ssam?

                        1. re: MMRuth

                          I actually have not yet and do love my David Chang. Good idea! I was intrigued by Degustation but dont know if Tapas is really a good thing to eat alone (I always thought the point was to bring alot of people and share all the dishes).

                          If I go to Ssam, what should I order (besides the obvious)

                          1. re: secondbecky

                            I'd get the pork buns for sure, I do like the banh mi, all the ham selections that I've tried are wonderful. We also really enjoyed the duck dish we had there for dinner in the fall. Yes, the point is to share - but you could have a nice and not too expensive meal with some small plates. And, you could take one of the two pork buns home, but, well, the only way I do that is if I order an extra order to go!

                            1. re: secondbecky

                              Where did you go in the end???????

                              1. re: Tboy

                                I pulled a hamstring at kickboxing class and went home... :(
                                made a decent chicken parm for myself.

                              2. re: secondbecky

                                i was across the street from ssam tonight (like most monday nights - i do a poetry reading there - if i had know a CH might be there i'd have stopped in....(i loves me some pork buns)

                          2. I second the fact that you would never be considered a "complete loser" eating alone in NYC! If you're interested in talking to your neighbors as you dine, you could set up a great itinerary that was all bar, counter, or communal tables. I would include cheaper places as well, like porchetta in the east village, some ramen (a whole other subject here: momofuku, rai rai ken, ippudo, etc etc.) and a funky luncheonette type place for real NY atmosphere. A friend from Oslo is still talking about his trip to the Stage Restaurant (2nd ave. south of saint marks). It's funky and the food isn't high art, but it's cheap and fun and totally New York. Couple that with the higher end places you're going and you'll have a great time.

                            1. I think eating at the bar at Blue Hill would be fun. The food there invites conversation--most people who eat there are interested in food and want to talk about it while they eat it.

                              1. Sichuan Gourmet at 39th, between 5th and 6th is arguably the best Sichuan place in Manhattan. The place can get busy during the day, so if you are planning to go there for lunch, it's best to come at about 1:30. Great American and Chinese (ma-la) selections. The place is consistently good (maybe except for their whole fish), they have an outstanding dou miao for dinner. They have the most excellent water-cooked fish, if you like it spicy.

                                1. I recently ate alone at the bar of Babbo and Gotham Bar and Grill and both places were great. At Babbo you need to get there early to get a good seat. I arrived at 5:10 and it was already crowded, but I managed to snag a corner seat at the bar. The food was wonderful and the bartender was a fantastic resource. I had pleasand conversations with other diners at the bar and one let me try some of her dishes. Gotham also had tremendous food and the bartender was also such a pleasure to interact with. My neighbor at the bar gave me a glass of wine with my chocolate cake. The full menu was available at both restaurants although I was not able to order the tasting menus since they required two people. I hope this helps.