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Dining alone in Denver?

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I'm coming to Denver for a conference and wanted some suggestions for restaurants that would be good for dining alone. I found a bunch of restaurants with menus I like, and wanted input on the atmosphere - for dining alone I either like (a) really quiet places or (b) mildly crowded places but not super noisy, where I can people watch (i.e. Balthazar in NYC). I'd appreciate advice on which of these places fit that description (don't mind paying up to ~30 for entree, but want to avoid places w/ prix fixe...): Barolo Grill, Le Central, Ninth Door, Cuba Cuba, Yanni's, Fruition, Rioja, and any other suggestions people have? Thanks!

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  1. Ninth Door has a great bar for dinning alone, but I would feel out of place at the tables a bit, lots of dates and crowds. But early in the night, especially happy hour, it is pretty slow.

    Le Central is perfect for dinning alone, especialy the patio. Well spaced tables, and a good mix of people. No bar.

    Cuba Cuba has a bar, but not good for eating if they even serve food there. The tables, like 9th Door, are pretty social, so may feel out of place being alone on a weekend. Little less lively on the weekdays, so I would be comfortable there then. The food is fun. May also want to check out 8 Rivers downtown for caribbean food. Have not been to that location yet.

    The Bar at Venice Ristorante is perfect for solo dinning, and I see solo diners there often. I have only had their happy hour food though, which is a lot of fun (excellent small plates), and would be what I would recommend anyway. Two happy hours, one is 3-7PM and the other 9-close. Great wine list as well.

    1 Reply
    1. re: nateco

      Panzano in the Hotel Monaco has good northern Italian food and a choice of seating -- tables of various sizes and counter/bar-style. They're happy hour food selection is impressive.

    2. I have never understood what the stigma is about dining out solo, or how a restaurant could be good or bad for parties of one. If it's good, its good, whether you're with a crowd, with a date, or alone, IMO.

      That said, Barolo is very friendly and you can eat at the bar (but you don't have to).

      5 Replies
      1. re: avgolemona

        Well said, Avgo. If there's a stigma, I believe that it's self imposed. When I travel and see a place that looks interesting, I eat there. I don't need to ask advice or validation. I've eaten at bars and at single tables. In the past 30 years, I've never felt or been treated like a pariah. So to Athena, get adventurous and try something on your own.

        1. re: chowmix

          Actually, sadly, there are restaurants that treat solo diners poorly, mostly because they don't want to waste an entire table on one person who's going to have a smaller bill than a party of 2 or 4. I travel often for business and I'm always looking for restaurants who have bar seats or a pleasant attitude towards solo diners. I've read that the Roy's chain is great for that, as well as places like Tarbell's in Phoenix who's owner goes out of his way to make solo diners feel comfortable and happy...

          1. re: coastalgypsy

            I agree that the stigma is mostly self-imposed and I have never been treated badly, but I do feel more comfortable eating at a bar or community table then at a table by myself. I would go with 9th Door, Rioja, Vesta as they have nice bar areas and are downtown if location is in issue.

            Interestingly Mark Tarbell now has 2 Denver restaurants. Hopefully a Chowhounder will review the new one "Mark & Isabellas" soon.

            1. re: ColoradoFun

              Oh I completely forgot that Mark has 2 Denver restaurants as well, that was a complete coincidence. Well, I guess in that case, I'd suggest one of those for dining alone in Denver!

          2. re: chowmix

            I agree, it's self-imposed. Eating out by myself is something I enjoy and consider a treat - I like being waited on for a change. I take a book, or snag the crossword from the paper if it's breakfast or brunch. Plus there's always people-watching. And you're not stuck with bad company.