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[DFW] Recommendations for Dining Alone

m
mistyp0523 Jun 22, 2009 05:57 AM

I'm in my late 20s, single and financially stable. Other than a couple of older friends of mine, the remainder of my group of friends rarely have enough extra income to splurge on dinner. Which means that I am usually flying solo. I don't mind this at bars because it's a more relaxed atmosphere and you can eat your dinner, have a drink and read a book/chat with the bartender. And lunching by oneself seems to be rather common, so I have no issues with that. But I have yet to find very many restaurants where I feel comfortable having dinner on my own.

Understanding that what I feel "comfortable" with may differ from your view, are there any recommendations out there for great dinner places where a solo diner would not feel overly awkward? To reiterate, I am not looking for bars that serve food (I've probably already been there, anyway), but I certainly would not mind recommendations for restaurants that serve their full menu in their bar area. Any price point, and I have yet to find a cuisine that I don't like. So bring it on, and thanks in advance.

  1. s
    swicker Jun 22, 2009 08:30 AM

    I find sushi restaurants to be a great place to eat alone. The sushi bars always have extra space for one, and you're not stuck with the bar menu. Also, Central 214 or any other great restaurant that's in a hotel is usually a solid bet for solo eating.

    1. l
      luniz Jun 22, 2009 08:36 AM

      You're looking for more "upscale" type dining?

      5 Replies
      1. re: luniz
        m
        mistyp0523 Jun 22, 2009 09:37 AM

        luniz,

        I suppose I didn't make that clear, but yes, I'm more looking in that direction.

        swicker,

        I actually did go to Central 214 a couple of weekends ago and sat at the bar, but I got there as the kitchen was closing. I didn't expect it to close at 10 pm on a Friday night. But I intend to go back.

        sike101,

        Thanks for that suggestion. I have been looking for an excuse to try Stephan Pyles, and I may have just found it.

        1. re: mistyp0523
          air Jun 22, 2009 03:00 PM

          Being solo in a dining room isn't the end of the world and I think it's worth putting yourself out of your comfort zone for the sake of a good meal. With that in mind, I do understand being comfortable with making reservations for a party of one isn't gonna come overnight.

          While I don't do much solo dining in DFW, I travel frequently for business and I typically eat alone because my group doesn't care for what's good, just convenience. I'm usually the one who is vehemently opposed to eating at (insert typical chain restaurant here), and would rather eat at a dive or local place. However, I also don't mind taking a splurge sometimes and can attest that most restaurants at hotels excel at catering to solo diners who are there on business. .

          Also a suggestion: I've had prix-fixe meals where the timing worked out to where there's little to no downtime in between each course. I personally haven't been to the Tasting Room at Lola, but I wouldn't be surprised if each course is well-timed and you're always eating.

          1. re: air
            m
            mistyp0523 Jun 23, 2009 06:01 AM

            Thanks for the suggestion of the prix-fixe and tasting meals.

            I tend to travel alone, too. Not for business but again, because most of my friends do not have extra income to travel with. And because I'm like you and feel I need to experience what is unique about the city/country I'm in, I have never had issues with making a reservation for one. For whatever reason, I have that apprehension while home, though. I agree that I need to get over it.

            I appreciate all the suggestions. Nonna, Local, Stephan Pyles, and the bar at Abacus are on my short list.

            1. re: mistyp0523
              DallasDude Jun 23, 2009 11:38 AM

              Also try Nobu. I go there once in a while by myself and do not feel out of place. Try their tasting menu, starts at 95. but very well worth the experience.

              1. re: mistyp0523
                air Jun 23, 2009 08:13 PM

                Also, I saw your post about soups. I realize this is out of line with the fine dining suggestions so far, but still, it's not uncommon to find solo people (myself included) at King's Noodles. If I can't decide what's for dinner, that's usually at the top of my list.

        2. s
          sike101 Jun 22, 2009 09:06 AM

          The ceviche bar at Stephan Pyles. You used to be able to only order ceviche and small plates there, but I think they may allow the full menu now, although you could make a nice meal out of ceviche and small plates. There is a communal table there as well.

          1. f
            fixer Jun 22, 2009 09:47 AM

            Hibiscus on Henderson has a bar at the back where they serve from the full menu.

            1. Scagnetti Jun 22, 2009 10:32 AM

              Eat at the bar at Nonna's during the week.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Scagnetti
                l
                luniz Jun 22, 2009 12:49 PM

                Particularly on a rainy night. Also, the bar at Local. Maybe Kavala?

              2. s
                sl1 Jun 22, 2009 11:09 AM

                The Grape seems like a good bar for the single dinner. They even have banquets that would be perfect for one.

                1. j
                  J.R. Jun 22, 2009 03:13 PM

                  La Duni - Oaklawn
                  Cafe Pacific
                  Abacus - great place to eat at the bar
                  Stephen Pyles
                  Nonna - Agree with Scagnetti re: during the week
                  Fearings- you can eat a the bar that faces the kitchen

                  I eat alone all the time when on business and love it. You can usually find intersting folks eating at the bar to chat with at higher end places. i've eaten alone at all of the above when the family is out of town and would highly recommend all of them.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: J.R.
                    DallasDude Jun 23, 2009 01:02 PM

                    I missed my planned dim sum today and had a late lunch. As I write this I am sitting at Jimmies Food Store on the corner of Fitzhugh and Bryan at the first table as you walk in. Next to me are 3 older Italians drinking a bottle of wine they just bought (is that even legal lol) and every table inside and out are full of singles or doubles. It is noisy, fun and happy. People are filing in and out snapping up all the sausages and bread they can find. Damn, someone grabbed the last of the wild boar sausages before I could order.

                    I managed the hot Italian with jalapeno peppers. this delightful double fisted loaf is jammed with beef and soaked in a gravy. I would have popped for a wine had I known it was allowed, but the Dr Brown cream soda is satifying none the less.

                    I had to circle my wagon three times before finding a suitable parking spot. The drive, the wait for the sammich, the joy of finding a spot that accommodated me and my lap top and my lunch, and a hijacked wifi (thank you neighbor) was all worth it as I pursed my lips around Italian nirvana. With the pure sensory joy I have soaked up, not too unlike my sandwich and its au jus, I cared very little about the fact I was not sharing the lunch with anyone other than you.

                    con piacere mi è indifferente

                    1. re: DallasDude
                      j
                      joanna.mcmaster Jun 23, 2009 01:05 PM

                      oh Jimmies.......yummmm....Wishing I had not skipped lunch & Cursing my North west Plano location...

                  2. twinwillow Jun 23, 2009 01:18 PM

                    I would agree with, all of the above.

                    1. d
                      DFWFOODIE Jun 24, 2009 09:23 AM

                      You remind me of me! I have a similar palette and the same friends. When I used to live in San Francisco, it was great b/c a lot of restaurants had a bar as well as a kitchen bar. I would chit chat with people at the kitchen bar as well as the chefs...and on many occasions was offered free small plates of things I haven't tried on the menu. I wish Dallas was more like that. Anyway, I have NO problem eating alone...as a matter of fact my friends think I'm a bit strange b/c I actually enjoy eating alone. It gives me time to relax and really enjoy my food.

                      So...i would say that most places are fine for dining alone, except I would avoid the more upscale places on weekends and do more local/hole in the wall places instead. During the week, most upscale places should be fine. It seems the weekends are when people come out to eat and sometimes in loud and large groups. That is not very enjoyable for me.

                      If you like steak...I love eating at the bar at RUTH'S CHRIS. Depending on where you like your steak, most steak houses have a full menu at the bar. I agree that sushi bars are a great place to dine alone. Personally I like to go to OISHII or TEPPO. I think the GRAPE suggestion made earlier is also a good choice. KOZY KITCHEN is good. ZIZIKI'S has a bar also, but they have a lot of small outdoor tables that are nice for dining.

                      And of course any casual place will feel less awkward...like JIMMY'S. I also like CAFE IZMIR (the deli). Any Asian places are fine. FIRESIDE PIES...but sometimes it's so crowded at the bar.

                      What it comes down to for me is...dine and enjoy your food. Don't feel awkward anywhere...the restaurants should be happy and lucky to have you as a guest.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: DFWFOODIE
                        DallasDude Jun 24, 2009 09:46 AM

                        cafe Izmir the restaurant is too intimate, but agreed on the deli. Also, love the Zizki's, especially the Knox location. Perfect for a first date, and just as fine alone at the bar. I have met people there as I do most places I eat alone. The lamb salad at Ziziki's is out of the ballpark good, along with the rack of lamb. Little lambs do not stand a chance around me.

                        Noticed Jimmie's had some nice lamb sausages. Anyone try those yet?

                        Off to do a big sales rumba and curious as what to have for lunch today.

                        1. re: DallasDude
                          j
                          joanna.mcmaster Jun 24, 2009 09:57 AM

                          Oh, the lamb salad is phenomenal!!!! I could drink the Ziki sauce through a straw if it was socially acceptable. The first thing i had there was a souvlaki, but found myself eating the lamb and greek salad, so since, I have morphed to the lamb salad. I haven't actually had lamb much better than Ziziki's. What neck of the woods are you going to be in for your sales lunch?

                      2. s
                        sl1 Jun 25, 2009 08:54 AM

                        560 by Wolfgang Puck in Reunion Tower. Nice bar with plenty of sights to keep your eyes occupied. And the food is top notch.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: sl1
                          j
                          joanna.mcmaster Jun 25, 2009 09:02 AM

                          Oh, I have been dying to try that!! What can we expect price-wise?

                          1. re: joanna.mcmaster
                            s
                            sl1 Jun 25, 2009 09:15 AM

                            Most app's are in the 10-15 range and entrees from 28-40 range. I think desserts are around 10.00. Everything I have eaten was worth the price. Portions are not skimpy by any means. The service, atmosphere and the view are great.

                            1. re: sl1
                              j
                              joanna.mcmaster Jun 25, 2009 09:17 AM

                              Awesome, we will plan a trip ASAP. I can't believe I forgot Wolf had opened a restaurant here, duh. Thanks for the tip.

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