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Dining solo in San Francisco

I just found out that I will get to tag along with my husband to San Francisco in a couple weeks for six nights. He will be working a conference, so I will be on my own for all lunches and most dinners. I'm looking for ideas about where to dine solo while I am there. I have spent a lot of time in Las Vegas, which is very friendly for solo diners. How does San Francisco compare?

I love seafood and dim sum. So definitely want to work both of those into my week.

I am planning to spend one morning at the Legion of Honor and will take the ferry over to Sausalito another day. Would appreciate recommendations in both of those areas, as well as the areas near Union Square and Fisherman's Wharf/North Beach.

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  1. Many places here offer the opportunity to eat the bar, which is always good for singles. For seafood, Tadich certainly works well that way for either lunch or dinner.

    1. Here are some suggestions given another single diner.

      1. mercy, you're about to have a lot of fun.

        2 Replies
        1. re: steve h.

          tadich at 2 p.m. or so at the bar is well worth the time. the waiters know their stuff and the barkeep can build a decent martini. the place is old school. i like that.

          zuni is maybe my favorite lunch spot. i like the burger. i'm also a fan of the oysters. the barkeep knows his way around a decent gimlet. taking the "f" on market makes you feel like a regular. be sure to buy a "passport" so you can game the mass transit.

          the ferry building is awesome. lunch at hog island with a few glasses of a good sparkling wine always works for me. sometimes i pick and choose ingredients at the stands/shops and grab a seat at the bar at the wine merchants. i've been known to sit at the bar at slanted door, too. love the ferry building.

          sausalito has burgers on bridgeway (takeout but across the street from the park) and fish. i like them both. fish is a far piece from the ferry dock (2 miles?) but worth the trek. cash only.

          dim sum at yank sing is pricey but good. the rincon center is stunning. go early for lunch. it's worth it.

          solo dinner at the bar at a16 is pretty good if you like italian wine and a scene. i do. bar crudo has a new home. haven't been there but if it's as good as the old place it has to be a winner. early dinner upstairs at epic roast house is very good. perbacco at the bar is a hoot. one market in the bar area is ok, too.

          i suspect there are at least one hundred other/better places.

          have too much fun.

          1. re: steve h.

            I eat solo a lot and almost never have any problem - from hole in the wall places (where everyone isn't treated well) to four starish places where I am treated well.
            I've eaten at A16 solo at a table and also at the food bar (where you can watch them cook and chat with your neighbors) and both were fine - but the alcohol bar has always been too crowded and noisy for me.

        2. The counter at Tadich Grill is great for solo dining and very San Francisco.

          1. In Sausalito skip the Burger joint ...it is bad. Sit at the bar at Poggio for a lunch that brings you back to Italy. Its a 1 block walk from the Ferry and its a place you will feel comfortable t o eat and linger.

            1. It's hard to answer this question because, as a solo diner, I've always been treated very well at every San Francisco establishment where I've had the pleasure to eat solo. I prefer bar seating while solo, and most restaurants have bars and full meals available at the bar.

              It's almost easier to say where I wouldn't want to be - some of the "stuffier" atmosphere places, like Aquerello, maybe. That would cut out about 10 restaurants, leaving a few thousand recommendations.

              1. Thanks for all your recommendations. I'm glad to hear that San Francisco is solo diner friendly. I will be sure to report back after I return home.

                1 Reply
                1. For a great crab louie or fresh oysters, you might try Swan Oyster Depot. It's a hole in the wall with seeting at the counter. Don't fear the long line, as single diners get seated relatively quickly.

                  Swan Oyster Depot
                  1517 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109

                  1. As mentioned by others, as an often single diner, there is not one place that I would rule out. Here are some ideas for you that include Fisherman's Wharf and North Beach.

                    Visitng SF. Eat like a local not a tourist.

                    Legion of Honor-ish would be Aziza (dinner only) or Sutro's at the Cliff House (not the Bistro at the Cliff House which has a different chef).

                    1. Heading towards the Legion of Honor will take you through the Inner Richmond, Clement Street and Geary Street, with many choices for dim sum. I also understand the cafe at the museum itself is pretty good.

                      If you want to explore that area of the city a little more, The Golden Gate Bridge perhaps, Le Terasse is located in the Presidio right next to a Muni transfer location for several bus lines. It has basic bistro fare but a nice out door patio overlooking the water. Great if the weather is clear.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: pamf

                        I hate eating dim sum alone, not for social reasons, but simply because I can't order enough range. I always end up Super Stuffed and rolling home.

                        1. re: bbulkow

                          I had this problem too when I transitioned from eating dim sum with my family to eating with 1-2 friends. One solution is to take some stuff home for a snack (predinner appetizer, munchies while watching a movie, midnight snack, tomorrow's breakfast).

                      2. Definitely head to the Ferry Building. In North Beach I also like Fior d'Italia hugely (their thin pasta with pesto - good stuff) and walking around North Beach you'll find spots that pull you in just by the awesome aroma of their food. I'm heading back there in October -- Tadich Grill is definitely in my plans. I like walking through Chinatown and grazing on dim sum as I go through the streets. Some places are definitely better than others, needless to say. Have a great time!

                        1. Ton Kiang is my favorite for dim sum - but dim sum is so much better with a group of people so you can try many things!! I can't imagine eating dim sum by myself.

                          Ton Kiang
                          5821 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94121

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: acecil

                            East Ocean in Emeryville on weekdays offers a dim sum lunch special for one person. You get to sample some of the more conventional items, but of course you're also paying for the spectacular view of the bay.