Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Ontario (inc. Toronto) >
Jun 19, 2010 05:02 PM

Which restaurants treat single diners best/worst?

I eat out alone quite a bit. We know sometimes single diners are viewed as an unworthwhile nuisance. Here are my experiences...please share yours!

Thumbs up (always feel welcome as a single diner):

Pickle Barrel (Atrium on Bay): Staff always act happy to see me. Once even asked me
if I wanted to sit by the front window since there would be more light for reading my book.

Jack Astor's: Staff always super friendly, no problem being a single diner, don't mind me sitting in a booth. One time the hostess asked me if I wanted a newspaper to read.

Thumbs down:

Milestones: Last time I went it was like, "Would mind sitting at the bar?" I'm like, I prefer a table...then there was this minutes long conference about where to put me.

Hard Rock Cafe: Made me feel unwelcome for refusing to sit at the bar. In front of group of people waiting to get in the hostess said loudly "some people for whatever reason prefer a table."

Jack Astor's
1090 Don Mills Rd, Toronto, ON M3C3R6, CA

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Thumbs Up:

    Sukhothai. The staff always recognizes me (which isn't hard, seeing as how there aren't a lot of them :P) and always also act happy to see me. Cheery "Sawatdee Kaa (hello), how are you"'s and all that. One of the owner's (Jeff) mum always chats with me and asks how I'm doing with work and school (as I attend UofT). I always invite her to sit with me for a while and we talk for some time. She's recommended me special, off-menu dishes a number of times and I've yet to be disappointed! Gives me a nice, homely feeling every time I visit this place :)

    Sushi Shop on Yonge/Carlton:
    The owner (guy who does all the sushi prepping) talks to me a lot whenever I sit at the sushi bar (where you can, sort of, watch him prepare your dish). He usually talks about places he's worked at before and what he's hoping to accomplish with this new place and asks for my opinion or advice on some things. He's also totally fine if I ever want to modify my sushi order somewhat (within reason, of course) and will offer some randomly new made ones that he just came up with. Always lets me have bottled water on the house as well - brilliant customer service!

    I haven't been to any places where I've felt unwelcomed as a single diner yet...hopefully that won't be the case any time soon! =/ I eat out alone often as well and there are some times where I feel a little...I dunno...odd, or ill-at-ease with the thought of going into a place that seems specifically meant for groups on my own. Like Fresh. Seating is always a problem there (there's always people waiting!) so I've always felt kind of weird about going there some time and eating on my

    326 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S1W5, CA

    274 Parliament St, Toronto, ON M5A, CA

    1 Reply
    1. re: Sheikah

      I always go alone to Fresh because none of my friends will accompany me there!! Have never, ever had any hassle about being a solo diner. I go whenever I'm purging after too many months living on pig meat and alcohol.
      BUT I do pack ear plugs when I go to Fresh (any of their 3 locations) because although I love their food and amazing juices I don't need to go deaf listening to their LOUD garage grunge "music".
      There are many places on Queen East that have lively and hospitable bar area eating possiblities, with food far superior to Hard Rock et. al.
      Try Table 17, Queen Margherita, Gio's......
      Other Leslieville dwellers can do doubt add to the list - there's no need to dine alone in a chain place when you could be having great fun in an eclectic neighbourhood place amongst real people.

      Table 17
      782 Queen St. East, Toronto, ON M4M 1H4, CA