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London - Solo dining near Piccadilly?

I have a 24-hour layover in London in a couple of weeks and will be staying at the Meridien in Piccadilly. I'm looking for a tasty, not-too-expensive place to get a good dinner - this will be my one decent meal sandwiched between two long-haul flights. I also want someplace where I won't feel self-conscious as a solo diner on a Saturday night. Any ideas? (I know Wagamama's an option, but I'd like to try someplace new.)

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  1. Great Queen Street in Covent Garden. You can sit at the bar! It depends what you call not-too-expensive, though. I would never suggest Wagamama as a place for a "good dinner", and for a meal in between two long haul flights I'm sure you can do better than that.

    Or eat at any of Russell Norman's establishments in Soho - Polpo, Polpetto, just-opened Spuntino. I've never been to any of them but they always get rave reviews, and I think they'd be perfect for a solo diner.

    1 Reply
    1. re: astereilla

      I'd definitely second Spuntino. Most of the seating is at the bar and there's no reservations, so it should be relatively easy to get a seat if you're solo. It's a buzzing place as well.

    2. You could also try tapas at Barrafina (proper tapas where you sit at the bar) or Arbutus who also welcome solo diners, you sit at the bar and the bar staff and lovely and chatty so you don't feel too alone!

      54 Frith St, London, Greater London W1D 3, GB

      1. Thanks to everyone for the suggestions! (And I know Wagamama ain't great, but I get nostalgic for it from my student days - plus, they really do have good edamame most of the time...)

        1. If you're willing to walk to Covent Garden, get the hand pulled noodles or knife-shaved noodles at Noodle Bar.

          2 Replies
          1. re: limster

            Sounds tasty - I'll check it out, too...

            1. re: limster

              Perhaps Koya in Frith St for udon noodles?

            2. NOPI was delicious when we went! Communal table downstairs or ask for a table by the window upstairs.

              1. Bocca di Lupo (small-plate Italian) has a bar at the kitchen; I've seen many solo diners there - and the food is excellent.

                4 Replies
                1. re: Kelly

                  Seconded! On a Saturday night you'll probably be safest to make a reservation, even as a solo diner at the bar.

                  1. re: deansa

                    Placemark for Bocca di Lupo:
                    12 Archer St
                    London W1D 7BB, United Kingdom
                    020 7734 2223

                    1. re: klyeoh

                      Oops, here it is:

                      Bocca di Lupo
                      12 Archer St, London, England W1D 7, GB

                    2. re: deansa

                      Thirded! Sit at the bar at Bocca di Lupo and enjoy the atmosphere, service and awesome food. I love doing this - never done it as a solo diner but imagine it would be great as we always end up chatting to the staff and our neighbours anyway!

                      Bocca di Lupo
                      12 Archer St, London, England W1D 7, GB

                  2. Damn, I was worried that there wouldn't be a lot of good options, but now it looks like I have too many to choose from! You Chowhounders are making me wish I had another couple of days in London...

                    1. Pollen Street Social in the Dining Area around the bar. No reservations needed and very comfortable if by yourself.

                      1. I ended up sitting at the bar at Bocca di Lupo - that was a good suggestion. Thanks!

                        Bocca di Lupo
                        12 Archer St, London, England W1D 7, GB