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Best celebration restaurant for a solo diner

I am going to be in NYC on my 40th birthday and will be alone. What is one of the best restaurants that a solo diner won't look out of place?

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  1. I go out alone all the time on the road, but not so much in NYC.

    If it were my 40th, I'd say Eleven Madison Park because it's large enough that you won't stand out.

    Another thought would be the Kappo experience at Ma Peche. It's seven people around a counter, more of a chance for participation and interaction. The food doesn't really compare to EMP, but the experience is great and every engaging.

    A totally different idea would be a jazz show at The Jazz Standard or Dizzy's Coca-Cola Club at Jazz at Lincoln Center. The food won't be as good, but it could be a very fun way to celebrate.

    1 Reply
    1. re: StevenCinNYC

      Agree with StevenC about both EMP and Kappō at Ma Peche. You should also consider Momofuku Ko. I've dined at all three of these restaurants solo, and have always been treated very well.

    2. As a frequent NYC solo diner, I can tell you that lots and lots of restaurants -- high end to low end -- are very suitable to the person dining alone.

      But to be helpful, need to know your price range and/or food preferences, as well as location in Manhattan.

      1. What type of food? What budget? What neighborhood?

        NYC is very solo diner friendly.

        4 Replies
        1. re: plf515

          I am open to any neighborhood and willing to spend up to $200. Sadly, Eleven Madison Park is out. They seem to be booked for months. No cuisine restrictions. I am adventurous.

          1. re: DuaneNoVA

            If you are adventurous try Corton.

            1. re: DuaneNoVA

              In case you really had EMP on your mind I just thought I would mention the bar is a really good option for solo dining and that is on a 1st come, 1st served basis.

              Otherwise, your options are so numerous because as mentioned before, there are just so many high, mid, and low end places that are great for solo dining.

              1. re: Spiritchaser

                The bar area at EMP is a la carte, though. Depends if OP wants the full $195 tasting menu experience or not.

          2. I would say pick a place with a chef's counter or sushi bar. You won't feel alone at places like that. A table at Corton, you will surely feel a bit out of place. However, a seat at the counter at Kyo Ya, you will totally enjoy. 15 East would be great, Brushstroke would work fine,

            1. I dine out solo almost every day with no problem, be it a Michelin three-starred restaurant, or a neighborhood pub. New York is a great city for single diners! :)

              1. id knock myself out with omakase at 15 east or yasuda.

                  1. Perla for apps and wine
                    Minetta Tavern (across the street from Perla) for dinner
                    Tell them it's your 40th birthday!

                    1. You will not seem out of place at any restaurant in NYC as a solo diner. It's done all the time. And if you feel out of place at a table, then I suggest eating at the bar at a high end restaurant. And on that note...
                      Del Posto has a full menu at the bar now. It is a beautiful space and service is top notch. I would say that between the food and ambiance you will be quite satisfied and have celebrated your 40th in style.

                      1. What everyone already said. Especially Kyo Ya & Ko. You could even order the extended Kaiseki at Kyo Ya with your budget. EMP would be beyond your price point once you factor in tax & tip unless you just ordered a la carte at the bar.

                        And I'll add:

                        The bar at WD-50 (bartenders there are good company if they're not crazy busy)

                        Aquavit (saw a couple solo diners last time we were there)

                        Momofuku Ssam Bar (Ko is a bit tough to rez, but I've had great meals at Ssam solo)

                        Babbo (usually a wait for bar seats, but for a solo diner often there isn't much of one) ,..and if Babbo is crazy busy, there are a couple good backup options right nearby: Soto for Japanese, Blue Hill for American.

                        1. Question for CHers: Open Table shows that tables are available for two at Del Posto tonight. But not available for a solo diner. Is it legit to make a reservation for two and show up solo? If not, this doesn't seem solo diner friendly.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: mwhitmore

                            Solo diners are first come / first served at the bar, I believe. Or just call them and see if they have a table or can hold a bar seat.

                            1. re: mwhitmore

                              There are a number of restaurants that on OpenTable show no availability for solo diners, but availability for 2. EMP is one of those restaurants. Best to call the restaurant directly when you see availability for 2, but no availability for 1.

                              1. re: mwhitmore

                                Like others said, best to call Del Posto and ask. I am sure they will seat you at a table if one is available.

                                btw...friends and I will be dining at Del Posto this evening. If you do wind up going, buon appetito!